The idioms and expressions in today’s post come from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We write a post on phrases used in newspapers every couple of months in order to give you a regular supply of contemporary, frequently used English expressions.
Of course, COVID-19 features very prominently in all the newspapers. One tabloid claims that a city in the UK is ‘on the brink of lockdown’. If something or someone is on the brink of a bad situation, it is likely that the situation will happen soon. The paper also reports that a country in Europe has now ‘got the all-clear’, referring to the fact that it has now been removed from the UK’s quarantine list. Someone who gets or is given the all-clear has been told that they are healthy again.
Elsewhere in the same newspaper, there are claims that a popular news programme ‘faces the axe’. Something that faces the axe is going to be stopped, even if it is planned. Still in the same paper, students whose exam results haven’t been released yet are said to be ‘in limbo’. People who are in limbo are in a situation where they don’t know what is going to happen and they can do nothing about it.
In the sports pages of a different tabloid, a journalist observes that a famous Italian football team have always ‘had a soft spot for’ players from a particular country. To have a soft spot for someone is to like them very much. In the same pages, the England cricket team are said to be ‘rolling out the big guns’ in their latest match. Big guns are people or organizations with a lot of power and ability.
Another tabloid reports on a horse racing festival that is ‘in full swing’. An event that is in full swing is at its busiest point. It also quotes the England cricket captain saying ‘The sky is the limit.’ for his team. If the sky is the limit, there is no limit, (in this case, to what they can achieve).
A broadsheet refers to a trail in one of London’s botanic gardens in which the public can discover ‘hidden gems’. A hidden gem is something special that few people know about. In the sports pages of the same paper, a journalist writes that the England cricket team’s winning strategy has ‘fallen by the wayside’. If something falls by the wayside, people stop doing or using it.
We hope you found these newspaper expressions useful and enjoyable. We’ll have another round-up for you in a couple of months.