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.

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Here is the list of idioms beginning with

Each to their own: Different people have different preferences. In American English, 'Each to his own' is more common.

Eager beaver: A person who is extremely keen is an eager beaver.

Eagle eyes: Someone who has eagle eyes sees everything; no detail is too small.

Early bath: (UK) If someone has or goes for an early bath, they quit or lose their job or position earlier than expected because things have gone wrong.

Early bird catches the worm: The early bird catches the worm means that if you start something early, you stand a better chance of success.

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise: It means that sleeping well and not staying up late will help you out physically and financially.

Earn a living: To make money Ex: We need to get a good job to earn a decent living.

Easier said than done: If something is easier said than done, it is much more difficult than it sounds. It is often used when someone advises you to do something difficult and tries to make it sound easy.

Easy as ABC: Something that is as easy as ABC is very easy or simple.

Easy as beans: Something that is so easy that anyone can do it is easy as beans.

Easy as pie: If something is easy as pie, it is very easy indeed.

Easy come, easy go: This idiom means that money or other material gains that come without much effort tend to get spent or consumed as easily.

Easy peasy: (UK) If something is easy peasy, it is very easy indeed. ('Easy peasy, lemon squeezy' is also used.)

Eat crow: (USA) If you eat crow, you have to admit that you were wrong about something.

Eat humble pie: If someone apologises and shows a lot of contrition for something they have done, they eat humble pie.

Eat like a bird: If someone eats like a bird, they eat very little.

Eat like a horse: Someone who eats like a horse eats a lot.

Eat like a pig: If some eats like a pig, they either eat too much or they have bad table manners.

Eat my hat: People say this when they don't believe that something is going to happen e.g. 'If he passes that exam, I'll eat my hat!'

Eat someone alive: If you eat someone alive, you defeat or beat them comprehensively.

Eat your heart out: If someone tells you to eat your heart out, they are saying they are better than you at something.

Eat your words: If you eat your words, you accept publicly that you were wrong about something you said.

Economical with the truth: (UK) If someone, especially a politician, is economical with the truth, they leave out information in order to create a false picture of a situation, without actually lying.

Egg on your face: If someone has egg on their face, they are made to look foolish or embarrassed.

Elbow grease: If something requires elbow grease, it involves a lot of hard physical work.

Elbow room: If you haven't got enough elbow room, you haven't got enough space.

Elephant in the room: An elephant in the room is a problem that everyone knows very well but no one talks about because it is taboo, embarrassing, etc.

Eleventh hour: If something happens at the eleventh hour, it happens right at the last minute.

Empty vessels make the most noise: The thoughtless often speak the most.

End in smoke: If something ends in smoke, it produces no concrete or positive result. This expression refers to the boasting by a person, of having put in a lot of efforts by him, for a particular cause or to attain a result which is very difficult to be done by any person. (This mainly refers to an investigation of a crime or solving a serious offence or a mystery). But at the end, when the desired result is not obtained, his claims are found to be false and not worth mentioning. So, he looses his credibility.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while: This expression means that even if people are ineffective or misguided, sometimes they can still be correct just by being lucky.

Even keel: If something is on an even keel, it is balanced.

Even Stevens: If everything is equal between people, they are even Stevens.

Even the dogs in the street know: (Irish) This idiom is used frequently in Ireland, and means something is so obvious that even the dogs in the street know it.

Every ass likes to hear himself bray: This means that people like the sound of their own voice.

Every cloud has a silver lining: People sometimes say that every cloud has a silver lining to comfort somebody who's having problems. They mean that it is always possible to get something positive out of a situation, no matter how unpleasant, difficult or even painful it might seem.

Every dog has its day: This idiom means that everyone gets their moment to shine.

Every man and his dog: A lot of people - as in sending out invitations to a large number of people

Every man for himself: If it's every man for himself, then people are trying to save themselves from a difficult situation without trying to help anyone else.

Every man has his price: Anyone's opinion or support can be bought; everyone's principles have a limit.

Every man jack: If every man jack was involved in something, it is an emphatic way of saying that absolutely everybody was involved.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry: If every Tom, Dick and Harry knows about something, then it is common knowledge.

Every trick in the book: If you try every trick in the book, you try every possible way, including dishonesty and deceit, to get what you want.

Everybody and their uncle: This basically means a lot of people or too many people; everybody and their uncle was there.

Everything but the kitchen sink: If people include everything but the kitchen sink, they include every possibility, regardless of whether they are useful.

Exception that proves the rule: This expression is used by many to indicate that an exception in some way confirms a rule. Others say that the exception tests the rule. In its original legal sense, it meant that a rule could sometimes be inferred from an exemption or exception. In general use, the first meaning predominates nowadays, much to the annoyance of some pedants.

Explore all avenues: If all avenues are being explored, then every conceivable approach is being tried that could possibly get the desired result.

Eye candy: When a person is very attractive, they can be described as eye candy - sweet to look at!

Eye for an eye: This is an expression for retributive justice, where the punishment equals the crime.

Eye- wash: This expression 'eye-wash' is generally used to cover up the anxiety of a person who is seeking a concrete reply or justification for an act or an event that had affected his personal image or caused him a loss. The affected person usually represents his case to the higher-ups and puts forth his demands for redressal. But the authority, in order to avoid embarrassment to his organization or to himself, is not in a position to expose the entire material or evidence which in turn tell upon the credibility of the organization. In such circumstances, he will usually call for an investigation to satisfy the complainant, but will not be keen in disposing the case. The authority will drag on the issue, (at the same time pretending to be serious) until the seriousness of the issue dies down and no finality is reached. So, ' The investigation on the issue by the authority is an eye-wash'.

Eyes are bigger than one's stomach: If someone's eyes are bigger than their stomach, they are greedy and take on more than they can consume or manage.

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