Idioms and Phrases

These idioms are compiled from the Cambridge International Dictionary.The Cambridge International Dictionary explains over 7,000 idioms current in British, American and other English speaking countries, helping learners to understand them and use them with confidence. The Cambridge Dictionary, based on the 200 million words of English text in the Cambridge International Corpus, unlocks the meaning of more than 5,000 idiomatic phrases used in contemporary English. Full-sentence examples show how idioms are really used.

The Cambridge University Press is respected worldwide for its commitment to advancing knowledge, education, learning and research. It was founded on a Royal Charter granted to the University by Henry VIII in 1534 and has been operating continuously as a printer and publisher since the first Press book was printed in 1584.

Here is the list of idioms beginning with

  1. be a dab hand at
  2. at daggers drawn
  3. look daggers at
  4. rattle your dags
  5. fresh as a daisy
  6. pushing up the daisies
  7. what is the damage
  8. as near as dammit
  9. as near as damn it
  10. not give a damn
  11. damn someone with faint praise
  12. damn something with faint praise
  13. not be worth a damn
  14. damned if you do and damned if you do not
  15. do your damnedest
  16. try your damnedest
  17. Damon and Pythias
  18. a damp squib
  19. put a damper on
  20. put a dampener on
  21. put the damper on
  22. put the dampener on
  23. damsel in distress
  24. dance attendance on
  25. dance to his tune
  26. lead someone a dance
  27. lead someone a merry dance
  28. get your dander up
  29. keep someone dangling
  30. a dark horse
  31. keep someone in the dark
  32. keep something dark
  33. a shot in the dark
  34. a stab in the dark
  35. never darken his door
  36. never darken his doorstep
  37. cut a dash
  38. do your dash
  39. a blind date
  40. pass your sell-by date
  41. nothing daunted
  42. Davy Jones’s locker
  43. the crack of dawn
  44. a false dawn

  45. all in a days work
  46. at the end of the day
  47. call it a day
  48. carry the day
  49. win the day
  50. day in day out
  51. day of reckoning
  52. do not give up the day job
  53. from day one
  54. have had your day
  55. have had its day
  56. if he is a day
  57. if she is a day
  58. just another day at the office
  59. make a day of it
  60. make his day
  61. not his day
  62. one of those days
  63. a red letter day
  64. seen better days
  65. known better days
  66. that will be the day
  67. those were the days
  68. beat the living daylights out of
  69. burn daylight
  70. frighten the living daylights out of
  71. scare the living daylights out of
  72. see daylight
  73. dead and buried
  74. dead as a dodo
  75. dead as the dodo
  76. dead as a doornail
  77. dead as mutton
  78. a dead cat bounce
  79. dead from the neck up
  80. dead from the chin up
  81. dead in the water
  82. a dead letter
  83. dead meat
  84. dead mens shoes
  85. the dead of night
  86. the dead of winter
  87. dead on your feet
  88. dead to the world
  89. from the dead
  90. make a dead set at
  91. over my dead body
  92. would not be seen dead in
  93. would not be seen dead with
  94. would not be seen dead at
  95. would not be caught dead in
  96. would not be caught dead with
  97. would not be caught dead at
  98. deaf as an adder
  99. deaf as a post
  100. fall on deaf ears
  101. a big deal
  102. big deal
  103. a raw deal
  104. a rough deal
  105. a square deal
  106. at deaths door
  107. be the death of
  108. be frightened to death
  109. be in at the death
  110. catch your death
  111. catch your death of cold
  112. a death’s head at the feast
  113. die a death
  114. die the death
  115. do something to death
  116. a fate worse than death
  117. like death warmed up
  118. a matter of life and death
  119. not playing with a full deck
  120. on deck
  121. dig deep
  122. go off the deep end
  123. go in off the deep end
  124. in deep waters
  125. jump in at the deep end
  126. be thrown in at the deep end
  127. deliver the goods
  128. delusions of grandeur
  129. like a demon
  130. hidden depths
  131. out of your depth
  132. have a derry on someone
  133. get your just deserts
  134. receive your just deserts
  135. have designs on
  136. despite yourself
  137. a deuce of a
  138. the deuce of a
  139. the deuce to pay
  140. like the deuce
  141. leave someone to their own devices
  142. between the devil and the deep blue sea
  143. devil may care
  144. a devil of a
  145. the devil of a
  146. the devils in the detail
  147. the devils own
  148. the devil to pay
  149. give the devil his due
  150. like the devil
  151. like a demon
  152. play devils advocate
  153. play the devil with
  154. play Old Harry with
  155. raise the devil
  156. sell your soul
  157. sell your soul to the devil
  158. speak of the devil
  159. talk of the devil
  160. sup with the devil
  161. dine with the devil
  162. dialogue of the deaf
  163. diamond cut diamond
  164. rough diamond
  165. dice with death
  166. load the dice against someone
  167. load the dice in favour of someone
  168. no dice
  169. not a dicky bird
  170. have swallowed a dictionary
  171. cut didoes
  172. die a death
  173. die the death
  174. die hard
  175. die in your bed
  176. die in harness
  177. die in the last ditch
  178. the die is cast
  179. die like flies
  180. die on the vine
  181. die on your feet
  182. die with your boots on
  183. never say die
  184. straight as a die
  185. to die for
  186. agree to differ
  187. different strokes for different folks
  188. dig the dirt
  189. dig up dirt
  190. dig in your heels
  191. dig yourself into a hole
  192. dig a hole for yourself
  193. dig your own grave
  194. dig a pit for
  195. beneath your dignity
  196. stand on your dignity
  197. take a dim view of
  198. a dime a dozen
  199. drop the dime on
  200. drop a dime on
  201. get off the dime
  202. on a dime
  203. the law of diminishing returns
  204. dine out on
  205. fair dinkum
  206. done like dinner
  207. done like a dinner
  208. more than someone has had hot dinners
  209. hand in your dinner pail
  210. by dint of
  211. dip your pen in gall
  212. dip your toe into something
  213. do someone dirt
  214. drag someone through the dirt
  215. drag something through the dirt
  216. drag someone through the mud
  217. drag something through the mud
  218. eat dirt
  219. treat someone like dirt
  220. the dirty end of the stick
  221. dirty work at the crossroads
  222. do the dirty on someone
  223. get your hands dirty
  224. get dirty your hands
  225. play dirty
  226. talk dirty
  227. wash your dirty linen in public
  228. do a disappearing act
  229. be a recipe for disaster
  230. discretion is the better part of valour
  231. dish the dirt
  232. dull as dishwater
  233. dull as ditch water
  234. go the distance
  235. within spitting distance
  236. within striking distance
  237. take a dive
  238. divide and rule
  239. divide and conquer
  240. divided against itself
  241. whistle dixie
  242. do a
  243. do your head in
  244. do your nut in
  245. do the honours
  246. do or die
  247. do someone proud
  248. do something to death
  249. do the trick
  250. dos and donots
  251. in dock
  252. in the dock
  253. be just what the doctor ordered
  254. go for the doctor
  255. dodge the column
  256. dead as a dodo
  257. dead as the dodo
  258. dead as the dodo
  259. dog and pony show
  260. dog eat dog
  261. dog in the manger
  262. the dog’s bollocks
  263. a dog’s dinner
  264. a dog’s breakfast
  265. a dog’s life
  266. dog tired
  267. dogs of war
  268. dressed like a dog’s dinner
  269. dressed up like a dog’s dinner
  270. every dog has his day
  271. every dog has its day
  272. every dog has its day
  273. give a dog a bad name
  274. go to the dogs
  275. the hair of the dog
  276. help a lame dog over a stile
  277. in a dogs age
  278. keep a dog and bark yourself
  279. let the dog see the rabbit
  280. let sleeping dogs lie
  281. like a dog with two tails
  282. not a dog’s chance
  283. put on the dog
  284. rain cats and dogs
  285. sick as a dog
  286. throw someone to the dogs
  287. you cannot teach an old dog new tricks
  288. lie doggo
  289. in the doghouse
  290. in the dogbox
  291. be dollars to doughnuts that
  292. you can bet your bottom dollar
  293. a done deal
  294. done for
  295. done in
  296. for donkeys years
  297. all of a doodah
  298. doom and gloom
  299. till doomsday
  300. as one door closes another opens
  301. at death’s door
  302. close the door on
  303. close the door to
  304. shut the door on
  305. shut the door to
  306. door to door
  307. lay something at his door
  308. leave the door open for
  309. open the door to
  310. show him the door
  311. a toe in the door
  312. dead as a doornail
  313. on the doorstep
  314. on your doorstep
  315. a dose of your own medicine
  316. in small doses
  317. like a dose of salts
  318. dot the i and cross the t
  319. on the dot
  320. the year dot
  321. at the double
  322. on the double
  323. double or nothing
  324. a double-edged sword
  325. a double-edged weapon
  326. a doubting Thomas
  327. flutter the dovecotes
  328. down and dirty
  329. down and out
  330. down in the mouth
  331. down on your luck
  332. down the road
  333. down the tubes
  334. down to the ground
  335. down tools
  336. have someone down as
  337. put someone down as
  338. have something down as
  339. put something down as
  340. have a down on
  341. have be down on
  342. on the downgrade
  343. be downhill all the way
  344. go downhill
  345. downwardly mobile
  346. a baker’s dozen
  347. talk nineteen to the dozen
  348. drag your feet
  349. drag your heels
  350. drag someone through the dirt
  351. drag something through the dirt
  352. drag someone through the mud
  353. drag something through the mud
  354. chase the dragon
  355. sow dragon’s teeth
  356. plant dragon’s teeth
  357. down the drain
  358. make a drama out of
  359. feel the draught
  360. draw a bead on
  361. draw a blank
  362. draw his fire
  363. draw the line at
  364. draw a line at
  365. draw the short straw
  366. draw stumps
  367. the luck of the draw
  368. quick on the draw
  369. bottom drawer
  370. back to the drawing board
  371. on the drawing board
  372. beyond your wildest dreams
  373. dream in colour
  374. dream in Technicolour
  375. in your dreams
  376. like a dream
  377. never in your wildest dreams
  378. dressed to kill
  379. drink like a fish
  380. drink someone under the table
  381. drive a coach and horses through
  382. drive something home
  383. let drive
  384. in the drivers seat
  385. in the driving seat
  386. what someone is driving at
  387. at the drop of a hat
  388. drop your aitches
  389. drop the ball
  390. drop a brick
  391. drop your bundle
  392. drop a clanger
  393. drop dead
  394. drop the dime on
  395. drop a dime on
  396. drop your guard
  397. drop a hint
  398. drop hints
  399. drop someone like a hot potato
  400. drop something like a hot potato
  401. drop someone a line
  402. a drop in the ocean
  403. a drop in a bucket
  404. drop names
  405. drop the pilot
  406. drop your trousers
  407. fit to drop
  408. ready to drop
  409. have the drop
  410. drown your sorrows
  411. like a drowned rat
  412. a drug on the market
  413. beat the drum for
  414. beat the drum of
  415. bang the drum for
  416. bang the drum of
  417. march to a different drum
  418. drunk as a lord
  419. drunk as a skunk
  420. come up dry
  421. dry as dust
  422. there was not a dry eye in the house
  423. break your duck
  424. duck and dive
  425. fine weather for ducks
  426. get your ducks in a row
  427. have your ducks in a row
  428. like a dying duck in a thunderstorm
  429. lame duck
  430. take to something like a duck to water
  431. like water off a ducks back
  432. play ducks and drakes with
  433. an ugly duckling
  434. in high dudgeon
  435. up the duff
  436. duke it out
  437. dull as dishwater
  438. dull as ditch water
  439. dull the edge of
  440. sell someone a dummy
  441. down in the dumps
  442. into the dumper
  443. dry as dust
  444. dust and ashes
  445. the dust settles
  446. eat his dust
  447. gather dust
  448. collect dust
  449. not see someone for dust
  450. raise a dust
  451. kick up a dust
  452. a dusty answer
  453. be done and dusted
  454. Dutch courage
  455. a Dutch uncle
  456. go Dutch
  457. in Dutch
  458. that beats the Dutch
  459. I am a Dutchman.
  460. duty bound
  461. in a dwaal
  462. dyed in the wool
  463. to your dying day
  464. put your finger in the dyke

Daft as a brush: (UK) someone who is daft as a brush is rather stupid.

Damp squib: (UK) If something is expected to have a great effect or impact but doesn't, it is a damp squib.

Dancing on someone's grave: If you will dance on someone's grave, you will outlive or outlast them and will celebrate their demise.

Dark horse: If someone is a dark horse, they are a bit of a mystery.

Davey Jones' locker: Davey Jones' locker is the bottom of the sea or resting place of drowned sailors.('Davy Jones' locker' is an alternative spelling.)

Day in the sun: If you have your day in the sun, you get attention and are appreciated.

Daylight robbery: If you are overcharged or underpaid, it is a daylight robbery; open, unfair and hard to prevent. Rip-off has a similar meaning.

Dead air: When there is a period of total silence, there is dead air.

Dead and buried: If something is dead and buried, it has all long been settled and is not going to be reconsidered.

Dead as a dodo: If something's dead as a dodo, it is lifeless and dull. The dodo was a bird that lived the island of Mauritius. It couldn't fly and was hunted to extinction.

Dead as a doornail: This is used to indicate that something is lifeless.

Dead duck: If something is a dead duck, it is a failure.

Dead from the neck up: Someone who's dead from the neck up is very stupid indeed.

Dead heat: If a race ends in a dead heat, two or more finish with exactly the same result.

Dead in the water: If something is dead in the water, it isn't going anywhere or making any progress.

Dead man walking: A dead man walking is someone who is in great trouble and will certainly get punished; lose their job or position, etc, soon.

Dead meat: This is used as a way of threatening someone: You'll be dead meat if you don't go along.

Dead men's shoes: If promotion or success requires replacing somebody, then it can only be reached by dead men's shoes' by getting rid of them.

Dead to the world: If somebody's fast asleep and completely unaware of what if happening around them, he or she's dead to the world.

Deaf as a post: Someone who is as deaf as a post is unable to hear at all.

Dear John letter: A letter written by a partner explaining why they are ending the relationship is a Dear John letter.

Death of a thousand cuts: If something is suffering the death of a thousand cuts, or death by a thousand cuts, lots of small bad things are happening, none of which are fatal in themselves, but which add up to a slow and painful demise.

Death warmed up: (UK) If someone looks like death warmed up, they look very ill indeed. ('death warmed over' is the American form)

Deep pockets: If someone has deep pockets, they are wealthy.

Deliver the goods: Do what is required, come up to expectations. For example, Kate delivered the goods and got us the five votes we needed. This phrase alludes to delivering an order of groceries or other items. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]

Demon weed: Tobacco is the demon weed.

Derring-do: If a person shows derring-do, they show great courage.

Devil finds work for idle hands: When people say that the devil finds work for idle hands, they mean that if people don't have anything to do with their time, they are more likely to get involved in trouble and criminality.

Devil is in the detail: When people say that the devil in the detail, they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on

Devil may care: If you live a devil-may-care life it means you are willing to take more risks than most people.

Devil's advocate: If someone plays Devil's advocate in an argument, they adopt a position they don't believe in just for the sake of the argument

Diamond in the rough: A diamond in the rough is someone or something that has great potential, but isn't not refined and polished.

Die is cast: If the die is cast, a decision has been made that cannot be altered and fate will decide the consequences.

Different kettle of fish: If something is a different kettle of fish, it is very different from the other things referenced.

Different ropes for different folks: (USA) This idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.

Different strokes for different folks: (USA) This idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.

Dig way down deep: When someone digs way down deep, they look into their inner feelings to see how they feel about it.

Dig your heels in: If you dig your heels in, you start to resist something.

Dime a dozen: (USA) If something is a dime a dozen, it is extremely common, possibly too common.

Dine on ashes: I someone is dining on ashes he or she is excessively focusing attention on failures or regrets for past actions.

Dip your toes in the water: If you dip your toes in the water, you try something tentatively because you are not sure whether it will work or not.

Dirty dog: A dirty dog is an untrustworthy person.

Discerning eye: If a person has a discerning eye, they are particularly good at judging the quality of something.

Discretion is the better part of valour: This idiom means that it is often better to think carefully and not act than to do something that may cause problems.

Dish the dirt: If you dish the dirt on something or someone, you make unpleasant or shocking information public.

Do a Devon Loch: (UK) If someone does a Devon Loch, they fail when they were very close to winning. Devon Loch was a horse that collapsed just short of the winning line of the Grand National race.

Do a runner: (UK) If people leave a restaurant without paying, they do a runner.

Do as you would be done by: Treat and respect others as you would hope to be respected and treated by them.

Do the needful: (India) If you do the needful, you do what is necessary.

Do the running: (UK) The person who has to do the running has to make sure that things get done. ('Make the running' is also used.)

Do their dirty work: Someone who does someone's dirty work carries out the unpleasant jobs that the first person doesn't want to do. Someone who seems to enjoy doing this is sometimes known as a 'henchman'.

Do's and don’ts: The do's and don’ts are what is acceptable or allowed or not within an area or issue, etc.

Dodge the bullet: If someone has dodged a bullet, they have successfully avoided a very serious problem.

Dog and pony show: (USA) A dog and pony show is a presentation or some marketing that has lots of style, but no real content.

Dog days: Dog days are very hot summer days.

Dog eat dog: In a dog eat dog world, there is intense competition and rivalry, where everybody thinks only of himself or herself.

Dog in the manger: (UK) If someone acts like a dog in the manger, they don't want other people to have or enjoy things that are useless to them.

Dog tired: If you are dog tired, you are exhausted.

Dog's dinner: Something that is a dog's dinner is a real mess.

Dog's life: If some has a dog's life, they have a very unfortunate and wretched life.

Dog-eared: If a book is dog-eared, it is in bad condition, with torn pages, etc.

Dog-whistle politics: (AU) when political parties have policies that will appeal to racists while not being overtly racist, they are indulging in dog-whistle politics.

Doggy bag: If you ask for a doggy bag in a restaurant, they will pack the food you haven't eaten for you to take home.

Doldrums: If a person is in the doldrums, they are depressed. If a project or something similar is in the doldrums, it isn't making any progress.

Dollars for doughnuts: (USA) If something is dollars for doughnuts; it is a sure bet or certainty.

Don't bite the hand that feeds: When someone says this to you, they are trying to tell you not to act against those on whom you depend.

Don't catch your chickens before they're hatched: This means that you should wait until you know whether something has produced the results you desire, rather than acting beforehand. ('Don't count your chickens until they've hatched' is an alternative.)

Don't cry over spilt milk: When something bad happens and nothing can be done to help it people say, 'Don't cry over spilt milk'.

Don't give up the day job: This idiom is used a way of telling something that they do something badly.

Don't hold your breath: If you are told not to hold your breath, it means that you shouldn't have high expectations about something.

Don't judge a book by the cover: This idiom means that you should not judge something or someone by appearances, but should look deeper at what is inside and more important.

Don't know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon: If you don't know what to do, you don't know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth: This means that if you are given something, a present or a chance, you should not waste it by being too critical or examining it too closely.

Don't mention the war: This means that you shouldn't speak about things that could cause an argument or tension. This idiom was used in a classic episode of the much-loved British comedy series Fawlty Towers. As a consequence if you use this phrase in Britain, listeners will understand you to be referring to Germans, or just start laughing.

Don't push my buttons! : This can be said to someone who is starting to annoy you.

Don't stand there with curlers in your hair: This means 'don't keep me waiting'. It's said to someone who is taking too long to get moving.

Don't sweat the small stuff: (USA) This is used to tell people not to worry about trivial or unimportant issues.

Don't take any wooden nickels: (USA) This idiom is used to advise people not to be cheated or ripped off.

Don't take any wooden nickels: (USA) This is a warning that you should not allow yourself to be cheated or fooled.

Don't throw bricks when you live in a glass house: Don't call others out on actions that you, yourself do. Don't be a hypocrite.

Don't upset the applecart: If you are advised not to upset the applecart, you are being told not to disturb the way things are done because it might ruin things.

Don't wash your dirty laundry in public: (UK) People, especially couples, who argue in front of others or involve others in their personal problems and crises, are said to be washing their dirty laundry in public; making public things that are best left private. (In American English, 'don't air your dirty laundry in public' is used.)

Done to death: If a joke or story has been done to death, it has been told so often that it has stopped being funny.

Donkey's years: This idiom means 'a very long time'.

Doormat: A person who doesn't stand up for themselves and gets treated badly is a doormat.

Dot all the i's and cross all the t's: If you dot all the i's and cross all the t's, you do something very carefully and thoroughly.

Double Dutch: (UK) If something is double Dutch, it is completely incomprehensible.

Double take: If someone does a double take, they react very slowly to something to show how shocked or surprised they are.

Double whammy: A double whammy is when something causes two problems at the same time, or when two setbacks occur at the same time.

Double-edged sword: If someone uses an argument that could both help them and harm them, then they are using a double-edged sword; it cuts both ways.

Doubting Thomas: A Doubting Thomas is someone who only believes what they see themselves, not what they are told.

Down and out: If someone is down and out, they are desperately poor and need help.

Down at heel: Someone who is down at heel is short of money. ('Down in heel' is used in American English)

Down for the count: If someone is down for the count, they have lost a struggle, like a boxer who has been knocked out.

Down in the doldrums: If somebody's down in the doldrums, they are depressed and lacking energy.

Down in the dumps: If someone's down in the dumps, they are depressed.

Down in the mouth: If someone is down in the mouth, they look unhappy or depressed.

Down the drain: If something goes down the drain, especially money or work, it is wasted or produces no results.

Down the hatch: This idiom can be said before drinking alcohol in company.

Down the pan: If something has gone down the pan, it has failed or been ruined.

Down the tubes: If something has gone down the tubes, it has failed or been ruined.

Down to the wire: (USA) If something goes down to the wire, like a competition, then it goes to the very last moment before it is clear who has won.

Down-to-earth: Someone who's down-to-earth is practical and realistic. It can also be used for things like ideas.

Drag your feet: If someone is dragging their feet, they are taking too long to do or finish something, usually because they don't want to do it.

Drag your heels: If you drag your heels, you either delay doing something or do it as slowly as possible because you don't want to do it.

Draw a blank: If you try to find something out and draw a blank, you don't get any useful information.

Draw a line in the sand: If you draw a line in the sand, you establish a limit beyond which things will be unacceptable.

Draw a long bow: If someone draws a long bow, they lie or exaggerate.

Draw the line: When you draw the line, you set out limits of what you find acceptable, beyond which you will not go.

Draw the shortest straw: If someone draws the shortest straw, they lose or are chosen to do something unpleasant.

Dress someone down: If you dress someone down, you scold them.

Dress to kill: When someone is dressed to kill, they are dressed very smartly.

Dressed to the nines: If you are in your very best clothes, you're dressed to the nines.

Drink like a fish: If someone drinks like a fish, they drink far too much alcohol.

Drive a wedge: If you drive a wedge between people, you exploit an issue so that people start to disagree.

Drive home: The idiomatic expression 'drive home' means 'reinforce' as in 'The company offered unlimited technical support as a way to drive home the message that customer satisfaction was its highest priority.'

Drive someone up the wall: If something or someone drives you up the wall, they do something that irritates you greatly.

Drive you spare: If someone or something drives you spare, it is extremely annoying.

Driven by a motor: This is used to describe people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when they talk excessively: 'they act as if driven by a motor.'

Drop a bombshell: If someone drops a bombshell, they announce something that changes a situation drastically and unexpectedly.

Drop in the bucket: (USA) A drop in the bucket is something so small that it won't make any noticeable difference.

Drop in the ocean: A drop in the ocean implies that something will have little effect because it is small and mostly insignificant.

Drop like flies: This means that something is disappearing very quickly. For example, if you said people were dropping like flies, it would mean that they were dying off, quitting or giving up something rapidly.

Drop someone a line: If you drop someone a line, you send a letter to them.

Drop the ball: If someone drops the ball, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities seriously enough and let something go wrong.

Drown your sorrows: If someone gets drunk or drinks a lot to try to stop feeling unhappy, they drown their sorrows.

Drunk as a lord: (UK) someone who is very drunk is as drunk as a lord.

Dry as a bone: If your lawn is as dry as a bone, the soil is completely dry.

Dry run: A dry run is a full rehearsal or trial exercise of something to see how it will work before it is launched.

Dry spell: If something or someone is having a dry spell, they aren't being as successful as they normally are.

Duck soup: (USA) If something is duck soup, it is very easy.

Duck to water: If you take to something like a duck to water, you find when you start that you have a natural affinity for it.

Ducks in a row: (USA) If you have your ducks in a row, you are well-organized.

Dull as ditchwater: (UK) If something is as dull as ditchwater, it is incredibly boring. A ditch is a long narrow hole or trench dug to contain water, which is normally a dark, dirty color and stagnant (when water turns a funny color and starts to smell bad). (In American English,’ things are 'dull as dishwater'.)

Dunkirk spirit: (UK) Dunkirk spirit is when people pull together to get through a very difficult time.

Dutch auction: If something is sold by setting a price, then reducing it until someone buys it, it is sold in a Dutch auction. It can also mean that something is changed until it is accepted by everyone.

Dutch courage: Dutch courage is the reckless bravery caused by drinking too much.

Dutch treat: If something like a meal is a Dutch treat, then each person pays their own share of the bill.

Dutch uncle: A Dutch uncle is a person who gives unwelcome advice.

Dutch wife: A Dutch wife is a long pillow or a hot water bottle.

Dwell on the past: Thinking too much about the past, so that it becomes a problem is to dwell on the past.

Dyed-in-the-wool: If someone is a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of a political party, etc, they support them totally, without any questions.

Idioms and Phrases Index

From Idioms and Phrases to HOME PAGE