Some idioms with meaning and explanations En


"I thought that Omar and Mike had a fight, but I saw them today in the gym, cheek by jowl."

Meaning: very close together, side by side.

Origin: William Shakespeare used a similar expression, "cheek by cheek," in his famous romantic comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream", written about 1595. "Cheek by Jowl" was a variation invented two centuries later. "Jowl" is anther word for the jaw or cheek. So if two people are together with one person's cheek right by another's jowl, they're pretty close indeed.



When Laurie's parents saw her report card, they really chewed her out.

Meaning: to scold severely or roughly; to bawl someone out.

Origin: Did you ever watch someone's mouth and lips moving furiously when they were harshly scolding you? Perhaps it reminded a writer years ago of fast chewing, and that's how this expression was born.




"My friend and I sat up half the night just chewing the fat."

Meaning: to have a friendly, informal talk; to chat in a relaxed way.

Origin: In the late 1800s this expression was popular in the British army, and then it came to the United States. One possible origin might be that military and naval people were given tough meat to eat and they had to chew the fat of the meat as they talked. The action of chewing is like the action of speaking (see "chew someone out"). At any rate, if you're just hanging out, talking with your friends in an easy, relaxed way, you're "chewing the fat" (or "rag"). A similar expression is to "shoot the breeze".



"Josh was chewing up the scenery in the principal's office, crying and screaming that he didn't do it."

Meaning: to overreact; to exaggerate your emotions.

Origin: This idiom comes from show business. Some actors carry on wildly, and in exaggerated, overemotional ways. A critic once wrote that this kind of uncontrolled theatrical behavior was like chewing up the scenery, and the criticism soon became a popular phrase. Today people can "chew up the scenery" wherever they show too much emotion to achieve a special effect.



"Don't bother your father right now. He's in the den chewing his cud over problems at work."

Meaning: to think deeply to oneself; to turn a matter over and over in your mind.

Origin: In the mid-1500s a lot of people owned cows, sheep, and goats. These are animals that chew their cuds (food that is spit up from the stomach to the mouth and chewed again). It's a long process. A person lost in deep thought - pondering, reflecting, speculating - made a clever 16th century writer think of an animal chewing its cud, and this saying was born. Sometimes it's shortened just to "chew over" a matter.




Mr. Baer loves his job at the museum, even though they pay only chicken feed.

Meaning: a very small or insignificant amount of money.

Origin: This American barnyard saying came from the pioneer days. The grain for the chickens to eat had to be inexpensive. At one point in our country’s history, “chicken feed” came to mean small coins. Today people use “chicken feed” when something costs only a little bit of money or they-re getting low pay at work. “Chicken feed” sometimes means misleading information that is given to throw someone off the track.



"You'd better be careful what you say when you're angry. Chickens come home to roost."

Meaning: words or actions come back to haunt a person; evil acts will return to plague the doer.

Origin: In 1810 the English poet Robert South wrote, "Curses are like young chickens; they always come home to roost." If you live on a farm, you'll know that chickens allowed to run around the barnyard come back to the chicken coop to sleep. In this expression the "chickens" are angry words or thoughtless actions. When they "come home to roost", they come back to cause trouble. In other words, everyone has to deal with the results of his or her own actions.



"When Chris threw down the paddle after he lost the Ping-Pong game, the counselor told him to chill out."

Meaning: relax, calm down.

Origin: When a person starts to get angry, we often use expressions like "steamed up" and "hot under the collar" to describe his or her emotions. If being heated up suggests being overly excited, then it's easy to see how the opposite means calm. "Chill out" is a recent African-American idiom, and so are other similar expressions like "take a chill pill" and "cool it".




"I never realized how much Felix looks like his father. He's a real chip off the old block."

Meaning: a child who resembles a parent in behavior, looks, or abilities.

Origin: This is an old expression. It's been popular for hundreds of years, and it may go back as far as the ancient Greeks. A "block" can be of wood or stone. If you chipped off a little piece of it, the chip would resemble the big block - for instance, in color and texture. In the same way, a child ("chip") might act or look like the parent ("the old block").




"Avoid Calvin today. He has a real chip on his shoulder."

Meaning: to be quarrelsome, aggressive, or rude; to be ready to fight.

Origin: In the early 1800s American boys played the following game: One boy put a chip of wood or stone on his shoulder and dared another boy to knock it off. If he did, the two boys would fight. Today, if a person is edgy or looking for an argument, we say that he has a "chip on his shoulder," in reference to that old game.



Когда рак на горе свистнет.
When the cows come home - Когда коровы придут домой (т. е. никогда).
When pigs fly - Когда свиньи полетят (т. е. никогда).
 варианты - when hell freezes over // when the devil goes blind.
2) После дождичка в четверг.
When three Sundays come together // when pigs fly // second Tuesday on the next week.
When the devil is blind - 
Когда черт ослепнет (теникогда).


"Loraine let the air out of Andrew's tires. That really cooked his goose."
Meaning: to put an end to; to ruin someone's plans.
Origin: There is an old story about a medieval town under siege. The
townspeople hung a goose from a tower as a symbol of stupidity meant to
slight the enemy. But the gesture backfired when the attackers were so
angered by the goose that they burned the whole town down, literally
"cooking" the goose. Today, you "cook someone's goose" if you in any way
spoil his or her plans or bring ruin.


"Even though my sister forgot to do her chores last week, she still came up
smelling like a rose."
Meaning: to get out of a possibly embarrassing or disgraceful situation
without hurting your reputation, and maybe even improving it.
Origin: This is a colorful 20th-century American expression. The writer who
created it had in mind the image of a person who falls into a pile of
garbage but manages to come up "smelling like a rose." Symbolically, this
means the person gets into some kind of trouble, and through good fortune or
cleverness, gets out again without damaging his or her good name.



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