I wouldn’t trust them an inch: talking about people you don’t trust

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by Liz Walter

In my last post, I presented some words and phrases to describe people who are loyal and who you can trust. Today’s post deals with the opposite. Continue reading “I wouldn’t trust them an inch: talking about people you don’t trust”

As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty

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by Liz Walter

This post looks at words and phrases connected with the question of trust. I’ll start with ways of talking about people you are certain will keep their promises. You can depend on, rely on or count on them to do what they say they will do:

I know I can depend on Patrick to keep the business running while I’m away.

If you stand for election, you can count on me to support you! Continue reading “As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty”

Delusions of grandeur: talking about people with a high opinion of themselves

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by Liz Walter

My last post talked about words for describing levels of confidence.  This post looks specifically at some of the colourful derogatory phrases to describe people who are over-confident or have a very high opinion of themselves. Continue reading “Delusions of grandeur: talking about people with a high opinion of themselves”

Poised, humble, or cocky? Describing levels of confidence.

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by Liz Walter

Self-confidence, the belief that you can do things well and that other people respect you, is an important feature of a happy and successful life. However, it is noticeable that most of us dislike arrogant people (people who have too much self-confidence) and much prefer modest behaviour, when people don’t boast about their own achievements or abilities. Continue reading “Poised, humble, or cocky? Describing levels of confidence.”

Worth its weight in gold: phrases with ‘gold’

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by Liz Walter

Of all the elements in the periodic table, gold is the one that humans seem to love the most for its colour, its rarity and its physical properties (it is ideal for making coins). It’s not surprising, therefore that gold is a common metaphor for people or things of high quality. Today we will look at some phrases associated with this idea. Continue reading “Worth its weight in gold: phrases with ‘gold’”

The icing/frosting on the cake: differences between British and American idioms

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by Liz Walter

Differences between US and UK English are particularly pronounced in informal and idiomatic language. There are lots of idioms that are used in one variety but not the other, for example go pear-shaped (to fail or go wrong) is used in British but not American English and strike pay dirt (discover something valuable) is American but not British. Continue reading “The icing/frosting on the cake: differences between British and American idioms”

He’s digging his heels in: words and phrases to describe stubborn behaviour

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by Liz Walter

We all know how frustrating it is when someone completely refuses to do something we want them to do or to accept an opinion we are sure is correct. It turns out that English is surprisingly rich in words and phrases to describe this sort of person or behaviour! Continue reading “He’s digging his heels in: words and phrases to describe stubborn behaviour”

Out of your depth: idioms that describe difficult situations

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by Liz Walter

Back in 2017, my colleague Kate Woodford wrote a post about words for difficult situations (https://dictionaryblog.cambridge.org/2017/03/22/what-a-nightmare-words-for-difficult-situations/) This post builds on that by offering a selection of idioms that enable us to describe problematic times in a more colourful way. Continue reading “Out of your depth: idioms that describe difficult situations”

At sixes and sevens: phrases with numbers

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by Liz Walter

My last two posts have covered phrases containing the numbers one and two. Today I am going to look at phrases with some higher numbers. There are a lot of them, so I am just picking out some that I think will be generally useful, but as always, please feel free to suggest others in the comments. Continue reading “At sixes and sevens: phrases with numbers”

There’s no two ways about it: phrases with the number two.

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by Liz Walter

In my last post, I wrote about phrases containing the number one. Today I’m going to look at some common phrases with the number two. Continue reading “There’s no two ways about it: phrases with the number two.”