Flying in the face of common sense (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

This is the second of our two-parter on useful idioms and phrases that include the word ‘face’. Part one looked mainly at phrases for describing expressions on the face. This post doesn’t have a particular theme but instead looks at a variety of ‘face’ phrases used in contemporary English. Continue reading “Flying in the face of common sense (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 2)”

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”

Cluttered and homely (Words to describe buildings and homes, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

In part 1 of our ‘describing buildings’ post, we focused mainly on adjectives to describe the size of buildings. This week, we’re looking inside the building and, amongst other things, considering words that are used to describe its décor (= style of its furniture and decoration). We’re also focusing on the state of the building. Continue reading “Cluttered and homely (Words to describe buildings and homes, Part 2)”

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”

On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

It’s recently come to my attention that there’s a huge number of English phrases and idioms containing the word ‘face’. There are so many that this is the first of two posts, as ever focusing on the most frequent and useful. I hope you enjoy it! Continue reading “On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)”

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”

Palatial or cramped? (Words to describe buildings and rooms, part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

This week we’re looking at the words we use to describe buildings and rooms. Since there are lots of useful words, the post will be in two parts. Continue reading “Palatial or cramped? (Words to describe buildings and rooms, part 1)”

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”

In high spirits or down in the dumps? (The language of moods)

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by Kate Woodford

How would you describe your mood day? Are you feeling pretty chilled (= relaxed and not worried about anything)? Perhaps you’re slightly on edge (= anxious about something and not able to relax)? Our moods change all the time, sometimes for no obvious reason. With this post, I aim to provide you with some nice adjectives and phrases for describing the way we feel. Continue reading “In high spirits or down in the dumps? (The language of moods)”

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.”