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

(it's) raining cats and dogs

You can say "it's raining cats and dogs" if it's raining very hard.

a raw deal

If you think that you got a raw deal, you think you weren't treated fairly or as well as other people.

a ray of sunshine

Something is a ray of sunshine if it brings happiness to someone.

a recipe for disaster

Something is a recipe for disaster if it's going to cause trouble or serious problems.

a red-letter day

A red-letter day is a day that is very important for some reason.

a roller coaster | a roller-coaster ride

You can say an experience is a roller coaster, or a roller-coaster ride, if it involves many emotional highs and lows, or really good times alternating with really difficult times.

rack your brains | rack you brain

If you rack your brains, or rack you brain, you try hard to remember something or think of a solution to a problem or a puzzle.

rags to riches

If you go from rags to riches, you start out very poor and you become very rich.

raison d'être FORMAL

Your raison d'être is your reason for living, or the most important thing in your life.

raring to go

If you're raring to go, you're full of energy and you can't wait to get started on whatever it is you're doing.

reach for the moon | reach for the stars

If you reach for the moon, or reach for the stars, you are aiming to achieve something great, or do something very challenging.

read between the lines

When you read between the lines you try to understand what someone implies, but doesn't openly state, when they say or write something.

recharge your batteries

You recharge your batteries if you do something to regain your energy after a period of hard work.

red light district

A red light district is the area of a town or city in which prostitutes work.

red tape

Strict adherence to rules and regulations so that a procedure seems to take longer than necessary.

right down your alley | right up your alley American English

If something is right down your alley, or right up your alley, it would be perfect for you or ideal for your skills and interests.

right up your street British English

If something is right up your street, it would be perfect for you or ideal for your skills and interests.

ring a bell INFORMAL

If something rings a bell, it sounds familiar or you think you've heard it before.

rock the boat INFORMAL

If you rock the boat, you do or say something that will upset people by changing a situation that they don't want changed.

rub it in INFORMAL

If you rub it in, you keep talking about something that embarrasses or upsets someone.

ruffle someone's feathers

If you ruffle someone's feathers, you do something to upset or annoy them.

run out of steam

If someone runs out of steam, they run out of energy or enthusiasm. If something runs out of steam, it loses momentum and slows down.

run rings around | run circles around

If you run rings around someone, or run circles around them, you do something much better than they do.


Something is run-of-the-mill if it is ordinary and nothing special.

the rat race

The rat race is the highly competitive and stressful world of work and business.

the real McCoy

You can say something is the real McCoy if it's genuine, and not a fake or a copy.

Contributor: Matt Errey