These idioms originated in and are typically used in British English. In some cases they have also spread to other varieties of English.
Click on any idiom for more information, including example sentences, notes and quizzes.
If an amount is a drop in the ocean, it's a very small portion of the amount that's needed.
If someone has a new lease of life, they have a new enthusiasm for living.
If you say that something is a piece of cake, you mean that it is extremely easy.
A zebra crossing is a pedestrian crossing that is marked on the road with painted black and white stripes.
If you have an axe to grind, you have a strong opinion about something and you express this opinion whenever you can.
If you have another string to your bow, you have another way of making a living.
If you're at a loose end, you have nothing to do.
If you can't see the wood for the trees, you can't see the whole situation clearly because you're looking too closely at small details, or because you're too closely involved.
If you come a cropper, you fall over, or you make a mistake which has serious consequences for you.
If you come up trumps, you succeed in something that you may not have been expected to succeed in.
If you eat humble pie, you admit that you are in the wrong and behave apologetically.
If something goes down a treat, it's a great success and everyone enjoys it.
If you have itchy feet, you feel the need to go somewhere different or do something different.
If you say "jobs for the boys" you're referring to the fact that people in positions of power sometimes use their power to give jobs to their friends or family members.
You can say something is just the ticket if it's the perfect thing or if it's exactly what's needed.
If you make a song and dance about something, you make a big deal out of, or a fuss over, something that isn't very important.
If you do something off your own bat, you do it without being asked to or told to.
If something is right up your street, it would be perfect for you or ideal for your skills and interests.
If you're taking the mickey out of someone, or taking the mick out of them, you're making fun of them or copying their behaviour for a laugh.
If you "um and ah" you're having trouble deciding what to say, or you're having trouble telling somebody something.