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68 Cards in this Set

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If someone is ______, they are not involved in anything illegal.
be as clean as a whistle


He hasn't got a criminal record - he's clean as a whistle.
clean, whistle
to tell someone in authority about something bad that is happening so that it can be stopped.
blow the whistle on sb/sth



The kids are encouraged to blow the whistle on any of their friends who are using drugs.
blow, the whistle
something that you say which means you are determined that someone will not get what they want
He/She/They can whistle for it!



If they want money, they can whistle for it. They're not getting a penny out of me!
can, whistle, for,
a whistle high sound that is made by blowing air through the lips that some men do when they see a woman who is sexually attractive
a wolf whistle



She'll get a few wolf whistles if she walks through town in those shorts.
a, wolf
someone who does or says something that stops other people from enjoying themselves
a wet blanket (informal)


I don't want to be a wet blanket, but you really must play your music more quietly or you'll disturb the people next door.
wet, blanket
someone who spoils other people's enjoyment of social activities by being unhappy or by refusing to become involved
a party pooper


Tim called me a party pooper because I left the party just after midnight.
a, party
to discover someone doing something wrong
catch sb in the act



I was trying to clear up the mess on the carpet before anyone noticed it, but Isobel came in and caught me in the act.
catch, in, act
a situation where one thing must happen in order to cause another thing to happen, but because the first thing does not happen the second thing cannot happen
a catch 22 situation



If you don't have a place to stay, you can't get a job and with no job, you can't get an apartment. It's a catch 22 situation.
catch, 22
something that you say in order to tell someone they will be punished for something bad they have done
you'll catch it


You'll catch it if dad sees you smoking.
achieved any way that is possible and not in a planned way
catch-as-catch-can



We were working round the clock to finish the project so food and sleep were catch-as-catch-can.
to stop breathing for a moment because something surprises or frightens you
catch your breath


I caught my breath when I saw the scar on her face.
to surprise someone with an event, a question, or a piece of news they are not expecting
catch sb cold



You caught me cold with this news - I didn't know anything about it.
to be attractive or different enough to be noticed by people
catch sb's eye



There were lots of dresses to choose from, but none of them really caught my eye.
If you ________, you do something when they are not ready for it and may not be able to deal with it well
catch sb on the hop


If we attack at the very start of the game, we may just catch their defenders on the hop.
something that you say which means that everyone is successful during some period in their life
Every dog has its day


He'll get that promotion eventually. Every dog has its day.
something that you say which means it is difficult to make someone change the way they do something when they have been doing it the same way for a long time
You can't teach an old dog new tricks.



You're never going to teach your father at the age of 79 to use a computer. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, you know.
new, tricks, dog
something that you say which means that life is hard and unpleasant
It's a dog's life!



I've got to go to the supermarket, then cook a meal, then pick Dave up from the station - it's a dog's life!
dog, life
a joke which is a long story with a silly end
a shaggy dog story


My grand father insists on telling these shaggy dog stories, which nobody finds funny except him.
to be very sick
be as sick as a dog



She was as sick as a dog after that dinner.
to argue violently all the time
fight like cat and dog



We get on very well as adults but as kids we fought like cat and dog.
If a situation is ______, people will do anything to be successful, even if what they do harm other people
dog-eat-dog



It's a dog-eat-dog world out there so you've got to know who your real friends are.
something that you say which means that although someone is old, they still have enough energy to do things
There's life in the old dog yet.



I may be 90 but there's life in the old dog yet.
something that you say which means there is no purpose in doing something yourself when there is someone else who will do it for you
Why keep a dog and bark yourself?



Just leave the glasses on the table - the bar staff will collect them. After all, why keep a dog and bark yourself?
a story or explanation which is obviously not true
a cock-and-bull



She told me some cock-and-bull story about her car breaking down.
to keep the ball away from the team competing against you at the end of a game so that they cannot score any points
run out the clock



The Pistons thought they were running out the clock but lost the ball and the game in the last nine seconds.
to be wearing clothes which are intended to make people sexually attracted to you
be dressed to kill


Rosie emerged from the house, dressed to kill and clutching a bottle of champagne.
to prepare to defeat someone completely in an argument or competition when they are already in a weak position
move in for the kill



At 6-3 6-2 up, Sampras went in for the kill and won the final set 6-0.
a way of solving a problem which will either fail completely or be very successful
kill or cure


Having a baby can be kill or cure for a troubled marriage.
to be too kind to someone
kill sb with kindness



Rob's killing me with kindness - he phones me all the time to see if I'm alright when really I just need to be left alone.
something that you say in order to describe the unpleasant or angry way in which someone looked at you
If looks could kill...



I'll never forget the expression on her face when she saw me with Pete. If looks could kill...
If a telephone is _______, the part that you speak into is not lying in the part that holds it so the telephone will not ring
off the hook



He left the telephone off the hook because he didn't want to be disturbed.
If you intend to do something ______, you are determined not to let anything stop you doing it and are ready to use any methods
by hook or by crook



I decided that I was going to get that job by hook or by crook.
to allow someone to escape from a difficult situation or to avoid doing something that they do not want to do
get/let sb off the hook



John has agreed to go to the meeting in my place, so that lets me off the hook.
to be extremely nervous and easily frightened
be afraid of your own shadow



She's always having panic attacks, she's the kind of person who's afraid of her own shadow.
something that you say in order to tell someone to stop doing or saying something because they are going too fast
Hold your horses!



Just hold your horses, Bill. Let's think about this for a moment.
to stop talking
hold your tongue



George had learned to accept these little insults. He held his tongue.
to show that you are proud of something
hold your head up high



When this country has full employment and an education system for all, then we can hold our head up high.
something that you say in order to tell someone that an event is not likely to happen
Don't hold your breath.



She said she'd phone but don't hold your breath.
If an opinion or a statement does ______, it can be shown to be wrong
not hold water



Most of the arguments put forward by our opponents simply do not hold water.
to decide that you will leave an activity until a later time
put sth on hold



The project has been put on hold until our financial position improves.
if you go_________, you have to start planning a piece of work again because the previous plan failed
back to the drawing board



Our proposal might not be accepted, in which case we'll have to go back to the drawing board.
if someone is ________, they are angry and irritated.
hot under the collar


The issue of waste disposal is getting a lot of people hot under the collar.
If you take what someone says _______, you do not completely believe it.
with a pinch of salt



It's interesting to read the reports in the newspapers, but I tend to take them with a pinch of salt.
to make a difficult situation even worse for someone
rub salt into the wound



Losing was bad enough, having to watch them receiving the trophy just rubbed salt into the wound.
a rude way of telling someone to go away
Beat it!



OK you kids, beat it!
to avoid talking about a difficult or embarrassing subject because you are worried about upsetting the person you are talking to
beat around the bush


1)Don't beat around the bush. Just tell me where my brother is


2)There is no point in beating about the bush. I'm leaving you.
to do something before someone else does it
beat sb to it


I was just about to open some wine but I see you've beaten me to it
to do something before someone else does it (Hint: punch)
beat sb to the punch



I was thinking of applying for that job but Carol beat me to the punch.
to escape being punished
beat the rap


There's no way he can beat the rap now. No lawyer can save him.
something that you say when you decide to do something bad because other people are getting an advantage from doing it and you cannot stop them.
If you can't beat 'em, (join 'em)!



If everyone else is making a bit of money out of it I will too. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, is what I say.
very rarely, hardly, seldom
once in a blue moon



1)My sister lives in Alaska, so I only get to see her once in a blue moon.
if something happens _______, it happens suddenly and you are not expecting it.
out of the blue



Then one day, completely out of the blue, I had a letter from her.
if a person or part of their body is ________, their skin is covered with bruises, black marks caused by being hit.
black and blue



He was beaten black and blue at boarding school.
a man who is liked and admired by someone in authority
a blue-eyed boy



He was very much the blue-eyed boy in the office.
to be very solid
be as solid as a rock



So much furniture these days is so flimsy - this table here was made a hundred years ago and it's as solid as a rock.
the lowest possible level
rock bottom


1)The morale of prison officers is at rock bottom.


2)The president's opinion poll ratings have hit rock bottom.
to do or say something that causes problems, especially if you try to change a situation which most people do not want to change
rock the boat



We certainly don't want anyone rocking the boat just before the election.
if an experience, a skill, or a qualification will ________, it will be useful in the future
stand sb in good stead



She hoped that being editor of the school magazine would stand her in good stead for a career in journalism later on.
everything ________ is everything that exists or is possible
under the sun


1)We talked about everything under the sun.


2)She seems to have an opinion on every subject under the sun.
money that is paid ________ is paid secretly, usually because it is illegal.
under the table


A lot of these people work 80-hour weeks with all or half of their salaries paid under the table.
to become familiar with and confident in a new job or situation
get your feet under the table



It's better to wait until you've got your feet firmly under the table before you make any big changes.
official rules which do not seem necessary and make things happen very slowly
red tape



My passport application has been held up by red tape.
to go out and enjoy yourself in the evening, often drinking a lot of alcohol and dancing
paint the town red



Jack finished his exams today so he's gone out to paint the town red.
a flight that leaves late at night and arrives early the next morning
a red eye


1)We took the red eye from Seattle to New York.


2)There's a red-eye flight to Los Angeles leaving at 10pm.
to give an important person a special welcome
roll out the red carpet



The red carpet was rolled out for the President's visit.
to do something difficult in a determined and confident way
take the bull by the horns



Why don't you take the bull by the horns and tell him to leave?
to often say stupid or wrong things
be full of crap



I wouldn't listen to what Jeremy says, he's always full of crap.
someone who is ________ is determined to do exactly what they want to do, and does not think about what other people want.
bull-headed



He's completely bull-headed. I asked him not to throw out that old table, but he did it anyway.