Clothes – English idioms and sayings

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Question English
Answer English

A dull person or an individual with a boring hobby who insists on talking about it.
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Oh no, this anorak is going to talk about his stamp collection again!

To put in a lot of effort into doing something.
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to buckle down
It's time to buckle down and start revising for the exam.

To start to think seriously about how to solve a problem.
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to put on one's thinking cap
Guys. Let's put on our thinking caps and figure out how to do this.

Someone who pretends to be harmless when he is, in fact, really dangerous.
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wolf in sheep's clothing
I don't like this man, he seems to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.

When someone is hot under the collar it means he is very angry.
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hot under the collar
I makes me hot under the collar when someone uses my teacup.

Without preparation.
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He gave a wonderful speech just off-the cuff.

To tell someone off for doing something bad.
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to dress someone down
She dressed her children down when she found out what they did.

To be dressed too young for your age.
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mutton dressed as lamb
In this dress you look like mutton dressed as a lamb. It's way too short.

To make yourself look really good by wearing your best clothes.
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to be dressed to kill
She looks beautiful tonight, she is dressed to kill.

To be overdressed
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to be dressed up like a dog's dinner
She dressed up like a dog's dinner again. Who wears an evening dress for a picnic?

To fit very well.
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to fit like a glove
This bra fits you like a glove, it's perfect!

To have an extremely close relationship, especially at work.
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to work hand in glove
This computer is designed to work hand in glove with the new software.

To argue or compete without controlling your actions or feelings.
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to take the gloves off
Don't make me take the gloves off, we both don't want it.

Very quickly.
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at the drop of a hat
I didn't even realize it, it happened at the drop of the hat.

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old hat
I don't like this suit, it's so old hat.

To admire or respect someone.
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to take one's hat off to someone
His parents didn't support him, but he succeeded anyway. I take my hat off to him.

To keep something in strictest confidence.
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to keep something under one's hat
Yes, you can tell me a secret, I promise to keep it under my hat.

To have your private or personal problems discussed in public.
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to air one's dirty linen in public
My mother taught me not to air my dirty linen in public.

To be restless or incapable of sitting still.
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to have ants in one's pants
What's going on with this child, does she have ants in her pants?

Used when talking about the reckless spending of money
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to burn a hole in one's pocket
When I get my salary I just have to spend it, the money burns a hole in my pocket.

To be very busy or overcrowded.
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bursting at the seams
This cinema is bursting at the seams, I don't think we are going to get tickets for tonight.

Don't lose your temper.
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Keep your shirt on!
You'd better keep your shirt on, it's not a good time for anger.

To lose all your money (usually in a business venture or by gambling).
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to lose one's shirt
He went into business with Thomson and lost his shirt.

Too rigid or formal.
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stuffed shirt
I know he's a big cheese, but he's too much of a stuffed shirt to me.

To be in someone else's place or position.
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to be in someone else's shoes
I tell you wouldn't like to be in my shoes.

To have a very small amount of money for something.
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on a shoestring budget
Ok, we will have a party, it's going to be on a shoestring budget.

To have something in reserve in case it is needed.
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to have a card up one's sleeve
She seems to always have a card up her sleeve, she has never been in serious trouble.

To prepare to work hard.
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to roll up one's sleeves
Let's roll up our sleeves and begin drilling.

Used to tell someone to shut up.
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Put a sock in it.
Oh, just put a sock in it and stop complaining.

To be completely naked.
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to be in one's birthday suit
I was ashamed when she accidentally saw me in me birthday suit.

To be the boss of a family or household.
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to wear the trousers in the house/family
It happens more and more often that the woman is the person who wears the trousers in the family.

To keep quiet about something. (Usually with an implied threat.)
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to keep it zipped
I'd better keep it zipped or else...

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