These are selectively selected idiomatic expressions with meanings and sample sentences.
100. TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Meaning: It is a clever or expert way of doing something.
In a sentence: Being a businessman for half of my life, I know all tricks of the trade.
99. LIVE IN AN IVORY TOWER
Meaning: This means living a lifestyle that saves you from the real world problems.
In a sentence: Jay has problems in dealing with poor people because she has lived in an ivory tower.
98. ACID TEST
Meaning: It means as Acid test proves the effectiveness of something.
In a sentence: I already know how to compute decimals but the acid test will come when our Math professor will conduct assessment orally.
97. WHOLE BAG OF TRICKS
Meaning: This means trying all the clever means to achieve something.
In a sentence: It was really difficult to pass the final exam even after applying the whole bag of tricks.
96. FINE-TOOTH COMB
Meaning: This means of examining something carefully so as not to miss out any details.
In a sentence: My thesis adviser examined my report with a fine tooth comb before submitting it to the panel for defense.
95. FAST TRACK SOMETHING
Meaning: This mean of rating something higher on a priority list to achieve the desired result.
In a sentence: In view of the seriousness of the crime, the civil society is pressing up on a fast track decision from the court.
94. MEAN BUSINESS
Meaning: This means of being serious about what you announce.
In a sentence: We mean business when we posted announcement on the internet site.
93. NOT LET GRASS GROW UNDER FEET
Meaning: Don't delay in getting something done.
In a sentence: After making the administrative Council signed the resolution, the Board Secretary requested the Board for referendum on the contracts. He doesn't let the grass grow under his feet.
92. BACK-ROOM BOYS
Meaning: People who perform important work but have no contact with the public.
In a sentence: Johnny Manahan and the writers of the show are the back room boys that deserve more applause than the artists performing on stage.
91. DEAD WOOD
Meaning: This refers to people or things which are no longer useful or necessary.
In a sentence: The school acquires new laboratory equipment. They no longer want the dead woods.
90. PLUM JOB
Meaning: This is a desirable position which is well-paid and considered relatively easy.
Example - This looks like a plum job but it has its own bunch of complications.
89. GOLDEN HANDSHAKE
Meaning: This refers to big sum of money given to a person when they leave a company or retire.
In a sentence: When the company want to cut down on the man power, they usually offer a golden hand shake to many of their aged employees.
88. WAITING IN THE WINGS
Meaning: This means waiting for an opportunity to take action, mostly to replace someone else in their job.
In a sentence: Dr. Santos is going to retire in next 2 months. Two of his juniors who are waiting in the wings will have a fierce competition.
87. LUMP IN YOUR THROAT
Meaning: It refers to a tight feeling in your throat because of an emotion like sadness or gratitude.
In a sentence: I have a lump in my throat seeing my daughter receiving a gold medal today after all the hard years we have in the family.
86. HARD AS NAILS
Meaning: This refers to a person without sentiments and sympathy for anyone.
In a sentence: He has become as hard as a nail after his brother was brutally murdered.
85. PROUD AS PEACOCK
Meaning: It refers to an extremely proud person.
In a sentence: Ana’s mother is as proud as peacock when Ana topped the board exam.
Meaning: It means difficulty in expressing oneself because of nervousness or embarrassment.
In a sentence: Jody was completely tongue tied when she met her crush in person.
83. SPEAK VOLUMES
Meaning: This is expresses a reaction without words.
In a sentence: She always call to know if I was okay. Her actions really speak volumes about her care and concern for me.
82. NOT TURN A HAIR
Meaning: This refers to not exhibiting any emotion where it is expected.
In a sentence: Martha didn’t turn a hair even after her name was called as the Grand Prize Winner.
81. REDUCE TO TEARS
Meaning: It means getting into tears because of some one's behaviour.
In a sentence: Greta reduced to tears when her boyfriend stopped seeing her.
80. IN THE BAG
Meaning - Refers to a situation when you are sure that success is sure.
In a sentence: The BPA Team fans rise to yell, the victory seems to be in the bag after the opponent’s best player failed to shoot in last two seconds time.
79. BLOW UP IN FACE
Meaning: This refers to a situation when a plan or project suddenly fails.
In a sentence: It was difficult to be on time in the venue. It blew up in the face when the bus didn’t arrive on time at the station.
78. CAKE NOT WORTH A CANDLE
Meaning: This refers to something in which results are too less compared to the effort.
In a sentence: Mr. Duping studied so hard in Economics exam but still he got the low score. The cake wasn't worth the candle.
77. CHANCE ON ONE’S ARM
Meaning: This is referring to deciding to do something even though the chances of success are very little.
In a sentence: Considering her height, Grace knew that there was little chance of her to be casted in Bb. Panabo 2015 but she still decided to chance her arm.
76. MAKE A GO OF
Meaning: This means you are succeeding in your enterprise.
In a sentence: With his hard work and dedication, he has made a go of his new venture.
75. FLYING START
Meaning: This refers to something that is immediately successful.
In a sentence: “Praybet Benjamin” hit the box office with a flying start and collected the highest revenue on day 1 of Metro Manila Film Festival.
74. LIVE ON THE BREADLINE
Meaning. This means having very little income.
In a sentence: The war in Mindanao caused many natives live on the breadline.
73. MAKE OR BREAK
Meaning: This refers to circumstances causing total success or total ruin.
In a sentence: Your performance in the Q and A portion will make or break you.
72. LANDSLIDE VICTORY
Meaning: It is overwhelming victory received by a candidate of political party at an election.
In a sentence: The ASAP Party are expecting a landslide victory after a win of more of than 50% seats in the first two hours of counting.
71. RAGS TO RICHES
Meaning: This refers to experiences of those who are becoming very rich while starting very poor.
In a sentence: Manny’s determination, hard work and perseverance got him rags to riches.
70. ON THE PIG’S BACK
Meaning: This refers to a person, event, idea in successful and well situation.
In a sentence: Her studies was on the pig’s back before she met Adrian.
69. MISS THE BOAT
Meaning: This refers to failure to take advantage of an opportunity because of slow actions.
In a sentence: I wasn’t able to pass my project in advance and failed to earn an early bird bonus points. Submitting late made me miss the boat.
68. SMASH HIT
Meaning: This refers to music, films which are very successful.
In a sentence: PSY’s “Gentleman” is a smash hit in a month’s time.
67. MURPHY’S LAW
Meaning: This means that if anything can go wrong, it will.
In a sentence: Lora prepared for the worst in the debate but she doesn't forget the Murphy's law.
66. PLACE IN THE SUN
Meaning: This refers to a position which provides you all the success and happiness you want in your life.
In a sentence: Adrianna found a place in the sun after getting married to the scion of the richest family in town.
65. SINK OR SWIM
Meaning: This simply means “fail or succeed”.
In a sentence: The removal exam will decide if Dayna sinks or swims.
64. CHAMPAGNE ON A BEER BUDGET
Meaning: This means wanting expensive things that you cannot afford.
In a sentence: She always buys things out of her budget. She has developed a taste for champagne on beer budget.
63. TOP DOG
Meaning: This refers to very successful group, company, person, country etc.
Example: The result of the recently concluded Miss Universe proved that USA is the top dog in terms of beauty pageants.
62. KEEP UP APPEARANCES
Meaning: This means maintaining an outward show of prosperity or well-being while hiding your difficulties
In a sentence: Her smile and taste of fashion keep up her appearances to her friends and colleagues.
61. WOODEN SPOON
Meaning: This refers to imaginary prize for the last person in a race.
In a sentence: We won a wooden spoon at the fashion show.
60. HAVE THE WORLD BY ITS TAIL
Meaning: This refers to a very successful person who can choose from a lot of opportunities.
In a sentence: Graduated magna cum laude, Victor is now having the world by its tail.
59. LIVE BEYOND MEANS
Meaning: This means spending more money than you can afford. This is similar to “champagne on a beer budget”
In a sentence: Carol has a habit of living beyond her means. Most of the times, you will find her borrowing the money from her friends.
58. HIT THE ROAD RUNNING
Meaning: This means to start performing immediately.
In a sentence: She came late that’s why she hit the road running just seconds of her arrival.
57. ACHILLES HEEL
Meaning: This expression refers to a vulnerable area or a weak spot, in an otherwise strong situation, that could cause one's downfall or failure.
In a sentence: Mayor Manato considers his love of women as his Achilles heel.
56. AGAINST THE CLOCK
Meaning: If you do something against the clock, it means that you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
In a sentence: The students are working against the clock to have the oral presentation ready for an hour.
55. WEAR THE TROUSERS
Meaning: This refers to the one who makes the important decisions in a couple.
In a sentence: In John’s family, his mother always wears the trousers especially in budgeting.
54. ADD FUELS TO THE FLAMES
Meaning: If you add fuel to the flames, this means that you do or say something that makes a difficult situation even worse.
In a sentence: Raul forgot their monthsary, and his excuses only added fuel to the flames.
53. WET BLANKET
Meaning: When you refer to someone as a wet blanket, you mean that they spoil other people's fun, or make an event less enjoyable than it could have been.
In a sentence: Come on Mike! Don't be such a wet blanket. You're spoiling the party!
52. BLIND AS A BAT
Meaning: This refer to someone whose vision is very poor, or who is unable to see anything.
In a sentence: Clarisse is totally dependent on her glasses. Without them, she is as blind as a bat.
51. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND
Meaning: This expression describes a person with very little ability trying to help or guide a person with no ability.
In a sentence: Don’t ask me to help you in your speech. I could hardly speaks English words right. I don’t want to be blind leading the blind.
50. BLINK OF AN EYE
Meaning: If something happens in the blink of an eye, this means that it happens nearly instantaneously, with hardly enough time to notice it.
In a sentence: Martina just disappeared in the blink of an eye.
49. MAKES YOUR BLOOD BOIL
Meaning: If something makes your blood boil, it means that it makes you really angry.
In a sentence: The absence of Pres. Aquino on the arrival of the FALLEN 44 made the Filipinos blood boil.
48. MAKES YOUR BLOOD RUN COLD
Meaning: If something makes your blood run cold, it means it shocks or scares you a lot.
In a sentence: The tiger look of our English teacher made my blood run cold.
47. JACK OF ALL TRADES
Meaning: A jack of all trades is referring to a person who can do many different things but is not very good at any one of them.
In a sentence: I can sing, I can dance, I can write, I can act but I do not excel on any of them. Now, I realize that I am a jack of all trades.
46. GET THE JITTERS
Meaning: If you get (or have) the jitters, especially before an important event, you become very nervous or anxious and begin to shake.
In a sentence: Students get the jitters when they are told to perform in front of the class.
45. COOK SOMEONE’S GOOSE
Meaning - Spoil other person's chances of success.
In a sentence: Alfred cooks someone’s goose when he failed to answer easy questions in the quiz bowl.
44. GO UP IN SMOKE
Meaning: This refers to something that ends before getting a result.
In a sentence: Her plan of cheating in the exam has gone in smoke after the proctor inspected all the examinees things.
43. GO TO THE DOGS
Meaning: This means getting comparably less successful than before.
In a sentence: With the inexperience of the SSC president on budgeting, the student council is going to dogs.
42. LET SLIP THROUGH FINGERS
Meaning: This means failing to obtain or keep up a good opportunity.
In a sentence: This reporting could be your chance to chosen as the class debater. Please don't let it slip through your fingers.
41. COME UP ROSES
Meaning: This refers to successful end results even though there may be some initial hiccups.
In a sentence: The PBB Guidelines seems to be coming up roses in spite of initial hiccups and controversies.
40. MAKE YOUR FLESH CRAWL
Meaning: This refers to something that makes you feel disgusting or nervous.
In a sentence: The picture of the Fallen 44 posted on Facebook made my flesh crawl.
39. SWALLOW ONE’S PRIDE
Meaning: This means accepting something humiliating or embarrassing.
In a sentence: To keep your good relationship with your teacher, you have to swallow your pride and sincerely apologize.
38. LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
|I am not a morning person!|
In a sentence: You met with an accident but look on the bright side - you managed to get away just with some bruises.
37. LICK ONE’S WOUNDS
Meaning: When someone licks one’s wounds, it means that he is trying to regain their confidence or boost up the spirits after a defeat.
In a sentence: Janna is licking her wounds after being dropped from the Deans List.
36. GO BANANAS
Meaning: This refers to someone who behaves in a crazy way out of emotions.
In a sentence: Angel’s decision to get married will make her family go bananas.
35. BEARD THE LION IN HIS DEN
Meaning: This means that you challenge someone in his own area.
In a sentence: If he doesn't come to see me today, I'll have to beard the lion in his den.
34. GROAN INWARDLY
Meaning: Groan inwardly refers to a feeling where you want to express despair, disapproval or distress, but you keep quite.
In a sentence: Brandon was quite disappointed at the sarcastic remark by his friend but looking at the situation he just groaned inwardly.
33. KEEP A STIFF UPPER LIP
Meaning: It refers to a person who doesn't show off his emotions.
In a sentence: The wayward son heard the news about his father's demise but kept a stiff upper lip.
32. GET THE AXE
Meaning: Paradoxically, when you get the axe, it means you lose the job.
In a sentence: The projects team was undergoing a major restructuring, and recruitment. Absolutely, the executives were the first to get the axe.
31. SEPARATE SHEEP FROM GOATS
Meaning: This means examining a group of people and deciding their suitability.
In a sentence: The audition was conducted by the director of the theatre guild to separate sheep from goats.
30. SHAPE UP OR SHAPE OUT
Meaning: This expression is used to warn someone that if they do not improve their ways, they will have to leave their job.
In a sentence: When Stephen started neglecting his assignments, the dean told him shape up or ship out.
29. KEEP YOUR FINGERS ON THE PULSE
Meaning: If you keep your fingers on the pulse, you are being constantly aware of the most recent developments.
In a sentence: An IT practitioner must keep his fingers on the pulse of the world technology and computers.
28. SAIL THROUGH SOMETHING
Meaning: You are being successful in doing something without difficulty, if you sail through something.
In a sentence: You sailed through the celebration of the Charter Day. It was indeed successful.
27. THINK ON YOUR FEET
Meaning: You are adjusting quickly to changes and making fast decisions when you think on your feet.
In a sentence: Her shifting to another course program is thinking on her feet.
26. WORK LIKE CHARM
Meaning: It means that it works very well or has the desired effect.
In a sentence: I did not eat cold foods like ice creams days before the competition and it worked like a charm.
25. BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW
Meaning: You are taking a task that is way too big.
In a sentence: I think you need to realize that you bit off more than you can chew in hosting this event.
24. DON’T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THE EGGS HAVE HATCHED.
Meaning: This idiom is used to express "Don't make plans for something that might not happen".
23. DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET.
Meaning: This expression means not to put all your resources in one possibility.
In a sentence: There are still games to play, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
22. FAIR-WEATHER FRIEND
Meaning: This refers to someone who acts as a friend when times are good, and is not there when you are in trouble.
In a sentence: I thought I could count on Bill, but I've discovered he's just a fair-weather friend.
21. TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Meaning: This term refers to a clever or expert way of doing things, especially in a job.
In a sentence: He's a tough negotiator; he knows all the tricks of the trade.
20. CHICKEN OUT
Meaning: If you chicken out of something, you decide not to do something because you are afraid.
In a sentence: Carlos decided to join a karate class, but chickened out at the last minute.
19. DRASTIC TIMES CALL FOR DRASTIC MEASURES
When you are extremely desperate you need to take drastic actions. This what the expression means.
18. ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING.
Meaning: This expression means that the show has come to an end. It's all over.
In a sentence: Elvis has left the building when I arrived.
17. FEEL A BIT UNDER THE WEATHER
Meaning: When you feel a bit under the weather, you feel slightly ill.
In a sentence: I was absent from the class because I felt a bit under the weather.
16. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO
Meaning: This refers to actions or communications that need more than one person.
In a sentence: It takes two to tango to talk on other person’s life.
15. HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD
Meaning: You hit the nail on the head when you do or say something exactly right.
In a sentence: The universe applauded Miss Jamaica when she hit the nailed on the head during the Q and A portion.
14. PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS
Meaning: This means that a visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.
In a sentence: This painting tells a lot. Indeed, a picture paints a thousand words.
13. TASTE OF YOUR OWN MEDICINE
Meaning: This means that something happens to you, or is done to you, that you have done to someone else
In a sentence: The bullied freshmen tasted his own medicine when he was bullied by the seniors of the school.
12. JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON
Meaning: You jump on the bandwagon when you join a popular trend or activity.
In a sentence: Let’s jump on the bandwagon. Let us also color our hair purple.
11. KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE
Meaning: This idiom means to accomplish two different things at the same time.
In a sentence: Self-supporting students are killing two birds with one stone.
10. CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT
Meaning: This means that being inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation.
9. GIVE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
Meaning: You believe on someone's statement, without proof.
In a sentence: Why not give her the benefit of the doubt before deciding a punishment?
8. YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE.
Meaning: It is used to tell that you have no idea, or you do not know the answer to a question.
In a sentence: I am sorry sir but your guess is as good as mine.
7. DELIVER THE GOODS
Meaning: When you deliver the goods, you do what is expected or promised.
In a sentence: I have given my car to a new mechanic for repair, hope he delivers the goods.
6. CHASE YOUR TAIL
Meaning: This means spending a lot of time and energy doing a lot of things but actually achieving too little.
In a sentence: He's been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready.
Meaning. This means of putting up a plan or idea into action.
In a sentence: Now that we have completed all the legal formalities, let's get the show on the road.
4. CUT ONE’S OWN THROAT
Meaning: Doing something that will cause your own failure is cutting one’s own throat.
In a sentence: Danica is cutting her own throat when she partied late at night before the day of the exam.
3. JUGGLE FROGS
Meaning: A person who is juggling frogs is trying to deal with many different tasks at the same time and finding the situation difficult.
In a sentence: I feel like I'm juggling frogs when I got a lot of some things to do at the same time.
2. EXPLORE ALL AVENUES
Meaning: Trying out every possibility to get a result is exploring all avenues.
In a sentence: It is a difficult thing to do but if we really want it done, we must explore all avenues.
1. GET DUCKS IN A ROW
Meaning: This idiom means getting your things well organized.
In a sentence: To ensure a successful investiture ceremony, we must get our ducks in a row.
If you have comments, suggestions, discussions related to this post, please feel free to share (just drop a comment). Do you have expressions not included in my list? Please feel fee to add it here (just drop a comment).