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Idioms

26 Idioms beginning with B

Click on any idiom for more information, including example sentences, notes and quizzes.

Idioms

(your) bread and butter

Your bread and butter is your livelihood or the source of your income.

a bad hair day Informal

If you're having a bad hair day, everything seems to be going wrong for you.

a bag of tricks

Someone's bag of tricks is their collection of techniques or methods for getting a job done or for achieving a goal.

a ballpark figure | a ballpark estimate American English

If you give a ballpark figure or a ballpark estimate, you give a number which you think is fairly close to the actual one.

a blessing in disguise

You can say something is a blessing in disguise if it appears to be bad at first, but it results in something very good in the end.

back to square one

If you have to go back to square one, you have to stop and start again, usually because something isn't working as well as expected.

back to the drawing board

You can say "back to the drawing board" when a plan or a design has failed, and you decide to begin all over again.

backed into a corner

If you're backed into a corner, you're in a difficult situation that will be hard to get out of.

bark up the wrong tree Informal

If you're barking up the wrong tree, you're looking for something in the wrong place or going about something in the wrong way.

bear the brunt

If you bear the brunt of something, you suffer the worst of its impact or its effects.

beat around the bush | beat about the bush

If you beat around the bush, or beat about the bush, you don't say something directly, usually because you don't want to upset the person you're talking to.

beat the rap American English Informal

If someone beats the rap, they avoid being found guilty of a crime.

behind someone's back

If you do something behind someone's back, you do it without letting them know about it.

behind the eight ball American English Informal

If you're behind the eight ball, you're in a difficult or dangerous position.

behind the times

If someone is behind the times, they are old-fashioned and their ideas are out of date.

beside the point

You can say something is beside the point if it has nothing to do with what's being talked about or with the reason something is being done.

beyond a shadow of a doubt

Something is true "beyond a shadow of a doubt" if there is no possibility at all that it isn't true.

bite your tongue | hold your tongue

If you bite your tongue, or hold your tongue, you force yourself not to say something you really want to to say.

blow your own horn | blow your own trumpet

If you blow your own horn, or blow your own trumpet, you proudly boast about your own talents and successes.

break the ice

If you break the ice you say or do something to create a more relaxed atmosphere when meeting people for the first time.

break your heart

If someone breaks your heart, they cause you a lot of emotional pain by ending a romantic relationship, or by deeply hurting you in some other way.

burn your bridges | burn your boats

You have burned your bridges, or burned your boats, if you were in a situation and you then left it after doing something that made it impossible to go back there.

by the book

If you do something by the book, you do it strictly according to the rules or the official procedures.

by word of mouth

If something becomes well-known by word of mouth, it becomes well-known because people are telling each other about it, and not because of advertising or other marketing tools.

the back of beyond | the back of the beyond

You can say a place is in the back of beyond, or the back of the beyond, if it's very far from towns or cities.

the ball's in your court

If someone you're negotiating with says "the ball's in your court", they think it's your turn to make a move or make an offer.

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