As regular readers of this blog will know, now and then we like to focus on frequent idioms – that is, the sort of idioms that you are likely to hear or read in current English. One way in which we do this is by looking at the idioms that are used in a range of national newspapers published on the same day. Here, then, are the common idioms that we found in papers on Monday, December 12th.
One broadsheet newspaper has an article on all the ways that companies nowadays try to make their employees happy at work. According to the author, companies go to great lengths (= use a lot of effort) to make the office environment fun. Elsewhere, the same paper reports that a new movie has swept the board at an international award ceremony. When someone or something sweeps the board, they win all the awards that are available.
Meanwhile, one tabloid newspaper reports that a well-known actor is on track to win the final of a TV dance competition. To be on track to achieve something is to be making enough progress to do it. In the celebrity gossip pages of the same paper, a comedian reports that he thought he was going to lose his job and be on the street (= without a home). In the same pages, we read that the successful new host of a quiz show has given the show a new lease of life. A new lease of life is an opportunity to succeed again after an unsuccessful period. (In US English, this phrase is a new lease on life).
Another tabloid notes that a famous football manager and his wife have decided to call it a day after fifteen years of marriage. ‘Call it a day’ is a very common, informal phrase meaning ‘to stop doing something’. It often applies to work, though in this context, clearly refers to the end of a marriage. Elsewhere, the paper reports that a politician has come under fire from within her party because of her negative remarks about her party’s leader. If someone comes under fire, they are criticized. On the same page, the opposing political party is criticized for being out of step with ordinary working people. To be out of step with a group of people is to have ideas and opinions that are different from them.
The sports pages of the same paper report that the English cricket team is on the brink of defeat in their latest series. If someone or something is on the brink of a situation, that situation is likely to happen soon. Finally, on a happier note, two very talented football players who are new to a club are apparently going to put the club back on the map (= make it famous again).