All the Rage
- Meaning: Very much in fashion
- Example: Yoga pants are all the rage in North America right now, but in two years probably nobody will be wearing them.
Meeting of the Minds
- Meaning: Strong instinctive agreement on something
- Example: At first the negotiations weren’t going well, but when the president of the company and I sat down over drinks, we had a real meeting of the minds.
Scare the Living Daylights out of Someone
- Meaning: Frighten someone severely
- Example: I know my boyfriend was just trying to be nice, but when I opened the door to my apartment and everyone yelled “Surprise!” it scared the living daylights out of me.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
- Meaning: When you don’t see something or someone, you tend to forget about that thing or person.
- Example: When I broke up with Jake, I was heartbroken. But since he moved away, I hardly ever think about him. Out of sight, out of mind!
- Meaning: A film or book that makes you cry
- Example: The film “Love Story,” with its story of young love cut short by death, was one of the most successful tear-jerkers of all time.
- Meaning: A small thing that you find particularly annoying
- Example: My pet peeve is people who bring large numbers of items to the express checkout at the supermarket.
Pull Yourself Together
- Meaning: Control your emotions; recover from a strong emptional upset
- Example: I know it was hard seeing your ex-boyfriend at the bar, but you need to pull yourself together so we can go home.
Get Carried Away
- Meaning: Become overly enthusiastic
- Example: Sure, you can invest a little money, but don’t get carried away – people lose lots of money on the stock market.
- Meaning: Consider ambitious plans; avoid becoming overly concerned with details
- Example: Sales this year have been good. Caitlin said we should think big and consider whole new product lines.
Not Playing with a Full Deck
- Meaning: Stupid, mentally deficient or impaired
- Example: John’s suggestions in the meeting were ridiculous. Sometimes I think he’s not playing with a full deck.
Note: “A few bricks short of a load” is one of many variants.
Under the Impression
- Meaning: Believing something, perhaps mistakenly
- Example: I was under the impression that you were going to pick me up at the airport.
Out of Sorts
- Meaning: Slightly ill; not feeling well
- Example: Sorry I was so quiet during the meeting. I’ve been out of sorts all day.
- Meaning: A quick temper; a tendency to anger quickly
- Example: Brandon has a short fuse, but he calms down as quickly as he gets angry.
Off One’s Rocker
- Meaning: Crazy, nuts, insane
- Example: Have you heard Dmitri is going to try to climb Mt. Rinjani in the rainy season? He must be off his rocker.
Bang One’s Head Against the Wall (Against a Brick Wall)
- Meaning: Try repeatedly to do something without making progress
- Example: Susana has been working on the data for three hours, but she says she’s just banging her head against the wall.
Young at Heart
- Meaning: Having a youthful outlook, regardless of age
- Example: Jack is young at heart. He’s 84 years old, but he’s always willing to go out dancing.
Take It Easy
- Meaning: Don’t hurry; relax; don’t get angry
- Example: I’ve been working too hard. I just want to head for the islands and take it easy for a few days.
- Meaning: A temporary interest or attraction
- Example: Many people thought Uggs were just a passing fancy, but they’ve been popular for several years now.
… Useful Idioms to Express Feelings and Emotions …
On the Ball
- Meaning: Prepared, alert, competent
- Example: Ralph is on the ball. I think we can leave the office under his supervision for a few days.
On the Fence
- Meaning: Undecided between two choices
- Example: I’m on the fence about the election – both candidates have their good and bad points.
Living in Cloud Cuckooland
- Meaning: Having unrealistic or foolish beliefs or plans.
- Example: Norma thinks she’s going to be making $100,000 euros by next year. She’s living in cloud cuckooland.
Mad as a Hatter
- Meaning: Mentally ill, psychotic
- Example: Gerald used to be one of the most logical people I know. Now he’s mad as a hatter.
Note: This is rare in the USA.
- Meaning: Accidental use of an incorrect word; a revealing slip of the tongue
- Example: That was a real Freudian slip when Jane referred to her boyfriend as her father.
Fly off the Handle
- Meaning: To become suddenly enraged
- Example: How was I to know Tom would fly off the handle when I asked him about his father?
Draw a Blank
- Meaning: Be unable to remember something
- Example: I drew a blank when she asked me to name all of her sisters.
Drive Someone Up the Wall
- Meaning: Deeply irritate someone
- Example: When Marie hums at her desk, it drives up up the wall.
Note: Some people also say “drives me up a wall.”
Down in the Dumps
- Meaning: Depressed, sad
- Example: You’ve been down in the dumps all week. Let’s go to the football game – that’ll cheer you up.
Chuck a Wobbly
- Meaning: To act in an emotional way
- Example: I know you’re upset. But don’t chuck a wobbly in your meeting with the boss; he won’t like it.
Note: You can also say “throw a wobbly.”
- Meaning: Elated, excited
- Example: Fans are cock-a-hoop about the team’s acquisition of the new striker.
Blow One’s Stack
- Meaning: To lose one’s temper and explode in anger
- Example: I swear, if Cindy asks me about the tickets one more time, I’m going to blow my stack.
At the End of One’s Rope (Tether)
- Meaning: Running out of endurance or patience
- Example: Amber keeps whistling in the office. She doesn’t even realize she’s doing it, but I’m at the end of my rope.
At Wit’s End
- Meaning: Frustrated because all measures to deal with something have failed
- Example: I’m at my wit’s end trying to deal with the insect infestation – nothing I’ve tried has worked.
- Meaning: Angry behavior inside an airplane
- Example: Most people are calm on long plane flights, but once in a while you have to deal with air rage, usually fueled by alcohol.
Act One’s Age
- Meaning: To be mature, not childish
- Example: I don’t care if Amber did steal your doll. That’s enough crying. Act your age!