The List of Figuratives

Here is The List of Figuratives. In traditional analysis, words in figurative expressions connote additional layers of meaning, while words in literal expressions denote what they mean according to common or dictionary usage. When the human ear or eye receives the message, the mind must interpret the data to convert it into meaning.

What are Figuratives? On many occassions, the words may not convey the literal meaning of them. They may convey the indirect meanings which may be just the opposite to their literal meanings. Such symbolical and metaphorical meanings are called Figuratives. They contain the figure of speech.

Let us see few hundreds of such Figuratives here.The Figuratives have been arranged in the alphabetical order. Go to the list by clicking that particular page.

Let us see few examples of Figuratives to make the point clear.


The Phrase
Yellow Press does not give the literal meaning that the press which is in Yellow color.On the contrary, it conveys the meaning of The News Papers which publish sensational and unscrupulous stories about crime, sex etc...


The Phrase
In the same boat does not convey the literal meaning. It has the figurative meaning that in the same misfortune or circumstances.

Here is the list of Figurative Expressions beginning with


Fabian tactics – a policy of wearing down an opponent by delaying action, harassing an enemy by avoiding open battle (Fabius Maximus, Roman Consul, wore down Hannibal by refraining from engaging him in actual battle in the second Punic War.)


To save one’s face – to avoid disgrace


The fairer sex – women


Bad faith – dishonest intentions

In good faith – with honest intentions

A breach of faith – to act contrary to what one had professed


To fall out – to quarrel

To fall through – to fail

To fall upon – to attack


To sail under false colors – to attempt to deceive


A feather in one’s cap – an honor, a distinction

Birds of a feather flock together – People of similar tastes and dispositions crave each other’s company

To feather one’s nest – to provide for the future

To show the white feather – to show signs of cowardice


To sit on the fence – to remain neutral, to take neither side in a controversy


As fit as a fiddle – in excellent health

To play second fiddle – to take a subordinate position


To march in single, or Indian file – to march in a single line, one behind another


To have at one’s finger-tips – to know thoroughly


To set the Thames on fire – to do something sensational or remarkable

Fire away – Begin; say what you want to say

To spread like wild fire – to circulate (of news) with astonishing speed

A burnt child dreads the fire – one who has had a previous unpleasant experience is always scared of situations where such experiences are likely to be repeated


A fish out of water – anyone in an awkward embarrassing situation

Other fish to fry – more important business to attend to

This story is fishy- The truth of the story is doubtful

All is fish that comes to his net – He is not over particular about propriety


By fits and starts – spasmodically; not continuous; intermittently


To flare up – to fly into a passion


A flash in the pan – a sudden, single success


To flog a dead horse – to try to revive interest in something already stale and beyond hope of resuscitation


To carry one off his feet – to cause one to be intoxicated with admiration

To foot the bill – to pay the bill

To put one’s foot in it – to get into trouble

To put one’s foot down – to put a stop to


A foregone conclusion – a decision arrived at beforehand


Hostages to fortune – one’s wife and children


Foul play – unfair dealing in a game, cheating


To take French leave – to go away from company without permission


To jump from the frying-pan into the fire – to come out of one trouble and get into a worse

Figurative Expressions Index

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