13 Idioms – From N to Z

Hello folks, I am continuing with my post last week to give you 13 more idioms. Enjoy the idioms!

N – Nothing is certain but death and taxes
My definition – Well, this is fairly self explanatory, you will die, and you will have to pay taxes!
Example sentence: I thought my marriage would work out, but nothing is ever certain but death and taxes.

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O – One for the road
My definition: One last drink before leaving for the evening.
Example sentence: John already had seven beers, but before he left the bar, he said, “hey, let’s have one for the road!”

P – Play it by ear
My definition: To do something in an impromptu manner with no prior planning. It comes from playing an instrument with no sheet music.
Example sentence: I have not planned for this meeting, but I will play it by ear.

Q – Quality time
My definition: The time spent with family and loved ones is quality time.
Example sentence: Her husband decided to take the week off to spend quality time with their children.

R – Rain cats and dogs
My definition: To rain heavily.
Example sentence: I had a little trouble driving from Charleston to Atlanta last month because it was raining cats and dogs west of Columbia.

S – Skin of your teeth
My definition: To barely escape from a dangerous or bad situation.
Example sentence: The family escaped from the erupting volcano by the skin of their teeth.

T – Tie the knot
My definition: To get married.
Example sentence: After ten years of dating, the couple finally tied the knot.

U – Uncle Sam
My definition: The US government.
Example sentence: I served Uncle Sam for four years in the Air Force.

V – Van Gogh’s ear for music
My definition: Tone deaf. It comes from the fact that Van Gogh’s ear was cut off.
Example sentence: The singer at the recital has Van Gogh’s ear for music.

W – Who let the cat out of the bag?
My definition: Who divulged the secret?
Example sentence: The company Chief Financial Officer let the cat out of the bag too early when he said that the company was in some dire financial straits. Immediately the company’s investors sold their stocks.

X – X marks the spot
My definition: this is where you find it.
Example sentence: On this map, x marks the spot where the treasure can be found.

Y – Yankee
My definition: Someone from the northern United States, especially New England.
Example sentence: Those Yankees from Boston talk funny.

Z – Zero Tolerance
My definition: This means that a crime or infraction is not tolerated even once and is punished for first time offenders.
Example sentence: Singapore has zero tolerance for littering.

See idiomsite for a full list of idioms and their probable etymologies.

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Adam Kungfuadam

Adam é americano e colabora com o English Experts através da revisão de textos e na edição de conteúdo. Participa de diversos grupos de discussão de inglês onde ajuda a tirar dúvidas dos participantes.

2 comentários

  • 20/04/07  
    Mary Ziller diz: 1

    Adam,

    I love your idiom posts. They are better than some you find in books or other web sites.

    The idioms you chose are actually widespread and used in everyday speech.

    Some sites publish slang and idioms that are not really used commonly, and just appear in a certain category of music.

  • 18/05/08  
    Dicas de Inglês :: 13 Idioms - From A to M diz: 2

    […] 13 Idioms – From N to Z Leia outros artigosThe question arose how essential are idioms in everyday life?13 Idioms – From N […]