O C I A
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- To have winning ways
- Frank is welcome at every
party we give: he really has winning ways!
- To find one's way into the people's hearts
was such a lovely girl, that she always found her way into people's hearts.
Avere una buona
comunicativa, un buon modo di fare con tutti
explain that to the Japanese group? Let's send Ed: he has a common touch
with just about anyone!
Did you see Belinda? She has a real common touch... she's going to bring the
- To mind one's Ps and Qs
better mind your Ps and Qs when we are at grandmother's dinner: it's a formal
occasion, with all our parents.
- To be full of beans
- Let's see Gino
dancing: he's full of beans!
- To have oomph (to have get-up-and-go)
such a lively person, with plenty of oomph and get-up-and-go!
- To hold one's head up high
was so funny holding his head up high, walking all dressed up walking arm in arm
with his girlfriend.
- To see eye to eye with someone
don't like Jim, but when it's to do with football, I see eye to eye with him.
Essere in disaccordo
- To be at odds
has been at odds with her colleagues over the new night shift.
- To have a thing about
someone, about something
- He's asking about you all the
time: he's really got a thing about you.
Thelma has been working hard to curry favor with the management of the
Betsy's so toady... she betrayed her firends to curry favor with the
- To have truck with
- The owner
of the factory gave in to the demands of his workers, as he didn't want any truck
To (be) stuck with someone, with something
So, working in the company you'll be
stuck with me!
If you like Fiona you'll be stuck with her difficult character...
Riconoscere qualcosa a
hand it to
We've got to
hand it to Tricia: she's not a genius, but she knows how to show what she has
I've to hand it to
it in a big way.
have a lot of cheek
- He had a lot of cheek, begging her
pardon after having touched her again and again, in the middle of the crowd.
- To tickle someone's fancy
more than an hour talking and talking, I hope I tickled her fancy!
- To go with the flow
is a good person to hang around with, as he always just goes with the flow.
- To go against the grain
so individual and peculiar, going against the grain, especially when he wants
to show how original he is.
- To play something by ear
arrange the appointment now, then we'll play it by ear.
- To take something as read (to take someone's word for
- I'll be there in a minute, take it as read!
Take my word for it!
- To paint the town red
the training was finished, all the guys went out to paint the town red.
- The more the merrier
them all come with us: the more the merrier!
- To treat someone with kid-gloves
is so moody and fussy: it's better you treat her with kid-gloves when you go out
with her tonight.
- To put out the flags
- Thank you for the warm wonderful
welcome: you've put out the flags for us!
have an egg on one's face
egg on its face for the
loss of credibility...
he behaved like a burk!
Our new teacher?... He had
been made to look so stupid by talking nonsense… he really had egg on his
- No man's an island
on, Dan... come with us tonight! You're becoming introverted by never going out!
no man's an island!
let one's hair down
- She made me laugh my head off, I really
let my hair down!
- All hell broke loose
- All hell broke loose in the
disco when the plastered guy tried to touch Sam's girlfriend.
In carne ed ossa (quando si incontra un
- In the flesh
Incredible but true: there
was, in the flesh, the famous actress
just back from the nominations
- To be as dull as ditchwater
can't stand Harry, speaking all the time about his football club! He really is
as dull as ditchwater!
Una noia, una palla, una
- For the birds
to listen to the lecture: it was so boring, so meaningless... it was for the
- To bore the pants off someone
nice, but so heavy: she never talks and she hardly responds at all: she really
bores the pants off me!
- (not) to relish the idea
sorry I didn't come: I didn't relish the idea of seeing that film.
- To turn one's nose up
- When they
told him how much there was to pay, he turned his nose up and left.
- To pike somebody
- Sorry Joan, there
was a misunderstanding: it wasn't my intention to pike you!
- To have butterflies in one's stomach
always have butterflies in my stomach before meeting a new girl!
- To cool one's heels
- I called
Lucy and we arranged an appointment, but I had to wait forty minutes for her.
I had to cool my heels!
- To disappear into thin air
- Do you know anything
about him? He's disappeared into thin air!
- To appear out of the blue
John, what a nice surprise! You've appeared out of the blue!
do a double-take
- I had to do a double-take before recognizing
her, when she was shopping on the other side of the street.
- To chew the fat
and Sally were drinking beer and chewing the fat, whilst the party was going on.
To rub shoulder with someone
The city's glitterati used to rub shoulders with donning gentlemen and
To latch on to somebody
Charlie's used to latch on to the groups
so as to talk with pretty students...
- To ram
something down somebody's throat
- The lecturer is so intrusive:
he enjoys ramming his political points of view down our throats!
On the nod
We were starving to death, so the dinner proposal went through on the nod.
- To understand what makes someone tick
so strange and moody... none of us can understand what makes her tick.
- To cut no ice with
to explain what happened was a waste of time: it cut no ice with her.
- Flattery will get you
- I'm not going to give you a lift, Sally, so you
can stop complimenting me: flattery will get you nowhere!
- To stop someone short
- I'm sorry:
no time left! I have to stop you short.
- To pick a bone with someone (to take
someone up on something)
- She's going to pick a bone with
me (to take me up on something)... I didn't wait for her at the appointment we
arranged for New Year's Eve!
Chiedere in ginocchio,
- On bended knee
felt guilty so he went down on bended knee to ask Lisa to forgive him.
- To turn on the waterworks
don't like kids: they are so temperamental, turning on the waterworks for toys
- To draw the line at
- Sally likes
clubs, but she confessed to drawing the line at dancing all night long, every
weekend like Sheila does.
- To have a peg to hang a grievance on
- The old lady
always had a peg to hang her grievance on, complaining all the time about public
talk bollocks (to talk rubbish)
- Forget Jimmy: he's always
talking bollocks! (talking rubbish!)
I'm trying to concentrate! So, please...
don't bug me now!
Ugh, what a bore! Dan's been bugging me
all the time...
I've to work extra hours for no extra
money... It really bugs me!
- To make a drama out of a
crisis (to make a mountain out of a mole-hill)
stop making a drama out of a crisis (a mountain out of a mole-hill): I didn't
want to offend you... it was only a joke, believe me!
- A free-for-all (a brawl, a rumble,
a donnybrook, a mêlée)
joined in the argument: it was a bit of a free-for-all.
The end of the match sparked a free-for-all in the pub.
- To be in the nature of the beast
and Tom are a nice couple, even if they always argue. Nothing strange: it's in
the nature of the beast.
- To get short shrift
giving my problems short shrift, but talking hours about yours... I don't like
- To put
one's foot in one's mouth (to drop a brick)
- I'm sorry,
I really put my foot in my mouth by saying such a bad thing!
- The three Rs ('readin',
- He's a good brick, even if he's a
simple person: having been brought up in the countryside, he only received the
three Rs education.
- To lord it over
Lisa’s just been promoted
enjoys lording it over her
- Somebody's bark is worse than their bite
bloke's a bit surly, but his bark is worse than his bite.
- To take somebody for a ride
didn't love you at all, she was taking you for a ride!
- To take the piss (out
They're always taking the
piss out of Dan because he's very touchy.
should go to the disco more often… you such a good dancer!” – “Hey dude… are
you taking the piss?”
Ten pounds for this bottle
of crappy wine… that’s taking the piss!
- To lead someone up the garden
- I can't stand Marion's manners: that's why I always
lead her up the garden path during our gatherings.
- To harm a hair on
- She was so in love with him that she never
would harm a hair on his head.
- To be mad at someone
be so mad at me! I never forced you into mind games.
Essere criticati duramente
- Taken the flak
taken a lot of
flak for his views on
East European women.
- to be laughing up one's sleeve
don't like the way you're laughing up your sleeve, because you found her shyness
ridiculous... mind your own business!
- To be like water off a duck's back
is so acid with his sarcastic humour, but it doesn't work with me: it's like water
off a duck's back.
- To cut somebody to the quick
- The way they grudgingly
accepted us at the party cut me to the quick.
- Someone's patience wearing thin
attention! My patience is wearing thin!
- To be off-putting
had enough of your bad manners: you're so off-putting!
- To take the biscuit
took the biscuit when she started looking down on us at the party: it was too
Reagire, uscire da uno
stato di inferiorità o sudditanza
worm has turned
always been obedient, but days ago she told me to stop doing things my own
way... mmmh: the worm has turned!
- To get it off
- Try to get it off your chest, and tell me
all of that bad story!
- To give someone a piece of one's mind
- She really
gave me a piece of her mind: she warned me never to joke about racism.
- Cruising for a bruising
group of yobs drank a lot of beer and then they left the pub, cruising for a bruising.
- To settle old scores
will not sleep a wink till the day I can settle all old scores with him!
Vendicarsi, prendersi una rivincita
- To get even with
Tricia, stop it! You just try to get even with Ed for your past argument..
you'd better break off.
- To keep one's nose clean
the ringleader was arrested, Ben decided to keep his nose clean.
indesiderati, levarsi di mezzo, filare via
- To take a hike
The police are coming to clear
us out... c'mon boys... take a hike!
- To give a dog a bad
name (and hang him)
- Since the scandal broke out it's been
a hard life for Jim... you know: give a dog a bad name!
- Why break the habit
of a lifetime?
- We don't believe that Peter will stop going
out with the wrong people: why break the habit of a lifetime?
- To have someone by the short and curlies
couldn't really say 'no' when she asked him to lie for her: she had him by the
short and curlies!
- To stoop to something
- He would stoop to anything
in the name of his career and social climbing.
- To dance to someone's tune
OK, we'll stay at home watching the telly, but I think that I'm dancing to your
- To hold one's tongue in order to keep peace
in all, it was better to hold our tongues after seeing that bad quarrel.
- To sweep something under the carpet
not telling me the truth! You are sweeping something under the carpet!
- To open a hornet's nest
discovered her love letters whilst cleaning the drawer... I never suspected that
I was opening a hornet's nest!
- To pull the wool over somebody's eyes
tells his fantastic past to every girl he meets: maybe he is trying to pull the
wool over their eyes.
Guardare qualcuno in
- To look daggers at someone
Amanda started looking at daggers at
me with mean eyes... no one knew the reason why!
- To walk all over somebody
- I can't
stand the impolite way you treat Lona! You really walk all over her!
- Enough is enough
is enough! I really can't stand you!
Ripagare con la stessa
- To get
even with somebody
he'd get even with Beverly: she really went too far at the last party.
- To tell someone where to get off (to get
- I kicked up a stink, and when I saw that she didn't
even try to justify her behaviour, I told her where to get off! Get lost!
Calmare le acque
take the heat off
dean's resignation over the freshers' scandal has taken the heat off
the criticism he had to deal with.
be glad to see the back of somebody, of something
Last night we had a farewell
party for Mary, but I'm glad to see the back of her… I'm glad she’s gone.
The bad weather came and
went and I was glad to see the back of it: I can’t stand the rain.
There was sadness over
he was strange but we’re far from
being glad to see the back of him.
- Drown one's sorrows
better you try to forget her in a different way, instead of drowning your sorrows.
Il migliore in
- The cream of the crop
the best teacher
here, he's really the cream of the crop
hire new employees they look for the cream of the crop.
Ben made very good grades in
school... he's an egghead!
- (to be) a good sport (a good egg)
- Sam is a really
sociable person: always talking and enjoying the company... he's a good sport!
(a good egg!)
Una persona molto attiva,
- A busy bee
A busy bee... he's always doin' a lot of
Uno stakanovista, uno che
si identifica con l'azienda, con il lavoro
values his job for more than anything else... he's a company man, he'll work
till he die!
Al?... full of
eagerness… he’s gung-ho about his new job at the school.
Peter’s a gung-ho: he loves extreme
sports... he’s always very eager to do something dangerous.
all the nerve
- We are no longer on speaking terms, and
he still expects me to say "hello" to him... of all the nerve!
- A bull-headed
determined to get what he wants… He’s so bull-headed!
admit that others' opinions are just as good as yours… don't be so
- A pain in the arse (a pain in the neck)
is a good person, but such a pain in the arse! (in the neck!)
- A party pooper
will never call you again! You're such a party pooper, always spoiling the guys'
enjoyment by disapproving everything.
- A misery guts
- The old
misery guts was always complaining about modern society.
Una persona strana,
- A crackpot
Tom's a total crackpot... you never know what he will do in a party.
I'm sorry Ned: you can't depend on me to
do that... I'm a real green.
- (to be) half-witted (booby, duffer, jerk)
can you respect him? He's an idler and really half-witted (booby, duffer, jerk).
- Not to be the full shilling (to have a screw loose)
not completely stupid, just not quite the full shilling!
(to be), unhinged
Nigel?... he has been unhinged for months now... he's basically crazy!
A smooth operator; a shrewd operator
good at persuading people getting what he wants... he's a smooth operator!
Albert a good friend? He's a shrewd operator... you know you can't trust him!
flies on somebody
- He's a wily person, ready to grab every
opportunity... no flies on him!
- A creep
your distance from me, you creep! You make my skin crawl!
- (to be) no oil painting, a plain Jane
Belinda's intelligent, open-minded,
agreeable but... to be honest she's no oil painting!
If Fiona'd been a plain Jane, she wouldn't have had all Marc's attention!
- (to be) a minger (A face like the back of
- She is a very deep intelligent person, but she's
a minger! She has got a face like the back of a bus!
- A wino, a soaker, a
boozer, a barfly
- The poor wino was rummaging
in the rubbish, looking for some alcohol.
- (to be) a nasty piece of work
don't like Benjamin and I can't rely on him: I think he's a nasty piece of work.
- Someone from hell
cousin is the worst person I ever met: the relative from hell!
- Some of
the shops that sell the cheap stuff are full of noisy riff-raff.
The club doesn't want to let riff-raff in, pushing and shoving.
- A good friend is worth their weight
- I had been thinking that things were going from
bad to worse, when you arrived to help me... a good friend is worth their weight
up with somebody
- I'm so happy that we soon took up with
speaking breeds long friendship
- I don't want to see what
happened between us happen again! I told you... plain speaking breeds long friendship.
- Fair weather friends
they ignored all my last invitations, I don't consider them good friends, they
are more like fair weather friends.
- To have friends in high places (at court)
think we could work out that project: I have friends in high places (at court)
in that company.
- A friend in need is a friend indeed
I had called him, he knocked at my door in ten minutes flat, bringing candles
for the black-out: a friend in need is a friend indeed.
- A mutual friend
- They met during
a dinner party, having a mutual friend who invited them.
- To be joined at the hip (to be bosom buddies)
can undermine our mutual respect: we are joined at the hip (bosom buddies)!
- A faithful friend
- He was always
so loyal to me... a really faithful friend.
- A friend of long-standing.
We met for the first time at University... we really are friends of long-standing.
- A woman friend ("J.G.F." just good friends)
is not my girl friend, she is only a woman friend of mine: J.G.F.!
- A piece of friendly advice
see them anymore: they are bad company... I'm only giving you a piece of friendly
- A long-lost friend
- I haven't seen you in the month
of Sundays! You're here after so many years abroad, long-lost friend!
- To drop a friend
- I'll never drop
a friend in a moment of need.
- To bury the hatchet
- After our
frank explanation, I think we can bury the hatchet.
- To part as good friends
mind Jack, our points of view are too different, let's part as good friends.
- Friends and acquaintances
invited friends and acquaintances for the dinner party.
- A nodding acquaintance
really can't say anything about her: she was only a nodding acquaintance.
- With friends like that who needs enemies?
promised to help me and to come immediately, but I am still waiting on the road
with the car's engine packed up... with friends like those, who needs enemies?!
- A snake in the grass
believe in Jerry's toady manners: he's trying to take you in: he's a snake in
- The birds and the bees
John was of a certain age, his father took him to one side and told him about
the birds and the bees.
- To get fresh
- She was
really cheeky dancing so close to Nick, plainly showing she wanted to get fresh
Un segnale sessuale, un "ingaggio"
- A come-on
Don't be so foolish Albert, be cool!
Mandy was just smiling, it really wasn't a come-on!
When you enter the pub always start
giving the come-on to the birds... Al, you're so trivial!
To light one's fire
Kate was so demanding when it came to
sex... John finally lit her fire and made a trembling mess of her!
- Wandering hands
is famous for his wandering hands, that's why all the girls don't want to go out
- To have
one's wicked way
- I think Marcus should have had his wicked
way with Liz, when he brought her to spend the whole week-end in the countryside.
- A bit of how's your father
heard they used the hotel elevator for a bit of how's your father!
- To get one's oats
they are a brilliant couple, and I'm sure they get plenty of oats!
- One-night stand
- She confessed
that having a one-night stand with him was a very frustrating sexual experience.
- To get one's rocks off
sure that Philip is dating Alice just to get his rocks off... he confessed to
me that he feels nothing for her.
- A bit of all right
you ever meet Julia? Cor! She's a bit of all right.
- A bit of stuff (a bit of
skirt, of totty, a piece of ass)
- Have you seen Sally's
new friend? She's a nice bit of stuff (a nice bit of totty, a piece of ass)!
- A head-turner
a such a head-turner: the way she walks is always a show stopper.
- To be kittenish
- Jane is so girly
and sensual and, what's more, she's so kittenish... it's hard to resist her!
- A bit of rough
likes having sexual partners from lower social classes.. the last time she was
with a bit of rough.. the plumber, I suppose.
- All is fair in love and war
knowing her Sean pretended to be a member of the Club just to get a chance to
dance with her! You know... all is fair in love and war.
- To fuss over someone
the early days of our going out together, I used to fuss excessively over her!
- To get on like a house on fire
and Cindy became friends quickly and they seem to like each other very much...
they're getting on like a house on fire.
- To be the apple of one's eye
are the apple of my eye! I love you!
- To make a hit on somebody
John met her in the disco, she made a hit on him: he has really taken to her.
- To date
dozens of calls, Frank is finally dating Calvin's sister.
- To play hard to get
always plays hard to get when she first meets a guy that she fancies... she knows
that this will make them more interested.
- Tom, Dick and Harry
is not very choosy: she goes out with any old Tom, Dick and Harry.
- Try to be polite with her, and always
let her pass before you: it is a matter of gallantry!
- To behave like a perfect gentleman
if I didn't love her, I always behaved like a perfect gentleman.
- The knight in shining armour
she met him, and immediately he was her knight in shining armour!
- (not) to be someone's cup of tea
not sure about my feelings... I don't think you are my cup of tea!
- Birds of a feather flock together
you seen them? They have such similar characters and interests, it's really a
case of birds of a feather!
- To take a fancy to someone
- From the first time
I met Mandy I took a fancy to her, but it was not real love.
- To fall for someone in a big way
fell for her in a big way: I used to think about her all the time.
- To be potty about someone (to fall under someone's
spell, to be nuts about someone)
- I'm so potty (nuts) about
her (I fell under her spell), I even dream about her all night long!
- To be head over heels
be honest, I'm head over heels about you!
- To live in each other's pockets
were so in love that we were living in each other's pockets!
- To feel a pang in one's heart
decided to stop dating me, so I felt a pang in my heart.
- To make someone's day
have to thank you for unexpectedly calling me, after so many days of silence.
What a nice surprise! You really made my day!
- Bless her (his, their..) cotton socks
feel a deep affection for Lisa... bless her cotton-socks, she's always in my heart
and in my mind.
- A hen party
- Brenda is going to
marry, so she has arranged her hen party for this weekend.
- To get hitched (to tie the knot)
Diana and Chuck got hitched out in Vegas.
Who the hell do you think you are?
A playboy? Suppose you try... when
are you going to tie the knot?
- A hen-pecked husband
will never go out with us tonight: he's too hen-pecked.
- Two's company, three's a crowd
the first time we're going out together, so try to consider that two's company,
three's a crowd! I don't want to see anybody else but you!
- Strained relations
- They are not exactly
a happy couple: their relations are strained!
- It has worn off
years spent living together, their passion has worn off.
- To be as different as chalk and cheese
- There is nothing between you and me: we're as different as chalk and cheese.
- To get the boot; to give the boot
split because of Tom's secret letters: she found and read some of them, and then
decided to give him the boot!
- To be on the rebound
is on the rebound: she went straight into another relationship after her marriage
broke up... but it doesn't work.