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

Kangaroo court: When people take the law into their own hands and form courts that are not legal, these are known as kangaroo court.

Keen as mustard: (UK) If someone is very enthusiastic, they are as keen as mustard.

Keep abreast: If you keep abreast of things, you stay informed about developments.

Keep at bay: If you keep someone or something at bay, you maintain a safe distance from them.

Keep body and soul together: If you earn enough to cover your basic expenses, but nothing more than that, you earn enough to keep body and soul together.

Keep in touch: If you keep in touch with someone, you keep communicating with them even though you may live far apart.

Keep it under your hat: If you keep something under your hat, you keep it secret.

Keep mum: If you keep mum about something, you keep quiet and don't tell anyone.

Keep posted: If you keep posted about something, you keep up-to-date with information and developments.

Keep someone at arm's length: If you keep someone or something at arm's length, you keep a safe distance away from them.

Keep the wolf at bay: If you keep the wolf at bay, you make enough money to avoid going hungry or falling heavily into debt.

Keep up with the Joneses: People who try to keep up with the Joneses are competitive about material possessions and always try to have the latest and best things.

Keep your chin up: (UK) This expression is used to tell someone to have confidence.

Keep your cool: If you keep your cool, you don't get excessively excited or disturbed in a bad situation.

Keep your ear to the ground: If you keep your ear to the ground, you try to keep informed about something, especially if there are rumors or uncertainties.

Keep your eye on the ball: If you keep your eye on the ball, you stay alert and pay close attention to what is happening.

Keep your eye on the prize: This means that you should keep your focus on achieving a positive end result.

Keep your eyes peeled: If you keep your eyes peeled, you stay alert or watchful.

Keep your fingers crossed: If you are keeping your fingers crossed, you are hoping for a positive outcome.

Keep your hair on: Keep your hair on is advice telling someone to keep calm and not to over-react or get angry.

Keep your head: If you keep your head, you stay calm in times of difficulty.

Keep your head above water: If you are just managing to survive financially, you are keeping your head above water.

Keep your nose clean: If someone is trying to keep their Nose Clean, they are trying to stay out of trouble by not getting involved in any sort of wrong-doing.

Keep your nose to the grindstone: If you keep your nose to the grindstone, you work hard and seriously.

Keep your options open: If someone's keeping their options open, they aren't going to restrict themselves or rule out any possible course of action.

Keep your pecker up: If someone tells you to keep your pecker up, they are telling you not to let your problems get on top of you and to try to be optimistic.

Keep your powder dry: If you keep your powder dry, you act cautiously so as not to damage your chances.

Keep your shirt on! : This idiom is used to tell someone to calm down.

Keep your wig on! : (UK) This idiom is used to tell someone to calm down.

Kettle of fish: A pretty or fine kettle of fish is a difficult problem or situation.

Kick a habit: If you kick a habit, you stop doing it.

Kick away the ladder: If someone kicks away the ladder, they remove something that was supporting or helping someone.

Kick in the teeth: Bad news or a sudden disappointment is a kick in the teeth.

Kick something into the long grass: If an issue or problem is kicked into the long grass, it is pushed aside and hidden in the hope that it will be forgotten or ignored.

Kick the ballistics: It means you realize the intensity of a situation. For example, there is too much unemployment now, so the prime minister must kick the ballistics and change his policy.

Kick the bucket: When someone kicks the bucket, they die.

Kick up your heels: (USA) If you kick up your heels, you go to parties or celebrate something.

Kick your heels: (UK) If you have to kick your heels, you are forced to wait for the result or outcome of something.

Kicked to touch: Touch is a zone of the playing field in Rugby. Kicked to touch means the ball was put safely out of play. Idiomatic usage usually means a person has deftly avoided an issue in argument.

Kid gloves: If someone is handled with kid gloves, they are given special treatment and handled with great care.

Kill the goose that lays the golden egg: If you kill the goose that lays the golden egg, you ruin something that is very profitable.

Kill two birds with one stone: When you kill two birds with one stone, you resolve two difficulties or matters with a single action.

Kindred spirit: A kindred spirit is someone who feels and thinks the way you do.

King of the castle: The king of the castle is the person who is in charge of something or in a very comfortable position compared to their companions.

King's ransom: If something costs or is worth a king's ransom, it costs or is worth a lot of money.

Kiss and tell: If people kiss and tell, they disclose private or confidential information.

Kiss of death: The kiss of death is an action that means failure or ruin for someone, a scheme, a plan, etc.

Kiss something goodbye: If someone tells you that you can kiss something goodbye, you have no chance of getting or having it.

Kissing cousin: A kissing cousin is someone you are related to, but not closely.

Kitchen-sink: (UK) Kitchen-sink drama deals with ordinary people's lives.

Kith and kin: Your kith and kin are your family; your next of kin are close relations you nominate to deal with your affairs in the event of your death on a document, like a passport.

Knee-jerk reaction: A knee-jerk reaction is an instant, instinctive response to a situation.

Knickers in a twist: When your knickers are in a twist, you are angry and snappish over something trivial. 'Whenever he loses his car keys, he gets his knickers in a twist.'

Knight in shining armor: A knight in shining armor is someone who saves you when you are in great trouble or danger.

Knit your brows: If you knit your brows, you frown or look worried.

Knock 'em dead: 'Knock 'em dead' is used as a way of wishing someone luck before they give a performance or have to appear before people, as in an interview, etc. ('em = them)

Knock on wood: This idiom is used to wish for good luck. ('Touch wood' is also used.)

Knock something on the head: If you knock something on the head, you stop it or stop doing it.

Knock the pins from under someone: If someone knocks the pins from under you, they let you down.

Knock your socks off: If something knocks your socks off, it amazes and surprises you, usually in a positive way.

Know a hawk from a handsaw: If someone knows a hawk from a handsaw, they are able to distinguish things and assess them.

Know full well: When you know full well, you are absolutely sure that you know.

Know the ropes: Someone who is experienced and knows how the system works know the ropes.

Know which side one's bread is buttered on: If you know which side one's bread is buttered on, you know where your interests lie and will act accordingly to protect or further them.

Know your onions: If someone is very well-informed about something, they know their onions.

Know your place: A person who knows their place doesn't try to impose themselves on others.

Idioms and Phrases Index

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