Meaning : To be unable to keep still because you are very excited or worried about something.
Example : There’s a test tomorrow, and he can’t concentrate or keep still. He looks like he’s got ants in his pants.
2. To badger someone.
Meaning : To pester someone into doing something.
Example : Don’t let people badger you into having a drink.
3. Bark worse than bite.Meaning : Used to describe someone who makes threats but never carries them out.
Example : Oh don’t worry, he’s always shouting at people, but his bark is worse than his bite.
4. Barking up the wrong tree.Meaning : To make the wrong choice, or ask the wrong person.
Example : The government was barking up the wrong tree with their proposal to sell off the UK’s forests.
5. To be like a bear with a sore head.Meaning : To be in a bad mood.
Example : My husband is like a bear with a sore head before he gets his cup of tea in the morning.
6. To have a bee in your bonnet.Meaning : To be obsessed about something.
Example : She’s got a real bee in her bonnet about that new advertising campaign, she’s even phoned the ACA!
7. The birds and the bees.Meaning : A euphamism for courtship and intercourse between people.
Example : In the UK many parents dread having to tell their children about the birds and the bees.
8. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.Meaning : Having something for certain is better than the possibility of getting something better.
Example : I would stay with your current firm, rather than look for something better. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
9. The early bird catches the worm.Meaning : If you do something in a timely manner you will succeed.
Example : I’ll go to work early tomorrow. After all, the early bird catches the worm.
10. A bird’s eye view.Meaning : The appearance of something seen from above.
Example : If you look at Google Maps you can get a bird’s eye view of your street.
11. Birds of a feather flock together.Meaning : People who have similar characters or similar interests will often choose to spend time together.
Example : At the party, all the teenagers gathered in the kitchen. Birds of a feather flock together.
12. To kill two birds with one stone.Meaning : To solve two problems with a single action.
Example : I went to the dentist, and asked him to fill the molar, and remove the wisdom tooth at the same time. Might as well kill two birds with one stone.
13. To be like a bull in a china shop.Meaning : To be clumsy.
Example : Don’t let him touch those glass baubles, he’s like a bull in a china shop.
14. A cat nap.Meaning : A short sleep, during the day.
Example : I always have a cat nap after lunch.
15. To be like a cat on a hot tin roof.Meaning : To be nervous and unable to keep still.
Example : She’s waiting for her boyfriend to call, and she’s been like a cat on a hot tin roof all day.
16. A fat cat.
Meaning : Someone who is very rich and powerful.
Example : Too many fat cats have made money out of the recession.
17. A scaredy-cat.Meaning : Someone who is frightened for no reason.
Example : It’s only a little spider, don’t be such a scaredy-cat.
18. The cat’s whiske
Meaning : When someone thinks they’re better than everyone else.
Example : She thought she was the cat’s whiskers when she got the part in the play.
19. Has the cat got your tongue?Meaning : Said when someone isn’t saying anything.
Example : Why are you being so quiet? Cat got your tongue?
20. To let the cat out of the bag.Meaning : To reveal a secret.
Example : Everybody knows about the redundancies, someone let the cat out of the bag.
21. To look like the cat that got the cream.Meaning : To look very pleased and a bit smug about something.
Example : I guess you passed your exam. You look like the cat that got the cream.
22. To put a cat among the pigeons.Meaning : To cause trouble.
Example : When the photos showed him kissing a young woman, it really put the cat among the pigeons.
23. Not enough room to swing a cat.Meaning : Used to describe a place that is very small.
Example : In our old flat there wasn’t enough room to swing a cat.
24. It’s raining cats and dogs! Meaning : It’s raining very heavily.
Example : We had to run for shelter when it started raining cats and dogs.
25. Look what the cat’s dragged in!Meaning : An insulting way of saying that someone has just arrived and they don’t look good.
Example : Look what the cat’s dragged in! You look terrible!
26. To be a chicken or To be chicken or to be chicken livered.Meaning : Someone who is cowardly.
Example : She wouldn’t get on the waltzers, because she said they’re dangerous. She’s such a chicken.
27. A cuckoo in the nest.Meaning : Someone who is part of a group but is different and often disliked, or a problem that grows quickly and crowds out everything else.
Example : The new manager is a real cuckoo in the nest. He’s causing more problems than he’s solving.
28. Living in cloud cuckoo land.Meaning : Used to describe someone who has ideas or plans that are completely unrealistic
Example : He thinks the recession won’t affect his business. He’s living in cloud cuckoo land.
29. A dog and pony show.Meaning : A show or other event that has been organized in order to get people’s support or to persuade them to buy something.
Example : His campaign was a real dog and pony show, but he still didn’t win the election.
30. A shaggy dog story.Meaning : A joke or story that’s obviously not true or has a silly ending.
Example : The way he kept going on led me to suspect it was a shaggy dog story.
31. To be like a dog with two tails.Meaning : To be very happy.
Example : When we found out we had won the contract, our manager was like a dog with two tails.
32. To be dog-eared.Meaning : If something is dog-eared, it is in bad condition.
Example : I won’t lend her any more books, the last one she gave back to me was dog-eared.
33. To be dog tired.Meaning : To be exhausted.
Example : The party went on till 4am. I was dog tired the next day.
34. Gone to the dogs.Meaning : Used when someone or somewhere becomes less successful than it was.
Example : This country has gone to the dogs since they won the election.
35. Let sleeping dogs lie.Meaning : Leave something alone if it might cause trouble.
Example : I knew my boss was wrong, but I didn’t say anything. He wouldn’t thank me, so I say, let sleeping dogs lie.
36. Talk the hind leg off a donkey.
Meaning : To talk a lot.
Example : I couldn’t get a word in edgeways. That guy could talk the hind leff off a donkey.
37. A dead duck.Meaning : A failure.
Example : The police admitted that they were giving up, the case was a dead duck.
38. Water off a duck’s back.Meaning : Said when someone doesn’t let things upset them.
Example : He kept shouting at me, but it was like water off a duck’s back.
39. The elephant in the room.Meaning : A problem or situation that everyone knows about but no one mentions.
Example : Her blindness was the elephant in the room.
40. A white elephant
Meaning : Used to describe something you own that is useless.
Example : Spain lavished money on many white elephant building projects, such as the airport at Ciudad Real, south of Madrid.41. A cold fish.
Meaning : Someone who doesn’t show how they feel.
Example : Her husband’s a real cold fish, it’s impossible to tell whether he’s happy or not.
42. “A different kettle of fish”Meaning : A different matter or issue.
Example : Oh! They want to place an order? That’s a different kettle of fish. Of course I’ll talk to them.
43. To have bigger fish to fry.
Meaning : To have more important things to do.
Example : He couldn’t stay long, with this merger he has bigger fish to fry.
44. Like a fish out of water.Meaning : To be uncomfortable in a particular situation
Example : When she started talking about her personal problems, he looked like a fish out of water.
45. Something is fishy.Meaning : Used when something is suspicious.
Example : There was something fishy in the way he paused before answering the question.
46. To be a fly on the wall.Meaning : To want to be somewhere secretly, so you can overhear what is said.
Example : I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the boss was telling him off.
47. To be as sly as a fox.Meaning : To be sneakily clever.
Example : He managed to get all his money out before the bank collapsed. He’s a sly old fox.
48 . To get someone’s goat.Meaning : To upset someone.
Example : The whole time I was singing she didn’t stop talking. She really got my goat.
49. What’s sauce for the goose, (is sauce for the gander.)Meaning : If you think something is acceptable for one person, it should also be acceptable for another person.
Example : If your husband can go out to work, then surely you can too. After all, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
50. Wouldn’t say boo to a goose.Meaning : Describes someone who is very nervous.
Example : He’s not assertive enough to be a supervisor, he wouldn’t say boo to a goose.