Popular Expressions A - Z

 

 

 

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get a kick out of (something): to think something is funny, amusing, entertaining, or interesting.

She got a big kick out of watching her kids perform in the school play.

woman smiling

get a handle on (something): to understand; to figure something out.

Valerie is trying to get a handle on how well her company did last month in sales.

woman on phone

 

get a load of this: look at this; this is amusing.

Get a load of this! There are a couple of buffalo in that field over there.

buffalobuffalo

man with binoculars

 

(not) get a word in edgewise: to be able to say something in a conversation. (this is almost always used with the negative)

This guy I met at a party dominated the conversation so much that I couldn't get a word in edgewise.

 

talking

 

get down to brass tacks: communicate plainly; tell the truth or find the essence of a situation.

Harold needs to get down to brass tacks and figure out a new strategy for his internet business.

 

man on phone

get in on the ground floor: to be a new employee of a big company or organization.

Kumar is happy to get in on the ground floor of the company that he works at. Someday he thinks he'll be able to rise into upper management.

 

young man

get into hot water: to get into trouble; to have a troubled relationship.

Simon got into some hot water with his boss when he forgot to turn in important paperwork.

hot water

get into the swing of things: to learn how to do something new; to adapt.

He started working at his new job a few months ago, and now he's really starting to get into the swing of things.

man working

get off on the wrong foot: to begin a relationship with a bad experience; to have a bad start.

Dora got off on the wrong foot with a coworker, so she's trying to repair the damage.

foot

get something off the ground: to start something; to start a business.

They're trying to get a new software company off the ground.

meeting

get one's act together: to improve one's bad situation; to figure out a challenging problem and move forward for success.

Leroy just can't get his act together. He's 42, he still lives with his parents, and he can't find a job.

man

 

get (one's) feet wet: to get some experience.

Once Beth got her feet wet in the business of entertainment, she decided to become a talent agent.

 

woman on phone

get on (one's) nerves: to create disturbance; to cause irritation.

Driving to work every day in heavy traffic is getting on Matt's nerves.

man

get on the bandwagon: to become part of a popular movement--usually used for sports and popular activities; to support someone after a series of successes. Also jump on the bandwagon.

Now that the home team has won the division title, George is ready to get on the bandwagon.

golf

get out from under something: to eliminate a problem, such as an abundance of work or debt.

Once they get out from under all their debt and save some money, Tony and Lisa plan to buy a house.

hands writing

get someone's goat: to make someone angry.

This constant snowfall is starting to get his goat.

snowfall

get someone out of one's mind: to try to stop thinking about someone.

Harold can't get his old girlfriend out of his mind. He still thinks about her a lot.

woman

get something on someone: to find evidence of wrongdoing; to prove criminal activity.

The police finally got something on Eddie and took him to jail.

bad guy

get the ball rolling: to get started; to begin a big project.

Sam can't wait to get the ball rolling on his next construction project.

worker

get the lead out: move faster; work harder.

The coach told his players to get the lead out when he noticed that they weren't taking their practice seriously.

"Come on! Get the lead out!"

coach

get something through (one's) head: to understand; to learn from experience.

Todd never got it through his head that a life of crime would result in going to prison.

 

prisoner

get under (one's) skin: to bother; to cause discomfort; to feel squeamish.

It gets under my skin whenever I find bugs in my house.

bug

get up on the wrong side of the bed: to have a bad day; to feel irritable all day.

Wendy must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today. She's mad at everyone, but no one knows why.

 

angry woman

give someone a piece of (one's) mind: to express an opinion. Sometimes this is an expression of anger.

He gave the person helping him on the phone a piece of his mind after he received a bill for something he didn't order.

a man on the phone

give it (one's) best shot: to try one's best; to work hard at a challenge.

Bobby knows that becoming a professional basketball player is not easy, but he's going to give it his best shot.

basketball

give someone a break: to help someone out; to offer support.

We should stop and give this guy a break. It looks like he needs a ride.

hitchhiker

give someone the evil eye: to look at someone in a way that creates fear; to stare at someone with malicious intent.

Sarah has been giving her old boyfriend the evil eye all night. She's mad because he broke up with her.

evil eve woman

give the benefit of the doubt: to believe that what someone says or claims is true.

Tom is such a great boss. He's always willing to give his employees the benefit of the doubt.

 

boss

give someone the finger: to express anger with your middle finger. (Caution: this is a very offensive gesture in the United States.)

Someone gave me the finger today while I was driving, so I gave it right back at him.

give the finger

give the go-ahead: to tell someone it's okay to do something; to permit activity.

Okay. Dave is giving you the go-ahead to move your truck.

give the go ahead

 

give the shirt off of one's back: to be very generous; to share past the limit of one's abilities.

Jason was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt of his back. It's too bad he passed away.

 

man in golf cart

go fly a kite: (This expression is used when you are angry at someone. It's similar to "get lost" or "go screw yourself.")

Fatima's neighbors told her to go fly a kite when she asked them to turn down their music at night.

kite

go jump in the lake: similar to "go fly a kite." This is an expression of anger or irritation.

When a homeless man asked Tina for some money, she told him to go jump in the lake.

lake

go in one ear and out the other: not to listen to what someone says.

Jerry refuses to believe that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. It just goes in one ear and out the other.

racing

gone with the wind: something disappears very quickly.

After paying the rent and other bills, our paychecks are gone with the wind at the end of the month.

 

poof

goodness gracious: Wow! (This expression is used when someone is surprised, excited, or upset about something.

Goodness gracious! That's a tall building.

skyscraper

goody two-shoes: a person who is always on his or her best behavior; a person who is extremely well-behaved. Sometimes this expression is used in a negative manner as an insult.

He got mad at another boy who called him a goody two-shoes, so he hit the boy just to prove that he wasn't so good.

 

boy on swing

go out of one's mind: to feel like someone is losing control or going crazy; this is often used as an exaggeration.

She's going to go out her mind if she can't find a new job.

stress in the office

go out of fashion: a style of clothing, behavior, food, language, etc. is no longer popular; also, out of style.

Covering a woman's body from head to toe went out of fashion in the United States many years ago. Now women can wear whatever they want to.

woman

go over someone's head: to go beyond a person in authority, such as a supervisor or manager; to talk to a supervisor's supervisor.

She decided to go over her boss's head when he refused to listen to her complaints.

businesswoman

go through the roof: to get really mad.

His wife went through the roof when he told her he couldn't stop at the store to pick up some groceries.

office stress

go to great lengths: to work very hard at something; to try hard.

Isabel has gone to great lengths to learn ballet.

ballerina
the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence: sometimes we envy the things our neighbors have, but it's often the case that their situation is not as good as we think it is.
neighborhood

great minds think alike: to do or think as another person does.

When Brian saw that Claudia had bought the same computing device that he had bought, he said to her, "Great minds must think alike."

 

kid  kid on computer

grind to a halt: to stop completely; to stop a big project.

When Mark got hit on the head with a brick, everything ground to a halt. Construction continued after the ambulance came and took him to the hospital.

worker

 

 

 

 

 

 

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