Idiomy angielskie (English Idioms)

Naucz się idiomów i przećwicz je uzupełniając nasze interaktywne ćwiczenia.

(a) case in point

– an example that proves something or helps to make something clear

What he just said was a case in point about what I have been saying all year.

(a) come-down

– a lowering in status, income, influence or energy

Her new job was a real come-down from her last one so she was not very happy.

(at the) end of one’s rope

– the last of one’s ability or ideas about how to proceed or do something

He is at the end of his rope regarding what to do about his job.

(be in) high spirits

– have energy, be cheerful

They are in high spirits since their home team won the tournament.

(be) eating someone

– bothering or worrying someone

I don’t know what is eating her but she doesn’t seem to be in a good mood today.

(be) fishy

– strange and suspicious

Something is fishy with his excuse. Why did he take the day before the holiday off work?

(bring) coals to Newcastle

– bring something of which there is plenty

Bringing extra food to the farmer’s picnic was like bringing coals to Newcastle.

(buy something) on credit

– pay for something not in cash

He decided to buy the stereo on credit.

(do something) behind someone’s back

– without someone’s knowledge

He is very angry because they borrowed the car behind his back.

(don’t) give up the ship

– (don’t) stop fighting and surrender, (don’t) stop trying or hoping to do something

Please don’t give up the ship and quit this company. I am sure you still have a useful role to play.

(get) carried away

– lose control or judgement due to strong feelings

I got a carrried away and began to yell at her for losing my textbook.

(go over with a) fine-toothed comb

– very carefully

We went over the apartment with a fine-toothed comb but couldn’t find her watch.

(have a) bee in one’s bonnet

– have an idea that continually occupies one’s thoughts.

He has a bee in his bonnet over whether or not to build a new house or not.

(have the) cheek to do something

– rudeness, impudence

She had the cheek to tell me that she was sick and couldn’t come to work today.

(in) care of someone

– send something to one person at the address of another person

I sent the parcel to her in care of her friend at the university.

(in) charge of something

– be responsible for an activity or group of people

He is in charge of selling tickets for the school dance.

(keep/have one’s) ear to the ground

– pay attention to the way things are going or the way people feel and think

He always has his ear to the ground and knows everything that is going on in our company.

(live off the) fat of the land

– have the best of everything, especially without having to work for it

He plans to move to the mountains and try and live off the fat of the land.

(not a) ghost of a chance

– very little, (not even) the smallest chance

He doesn’t have a ghost of a chance to finish the book in time for his class.

(not one’s) cup of tea

– something one enjoys, special interest

It’s not really my cup of tea so I think I will stay home and not go to the art gallery.

(one’s) hands are tied

– unable to help

I’m sorry that I can’t help you with the job but my hands are tied at the moment.

(when the) chips are down

– the time when one faces the greatest obstacles

When the chips were down he went to his father for advice and received his encouragement.

a hot potato

– a situation likely to cause trouble to the person handling it

The issue of the non-union workers is a real hot potato that we must deal with.

about time

– something that should have happened earlier

It is about time that you returned that book to me.

about to do something

– on the point of doing something

She was about to leave when the phone rang.


– forgetful

My grandfather is very absent-minded and often forgets his key.

according to Hoyle

– strictly by the rules, the usual and correct way to do something

According to Hoyle you are not allowed to enter this room but if nobody is here I think it will be okay.


get your act together – wziąć się za siebie, poukładać swoje sprawy

add up

– seem consistent or reasonable

The things that he said about his boss don`t really add up.

ahead of time

– early

We started the meeting ahead of time so we could go home early.


vanish into thin air – przepaść jak kamień w wodę, rozpłynąć się w powietrzu

air one`s dirty laundry (linen) in public

– make public something embarrassing that should be kept secret

The dinner party became uncomfortable when the host began to air his colleagues dirty laundry in public.

all along

– all the time

I knew all along that he would not get the promotion.

all at once

– suddenly, without warning

All at once the fire alarm rang so we had to leave the building.

all day long

– the whole day

She has been sitting and waiting for the mail to arrive all day long.

all ears

– eager to listen to someone

Okay, I`m all ears, please tell me about the party.

all in all

– in summary, after considering everything

We had a few problems but all in all the meeting was successful.

all of a sudden

– suddenly, without advance warning

All of a sudden it became cloudy and began to rain.

all right

– okay, satisfactory

She said that it would be all right for me to bring my friend to the party.

all the time

– continually

She asks for money all the time but I don`t like to give it to her.

all thumbs

– have difficulty fixing things or working with one`s hands, clumsy

He is all thumbs when it comes to fixing things around the house.

an arm and a leg

– (cost) a large amount of money

His new car must have cost him an arm and a leg.

apple of one`s eye

– one`s favorite

His youngest daughter is the apple of his eye.


be up in the arms about something – wściekać się o coś

as a rule

– usually, as a habit

As a rule I usually get up at 7:00 AM every morning.

as far as

– to the extent or degree that

As far as I know he will be here in a few minutes.

as long as

– provided that, on condition that

As long as you promise to be careful you can borrow my car.

as the crow flies

– by the most direct way, along a straight line between two places

As the crow flies it is about 6 kilometers between my house and my company.

as usual

– most of the time, as is the custom

As usual, she forgot to bring her book to class.

as well as

– in addition to

Please bring your swimming suit as well as your towell.

as yet

– until now, up to the present

As yet, she has not told me about her plans to leave the company.

ask for trouble

– behave in a way that trouble is likely

He is asking for trouble if he misses another class.

asleep at the switch

– not alert to an opportunity

I think he was asleep at the switch. He didn`t even know that the job was available so he never applied for it.

at cross purposes

– have opposite ways to do something, opposing goals

They are at cross purposes and are always arguing about what to do.

at fault

– be responsible or to blame for something

The truck driver was at fault in the terrible accident.

at first

– at the beginning

At first she didn`t want to go to a movie but later she changed her mind.

at first blush

– when first seen, without careful study

At first blush he seemed like a good worker but later we had many problems with him.

at heart

– basically, fundamentally

She is a very nice person at heart although many people dislike her.

at home

– in one`s house

I`m sorry but I left my money at home. Can you lend me some money?

at last

– finally, after a long time

I was waiting all morning for her call but at last it came.

at loggerheads

– having a quarrel, opposing each other

We have been at loggerheads over their plans to build a new office complex.

at odds

– in disagreement

He has been at odds with his boss over the new sales territory.

at someone`s beck and call

– always ready to serve somebody

His eldest daughter is always at his beck and call when he spends an evening at home.

at the end of one`s rope

– at the limit of one`s ability to cope

I am at the end of my rope about what to do about my current situation at work.

attend to someone

-take care or deal with someone

The doctor attended to the other patient before he got to my mother.


know something like the back of your hand – znać coś jak własną kieszeń

back on one’s feet

– return to good financial or physical health

He is finally back on his feet after his company went out of business.

back out

– withdraw from an agreement or promise

The company backed out of the deal with the foreign firm.

back to the drawing board

– go back to start a project or idea from the beginning

The boss doesn’t like our idea so I guess we must go back to the drawing board.

bail someone or something out

– help or rescue

The government has decided to bail out the troubled bank.


have a ball – świetnie się bawić
be on the ball – mieć się na baczności
get the ball rolling – puścić w ruch
it’s a new ball game – to zupełnie inna para kaloszy

bank on

– be sure of, count on

You can bank on them to come and help the company.

bark is worse than one’s bite

– someone isn’t as bad as they sound

Don’t worry if he gets angry – his bark is worse than his bite.

bark up the wrong tree

– make a wrong assumption about something

The police are barking up the wrong tree in their investigation of that person.

be to blame

– be responsible for something bad or unfortunate

He’s not to blame for breaking the computer.

beat around the bush

– speak indirectly or evasively

Stop beating around the bush and give us your final decision.

beat someone to the punch (draw)

– do something before others

He beat me to the punch and arrived at the interview first.

behind the times

– old fashioned

My aunt is a little behind the times.


something rings the bell – coś brzmi znajomo


to have something under your belt – mieć coś na swoim koncie

bend over backwards to do something

– try very hard

If I can, I will bend over backwards to help you get a promotion in the company.

beside one’s self

– very upset or excited about something

He was beside himself with joy at winning the contest.

beside the point

– not relevant to the subject that you are considering or discussing

„What you are saying is beside the point. We are not talking about salary now.”

bet on the wrong horse

– misjudge a coming event, misread the future

I think that he bet on the wrong horse by putting all of his money into that new stock.


get the better of somebody – brać górę nad kimś

better off

– be in a better situation than before

He would be better off if he sold his old car and bought a new one.

beyond the pale

– outside the bounds of acceptable behavior

What they are doing is totally unacceptable and beyond the pale.

bide one’s time

– patiently wait for an opportunity to occur.

He is biding his time as he waits to become president of the company.

big shot

– an important and powerful person

He is a big shot in the oil and gas industry.


foot the bill – pokrywać koszty


kill two birds with one stone – upiec dwie pieczenie przy jednym ogniu

birthday suit

– completely naked, no clothes on

The little boy was running down the street in his birthday suit.

bite off more than one can chew

– try to do more than one is able to do

I think I bit off more than I can chew by taking on the new assignment.

bite the bullet

– endure in a difficult situation, face a difficult situation bravely

I have decided to bite the bullet and begin studying for my Master’s degree.

bite the dust

– be killed, break down, be defeated

I think that my car has finally bitten the dust.

bite the hand that feeds you

– turn against a friend or supporter, repay kindness with wrong

He is biting the hand that feeds him if he continues to criticize and fight against his boss.


in black and white – czarno na białym
be in the balck – być wypłacalnym
* be in the red – mieć długi


be a mixed blessing – mieć swoje dobre i złe strony

blind leading the blind

– someone who doesn’t understand something trying to explain it to others

It is like the blind leading the blind watching him try and explain how to operate the new computer.


in cold blood – z zimną krwią

blow it (something)

– fail at something

I tried hard but I am sure that I blew the final math exam last week.

blow one’s own horn

– praise oneself

He is always blowing his own horn and is very annoying at times.

blow over

– die down or calm down

The problem with the lost invoices has finally blown over and everyone is working hard again.

blue in the face

– very angry or upset, excited and very emotional

I argued with him until I became blue in the face but I couldn’t change his mind.

blue in the face

– very angry or upset, excited and very emotional

I argued with him until I became blue in the face but I couldn’t change his mind.


be in the same boat – jechać na tym samym wózku
miss the boat – przegapić okazję
rock the boat – wyprowadzić niepotrzebne zamieszanie


make no bones about something – nie kryć się z czymś


be in somebody’s good books – być dobrze ocenianym przez kogoś


be in somebody’s good books – być dobrze ocenianym przez kogoś

born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth

– born rich, provided from birth with everything you need

He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never worked in his life.


have something on the brain – ciągle o czymś myśleć, mieć coś na głowie

brand new

– absolutely new

He was finally able to buy a brand-new car.

break down

– analyze

We must break down these figures for further study.

break down

– stop working because of mechanical failure

The car broke down on the lonely road so nobody knew about it.

break fresh ground

– deal with something in a new way

The researchers were able to break fresh ground in their search for a cancer cure.

break the bank

– win all the money at a casino gambling table

He didn’t really break the bank but he did win a lot of money.

break the ice

– relax and start a conversation in a formal situation

Nobody was enjoying the party until the host finally was able to break the ice.

break the news

– tell some information first

He is planning to break the news to her about his transfer tomorrow.

break up (with someone)

– stop a relationship

She broke up with her boyfriend last June.


take your breath away – zapierać dech w piersi

bring home the bacon

– work and earn money for your family

He is out bringing home the bacon and is very busy.

bring home the importance of something to someone

– make someone fully realize something

He was unable to bring home the importance of arriving early for the meeting.

bring some new facts to light

– discover some new facts, make some new facts known

The lawyers were able to bring some new facts to light in the trial of the killer.

bring someone into line

– persuade someone to agree with you

He was finally able to bring the other members of the committee into line.

bring something on

– cause to develop rapidly

I don’t know what brought on his anger but you should avoid him until he calms down.

bring the house down

– cause much laughter in the audience

The comedian brought the house down with his jokes about the lost dog.

bring to mind

– recall something

Her perfect acting brought to mind some of the great actresses of the past.

bring up

– raise or care for a child

My grandmother brought up ten children.

bring up

– introduce a subject into a discussion

They brought up the subject at the meeting but nobody wanted to talk about it.

bring up the rear

– be at the end of the line or in the last position

The runner from the other school was bringing up the rear in the school relay race.


– have no money

I spent all of my money on my holiday and I am now broke.

brush up on something

– review something one has already learned

I’m going to brush up on my English before my trip to New York.

brush with the law

– a brief encounter or experience with the police because of a crime

He had a brush with the law when he was young but now he is totally honest.


pass the buck to somebody – zrzucać odpowiedzialność na kogoś

bull in a china shop

– someone who is clumsy and upset’s other people or plans

He was like a bull in a china shop when I saw him at the meeting last week.


bite the bullet – zaciskać zęby

burn a hole in one’s pocket

– money that you want to spend quickly

I just got paid today and this money is burning a hole in my pocket.

burn down

– burn completely (usually used for buildings)

The neighbor’s house burnt down completely during the night.

burn one’s bridges behind one

– do something that makes going back impossible

He burned his bridges behind him and is unable to work in the same industry again.

burn the candle at both ends

– work or play too hard without enough rest

He has been burning the candle at both ends with his work and his studies. That is why he became sick.

burn the midnight oil

– study until very late at night

We burned the midnight oil for three nights in a row in order to study for the exam.

burn up

– burn completely (usually things not buildings)

The uniforms burned up in the fire.

bury the hatchet

– stop quarreling and become friendly with someone

He decided to bury the hatchet with his brother and they are now on friendly terms again.


not beat about the bush – nie owijać w bawełnę


mind your own business – nie twoja sprawa

butter someone up

– flatter someone

He is trying to butter up his boss so that he can leave early on Friday.

buy a pig in a poke

– buy something without seeing it or knowing if it will be satisfactory

You shouldn’t buy that car without first inspecting it. It is like buying a pig in a poke.

by and by

– before long

By and by they will come and we can go out for dinner.

by and large

– on the whole, considering everything

By and large we had a good meeting even though it was a little short.

by far

– greatly, by a great margin

He is by far the smartest person in the company.

by fits and starts

– irregularly, with many stops and starts

By fits and starts the company was finally able to begin business.

by hook or by crook

– in any way necessary

She says that she will go to Italy this year by hook or by crook.

by the skin of one’s teeth

– by a very small margin, barely

I made the application date for the job by the skin of my teeth.

by the sweat of one’s brow

– by hard work

He managed to make enough money to buy the farm by the sweat of his brow

by the way

– incidentally

By the way, could you please bring your computer tomorrow.

caculated risk

– an action that may fail but has a good chance to succeed

They took a calculated risk when they opened the new store but it has been very successful.

call a spade a spade

– speak bluntly

He was calling a spade a spade when he began to criticize his employee for being lazy.

call for someone

– come and get someone

Could you please come and call on me before you go to the game.

call it quits

– stop, finish

He called it quits and went home for the day.

call of nature

– the need to go to the toilet

He is answering the call of nature and can’t talk to you for a few minutes.

call off

– cancel

The game was called off because of the rain.

call on

– visit someone

I plan to call on my brother when I am on my holidays.

call on

– ask someone to participate or contribute something

The teacher called on me three times to answer questions in the class.

call on to the carpet

– call someone before an authority to be scolded or reprimanded

He was called on to the carpet by his boss for losing the major sale.

call someone’s bluff

– challenge someone to prove what they say is true

I decided to call his bluff and asked him to show me the evidence.

call the shots

– be in charge, give orders

He is now calling the shots and is in control of the company.

call up

– telephone

He said that he would call up his parents tomorrow night.

calm down

– relax

She finally calmed down after the accident.

can of worms

– a complicated situation or problem

The lawsuit opened up a can of worms for the company.

can’t see the forest for the trees

– unable to judge or understand the whole picture because you are looking at the small parts of it

He has no real understanding of most problems as he always fails to see the forest for the trees.

cancel out

– destroy the effect of something

The benefits of her exercise were cancelled out by her always overeating.

card up one’s sleeve

– a plan or argument kept back to be produced if needed

I think that he has a card up his sleeve and will be able to help us later.

carrot and stick

– the promise of reward and threat of punishment at the same time

The trade negotiators took a carrot and stick approach to the automobile talks.

carry (something) out

– put into action, accomplish

The move to the new headquarters was carried out with a minimum of problems.

carry on

– continue, keep doing as before

We were permitted to carry on with the party after we had talked to the landlord.

carry over

– save for another time

We plan to carry over the summer swimwear until next year.

carry the ball

– take the most important or difficult part in an action or business

The vice-president was forced to carry the ball while the president was away.

carry the day

– win or be successful

His fine performance in our company carried the day for us.

carry the torch

– show loyalty to a cause or a person

He has been carrying the torch for the candidate for a long time.

carry through

– put a plan into action

The company carried through with their plan to layoff 300 workers.

cash in

– exchange something for money

We decided to cash in the coupons because we needed some money.

cash in on

– see and profit by a chance

The small town cashed in on their success with the winter Olympics.

cash on the barrelhead

– money paid when something is bought

It was a cash deal and we were forced to pay cash on the barrelhead.

cash on the barrelhead

– money paid when something is bought

It was a cash deal and we were forced to pay cash on the barrelhead.

cast the first stone

– be the first to blame someone

He was the one to cast the first stone and now he is having a major fight with his neighbor.

castles in the air

– daydreams

She is always building castles in the air and is very unrealistic.


let the cat out of the bag – wygadać się

cat burglar

– a burglar who enters a building by climbing a wall etc.

We lost our stereo when a cat burglar entered our apartment.

cat gets one’s tongue

– can’t talk

I think that the cat has got her tongue. She hasn’t said anything at all since the meeting started.

catch (someone) red-handed

– find someone in the middle of doing something wrong

He caught the boy red-handed when he was stealing the candy.

catch a cold

– become sick with a cold

I caught a cold because of the rain and the cold weather.

catch on

– understand, learn about

It was difficult to catch on at first but finally I was able to understand the math problem.

catch on

– become popular

Recently ballroom dancing has begun to catch on among many people.

catch one’s breath

– stop to rest and regain one’s normal breathing

After running from the station it took a moment to catch my breath.

catch one’s eye

– attract one’s attention

I tried to catch her eye but she didn’t notice me.

catch up with (someone or something)

– become even with someone (in a race or in schoolwork etc.)

I think it’s too late to catch up with the rest of the class now.


– a situation where whatever you do the outcome will be bad, a no-win situation

It was a catch-22 situation where if I went to work there would be problems but if I didn’t go to work ther would be more problems.


– in any way possible

We are in the middle of moving house so the meals when you visit will be catch-as-catch-can.

caught short

– not having enough of something when you need it (usually money)

I was caught short last week and couldn’t pay the weekly food bill.

cave in

– to weaken and be forced to give up

The company finally caved in to the union’s demand for more money.

chalk up

– record

The stock prices of the company chalked up a big gain last week.

change (one’s) mind

– change one’s decision

He changed his mind and said that he would not go to the movie tonight.

change (one’s) tune

– make a change in one’s story,statement or opinions

He has begun to change his tune recently and is beginning to agree that we need to do things a little differently.

change horses in midstream

– make new plans or choose a new leader in the middle of an important activity

They decided to change horses in midstream and that is probably why they lost the election.

change of heart

– change the way one feels about something

She had a change of heart and decided to let her child go to the circus.

cheat on (someone)

– be unfaithful to someone

He recently began cheating on his wife which was the main cause of their divorce.

cheek by jowl

– side by side, in close intimacy

They were walking down the stairs cheek by jowl when the alarm sounded.

chew out (someone)

– scold roughly

The teacher chewed out the student for talking in class.

chew the fat

– chat

The two men were chewing the fat on the porch of the house.

chicken feed

– a small amount of money

What he sold his car for was chicken feed compared to the amount of money that he has in the bank.

chicken out

– stop doing something because of fear

He chickened out of jumping into the lake from the high diving board.

chickens come home to roost

– words or acts come back to cause trouble for a person

Her chickens have finally come home to roost and she must now take responsibility for what she has done.

chime in

– join in (a song or conversation)

We were having a nice conversation until she chimed in and started complaining about everything.


have a chip on your shoulder – mieć pretensje do całego świata

chip in

– contribute or pay jointly

We all chipped in and bought our father a present.

chip off the old block

– person who looks or acts like one of his parents

His son is a chip off the old block and acts exactly like his father.

clam up

– stop talking

She clammed up as soon as her boyfriend entered the room.

clean bill of health

– the assurance that an animal or person is healthy

The astronaut was given a clean bill of health before he began training.

clean slate

– having no errors, past acts that are all good

He started off with a clean slate and has never caused any problems for the company.

clear the air

– calm down and remove a misunderstanding

We had a big argument so I think it is time to clear the air.

clear the decks

– clear away things and prepare for action

Let’s clear the decks and get everyone out of the house so we can begin work.

clear up

– solve or explain (a problem etc.)

They finally cleared up the problem that I was having with my salary at work.


– sports event or movie where the outcome is uncertain until the very end

The playoff game was a cliffhanger and one of the most enjoyable games of the year.

climb the wall

– be so bored that you become anxious and frustrated

She began to climb the wall after only a few days at her new job.

clip joint

– a low-class business where people are cheated

They went into a clip joint near the bus station and had to pay a lot of money.

clip someone’s wings

– limit one’s activities or possibilities

They decided to clip his wings and took away his expense account.

close call/shave

– an accident almost happens (but doesn’t happen)

I had a close call this morning when the truck almost hit me.

close ranks

– come together for fighting, unite and work together

They decided to close ranks and stop arguing among themselves

close to home

– near to someone’s personal feelings, wishes or interests

What I said about her work habits must have hit close to home as she seemed to become very quiet suddenly.

coast is clear

– no danger is in sight, no one can see you

When the coast was clear we decided to enter the building.

cog in the machine

– you are not important but only a small part of a large organization

The employees felt like they were only cogs in a machine so the atmosphere at the company was not very good.

cold spell or cold snap

– a sudden short period of cold weather (usually in winter)

The cold snap lasted for five days.

cold turkey

– stop using drugs (heroin etc.) abruptly and without medical aid

Although she was able to stop using drugs cold turkey she was very sick for awhile.

come a cropper

– fail

I think that he has come a cropper in the horse competition and that is why he is sad.

come a long way

– make great progress

He has come a long way and has learned many things about his new company.

come across

– find something or meet someone by chance

I came across an interesting story in the newspaper the other day.

Come again.

– please repeat, please say that again

Come again. I didn’t hear you the first time.

come alive

– brighten up and become active

She finally came alive and began to enjoy the party.

come along

– make progress, thrive

The work on our new house is coming along very well at the moment.

come back

– return to the place you are now

She came back from her holidays last week.

come back

– return to one’s memory

I can’t remember clearly the events of last year but slowly everything is coming back to me.

come back

– become popular again

Recently bell-bottom pants have come back into fashion.

come between

– disrupt the relationship between (two people)

His constant interfering finally came between his brother and his wife.

come by

– get, obtain, acquire

She came by a lot of money recently and is now enjoying her life.

come clean

– tell the truth

The president of the company was forced to come clean and tell what really happened to the business.

come down hard on

– scold or punish severely

The police have been coming down very hard on drunk drivers recently.

come down to earth

– stop imagining or dreaming, think and behave as usual

He has finally come down to earth and is preparing seriously to look for a job.

come down with

– become sick with or catch a cold etc.

Her mother came down with a cold so was unable to attend the dinner.

come from

– be a native of a place

Several of the students in the class come from Mexico.

come full circle

– completely opposite from one’s starting point

They have come full circle since the new president started at the university.

come hell or high water

– no matter what happens

Come hell or high water I plan to go to the concert next week.

come in handy

– prove to be useful

I think that the small hammer will come in handy to fix the desk.

come into

– receive, get possession of

They came into a lot of money which they donated to charity.

come into fashion

– become fashionable

She says that although bell-bottom pants have come into fashion again she will never wear them.

come into one’s own

– become to perform or work well because of good circumstances

He has really come into his own as a basketball player since he changed positions.

come off

– be successful

The party came off without any problems so everyone was very happy.

come on strong

– overwhelm with excessively strong language or personality

He came on too strong during the job interview and was unable to get the job.

come out with

– say, make known

The child has recently come out with many strange and funny expressions.

come to

– begin or learn to do or feel something

At first I disliked her a lot but recently I have come to accept her.

come to

– regain consciousness

She came to a couple of hours after the accident.

come to blows

– begin to fight

They almost came to blows when they were trying to fix the car.

come to grief

– have a bad accident or disappointment

He has recently come to much grief because of his son’s problems with the police.

come to grips with

– struggle (successfully) with an idea or problem

She has finally been able to come to grips with her husband’s drinking.

come to light

– be discovered, become known

It has recently come to light that the company has lost millions of dollars.

come to nothing

– end in failure

All his efforts to help his sister find a job came to nothing.

come to one’s senses

– begin to think clearly or act sensibly

He finally came to his senses and decided to buy a cheaper car rather than borrow a lot of money for an expensive one.

come to pass

– to happen, occur

It came to pass that the company was never able to recover from their financial problems.

come to terms

– reach an agreement

We came to terms with the bank and were able to buy the house.

come to the point

– be direct

His speech was interesting but he never really came to the point.

come up with

– produce or find a thought, idea or answer

Please try to come up with a name for the new magazine.

common touch

– a friendly manner with everyone

He has a nice common touch and everyone likes him a lot.

conk out

– fall asleep quickly with great fatigue

As soon as we returned from the hike I conked out in front of the TV.

cook one’s goose

– ruin one’s chances

She really cooked her own goose and has no chance of getting the new job.

cook up

– invent, plan and put something together

I don’t know what kind of plan she is cooking up now but it should be quite interesting.


keep your cool – zachować spokój
lose your cool – tracić panowanie nad sobą

cool as a cucumber

– very calm and brave, not worried or anxious

She was as cool as a cucumber when her canoe turned over in the river.

cool one’s heels

– be kept waiting because of another’s rudeness

He was forced to cool his heels for an hour in the waiting room before his boss would talk to him.

cop a plea

– plead guilty to a crime in order to get a lesser penalty

He was forced to cop a plea when the evidence against him became too strong to dispute.

cop out

– avoid doing something that you were planning to do

He copped out from our plan to go to to the beach for the day.


– someone who copies another person’s work or their actions

The little boy was accused of being a copycat by the other children.

cough up

– give unwillingly

He finally coughed up enough money to pay for the accident.

count on

– depend on

You can never count on him to do anything right.

count one’s chickens before they’re hatched

– assume that something will be successful before it is certain

Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. You’re spending your money and you don’t even have a job yet.

count out

– leave something out of a plan, exclude

Please count me out of your plans to go skiing for the weekend.

cover one’s tracks

– hide or not say where one has been or what one has done

He was trying to cover his tracks but it was easy to see where he had recently been.

cover up

– hide something wrong or bad

They tried to cover up the facts regarding the illegal election campaign funds.

cozy up to (someone)

– try to be friendly to someone

I don’t know what he wants but recently he has been trying to cozy up to me.

crack a joke

– tell a joke

He was a lot of fun at the party because he was always cracking jokes.

crack a smile

– let a smile show on one’s face

He never cracked a smile during the whole meeting.

crack down on

– enforce laws or rules strictly

The school principal decided to crack down on people running in the halls.

crack of dawn

– daybreak, early in the morning

We got up at the crack of dawn to go fishing.

crack the whip

– try to make someone work hard or obey you by threatening them

We had to crack the whip in order to get the job finished by the weekend.

crack up

– burst into laughter

I cracked up when he started talking about the incident with the taxi driver.


– an eccentric person with ideas that don’t make sense to others

He is a total crackpot and you never know what he will do next.

cramp one’s style

– limit one’s talk or action

Working in the new section is beginning to cramp my style a little.

crash the gate

– enter without a ticket or without paying or with no invitation

Many people didn’t have a ticket for the concert so they decided to crash the gate.

cream of the crop

– the top choice

When they hire new employees they always look for the cream of the crop.


give somebody credit for something – docenić kogoś za coś

creep up on

– crawl quietly towards

The thief crept up on the elderly women at the supermarket.

crocodile tears

– a show of sorrow that is not really felt

He said that he was very sorry but his tears were just crocodile tears.

crop up

– appear or happen unexpectedly

I will meet you early next week unless something crops up that keeps me busy.

cross (something) out

– eliminate by drawing a line through something

Please cross out that amount and put in the correct amount.

cross a bridge before one comes to it

– think and worry about future events or problems before they happen

We shouldn’t worry about that problem now. We can cross that bridge when we come to it.

cross one’s heart and hope to die

– promise that what you are saying is true

I promise that I will pay you back the money next week. Cross my heart and hope to die.

cross one’s mind

– think of, occur to someone

It just crossed my mind that I would probably see him in the evening so I didn’t phone him.

cross to bear/carry

– something you must do or continue with even though you are suffering

Looking after my sister’s children every day is my cross to bear.


as the crow flies – w linii prostej

cry out for

– need something badly, be lacking

The new room that he built cries out for a new set of furniture.

cry over spilt milk

– cry or complain about something that has already happened

Don’t cry over spilt milk. You can never change the past.

cry wolf

– warn of danger that is not there

He has been crying wolf for years about various things and now nobody believes him.

curiosity killed the cat

– being too nosy and interested in other peoples business may lead a person into trouble

Don’t keep asking so many questions. Remember curiosity killed the cat.

curry favor

– flatter someone to get his help or friendship

He has been working hard to curry favor with the other members of the committee.

cut (someone) off

– stop someone from saying something, disconnect someone on the phone

I tried to tell him about the accident but he cut me off before I had a chance.

cut across

– cross or go through something instead of going around

We decided to cut across the field because we were in a hurry to get to school.

cut and dried

– completely decided, prearranged

The decision was cut and dried and nobody asked for our opinion.

cut back

– use fewer or use less

We were forced to cut back on the number of people who were invited to the party.

cut both ways

– serve both sides of an argument

What he said cuts both ways and we should carefully think about it.

cut corners

– economize

We will have to cut corners in order to save some money for our holiday.

cut down on

– use less of something

Recently he has cut down on his drinking in order to start his new health program.

cut down to size

– prove that someone is not as good as he thinks

I was able to cut him down to size when I criticized what he said at the meeting.

cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face

– make things worse for oneself because one is angry at someone else

He is cutting off his nose to spite his face. Taking revenge on his neighbor will only cause more problems for himself.

cut out

– eliminate

She decided to cut out chocolate in order to lose weight.

cut the mustard

– reach the required standard

He doesn’t cut the mustard and will never be able to work here.

dance to a different tune

– talk or act differently (usually better) because things have changed

He has begun dancing to a different tune now that he knows that his head salesman is thinking of quitting.


keep somebody in the dark – utrzymywać kogoś w nieświadomości

dark horse

– a candidate little known to the general public

At first he was a dark horse candidate but he later won the election.

dash off

– do or finish quickly, leave quickly

I will dash off a letter now but then I must go to work.

dawn on

– become clear

It finally dawned on me as to why he was angry.


make somebody’s day – uradować kogoś

day and night

– continually

We worked day and night to finish the project before the end of the month.

day in and day out

– regularly, all the time

He goes to that restaurant day in and day out and never gets tired of it.

dead ahead

– exactly in front, before

There was a truck dead ahead so we put on the car brakes suddenly.

dead as a doornail

– very dead

The man was dead as a doornail as we could see after the accident.

dead center

– exact middle

He was able to hit the target dead center.

dead duck

– person or thing in a hopeless situation or condition

He is a dead duck and has no hope of recovering his former position.

dead end

– the closed end of a road or an impasse

The negotiations between the team and the owners have come to a dead end.

dead set against something

– determined not to do something

They are dead set against their son going to Europe for a year.

dead tired

– very tired, exhausted

I was dead tired so I went to bed as soon as I got home.

dead to the world

– fast asleep

The little boy was dead to the world when his father took him out of the car.


– a person who never pays his debts

There is a policy to penalize deadbeat fathers by the local government.


– with an expressionless or emotionless face

He had a deadpan expression when he told us the story.

decked out

– dressed in fancy clothes

She was all decked out in her best clothes for the party.

deep water

– serious trouble or difficulty

He will be in deep water if he doesn’t tell us where he spent the money.


– throw away, dispose of

I decided to deep-six the videos as I didn’t want them any longer.

deliver the goods

– succeed in doing what is expected well

He is the best manager that we have ever had. He knows how to deliver the goods.


be out of your depth – nie być w swoim żywiole


– unworried, not caring what happens

He has a devil-may-care attitude to his job and nothing ever bothers him.

die down

– come slowly to an end, grow weaker

When the sound of the music finally died down we were able to get to sleep.

die off

– die one after another until the number is small

The house plants began to die off as soon as he moved to a new apartment.

die out

– die or disappear slowly until all gone

Dinosaurs died out millions of years ago.

dig in

– begin eating

Let’s dig in and eat before everything is cold!

dime a dozen

– common, easy to get and of little value

Used books are a dime a dozen so don’t worry if you can’t sell them.

dirty look

– a look that shows dislike or disapproval

His mother gave him a dirty look when he smoked the cigarette.

dish out

– serve food from a large bowl or plate

He began to dish out the food as soon as the guests arrived.

dish out

– treat or criticize roughly

He likes to dish out criticism to others but he doesn’t like to hear criticism about himself.

do a double take

– look again in surprise at someone or something

She did a double take when she saw her old boyfriend with another woman.

do a job on

– do harm to, make ugly or useless

He really did a job on the plans for the new house that he was working on.

do a job on

– do harm to, make ugly or useless

He really did a job on the plans for the new house that he was working on.

do in

– to ruin, destroy

He quickly did in the new shoes that he received for his birthday.

do in

– to make tired, exhaust

He was really done in by the time that he finished the marathon.

do one’s best

– try to do something as well as you can

I tried to do my best on the exam.

do one’s bit (part)

– share in a group project by contributing one’s time and effort

He did his bit for the planning of the party.

do one’s thing

– do what one wants to do and enjoys

He is an individualist and enjoys doing his thing when and where he chooses.

do out of

– cause to lose by trickery or cheating

He was worried that the company would do him out of the large bonus that he was expecting.

do someone good

– be good or beneficial for someone

It will do you good to go on a holiday.

do something rash

– take drastic action (usually without thinking)

She is extremely angry so I hope that she doesn’t do anything rash.

do the honors

– perform the duty of a host (when serving a drink etc.)

Would you like to do the honors and pour everyone a glass of wine?

do the trick

– work well, achieve a good result

I think the new piece of equipment should do the trick and solve the problem.

do time

– spend time in prison

He was doing time when I first heard about him.

do with

– benefit from

I have been working hard all day so now I could do with a cold drink.

do with

– be acquainted, involved or associated with

I don’t have anything to do with the party this year.

do without

– manage without something

If there is no sugar, we’ll have to do without.

do wonders

– produce excellent results

If you begin to do some exercise it will do wonders for your health.


– make a great effort while disregarding danger

He was in a position of do-or-die when he finally found another job.


– ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what you want

It is a dog-eat-dog world out in the world of advertising and public relations.

doll up

– dress in fancy clothes

She was all dolled up for the party at the downtown hotel.

done for

– ruined, defeated, dying

I think that the team is done for as far as this season is concerned.

done with

– be finished using something

He was finally done with the computer and so he let his sister use it.

double back

– turn back from where you are going or have been

We decided to double back from the arena to get some money to go to a movie.

double up

– share a room or home with someone

The passengers had to double up in hotel rooms when the plane was delayed because of the weather.


– check again to be sure something is correct

He double-checked the price of the airplane ticket.


– deceive, promise one thing and do another

He tried to double-cross his partner but was caught and sent to jail.


– talk that appears to have meaning but does not

He gave the audience a lot of double-talk so nobody knew what he wanted to say.

down and out

– have no money

He has been down and out before but he has always been able to find a job eventually.

down in the dumps

– unhappy

She has been really down in the dumps since her boyfriend moved away.

down on (someone)

– be critical of someone, angry at

She is really down on her friend but I don’t really know the reason.

down one’s alley

– suited to one’s tastes and abilities

Computers are down his alley so I am sure that he will be interested in taking the job.

down the drain

– wasted or lost

He is just throwing money down the drain when he goes to the horse races.

down the line

– straight ahead, in future

There will be many changes at this company down the line but for now your job is safe.

down to the wire

– nearing a deadline, running out of time

We went right down to the wire but we were able to finish the job on time.


– sensible and practical

Her mother is a very down-to-earth person.

drag in

– insist on bringing another subject into a discussion

He always drags in his personal problems when we are talking about his performance on the job.

drag on

– pass very slowly, make longer

The speech seemed to drag on and on so finally we decided to leave early.

drag one’s feet/heels

– act slowly or reluctantly

He has been dragging his feet about whether or not to take the job.

draw (someone) out

– make a person talk or tell something

She was very quiet but we finally were able to draw her out so that she would join the party.

draw a blank

– obtain nothing in return for an effort made, get a negative result

He drew a blank when he went to the head office to try and receive some information about the merger.

draw fire

– receive criticism or argument

He has been drawing a lot of fire since he announced that he would not play basketball another year.

draw fire

– be a target, attract or provoke shooting

The soldiers drew fire when they entered the small village.

draw in one’s horns

– spend less money

Their company is not doing well so they will have to draw in their horns for awhile.

draw the line

– set a limit

We have to draw the line somewhere in regards to the costs of the party.

draw up

– put in writing

They were able to draw up the new contract while we were waiting.

dress up

– put on one’s best clothes

He decided to dress up for dinner at the restaurant.

dressed to kill

– wear one’s finest clothes

She was dressed to kill when I saw her at the concert last week.

dressed to the nines (teeth)

– dressed elegantly

The stars were all dressed to the nines during the Academy Awards ceremony.

drive a hard bargain

– conclude a bargain without making any concessions

Although he drives a hard bargain I like doing business with him.

drive at

– try or want to say something

I don’t know what he was driving at in his speech.

drive someone up a wall

– irritate or annoy someone greatly

His constant complaining is driving me up a wall.


a drop in the ocean – kropla w morzu

drop (someone) a line

– write or mail a note or letter to someone

She promised that she would drop me a line when she gets to Singapore.

drop a hint

– casually utter a hint or suggestion

He dropped a hint that he wanted to transfer to a new department.

drop back

– move or step backwards, retreat

During the hike his foot began to get sore so he decided to drop back and rest for awhile.

drop by

– to visit someone or somewhere

He dropped by after work for a drink.

drop by the wayside

– give up or fail before the finish

Many runners dropped by the wayside as the marathon continued.

Drop dead!

– go away and be quiet, stop bothering someone

I told him to drop dead when he came into my room and now he is angry at me.

drop in

– make a short or unplanned visit

I decided to drop in and visit my friend after I finished work for the day.

drop in the bucket

– small amount

The money he paid back was only a drop in the bucket compared to what he owes.

drop out (of school)

– quit school or a course of some kind

She dropped out of the class after three months.

drown one’s sorrows

– drink alcohol to forget one’s problems

He’s in the bar drowning his sorrows with a beer.

drown out

– make so much noise that it is impossible to hear

The team captain was drowned out by the cheering fans.

drum up

– invent, encourage by making an effort

They were able to drum up a lot of business during the summer.

duck soup

– easy, effortless

How was the test last week? It was duck soup – no problem at all.

dumb bunny

– a stupid gullible person

He is a dumb bunny and you never know what he will do next.

Dutch treat

– meal/movie etc. where each person pays their own way, contribute equally to something

When he goes out with his girlfriend it is always a Dutch treat as he doesn’t have much money.

dwell on

– think about or talk about something all the time

I wish he wouldn’t always dwell on his personal problems.

each and every

– every (used for emphasis)

I would like each and every one of you to bring your textbooks tomorrow.

eager beaver

– person who is always eager to work or do extra work

He is a real eager beaver and is always available to work when we need him.


play it by ear – improwizować
be all ears – zamieniać się w słuch


– scolding, a lot of information (often critical)

He really gave his daughter an earful when she came home late.

early bird catches the worm

– a person who gets up early in the morning has the best chance of success

He always goes to work before his colleagues because he knows that the early bird catches the worm.

ease off

– reduce in severity or pressure, relax

The president was asked to ease off on his efforts to save money in the company.

easy come, easy go

– something that you get easily can be lost easily

He doesn’t care if he loses his job or not. For him everything is easy come, easy go.

easy does it

– do something without sudden movements or too fast

„Easy does it” he said as he helped to move the large piano.


– tolerant and relaxed

He has a very easy-going management style.

eat away

– rot, erode, destroy

The mildew has been eating away at the window frame all summer.

eat crow

– admit one is mistaken or defeated

He was forced to eat crow when the figures that he gave us at the meeting were all wrong.

eat dirt

– accept another’s insult or bad treatment, act humble

He made the senior manager eat dirt as revenge for his bad treatment in the past.

eat humble pie

– admit one’s error and apologize

He had to eat humble pie in front of his friends when they discovered his mistake.

eat like a bird

– eat very little

He eats like a bird. That’s why he can’t put on enough weight to join the football team.

eat like a horse

– eat a lot

He eats like a horse but he never puts on any weight.

eat one’s cake and have it too

– use or spend something and still keep it

He always wants to eat his cake and have it too and is never prepared to sacrifice anything.

eat one’s heart out

– suffer greatly from longing

You can eat your heart out. I’m going to Hawaii for three weeks!

eat one’s words

– admit being wrong in something one has said, retract one’s statement

He was forced to eat his words after his boss proved that he was wrong.

eat out

– eat in a restaurant

He eats out three or four times a week.


be on edge – być zdenerwowanym

egg (someone) on

– urge or push someone to do something

He is always egging his friend on when he is angry which makes him even angrier.

eke out

– earn with difficulty

He was unable to eke out a living on the farm so he sold it.

elbow grease

– effort and strength to clean something

We’ll have to use a lot of elbow grease to get the kitchen cleaned.

elbow room

– space (enough to be comfortable)

They moved to the country in order to have a little more elbow room.

end in itself

– a purpose or goal one wants for itself alone and not as a way to something else

For some people travelling is an end in itself and the destination is not important.

end up

– finish, finally do something

We ended up going to the restaurant after the movie last night.

even so

– nevertheless, however

He always works hard but even so he has no money saved.

every dog has his day

– everyone will have his chance or turn, everyone will get what he deserves

You should be patient and wait until you get a chance. Remember every dog has his day.

every other

– alternate, every second one

She has to work every other Saturday evening.

every so often

– occasionally

You should walk around every so often when you are on a long plane trip.

every so often

– occasionally

You should walk around every so often when you are on a long plane trip.


catch somebody’s eye – zwracać czyjąś uwagę
see eye to eye with somebody – zgadzać się z kimś
turn a blind eye to something – przymykać na coś oko

eyes are bigger than one’s stomach

– one wants more food than one can eat

His eyes are bigger than his stomach. He will never finish all of the food that he took.

eyes in the back of one’s head

– ability to know what is happening behind one’s back

He has eyes in the back of his head and you can never borrow anything without him knowing about it.

eyes pop out

– much surprised

Her eyes popped out when she saw her name in the newspaper.


face to face with – twarzą w twarz z
lose face – stracić twarz

face down

– confront boldly and win, defy

They decided to face down their competitors and were able to easily stay in business.

face the music

– accept the consequences of something

He is going to have to face the music sooner or later.

face up to

– accept something that is not easy to accept

You must face up to the fact that you are never going to have enough money to buy that car.

face value

– value or price printed on a stamp/bond/paper money etc.

He gave me the face value that was printed on the used stamps.

face value

– seeming value or truth of something

He is a nice person but you must always take at face value what he says.

facts of life

– what one should know about sex, marriage and birth

He seems to be a little too young to know about the facts of life.


fair and square – uczciwie

fair and square

– honestly, just, straightforward

The British team won the game fair and square but still the other team complained.

fair game

– a likely object of aggressive interest

The company is fair game as a takeover target by other international companies.

fair play

– justice, equal and right action

He believes in fair play and is a wonderful person to have on our team.

fair shake

– honest treatment

She was not given a fair shake at the inquiry into her behavior.

fair-weather friend

– a person who is a friend only when one is successful

He is a fair-weather friend only and you can’t rely on him if you have a problem.


fall short of something – nie sprostać czemuś

fall apart

– become to not work properly

The equipment fell apart about six months after I bought it.

fall back

– move back, go back

The runner fell back from the rest of the runners when the race was half over.

fall back on something/someone

– turn to for help when something else has failed

She had to fall back on her father’s money when her business had problems.

fall behind

– fail to keep up with work or studies or payments etc.

He fell behind with his homework at the beginning of the term and had problems throughout the year.

fall by the wayside

– give up or fail before the finish

He had a good chance of winning the competition but he fell by the wayside near the end.

fall flat

– be unsuccessful, fail

I think that my attempt at humor fell flat and now she doesn’t like me.

fall for

– begin to like very much, begin to love

He fell for the woman at the bank but he is afraid to ask her for a date.

fall from grace

– lose approval

The politician fell from grace with the public over the money scandal.

fall in love with

– begin to love someone

I fell in love with her the first time that I saw her at the restaurant.

fall in with

– become associated with a bad group of people

He fell in with a bad group of friends and began to get lower marks.

fall into line

– go and stand properly in a row (like soldiers)

The students were forced to fall into line as they waited for the doors to open.

fall off

– decrease

The number of tourists to visit the island has fallen off recently.

fall off the wagon

– return to the consumption of alcohol or drugs after stopping for awhile

He fell off the wagon after he stopped drinking for three years.

fall on

– meet (troubles)

The town had fallen on hard times before the new computer company moved to town and created many jobs.

fall out of use

– be no longer used

That kind of stereo system has fallen out of use over the last 20 years.

fall over oneself

– be extremely eager to do something or please someone

They fell over themselves in their effort to please their host.

fall short (of one’s expectations)

– not be as good as you expected, not succeed

The new movie fell short of everyone’s expectations and attendance is very low.

fall through

– fail, not happen

My plan to go abroad fell through when my father refused to lend me some money.


– argument, disagreement, quarrel

We had a falling-out during our holiday and we haven’t spoken since.


so far, so good – jak na razie, to wszystko w porządku

far and wide

– everywhere, in all directions

We looked far and wide for the book but could not find it.

far cry

– something very different

What he said to my friend is a far cry from what he told me over the telephone.

farm out

– have someone else do something, send away

We farmed out all of the printing to another company in order to save money.

fast buck

– money earned quickly and easily

He is always trying to make a fast buck without really trying to work very hard.

fast talker

– con artist, clever talker who convinces others easily

He is a fast talker so you should be careful not to believe everything that he says.

fat chance

– little or no possibility, almost no chance

Fat chance that he will let me use his car. He never lets me borrow anything.

favorite son

– a candidate supported by his home state for President etc.

We voted for him because he is the favorite son of our state.

feather in one’s cap

– something you achieve and are proud of

Winning the new contract was a real feather in his cap.

feather one’s nest

– look after one’s own interest (while holding public office or a trusted job etc.)

The mayor has been feathering his nest for many years and is now very rich.

fed up with

– disgusted or bored with someone or something

I think that he is getting fed up with the constant demands of his boss. feed someone a line

feel like a million dollars

– feel wonderful

I feel like a million dollars today so I think that I will go for a walk.

feel out

– talk or act carefully with someone and find out what he thinks

I will try and feel out my boss this weekend and see what he thinks of my chance of promotion.

feel sorry for

– pity

I feel sorry for him after losing his job.

feel up to (do something)

– feel able (healthy enough or rested enough) to do something

I don’t feel up to going to the game.

feet on the ground

– sensible ideas

He is a good family man and always has his feet on the ground.

few and far between

– not many, rare, few and scattered

The gas stations were few and far between on the highway through the mountains.

fiddle around

– tinker, do something in an unplanned way

I tried fiddling around with the computer printer for awhile but it still won’t work.


– equally, evenly

We divided the cost of the trip fifty-fifty.

fight tooth and nail

– fight fiercely or with all one’s might

He is fighting tooth and nail to get a transfer to another department.

figure on

– depend on, be sure about

You can figure on about 30 people coming to the party next week.

figure out

– try to understand or solve

He finally figured out how to use the new video recorder.

fill (someone) in

– tell someone the details

I will fill you in later about our plans for the weekend.

fill (something) in

– write words needed in blanks

Please fill in this form and give it to the receptionist.

fill one’s shoes

– substitute satisfactorily for

Although he is a good supervisor he is unable to fill the shoes of those who came before him.

fill out

– write down the facts that are asked for (in a report etc.)

We were asked to fill out the forms before we could have an interview for the job.

fill the bill

– be suitable for what is required

I think that the new equipment should fill the bill for us.

find fault with

– criticize

He is always finding fault with everything that I do.

find out

– learn, discover

She is angry at me because she found out that I quit the night class.


keep your fingers crossed – trzymać kciuki

finger in the pie

– part ownership or responsibility

He has his finger in the pie of all the small companies in the area.

first come, first served

– the person who comes will have his turn first

First come, first served – she called as she put the food on the table.


– new, shown for the first time

There are a lot of first-run movies that I haven’t had time to see yet.


– directly

I learned the news from him firsthand.

fish for

– try to get or to find out (something) by hinting at it

She is always fishing for complements when I see her at work.

fish out of water

– someone who does not fit in

He was like a fish out of water at the expensive restaurant.

fit as a fiddle

– in good athletic condition or health

Her grandfather is 92 years old but he is as fit as a fiddle.

fit like a glove

– fit perfectly

The new pair of jeans that he bought fit like a glove.

fit to be tied

– very angry or upset

He was fit to be tied when he heard that I was going to take a month off work in the summer.

fix someone up with someone

– help someone get a date by arranging a meeting for the two

I tried to fix my sister up with a date with my friend but she refused me.

fizzle out

– fail after a good start, end in failure

The party began to fizzle out about midnight when many people went home.

flare up

– become suddenly angry, begin again suddenly

The fighting flared up again after the United Nations soldiers left the town.

flash in the pan

– something that makes a showy start and then fails

His sports career was a flash in the pan. Recently I haven’t heard of him at all.


– without hiding anything, plainly, openly

I told her flat-out that I would not go with her to the party.

flea in one’s ear

– an annoying hint, an idea or answer that is not welcome

I put a flea in his ear regarding the proposal deadline that he had missed.

flea market

– a place where antiques or secondhand things are sold

We went to a flea market last Saturday to try and buy some dishes.

flesh and blood

– a close relative

She is my own flesh and blood so of course I felt terrible when she got into trouble.

flip one’s lid

– become very excited, lose one’s temper

He really flipped his lid when I told him about the huge telephone bill.

flip out

– go insane, go out of one’s mind, become very angry

She flipped out when she heard that I had sold her car.

fly by the seat of one’s pants

– do a job instinctively rather than by using concrete information

I had to fly by the seat of my pants when the supervisor left me alone for a week.

fly in the ointment

– a small thing that spoils enjoyment

The problem with the music was a fly in the ointment at the party.

fly off the handle

– become angry

He really flew off the handle when he saw the bill for the meal.


– unreliable (business)

That new company is a real fly-by-night operation.

flying high

– very happy, joyful

She has been flying high since she heard that she had won a new car.

foam at the mouth

– be very angry (like a mad dog)

He was foaming at the mouth when I told him that I had had an accident with his car.

follow in one’s footsteps (tracks)

– follow someone’s example, follow someone exactly

He is following in his father’s footsteps and has decided to work for a bank.

follow suit

– do as someone else has done, follow someone’s example, play a card of the same color and kind that another has put down

He followed suit and began to leave work early on Friday just as his boss was doing.

follow through

– continue or finish an action that one has started

He said that he would help me paint my house but he has never followed through with his offer.

follow up

– make (one action) more successful by doing something more

He followed up his phone call in the morning with a visit in the afternoon.

food for thought

– something worth thinking about

I don’t really agree with his proposal but at least it is food for thought.

fool around

– spend time playing rather than working, waste time

If he would spend less time fooling around he would be able to get some work done.


get cold feet – wystraszyć się, dostać pietra
put your foot down – postawić się

foot in the door

– an opening or opportunity

I finally got a foot in the door when they accepted my application.

foot the bill

– pay

The company will foot the bill for his move to Chicago.

for a song

– for very little money

He was able to buy his new car for a song.

for all

– in spite of, even with

For all the time that he spends studying his marks are still very low.

for all one is worth

– as hard as one can

I will try for all I am worth to help you get the job at the supermarket.

for all the world

– for anything, for any price

For all the world I do not know what he is trying to tell me with the notes that he writes.

for better or worse

– depending on how one looks at the matter, with good or bad effects

For better or worse he has decided to quit his job and go to live in Brazil.

for certain

– without doubt, certailnly, surely

It is for certain that he will not be playing in the game tonight.

for crying out loud

– used to show that you are surprised or angry

For crying out loud please turn your radio down a little.

for dear life

– as though afraid of losing one’s life

The mountain climber held on to the rock for dear life as he waited for someone to rescue him.

for good

– permanently

He has decided to move to Los Angeles for good.

for keeps

– for always, forever

He told the boy that he could have the baseball bat for keeps.

for love or money

– by any means

We were unable to get him to agree to the proposal for love or money.

for once

– one time

For once he listened to what I said. Usually he ignores me.

for sure

– without doubt, certainly, surely

I will go to the movie with you for sure next week.

for that matter

– about that, with regard to that

I don’t want to go shopping with you and for that matter I don’t want to go anywhere with you.

for the asking

– by asking, on request

You can get a free ticket to the concert for the asking from the front office.

for the birds

– uninteresting, something you don’t like

Doing the cleaning all day is really for the birds.

for the time being

– for now, for awhile

We really need a new car but for the time being we’ll have to continue using the old one.

for the world

– under any conditions

I would not want to sell my car for the world.

force one’s hand

– make someone do something sooner than planned

I forced his hand and he told me what he planned to do about the new contract for our company.

forever and a day

– forever, always

It took forever and a day to get the book that we ordered from the bookstore.

fork out

– pay, pay out

I had to fork out a lot of money to fix my car.

fork over

– hand over, give

The robber told me to fork over my money or he was going to shoot me.

foul up

– ruin or spoil by stupid mistake, go wrong

There was a problem with our tickets so our plans were all fouled up.

frame of mind (good or bad)

– one’ mental state

He made sure his boss was in a good frame of mind before he asked him for the time off.

freak/freak out

– become angry or lose control of oneself

I freaked out when I discovered that my reservations had not been made.

free and easy

– informal

He has a free and easy attitude about his work.

free hand

– great freedom to do something

We had a free hand in designing the new sport’s program for the university.


– accept food and housing at someone else’s expense

He was angry at his brother because he was always freeloading and never worried about finding a job.

freeze out

– keep from a share in something by unfriendly or dishonest treatment

They froze him out of the profits that they made on the sale of land.

from A to Z

– know everything about something

He knows about cars from A to Z.

from hand to hand

– from one person to another and another

The plate of food went from hand to hand until finally it was all finished.

from now on

– from this moment forward

From now on I will study Italian every day.

from scratch

– from the very beginning

He decided to build the house from scratch.

from the bottom of one’s heart

– with great feeling, sincerely

I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for helping my daughter when she was sick.

from the heart

– sincerely, honestly

He gave her some flowers with a message straight from his heart.

from time to time

– occasionally

We go to that restaurant from time to time.

from way back

– since a long time ago, for a long time

I know him from way back. In fact we went to elementary school together.

full of beans

– in high spirits, energetic

She seems to be full of beans today. She must be excited about something.


– complete, having everything that is needed to be something

She became a full-fledged nurse before she went to Saudi Arabia to work for a year.

fun and games

– a very difficult task (used ironically)

It was all fun and games today when I wrote my two final exams.

funny bone

– the place at the back of the elbow that tingles when hit

I hit my funny bone and it still hurts a little.


give the game away – wygadać się

get (someone’s) goat

– annoy someone

He has been getting my goat recently and I am tired of him.

get (someone) down

– make (someone) unhappy, cause discouragement

The long commuting time has begun to get her down so she wants to quit her job.

get a break

– get an opportunity or good deal

I got a break when he sold the car for less than it was worth.

get a grip of oneself

– take control of one’s feelings

He finally got a grip of himself and calmed down.

get a kick out of

– enjoy

I think that my father got a kick out of seeing his old school friend.

get a move on

– hurry up

Please get a move on. We are already over three hours late.

get a word in

– find a chance to say something when others are talking

The customer couldn’t get a word in while talking to the salesman so he decided to go to another company.

get a word in edgewise

– manage to break into a conversation

I couldn’t get a word in edgewise so I left the meeting.

get after someone

– urge or make someone do something he should do but has neglected

I’ll get after him to fix the computer as soon as he returns.

get ahead

– advance or be successful

She really works hard at her job in order to get ahead.

get along

– manage

He is able to get along on very little money.

get along

– leave

It’s late so I must be getting along now.

get along with someone

– have a good relationship with someone

I don’t get along with the new woman I work with very well.

get around to

– finally find time to do something

The apartment manager finally got around to fixing the bath.

get at

– mean

I really don’t know what he was trying to get at during the meeting.

get away

– succeed in leaving, escape

I was able to get away early from work today so I went shopping for awhile.

get away with murder

– do something very bad without being caught or punished

The child was able to get away with murder while the substitute teacher was at the school.

get away with something

– do something one shouldn’t and not get caught at it

The criminal got away with the robbery and was never caught.

get back

– return

We got back from London early yesterday afternoon.

get back at

– do something bad to someone who has done something bad to you, hurt someone in return for something

She is very angry at her boyfriend and is getting back at him by not answering the telephone.

get behind

– go slow while doing something, be late

If you get behind in the homework you will never be able to pass the course.

get behind (a person or idea)

– support, help

They decided to get behind the main candidate when he promised to cut taxes.

get by

– satisfy your needs or demands (usually related to money)

He is able to easily get by on his salary because he doesn’t spend a lot of money.

get cold feet

– become afraid at the last minute

He got cold feet and cancelled his plan to go to China.

get cracking

– hurry up, start moving fast, get started

We will have to get cracking on this work if we want to finish it before dinner.

get down to

– get started on

Let’s get down to work so we can go home early.

get down to brass tacks

– begin discussing the essential matters immediately

Let’s get down to brass tacks and begin to deal with the business at hand.

get even

– get revenge

He seems to want to get even with him for their past problems.

get going

– excite, stir up and make angry

Once he get’s going he will never stop complaining.

get hold of (something)

– get possession of

When you get hold of a dictionary could you please let me see it for a few minutes.

get hold of (something)

– get possession of

When you get hold of a dictionary could you please let me see it for a few minutes.

get in on the ground floor

– start at the beginning (in hopes of future gain)

He managed to get in on the ground floor of the new company.

get in the swing of things

– adapt to a new environment or situation

He got into the swing of things after the party started.

get in touch with someone

– contact someone

I’ll get in touch with him when I arrive in New York in August.

get it all together

– be in full control and possession of one’s mental faculties

He finally got it all together and applied for the job at the supermarket.

Get lost!

– go away

She told her younger brother to get lost so she could finish her homework.

get mixed up

– become confused

I’m sorry but I got mixed up with the dates. That’s why I came today.

get off

– come down from or out of (a bus or train etc.)

We decided to get off the train at the station next to our regular station.

get off easy

– escape a worse punishment

The criminals got off easy even though they robbed the bank.

get off on the wrong foot

– make a bad start

I got off on the wrong foot with him and our relationship never really recovered.

get off one’s back

– leave someone alone and not bother them

I wish that the supervisor would get off my back.

get off one’s butt

– get busy, start working

He should get off his butt and try and get a job so he will have some money.

get off the ground

– make a successful beginning, go ahead

His new business never really got off the ground so he must look for another job.

get on in years

– to advance in age

He is getting on in years and is not very healthy.

get on one’s high horse

– behave with arrogance

He is back on his high horse and has started giving orders to everyone.

get on one’s nerves

– irritate someone

His constant complaining is beginning to get on my nerves.

get one’s dander up

– become or make angry

You shouldn’t talk to him early in the morning or you will get his dander up.

get one’s feet wet

– begin, do something for the first time

He has managed to get his feet wet in the publishing business and is ready to start his own business now.

get one’s own way

– cause people to do what you want

He always gets his own way with his younger brothers.

get one’s rear in gear

– hurry up, get going

Let’s hurry up and get our rear in gear before it is too late to go to a movie.

get out from under

– escape a situation that one doesn’t like

I would like to get out from under my boss always watching my work.

get out of bed on the wrong side

– be in a bad mood

I think that she got out of bed on the wrong side this morning as she hasn’t said a word to anyone yet.

get out of hand

– lose control

The going away party was beginning to get out of hand so they asked everyone to leave.

get out of the way

– be no longer an obstacle

He was unable to get out of the way of the truck and was injured.

get over something

– overcome a difficulty, recover from an illness or shock

She has been having a lot of trouble getting over her father’s death.

get ready

– prepare yourself

First I must get ready for work, then I will help you.

get rid of something

– give or throw something away, sell or destroy something, make a cold or fever disappear

I bought a new television set so I had to get rid of the old one.

get set

– get ready to start

We are working hard to get set for her wedding ceremony.

get the ax

– be fired

He got the ax last week and now has no job.

get the ball rolling

– start something

Let’s get the ball rolling and start working.

get the better of (someone)

– win against, beat, defeat

He got the better of me and won the tennis match.

get the show on the road

– start working on something

Let’s get the show on the road and begin work for the day.

get through

– succeed in passing an exam or ordeal

She has been having trouble gettting through her final exams.

get to the bottom of

– find out the real cause

The government is trying to get to the bottom of the financial problems in the company.

get up on the wrong side of the bed

– be in a bad mood

He got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and won’t talk to anyone.

get up the nerve

– become brave enough

I tried to get up the nerve to ask him about the new job.

get what’s coming to one

– receive the good or bad that one deserves

He got what was coming to him when he was sent to jail for two years.

get wind of

– hear about something

I got wind of the company expansion from my friend.

get wise to something/somebody

– learn about something kept secret

He finally got wise to the fact that they were stealing his money.

get with it

– pay attention, get busy

I told him to get with it or he would get in trouble with the boss.


– the beginning

Right from the get-go I never liked the way that the new manager acted.


– energy, enthusiasm, drive

He has lots of get-up-and-go and it is difficult to follow him around.


– fancy dress or costume

What was that strange getup that she was wearing the other day?

gift of the gab

– be good at talking

He has a real gift of the gab and is great at parties.

give (someone) a hard time

– make trouble for someone, tease

She was giving her boyfriend a hard time about his new haircut.

give free rein to

– allow to move about or to do something with freedom

He was given free rein in his new job to do what he wanted.

give it your best shot

– try very hard

Although he didn’t have enough experience he decided to apply for the job and give it his best shot.

give pause to

– cause one to stop and think

His problems should give you pause to think a little more carefully about what you do.

give rise to

– be the cause of something

The problems with the heating system gave rise to a lot of other problems that we had to solve.

give someone a hand

– help someone with something

Please give me a hand to move this piano.

give someone a piece of your mind

– scold or become angry with someone

When I met her yesterday I really gave her a piece of my mind.

give someone one’s word

– make a promise or assurance

He gave me his word that he would meet me at the library.

give someone the ax

– fire an employee (usually abruptly)

He gave the new employee the ax because he was always late.

give someone the benefit of the doubt

– beleive someone is innocent rather than guilty when you are not sure

I gave him the benefit of the doubt but I still think that he is a liar.

give someone the cold shoulder

– be unfriendly to someone

He gave her the cold shoulder at the party.

give someone the eye

– look or stare at someone (especially in a cold or unfriendly way)

The man in the store began to give me the eye so I left.

give someone the green light

– give permission to go ahead with a project

He has been given the green light to begin work on the new housing plan.

give someone the slip

– escape from someone

The bank robbers were able to give the police the slip at first but they were soon caught.

give the devil his due

– be fair (even to someone who is bad and who you dislike)

I don’t like to work with him at all as I think he is lazy. Still you have to give the devil his due because he always gets the job done.

give to understand

– make a person understand by telling him very plainly or boldly

I was given to understand that I could rent an apartment very easily here.

give up

– abandon, stop

He has decided to give up his plan to work in Hong Kong for a year.

give up the ghost

– stop working, die

My old car finally gave up the ghost so I must buy another one.

give voice to

– tell what one feels or thinks

He has begun to give voice to his feelings about the new office building.

give way

– collapse, fail

The dam gave way and the water flooded the farmland below.


– sharing, giving and receiving back and forth between people

You must be willing to give-and-take if you want to have a good marriage.


– an open secret, a sale where items are sold very cheap

His speech was a giveaway. Now I know that he is planning to retire.

glad hand

– a friendly handshake, a warm greeting

The politician spent the morning glad handing the people at the shopping center.

gloss over

– try to make what is wrong or bad seem right or not important, hide

The accountant tried to gloss over the money that they lost last year.

go (someone) one better

– do something better than someone else, do more or be better than someone

I decided to go him one better and buy a bigger present for my girlfriend.

go about

– be busy with, start working on

He has been going about his business all morning although he is feeling sick.

go after

– try to get

The police decided to go after the people who were speeding near the school.

go ahead

– begin to do something, not wait

Let’s go ahead and start now. We can’t wait for him any longer.

go along

– move along, continue

He invented the story as he went along.

go along

– agree, co-operate

They went along with his idea about having a party on the weekend.

go ape

– become very excited or behave in a crazy way

He went ape when he heard about the money that I had spent.

go around

– go from one place or person to another

We decided to go around from one shop to another until we found a good present.

go at

– fight with, attack, argue

When I entered the room they were going at it loudly.

go at it hammer and tongs

– fight with great strength or energy, have a bad argument

They were going at it hammer and tongs when the police came to their house.

go back on

– turn against, not be faithful to

He promised not to go back on his word about the discount tickets.

go broke

– lose all of one’s money

His company went broke so he quickly lost his job.

go Dutch

– two people each pay for themselves

We always go Dutch when we go on a date.

go for

– try to get, try for

I have decided to go for the new job at the computer center.

go for broke

– risk everything on one big effort, try as hard as possible

They are going for broke trying to win the new contract.

go from bad to worse

– get worse, deteriorate

Things are going from bad to worse in the company.

go halves

– share equally

We have decided to go halves on buying a new computer.

go haywire

– become damaged, stop working properly

At first everything was going well but later all the plans began to go haywire.

go in for

– decide to do (something), take part in

He is going to university and has decided to go in for medicine.

go into orbit

– lose one’s temper, become very angry

He went into orbit when he heard about the missing money.

go jump in a lake

– go away and quit bothering someone

She asked me to borrow some money but I told her to go jump in a lake because she never paid me back before.

go off

– leave, depart

He went off on a trip and he never even bothered to phone and say good-bye.

go off

– explode, be ignited

The firecracker went off in his hand before he had a chance to put it down.

go off

– begin to ring or buzz

The fire alarm started to go off just as we entered the building.

go off half-cocked

– act or speak before being ready

He always goes off half-cocked when he is at a meeting.

go off the deep end

– give way to emotion

He went off the deep end when he saw the picture in the paper.

go on

– continue

The game went on for about an hour after I left.

go on

– talk for too long

He started to go on about his problems so I finally left.

go on

– put on, fit on

The top of the jar wouldn’t go on so I threw it away.

go one’s own way

– go or act the way one wants

He has decided to go his own way and will start his own business next year.

go out of one’s way

– make an extra effort

She went out of her way to help me when I visited her in October.

go out the window

– be abandoned, go out of effect

The school dress code went out the window when the new principle took over.

go out with (someone)

– date or be dating someone

She went out with him for two years before they got married.

go over

– examine

The accountant will come to go over the books tomorrow.

go over well

– be liked, be successful

I am sure that the party will go over well. You have done a lot of preparation for it.

go overboard

– do something in excess

He really went overboard with the birthday party.

go steady

– go on dates with the same persom all the time, date just one person

My sister has been going steady with the same person for two years.

go straight

– become an honest person, lead an honest life

He was in prison for awhile but has recently decided to go straight.

go the whole hog

– make a thorough job of something

They really went the whole hog in their efforts to welcome the foreign visitors.

go through

– examine or think about carefully, search

The police went through his house to look for a gun.

go through

– experience, suffer, live through

He has been through many hard times since he lost his job.

go through

– be allowed, pass, be agreed upon

The law finally went through Congress last week.

go through changes

– be involved in changing circumstances

She has been going through many changes since her divorce.

go through with

– finish, do as planned or agreed

He has decided to go through with his plans to go back to school.

go to one’s head

– become conceited

He new position has really gone to his head and he won’t speak to us any longer.

go to pieces

– lose your self-control

She went to pieces when she received the letter about her father’s death.

go to pot

– deteriorate

The business has really gone to pot since he became president.

go to rack and ruin

– reach a very bad state of repair

The building has gone to rack and ruin since the new owners took over.


– a person who works hard to become successful, an ambitious person

He is a go-getter. He always works hard and has lots of money because of that.

goes without saying

– be so easy to see that it doesn’t have to be mentioned

He is a hard worker so it goes without saying that his boss is very happy with him.

going for (someone)

– in one’s favor

She should do very well as she has many good things going for her.

golden opportunity

– excellent and rare opportunity

The heat wave was a golden opportunity for the ice cream seller to make money.

good deal

– good quality and a cheap price

You can usually get a good deal on stereos at that discount store.

Good grief!

– used to show surprise (good or bad)

Good grief! It’s 6:00 and I have not finished this job yet.

good riddance

– used when you lose something and you are happy about it

Good riddance he said when the computer broke down and he had to buy another one.

good riddance to bad rubbish

– used to show you are glad that someone or something has been taken or sent away

Good riddance to bad rubbish! I never liked him and I am glad that he has finally left.

good sport

– person who loses well

He is a very good sport and never complains about losing.

goof off

– fool around, not work or be serious

He has been goofing off all afternoon and has not got any work done.

got a thing going

– be engaged in a pleasureable activity with someone else as a partner (in romance or business)

He has a thing going with computer repairs and is making a lot of extra money.


– be inexperienced or immature

He is a little green and doesn’t know the job very well.

green thumb

– skill in making plants grow

He has a real green thumb and has a beautiful garden.


gain ground – zyskać poparcie


jump the gun – działać przedwcześnie
stick to your guns – robić swoje


hate somebody’s guts – serdecznie kogoś nienawidzić

had better

– should do something

I’d better go now or I’ll be late for class.


let your hair down – zaszaleć


– foolish

I didn’t really like his half-baked idea about the new delivery system.


get out of hand – wymykać się spod kontroli
on the other hand – z drugiej strony
have your hands full – mieć ręce pełne roboty
you lay your hands on something – cos wpada ci w ręce

hand over fist

– rapidly

His new company is making money hand over fist.

hand to mouth

– having only enough money for basic living

He was living a hand to mouth existence until he was finally able to find a job.

handle with kid gloves

– be very careful handling someone or something

He is very sensitive so you have to handle him with kid gloves when you speak to him.


– can easily fix things

He is very handy around the house and is always fixing or building something.

hard and fast rule

– rules that cannot be altered to fit special cases

There is no hard and fast rule that says you can’t use a cellular phone in the train.

hard feelings

– anger or bitterness

I don’t have any hard feelings toward him even though he fired me.

hard nut to crack

– a person or thing not easily understood or influenced

He is a hard nut to crack and is not close to many people.

hard on

– treat something/someone roughly

His son is very hard on shoes.

hard pressed

– burdened with urgent business

I am a little hard pressed for time. Can we meet later?

hard up

– short of money

I am hard up for money at the moment so I can’t go to the movie.

harp on

– talk repeatedly and tediously about something

He has been harping on his lack of money for a few months now.


– bothersome

It is a real hassle to have to report to him two times a day.

have a ball

– have a good time

She had a ball at the party last night.

have a crush on

– be attracted to someone

Her sister has had a crush on him for a long time.

have a fit

– become upset

She had a fit when she saw what her son did to the car.

have a head on one’s shoulders

– be smart or sensible

That new salesman really has a head on his shoulders.

have a word with

– converse briefly

I will have a word with him before he goes home tonight.

have egg on one’s face

– be embarrassed

He really has egg on his face after finding out about his mistake.

have had it (with someone or something)

– can’t tolerate anymore

I have really had it with her constant complaining.

have half a mind

– feel tempted or inclined to do something

I have half a mind to go and offer my resignation to the president.

have in mind

– intend, plan

What do you have in mind for your wife’s birthday?

have it in for someone

– show ill will or dislike a person

I have been having problems at work recently because I think that the new supervisor has it in for me.

have it made

– be successful, have everything

He really has it made with his new job.

have it out with someone

– settle or discuss something with someone angrily

I had it out with her yesterday over the problem with the money.

have on

– be wearing something

What did she have on when you last saw her?

have one’s feet on the ground

– be practical or sensible

The new sales manager really has his feet on the ground.

have one’s heart set on something

– want something very much

The child has his heart set on getting a new bicycle for his birthday.

have over

– invite someone to your house

We will have you over when we settle into our new house.

have something up one’s sleeve

– something kept secretly ready for the right time

I’m not too worried about the meeting as I have something up my sleeve if they try to cause any more problems.

have sticky fingers

– be a thief

He was fired because of his sticky fingers at the cash register.


– broken or confused

The plan went haywire when their directions became confused.


keep your head above water – wiązać koniec z końcem

head start

– to leave or start something before others

They left early in order to get a head start on the trip.

hear from

– receive a letter/phone call/news from someone

I haven’t heard from my university roommate for over one year.


– honest or intimate

They had a heart-to-heart talk before they decided to get married.


take heart – nabrać otuchy
lose heart – zniechęcać się, stracić serce do czegoś


in the heat of the moment – pod wpływem chwili

here and now

– immediately

I want you to do that work right here and now.

here and there

– in various places, go to various places

We went here and there during our holidays.

high and dry

– stranded, out of the current of events

They left him high and dry when they moved the company to Europe.

high and low

– every place

We looked high and low for her watch but we couldn’t find it.

high and mighty

– arrogant

He has a high and mighty attitude to all of his employees.


be over the hill – mieć najtrudniejsze za sobą

hit it off with someone

– get along well with someone

We really hit it off at the party.

hit the bottle

– drink alcohol (usually a negative meaning)

She started to hit the bottle soon after her divorce.

hit the ceiling

– get angry

His wife is going to hit the ceiling when she sees the bill for the car repair.

hit the nail on the head

– make a correct guess or analysis

He really hit the nail on the head when he wrote the report about the bank’s problems.

hit the sack

– go to bed

I’m a little bit tired so I think that I will hit the sack now.

hit the spot

– refresh or satisfy

Drinking the lemonade after the baseball game really hit the spot.

hold a grudge

– not forgive someone for something

He has been holding a grudge against the company manager for a number of years.

hold down a job

– keep a job

He has a serious drinking problem and is unable to hold down a job.

hold off

– delay, not begin

The concert will be held off until next week.

hold one’s horses

– stop and wait patiently

Hold your horses for a minute while I return to get my wallet.

hold one’s own (in an argument)

– defend one’s position

Although her boss is very aggressive she is always able to hold her own in any dispute with him.

hold one’s tongue

– keep quiet

He decided to hold his tongue rather than give his honest opinion.

hold out for something

– continue to demand something

The famous basketball star is holding out for a large salary increase.

hold out on

– refuse something to a person

He is holding out on me and wont give me the latest sales figures.

hold something back

– keep information or something to or for oneself

He is holding back the information about the new computer system.

hold still

– not move

Please hold still while I fix your jacket zipper.

hold the fort

– cope in an emergency, act as a temporary substitute

He has been holding the fort at his company while his boss is on vacation.

hold the line

– not yield to pressure or something

The company has been holding the line on any new salary increases.

hold the reins

– be the most influential person

He has been holding the reins in his company for many years.

hold water

– be a sound idea

His proposal for a new work scheduling system doesn’t hold water.


full of holes – pełen nieścisłości


get somebody off the hook – wybawić kogoś z opresji


on the house – na koszt firmy


break the ice – przełamać lody

ill at ease

– feel nervous/uncomfortable

He appeared to be ill at ease during the interview.

in a bind

– in trouble

They will really be in a bind if they can’t sell their house by next month.

in a hurry

– a need to move or act quickly

He is very busy and always in a hurry.

in a jam

– in trouble

He is really in a jam now that his car is not working properly.

in a nutshell

– briefly

I tried to explain the problem to him in a nutshell but there still wasn’t enough time.

in a pinch

– okay when nothing else is available

That other tool will do in a pinch if we can’t find the correct one.

in a rush

– in a hurry

They got the job done in a big rush so I am a little worried about the quality.

in a rut

– always doing the same thing

She feels that she is in a rut after doing the same job for seven years.

in a word

– briefly, to sum up

In a word, the problem with the car is that it needs a new motor.

in advance

– ahead of time

They bought the tickets in advance so that they could get a good seat.

in black and white

– in writing

I want to get the information in black and white before I go to the meeting.

in fact

– actually, the truth is

He’s been to China before. In fact he’s been there three times.

in hot water

– in trouble

I am in hot water over the extra expenses that I used during the conference.

in nothing flat

– quickly

I will have this information printed out for you in nothing flat.

in one’s element

– in an environment or situation that comes naturally to someone

She is in her element being in charge of the new sales department.

in other words

– say something in a different (usually more direct) way

In other words if you don’t finish the assignment by Wednesday you will not pass the course.

in seventh heaven

– very happy

I have been in seventh heaven since I started my new job.

in someone’s shoes

– be in another person’s situation

I would hate to be in his shoes with his big mortgage and no job.

in stitches

– laughing

They were in stitches over their teacher’s joke.

in the air

– current, exerting an influence

It is in the air that we will be getting a new president next week.

in the bag

– certain, sure

The new contract will be in the bag if we put in a good proposal.

in the black

– have a credit balance, make a profit

The company has been in the black for over three years now.

in the course of

– during

In the course of his life he visited over 45 countries.

in the dark

– having no information about something

He is still in the dark about my plans to quit my job.

in the doghouse

– in trouble

He is in the doghouse with his wife after staying out drinking last night.

in the first place

– firstly, to begin with

Of course I can’t go. In the first place I must work on Saturday. In the second place I have no money.

in the long run

– the distant future

For now he is losing money on his stocks but in the long run he should make money.

in the market for

– wanting or ready to buy something

I am in the market for a new computer as my old one is too slow.

in the red

– lose money, not make a profit

The company has been in the red for three years now.

in the same boat

– in a similar situation

We are all in the same boat now that our company has gone out of business.

in the swim

– active in or knowing what is going on

He is definitely in the swim. He has information about everybody.

in time

– early enough

I didn’t come home in time to meet my cousin.

ins and outs

– all the details

He knows all the ins and outs of the new machine.

instead of

– in place of

Let’s meet at the restaurant instead of the department store as we had planned.

iron out

– work out

We have ironed out all of our problems and are finally doing better.


get a kick out of (doing) something – nabrać ochoty do (zrobienia) czegoś


live in the lap of luxury – mieć życie usłane różami


somebody has the last laugh – ktoś się śmieje ostatni


do something to the letter – zrobić coś na pewno, na 100%


not on your life! – nigdy w życiu! za nic!


bring something to light – wydobyć coś na światło dzienne
the light at the end of the tunnel – światełko w tunelu


live it up – używać życia


be on the loose – być na wolności


be at a loss – nie wiedzieć, jak się zachować


be in luck – mieć szczęście
be out of luck – mieć pecha


the man in the street – przeciętny człowiek


make your mark – wyrobić sobie pozycję, markę


a matter of life and death – sprawa życia i śmierci


a means to an end – środek do celu


change your mind – zmienić zdanie
go out of your mind – tracić rozum
bear in mind – zapamiętaj


over the moon – zachwycony


make your mouth water – wyglądać apetycznie


hit the nail on the head – trafić w dziesiątkę, w sedno


that’s news for me – pierwsze słyszę


look down your nose at somebody – patrzeć na kogoś z


go nuts – dostać świra


once and for all – raz na zawsze


out of order – zepsuty


get the picture – zrozumieć


give somebody a piece of your mind – powiedzieć komuś, coś się myśli
a piece of cake – łatwizna
go to pieces – załamać się


all over the place – wszędzie
be going places – móc daleko zajść


a play on words – gra słów


make a piont of doing something – zadbać o coś


be out of question – nie podlegać dyskusji


a rat race – wyścig szczurów


off the record – nieoficjalnie


be in the red – mieć debet


know the ropes – znać się na rzeczy
show somebody the ropes – wprowadzić kogoś w temat


behind the scenes – za kulisami


be in somebody’s shoes – być w czyjeś sytuacji, skórze


talk shop – rozmawiać o interesach


lose sight of something – stracić coś z oczu


by the skin of your teeth – o mały włos
have thick skin – być odpornym na krytykę


not lose any sleep over something – nie przejmować się czymś


the final straw – kropla przepełniająca czarę


with no strings attached – bez zobowiązań


no sweat – nie ma sprawy


no sweat – nie ma sprawy


in full swing – na pełnych obrotach


take it easy – nie przejmować się

the high life

– a luxurious existence

They have been living the high life since they moved to Las Vegas.


think twice – przemyśleć dwa razy, dobrze się zastanowić


from time to time – od czasu do czasu
time after time – wiele razy
behind the times – zacofany


have a sweet tooth – mieć słabość do słodyczy


keep track of something – nadążać za czymś
lose track of something – tracić orientację w czymś
on the right track – na właściwym tropie


drive somebody up the wall –doprowadzić kogoś do wściekłości


in hot water – w tarapatach


by the way – a tak przy okazji
go out of the way to do something – zadać sobie wiele trudu, aby coś zrobić


throw your weight around – panoszyć się


get wind of something – zwietrzyć coś


you can take my word for it – możesz mi wierzyć na słowo
in the other words – innymi słow
out of this word – nie z tej ziemi