Help is at hand (Idioms with ‘hand’, Part 1)

by Kate Woodford Who knew how many idioms and phrases there were containing the word ‘hand’! I certainly didn’t until I started researching them. A lot are common in everyday speech and are therefore useful to learn. As there are so many, this will be the first of two posts, Part 1 and Part 2.

Out of your depth: idioms that describe difficult situations

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.

At the crack of dawn: Idioms used for speaking about time

by Kate Woodford During the course of a day, we make repeated references to time, whether we’re worrying about being late for an appointment or expressing surprise at how quickly something has happened. Any concept that we frequently convey is likely to have idioms associated with it. This post looks at those idioms, as always, …

Continue reading At the crack of dawn: Idioms used for speaking about time

Blood is thicker than water. (Idioms with ‘water’, Part 2)

by Kate Woodford This is the second of two posts on idioms that contain the word ‘water’. On this blog, we always try to provide you with commonly used, contemporary idioms and this post is no exception! If you say you will do something come hell or high water, you mean you are very determined to …

Continue reading Blood is thicker than water. (Idioms with ‘water’, Part 2)

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

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.

‘Like a duck to water’ (Idioms with ‘water’, Part 1)

  by Kate Woodford It’s surprising how many commonly used idioms contain the word ‘water’. There are so many, in fact, that this post will consist of two parts, (1 and 2). As ever, we will look at the most frequent and useful ones.

‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 2)

by Kate Woodford This is the second of three blog posts on idioms that contain words relating to the weather. Previously, we focused on idioms with stormy words. Today, we’re looking at idioms containing a wider range of weather – sun, rain and clouds.

‘Cooking up a storm’ and ‘faces like thunder’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 1)

by Kate Woodford It may not surprise you to hear that the weather features in a lot of English idioms. In many of these, the weather words are used metaphorically, in a way that makes the meaning quite obvious. For example, a storm often features in idioms as something negative, referring to a period of trouble, …

Continue reading ‘Cooking up a storm’ and ‘faces like thunder’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 1)

Between you, me and the gatepost: idioms connected with secrets

by Liz Walter Everyone has secrets, and if someone confides their secret to you, that is a real sign of trust. Conversely, giving away someone’s secret is an act that can range from being a minor annoyance to a friendship-breaking betrayal. No wonder, then, that there are so many colourful and widely-used idioms and phrases …

Continue reading Between you, me and the gatepost: idioms connected with secrets

Soft spots and big guns (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)

by Kate Woodford 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.