Idioms beginning with C. Select an idiom for more details.

a chip off the old block

Someone can be described as a chip off the old block if they are very similar in character to one of their parents, usually their father.

a couch potato

You can say someone's a couch potato if they're very lazy and they spend a lot of time sitting around watching TV and eating junk food.

call a spade a spade

If you call a spade a spade, you tell the truth in a straightforward and direct way, even if the truth is not pleasant.

call it a day INFORMAL

If you call it a day, you stop doing something that's usually related to work.

can of worms INFORMAL

If you say a situation or an issue is a can of worms, you think that getting involved in it could lead to problems.

can't see the forest for the trees American English

If you can't see the forest 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.

can't see the wood for the trees British English

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.

carte blanche FORMAL

If you give someone carte blanche, you give them freedom to do whatever they want in a situation.

caught red-handed

If someone is caught red-handed, they are caught in the act of doing something wrong such as cheating or stealing.

change your tune

If you change your tune, you change your opinion about something or your attitude towards someone.

chew the fat | chew the rag

If you chew the fat, or chew the rag, you have a long, friendly chat with someone.

chickens come home to roost

If chickens are coming home to roost, someone is suffering the unpleasant consequences of their bad actions in the past.

clean as a whistle

If something is as clean as a whistle, it's extremely clean, or for a person it can mean they have a perfect record and have never done anything illegal.

come a cropper British English INFORMAL

If you come a cropper, you fall over, or you make a mistake which has serious consequences for you.

come clean

If you come clean about something, you let people know about it after keeping it a secret.

come in handy INFORMAL

You can say something might come in handy if you think it might be useful.

come to a head

You can say a situation or a problem comes to a head if it reaches a crisis point and dealing with it can no longer be avoided.

come to grips with | get to grips with

If you come to grips with something, or get to grips with something, you deal with the problems or challenges it poses.

come to your senses

If you come to your senses, you see things clearly and begin to act sensibly after a period of confusion and unwise behaviour.

come up trumps British English

If you come up trumps, you succeed in something that you may not have been expected to succeed in.

cook the books | cook the accounts

If someone cooks the books, or cooks the accounts, they keep inaccurate accounts for a business, usually in order to pay less tax.

cost the earth | charge the earth

If something costs the earth, or they charge the earth for it, it's very expensive.

couldn't care less INFORMAL

You can say "I couldn't care less" when you don't care about something, or it doesn't matter to you.

cover your tracks

If you cover your tracks, you make sure no-one can find evidence of what you've done.

cross that bridge when we come to it

You can say "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" if someone mentions a problem that might occur in the future, but you want them to think about what's happening now instead.

cut to the chase INFORMAL

If you tell someone to cut to the chase, you want them to get straight to the main point of what they are saying.

the cream of the crop

If something or someone is in the cream of the crop, they are among the best of a class of things or people.

Contributor: Matt Errey