ESL Idioms,
English Idioms and Expressions

"F" through "G"

Below on this page you see a partial listing of English idioms and expressions and American phrases beginning with letters "F" and "G".


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"F" through "G" begins here:
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Face the music.

You have to face life.
You can’t run away from life.
You can’t hide from the truth.

You brought this upon yourself, now you have to face the consequence.

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Facing headwind

Facing, seeing, or experiencing resistance.

He campaigned while facing a lot of headwind. As you know, there was a lot of resistance against him at the time.

Compare to: Having a tailwind.

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Failing to do something

Not doing something.

When someone says: Meshkin failed to go on a fishing trip, they mean: He didn’t go on the trip.

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Fair game

The object of an attack, especially when certain restrictions do not apply.

Celebrities’ personal lives seem to be fair game for criticism these days.

The candidates’ financial activities are fair game and open to questions and criticism.

Compare to: Open season.

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Fair shot

A chance.
An opportunity.

They deserve the opportunity to prove themselves. Give them a fair shot.

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Falling for someone

Falling in love with someone.

Q. You seem very happy! What’s going on?
A. I’m falling for Latisha, and I’m falling deep!

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Falling for something

Believing a lie, maybe due to optimism.

A. I want to give Mitch some money. He has a good idea for a windmill project.
B. You’re not going to fall for that, are you?!

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Falling in line
Origin: Military

Doing as expected.
Agreeing on something.

Q. Will they fall in line and come out of the meeting united?
A. I sure hope so!

Also see: Playing by the rules.

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Falling on deaf ears

Being ignored.
Going unnoticed.
Nobody listening or paying attention.

The fire department warned them repeatedly, but the warnings fell on deaf ears and, when the wildfires came, no one was prepared.

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Falling on one’s sword

Resigning from one’s post under pressure.
Accepting responsibility or blame for a bad situation.

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Falling out

Having had an argument.
Going through a separation.

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Falling victim

Becoming a victim.

Hundreds have fallen victim to the recent fires.

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Far cry

Very different.

Watching a movie at home is a far cry from going to the movies.

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Fat chance

No way.
Not a chance.

A. They want you to apologize.
B. They want ME to apologize? Fat chance. There’s no way I’ll apologize to them.

Also see: Chinaman’s chance.

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Feather in the cap

A symbol of accomplishment.

Her becoming a supervisor is another feather in her cap.

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Feeding one’s habit

Enabling someone’s habit.
Spending money on one’s addiction: Drinking, smoking, skiing, drugs, reading, traveling, etc.

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Feeling free

Being comfortable.
Doing what one wants to do.

I won’t be going to work tomorrow. Feel free to come over and watch the game with me.

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Feeling for someone

Feeling or sharing someone’s pain.
Having feelings and compassion for someone.

Q. Have you heard about the earthquake?
A. Yes, it’s very sad! I feel for those people, and I’m gonna help them.

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Fever pitch

Out of control.
Almost out of control.

Her anxiety reached fever pitch on Friday.

Related: Beyond containment.

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Fifteen minutes of fame

Easily forgotten fame.
Short lived fame and celebrity, worthy of being forgettable.

Q. Why did she subject herself to such public humiliation?
A. I guess she wanted to have her 15 minutes of fame.

Background:
This expression is attributed to artist Andy Warhol, who said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” It became a famous saying and widely used, so much so that it is commonly used, in one form or another, to refer to publicity seekers of today.

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Fig leaf

A cover for concealing an unpleasant thing.

The police chief used the story as a fig leaf for addiction issues in the city.

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Fighting chance

A slight chance.
A chance to win, but with difficulty.

A. Are you going to try for the team?
B. No, we don’t have a fighting chance.
A. Then I won’t either.
B. No, you should. You can still do it, but you really have to work at it.

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Figment of one’s imagination

Something imagined.
Something that’s not real.

A. I think I saw Elvis at the mall today.
B. I think it was a figment of your imagination!

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Figure of speech

Using words where they don’t have their usual (literal) meaning, to stress a point.

Q. Are you really going to break your brother’s neck if he eats your ice cream?!
A. Of course not. That was just a figure of speech. I love my brother!

Compare to: Rhetorical question.

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Figuring something out

Finding a solution.
Understanding something.
Understanding how something works.

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Fine print
Small print

Details.
Details in a contract.

You should always read the small print before you sign something; otherwise, you might get in trouble.

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Fine-tooth comb
Fine-toothed comb

Used with “go over” or “go through” this is about being very thorough.

When someone says: I’ll go over this report with a fine-toothed comb, they mean something like: I’ll investigate it very thoroughly.

Compare to: Under scrutiny.

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Finger pointing
Finger-pointing

Blaming others.
Drawing attention, mainly for blaming purposes.

There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on here, and nobody is willing to take the blame.

Note:
Pointing a finger at someone during an argument or while speaking is an insult.

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Fire away

Begin doing something (especially talking, asking questions, shooting).

If you say: Explain away, you mean: Start explaining.
If you say: Do you want to fire us? Then fire away, you mean: Start firing us.
If you say: It’s time for questions and answers, so fire away, you mean: Start asking questions.

Similar: If he wants to appeal the case, let him appeal away.

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Fire in the belly

Drive.
Motivation.
Excitement.

Related: Fire shut up in my bones.

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Fire line

When faced with a raging fire, firefighters occasionally remove vegetation (sometimes by actually starting a controlled fire) from areas where the fire is heading. Thus, when the fire gets to these areas, there’s nothing left to burn and the fire stops. These are called fire lines.

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Firing on all four cylinders

Working or performing at full power.

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First dibs

First choice.

When someone says: We got our first dibs on the equipment, they mean something like: We get to choose first.

Also: Calling shotgun.
Also see: Having dibs on something.

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First order of business

The first thing we need to do.
The first thing on the agenda.
The first thing that needs to be done.

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Firsthand
First hand

Directly.
Eyewitness.
Without a middleman.

Q. Do you know this firsthand?
A. Of course! I saw it with my own two eyes.

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Fishing
Fishing expedition

Looking for something, aimlessly.
Looking for information, when one isn’t even sure there is any.
An attempt to garnish information, sometimes by pretending just to chat in a friendly way but really having an ulterior motive to find things out.

They are hoping to find something, but they don’t really know what they’re looking for. They’re just fishing. It’s a fishing expedition.

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Fishing in the wrong pond

Doing the wrong thing.
Going in the wrong direction.
Doing the wrong thing in the wrong place.

Q. Do you think it’s dangerous to question these guys?
A. All I can say is, be careful. I think you’re fishing in the wrong pond!

Also:
Barking up the wrong tree.
Tilting at the wrong windmill.
Pissing in the wrong pool. (Not polite.)

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Fists were flying.

They were all fighting.
Fighting was going on.

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Fit to be tied

Frustrated.
Very angry.
Not acting logically.

Q. Did you see him this morning? Wasn’t he fit to be tied?
A. You’re right. I actually thought about tying him down to something!

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Fitting a mold

Having similar characteristics.
Having certain common features.

We don’t all fit a mold because we’re not all alike, or similar, or the same, or identical.

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Flattering oneself

Giving oneself too much credit.
Speaking highly of one’s own achievement.

A. I’m glad I gave a good speech! Now it’s your turn.
B. Don’t flatter yourself! Who says you gave a good speech?

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Floodgates opening

Going into panic.
One thing causing a series of things to happen.

I told my friend the gossip about Ann. Now the floodgates are open and she wants to know all of the gossip about everyone.

The flood gates of anxiety opened as soon as the investors heard the announcement on the stock market problems.

Similar:
All hell breaking loose.
Everything going to hell in a hand basket.

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Fly by night
Fly-by-night

Unreliable, especially with respect to businesses.

Q. Hey boss, why don’t you want to deal with these guys?
A. Oh, I don’t feel comfortable around them. They’re running a fly-by-night operation.

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Fly in the ointment

Something bad ruining things.
An item that ruins the whole thing.

Q. How was the interview?
A. It went smoothly. The fly in the ointment was that, as I was leaving, I accidentally burped!

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Fly on the wall

An insider.
A person on the inside, with inside information. (Much like a fly on the wall that can see and hear what’s going on inside the room.)

Q. What do you think they were talking about?
A. Oh, I don’t know! But I sure wish I was a fly on the wall when they had the meeting.

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Flying by the seat of one’s pants

Not having a plan.
Getting into something using one’s own judgment and not knowing quite how it will be carried out.
Spontaneously dealing with a situation without guidance or strategy or foresight.

Also see:
Winging it.

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Flying off the handle

Going crazy.
Losing self-control.
Becoming very angry.

He flies off the handle every time his wife says: Are you really going to wear that?

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Food for thought

Something to think about.
Something worth thinking about.
Something that stimulates the mind.

Hey Ricky, here’s some food for thought: Teen obesity is on the rise!

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Footing the bill

Paying the bill.
Taking care of the payment.

Q. Who’s footing the bill today?
A. It’s on me. I just got a new job. Next time, however, you’ll be picking up the bill!

Also:
Picking up the bill.
Picking up the tab.
Picking up the check.

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For better or for worse

No matter what.
Under good or bad conditions.

I’ll stay with you for better or for worse. Whether things are good or bad. Whether we’re rich or poor. Whether — Do you want me to go on?!

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For crying out loud

An expression of exasperation, as in:
When someone says: For crying out loud, don’t do it, they mean: Please don’t do it.

It can also mean any of these:
I can’t understand;
You’ve got to be kidding me;
What you’re doing or saying is unbelievable, etc.

Also:
For God’s sake.
For Pete’s sake.
For heaven’s sake.
For goodness sake.

Example:
For crying out loud, why did you do this?

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For good

Forever.

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For good measure

Additional amount to make sure.
In addition to what’s needed, or what’s already being provided.

Q. How many pizzas did you order?
A. We really only need five, but I ordered six for good measure.

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For one’s part

As far as one is concerned.
So far as one is concerned.

Q. I’ll be making the reservations for the trip to Japan this summer. What about you?
A. For my part, I’ll be learning Japanese.

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For that matter

Too.
Also.
As far as that matter is concerned.

You’re always welcome to use my car, or my boat, for that matter.

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For the life of me

An expression of exasperation.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why she’s leaving!

Also see:
For crying out loud.

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For the time being

For now.
At this time.

I don’t know about next week but, for the time being, you are grounded. Got that?

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For weeks on end

For a long time.
For many weeks.
Week after week.

Similar:
For days on end.
For hours on end.
For months on end.

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For your eyes only

Don’t tell anybody about it.
No one else is allowed to see this.

Also:
A security term for classified information.

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Forced moment

An uncomfortable or unfriendly encounter.

Of course, we said hello and had a little conversation when we ran into each other on the street. But we weren’t friends! These were forced moments, really.

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Foregone conclusion

Certain.
Definite.

They’re laying off a lot of people, and we’re not getting any contracts. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that our company will go bankrupt soon.

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Four-one-one
411

Details.
Information.
Telephone number for directory assistance.

What’s the 411 on the nightclubs in this town?

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Freaking out

Going crazy.
Getting scared.

Also:
Buggin’, or Buggin’ out.
Wiggin’, or Wiggin’ out.

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Free fall
Free-fall

The part of the fall during a parachute jump before the parachute is opened.

Also a very fast drop, as in:
The economy was in a free-fall for a while.

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Free pass

Permission to do anything, or go anywhere.

Q. What’s that boy doing, skating in the hallway?
A. He’s the boss’s son. He has a free pass around here.

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Free range
Free-range (chicken)

A chicken or other farm animal that’s raised on a farm, not in a cage, and is free to roam around.

Similar:
Free-range livestock.

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Fringe benefit

Additional benefit.
Additional advantage.
Benefit in addition to regular pay.

I don’t like the pay at my new job, but the fringe benefits are amazing!
I go to this deli for the food, which is great. The view is a fringe benefit.

Also:
Frosting on the cake.

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From day one

From the start.
From the beginning.

Also:
From early on.

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From here on in

Starting now.
Starting now and forever in the future.

Also:
From now on.
From here on out.
From this moment on.

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From scratch

From zero.
From the get-go.
From the beginning.

Q. This vacuum cleaner we’ll be working on, is it an improved version of Model F3?
A. No, it’s a whole new machine. We’re designing this one from scratch.

Also used when cooking with real (not partially prepared) ingredients.

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Front man

An unofficial leader.
A lead singer or spokesman for a musical band.

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Full throated
Full-throated

Complete and unconditional.
Producing a full, loud, or rich sound.
Using all of the power of one’s voice.

A. The senator’s wife offered full-throated support of her husband.
B. He must be very happy to have gotten away with it again!

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FYI

This is an abbreviation for:
For Your Information.

FYI, I’ll be home late tonight.

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G
Grand

One thousand dollars.

I paid five Gs for the antique piano. Then I had to spend another six grand to restore it!

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Gag order
Legal

An order by a judge that tells certain people not to talk about certain things.

When someone says: I’m under a gag order, they mean:
I can’t (I’m not allowed to) talk about it.

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Game of chicken

Finding out who is more of a coward in a group.
A game to determine who gets scared more easily.

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Get a load of this!

Look at this.Listen to this.

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Get lost!

Go.
Go away.

This is used when you don’t want to talk to someone, or see them, and you’re not trying to be nice about it either! The following are also used:

Beat it.
Scram.
Get out.
Piss off.
Hit the road.
Hit the road, Jack.
Get the hell out of here.
Get the f—k out of here. (Not a nice thing to say at all!)
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. (Which means: Get out, and do it fast!)

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Get moving!

Start.
Move.
Hurry up.

Also:
Move it.
Get going.
Get started.
Move your butt. (Not so nice.)
Move it or lose it. (Not so nice.)
Get your rear in gear. (Not so nice.)

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Get one’s goat
Get someone’s goat

Annoying people.
Making people angry.

If that’s an attempt to get my goat, well, you’ve succeeded!

Compare to:
Pushing someone’s buttons.

Background:
The most likely explanation has to do with horse racing. It was a common practice to put a companion animal, mostly a goat, in the stall with a restless racehorse to help calm the horse. If someone managed to steal the goat before the race, it irritated the owner because it could result in the horse losing the race.

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Get outta here!
Get out of here!

Are you joking?
You must be joking!
You cannot be serious!
Come on, you must be kidding!

Also, of course, see:
Get lost!

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Get to the point!

Let’s get started.
What is really bothering you?
What is the heart of the matter?
Stop giving me all these details and tell me the main idea.
Let’s talk about the things you really want to talk about.

Also see:
Cut to the chase.

Compare to:
Beating around the bush.

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Get your mind off it.

Don’t think about it.

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Get your mind out of the gutter.

Stop thinking about dirty (pornographic) things.

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Get-go

The very beginning.

I knew there was something weird about her from the get-go.

Also:
From zero.

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Getting (our) stories crossed

This is when different people’s explanations of the same event don’t match. Somebody must be mistaken, or lying!

Also:
Getting (our) stories mixed-up.

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Getting (our) stories straight

This is when people, who are involved in an activity or incident, work on an alibi or story to tell the authorities. This way, if they are questioned about the incident, they won’t get their stories crossed!

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Getting a lump of coal

About being bad or deserving punishment.

Also:
Coal in one’s stocking.

Our political leaders deserve coal in their stocking this Christmas!

Background:
This goes back to a Christmas story about Santa Claus and somebody not being a good boy or girl during the year. So, instead of getting gifts and toys in their stocking, they got a stocking filled with coal.

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Getting a read on something

Understanding something.
Learning more about something.

Q. What do you think of that new guy at work?
A. I don’t know. I can’t get a read on him.

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Getting a shot

Having an injection.

Q. Have you got your shot yet?
A. I’m not going to. I don’t believe in getting flu shots.

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Getting a shot at

Having a chance or an opportunity.

Q. Why are you directing such a small budget movie?
A. This is my first shot at directing any kind of movie, and I’m not going to miss it!

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Getting a ticket

Receiving a traffic ticket.
Receiving an order to pay a penalty, or otherwise get punished.

Also:
Being cited.
Getting ticketed.
Getting a citation.

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Getting a word in edgewise

Getting a chance to say something.

Q. Why didn’t you deny his accusations?
A. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. He wouldn’t stop talking long enough to even take a breath!

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Getting around (doing) something

Not doing it.

Q. Let’s go hiking tomorrow, okay?
A. My wife wants us to visit her parents. I’ll see if I can find a way to get around that. If I do, then I can go with you!

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Getting away with something

Doing something wrong and not getting caught or, if caught, not getting punished for it.

Q. Did they catch the guy who stole your car?
A. No, he got away with it.
Q. But they caught the guy who stole your bike, right?
A. Yes, but he got away with it, too. I guess he was good at explaining things!

Related:
Getting away with murder!

Also see:
Beating a rap.

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Getting canned

Getting fired.

When someone says: I got canned, they mean to say: I got fired.

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Getting even with someone

Getting revenge on someone.

Compare to:
Don’t get mad, get even!
Being even with someone.

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Getting in the groove

Learning the tricks.
Getting into the flow of things.

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Getting in the way

Being an obstacle.
Slowing things down.
Causing a slowdown by getting in the way of things.

My dear sir, please step aside. You’re getting in my way.

Also:
Being in the way.
Obstructing the flow of traffic.

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Getting it

Understanding it.
Understanding the situation.

A. I’ve been telling you about my problems, but you don’t get it.
B. Of course I get it. You want to borrow money!

Also:
Getting the idea.
Getting the picture.
Getting the gist of it.

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Getting knocked over with a feather
Getting bowled over with a feather

This has to do with being extremely surprised!

He was so surprised you could have knocked him over with a feather!

Similar:
Knocked for a loop.

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Getting off on the wrong foot

Having a bad start.
Starting something the wrong way.

Q. How are things with you and your new assistant?
A. We got off on the wrong foot, but I think it’ll be okay.

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Getting one’s ears lowered

Getting a haircut.

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Getting one’s feathers up
Getting one’s feathers ruffled

Getting upset.

When someone says: Don’t get your feathers up, or: Don’t let it ruffle your feathers, they mean:
Take it easy.
Don’t be upset.
Don’t let it bother you.

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Getting one’s foot in the door

Finding an opportunity.
Using or creating an opportunity.
Getting into a company at entry level.

Q. Are you having any luck getting your book published?
A. I don’t know anyone in the business. If I could only get my foot in the door!

Background:
This obviously has to do with door to door salesmen. Getting a foot in the door to keep it open allows you to continue your sales pitch. If the door is closed, you might as well leave.

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Getting one’s hopes up

Being hopeful.
Having high expectations.

Don’t get your hopes up. You’ll be disappointed.

Compare to:
Getting someone’s hopes up.

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Getting one’s panties in a bunch

Getting nervous, upset, uptight, etc.

Don’t get your panties in a bunch before you hear what I have to say!

Also see:
Getting one’s feathers up.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting one’s walking papers

Getting fired.
Being dismissed from a job.
Getting a dishonorable discharge from the military.
Being on the receiving end of a relationship breaking up.

Q. Why do you look so upset? Have you gotten your walking papers?
A. Yes, they gave me my walking papers this morning!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting out of hand

Getting out of control.

Q. Did you tell the kids to go out in the backyard?
A. Yeah, they were running around in the house, and things were getting out of hand.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting over something

Overcoming something.
Forgetting about it, or recovering from it.

Q. Why are you still so upset?
A. I can’t get over the fact that she cheated on me. It’s still bothering me.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting someone’s hopes up

Giving someone hope, maybe false hope.

Q. When I finalize my next deal, I’m going to help everyone here to buy a new house.
A. Please don’t get our hopes up unless you’re sure you can deliver.

Compare to:
Getting one’s hopes up.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting the best of someone

Taking over.

My emotions got the best of me, means any of the following:
I lost control;
I wasn’t logical;
I wasn’t thinking;
I became emotional;
I didn’t use my head;
I lost control of my emotions; etc.

Also, in a fight, if someone says: He got the best of me, it means: He did more damage to me than I did to him!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting the boot

Getting fired.
Being dismissed from a job.

Also:
Getting booted out of a job.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting the groundwork in

Doing the preliminary steps.

I’m getting all my groundwork in for my meeting with my future father-in-law!

Also:
Planting the seeds.
Laying the groundwork.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting the pink slip

Getting fired.
Being dismissed from a job.

Due to a bad economy, a lot of our employees are going to get pink slips this year. We’re sorry to do this, but there’s nothing else that we can do.

“Pink slip” also refers to the paperwork that establishes the ownership of a vehicle.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting the show on the road

Starting.
Getting started.

Okay, let’s get the show on the road and start the meeting. We’ve been waiting long enough for those two guys.

Also:
Get it on.
Get the ball rolling.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting to it

Doing it.
Getting started on it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting to the bottom of something

Finding out the truth about it.

We should have been more careful. If she really wants to, she can easily get to the bottom of this situation and find out everything about our plan!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting under one’s skin

Being irritated, as in:
Seeing him snooping around gets under my skin. I hate it!

Being obsessed (can’t stop thinking of someone or something), as in:
Q. You really love her, don’t you?
A. Oh, yes, she’s gotten under my skin, and there’s nothing I can do about it!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Give me a break!

Are you joking?
You can’t be serious!

A. They want us to work this weekend.
B. Give me a break! We’ve been working weekends for three weeks straight!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Give-and-take

Compromise.
We definitely need a little give-and-take here.

Also see:
Meeting halfway.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Given

Considering, as in:
Given the present economic situation, I won’t be buying a new car at this time.

Obvious, for sure, as in:
Well, we know the murderer is a man! That’s a given.

When someone says: It’s a given, they mean:
Of course.
That’s a part of it.
Well, everybody knows that.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving a black eye
Origin: Sports

Bringing shame.
Ruining a reputation.
Disgracing someone or something.

Q. Do you know that some of our drivers are rude to the passengers?
A. If that’s true, it’s going to give our business a black eye. We should stop it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving a helping hand
Lending a helping hand

Helping.
Helping out.

The earthquake victims need a helping hand. Please help them before it’s too late.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving a leg up
Getting a leg up

Giving or getting help.
Giving or getting a head start.

Q. You think he can do the report on his own?
A. Yes, but if you give him a leg up, I would really appreciate it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving a once-over

Giving someone a thorough beating, as in:
Give him a once-over, and maybe he’ll talk!

Cleaning a place quickly, but not necessarily thoroughly, as in:
Please give the dining room a once-over before the guests arrive.

Giving a situation a quick, but thorough, examination, as in:
Let’s give this proposal a once-over before the meeting tomorrow.

Looking at someone to see if you could notice or learn something about them, as in:
We gave him a once-over, and decided he wasn’t the burglar.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving chase

Chasing.
Pursuing.
Running after.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving one’s all

Doing something the best way that one can.

Q. Do you think she will make a good effort?
A. She’s doing this for her daughter. I know that she’s going to give it her all.

Also:
Giving it one’s all.
Giving (it) one’s best.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving someone a run for their money

Making one earn one’s money.
Making one work for one’s money or position.

When someone says: They gave me a run for my money, they mean something like:
They didn’t just give it to me. They made me work hard for it.

If two people are in a close competition for something, we can say that the one who lost gave the winner a run for his money.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving someone a rundown.

Giving someone the details.
Telling someone (in detail) what happened.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving someone some room

Leaving someone alone.
Moving away from someone and letting them think in peace.

Let’s give him some room. He needs to think (decide, travel, etc.) by himself for a while.

Also:
Giving someone space.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving someone the slip

Losing someone in a crowd.
Slipping away from someone deliberately.
Getting away from someone in a way so as not to let them notice you doing it.

We were following her up close, but somehow she managed to give us the slip. We can’t see her any more.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving the fingerRaising the middle finger

This expression, which is very rude, has to do with making an insulting gesture by showing the middle finger. It’s usually done when a verbal insult cannot be heard because you are in a moving vehicle, or you are far away from the other person, or the place is too noisy.

When someone says: Ana gave him the finger, they mean something like:
She raised her middle finger at him.

Also:
Flipping the bird.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving the fish eye

Staring in surprise.
Turning your head and giving a startled look, with usually only one eye being visible.

We were walking and talking when I made a comment about her father. She turned around and gave me the fish eye, obviously surprised and not knowing why I had said that.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving the third degree

Interrogating someone.
Asking too many questions.
Asking someone many questions all at once.

Why are you giving me the third degree? Don’t you trust me?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Giving two winks

Paying attention.
Giving importance.

She doesn’t seem to give two winks about what I think.
I don’t really give two winks to whether you are on time or not.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Glass ceiling

An unwritten obstacle or restriction, especially affecting minorities.
A limit as to how much someone can make financially, or how high in the corporate world one can reach.

She surprised everyone by breaking the glass ceiling and becoming the company’s first female president.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gloves coming off
Sports

Getting ready to fight.
Situation getting worse.
Expecting fighting to begin.

Q. It’s a nasty campaign. Do you think gloves will be coming off?
A. As far as I’m concerned, the gloves are off already!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Go figure!

I can’t understand it!
Can you believe that?
See if it makes sense!
See if you can understand it.Who would have expected that?
See if you can figure that one out!

Q. He was working under you, now he’s your boss! How did that happen?
A. Yeah, I don’t know. Go figure!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Go off half-cocked
Origin: Military

Act without thinking, or too quickly.

I understand you’re angry and you want to do something, but please don’t go off half-cocked.

Note:
When used alone, half-cocked means very drunk.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Go with it
Run with it

Do it!
It’s a good idea.
Okay, do it that way.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

God bless someone’s soul

This expression is used as a sign of respect, or a small prayer, when talking about someone who is not alive anymore.

My mother, God bless her soul, was a nice lady.

It is also used after you insult someone with the hope of reducing the rudeness of the insult.

You’re such an idiot, God bless your soul!
Sue is a lousy painter, God bless her soul!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going someone
Going something

Doing things in line, or associated, with someone or something.

When someone says: A famous soul singer plans to go country, they mean something like: She wants to do country music.

When someone says: Voters are going Republican, they mean something like: Voters are starting to vote for Republican candidates.

When someone says: Companies are going green, they mean something like: They are doing things in line with saving natural resources.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going a long way

Having a big impact.
Making a big difference.

A little humor goes a long way.
Showing some kindness goes a long way.
A bit of patience goes a long way with her.
Pretending you’re human can go a long way.
Your dollar goes a long way in this store, which means: You can buy more with your money.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going all the way

Finishing the job.
Doing the whole thing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going at something

Doing something.
Doing something persistently.

Q. Where’s everyone? I told them to start working on the new project.
A. They’re going at it, sir!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going into a tailspin

Losing control.
Failing in a big way.

Skyrocketing prices have sent the economy into a tailspin.

My wife’s sudden decision to leave me is the reason I am in this emotional tailspin.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going into overdrive

Becoming very active suddenly.
Working hard, then working very hard suddenly.

Lately it feels like my desire to sleep has gone into overdrive.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going off the deep end
Jumping off the deep end

Losing one’s mind.
Becoming irrational.
Losing touch with reality.
Acting in an angry manner.

A. I know I haven’t known her long, but I love her. We want to get married and go traveling.
B. Well, I’m happy for you, but use your head! Don’t be going off the deep end!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going off without a hitch

Taking place without a problem.
Happening without anything going wrong.

Q. How was your interview?
A. Great! It went off without a hitch.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going out of one’s way

Doing more than expected.
Doing something for somebody else even if it’s inconvenient or takes extra effort.

She’s a nice lady. She goes out of her way to help others.

Similar:
Going the extra mile.
Bending over backwards.
Going beyond the call of duty.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going out on a limb

Taking a risk.
Putting oneself at risk.
Getting into a dangerous situation.

I’m going out on a limb for you. Are you sure we won’t get in trouble?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going postal

Suddenly becoming angry or violent.

Q. Did you want to see me about my performance review, boss?
A. Yes. But first I want you to promise me that you won’t go postal when we go over it!

Background:
This term became popular after a number of incidents in which postal service employees, for a variety of reasons, became violent and started shooting and killing their co-workers and others.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going public

Becoming public
Not being a secret any more.
Everybody knowing about the issue.

Her money problems have gone public and now everybody knows that she was in jail for stealing.

Also:
Out in the open.
Public knowledge.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going south
Going downhill

Going badly.
Not on a positive note.
On the road to destruction.

Q. How’s the market doing?
A. Not very well. Actually, stocks have been going south for a while.

Background:
Graphically speaking, “going down,” as opposed to “going up,” is one way of saying whether things look “bad” or “good.” Using “south” and “north” is another way of referring to the same thing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going through with something

Completing an action.
Doing something after some reluctance or hesitation.

Q. Did you know that your sister was going to drive the car into the pool?
A. Well, she had talked about it, but I didn’t know she would actually go through with it!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going to bat for someone
Origin: Sports

Giving assistance.
Coming to someone’s defense.

After the campaign was over, Hillary started going to bat for Obama.

Also:
Sticking up for someone.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going to the dogs

Getting ruined.
Breaking down.

Q. Have you been to the downtown area recently? It’s in bad shape.
A. Forget about downtown. It’s gone to the dogs. The whole place is falling apart!

Also:
In ruins.
Going downhill.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going to town

Doing something vigorously, as in:
She really went to town on the competition preparation, didn’t she?

Spending a lot of money, as in:
I’m cashing my paycheck and going to town. Watch me!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Going under

Failing.
Sinking.
Losing everything.

Q. Is it true that your company is going under?
A. Yes, it is! We’re going bankrupt and laying everyone off.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gold-digger
Gold digger

A person who gets romantically involved with someone for their wealth and/or status, regardless of age.

Compare to:
Trophy wife.
Starter wife.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Golden years

The time of life usually after retirement.
The time of life approximately between 60 and 80 years old.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gone awry!

When you say: Something has gone awry, you mean:
There’s something wrong.
Something has gone wrong.
Something bad has happened.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gonna

This is a slang abbreviation for: Going to.

When someone says: He’s gonna study today, they mean: He’s going to study today.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Good riddance (to bad rubbish)

Being happy to be rid of something or someone.

I was about to throw him out but, fortunately, he left on his own. Good riddance!

Compare to:
Eighty-sixing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Goody two-shoes

A person who thinks of himself or herself as being better than others.
A female who is too proper in every respect, to the point of making everybody sick and tired.

Note:
Calling someone a goody two-shoes can be used as an insult.

Similar:
Goody-goody.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Goose is cooked!

There’s no hope.

When someone says: Your goose is cooked, they mean something like:
You’re in big trouble.
You’ve been caught doing something wrong and you are going to pay the consequences.

Harry wasn’t supposed to stop to bet at the racetrack on the way home, but he did, and his wife found out about it. When he gets home, his goose is going to be cooked!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

GOP
G.O.P.

This is an abbreviation for:
The Grand Old Party.

It refers to the Republican Party in the U.S.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Grace period

A time after a deadline during which one will not be charged a penalty for being late.

When someone says: The grace period for paying your electric bill is five days, they mean something like: If you pay your electric bill within five days after it is due, you will not have to pay a penalty.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Grace under fire

Always being cool.
Being calm, even under pressure.
Being graceful even under enemy fire.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Graveyard shift

Late night or after-midnight work shift.

Compare to:
Swing shift.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gravy train

A source of easy money.
An unearned supply of money.

A. Lately, there hasn’t been any money coming in from my stock dividends because the market has been so bad.
B. So, the gravy train stopped then. I’m sorry!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gray area

An area or concept that’s not clearly defined.
A subject that’s not easy to make a decision on, one way or another.

Q. What’s your position on stem cell research?
A. I don’t really know which way to go. It’s one of those gray areas.

Opposite:
Cut-and-dry.
Black-and-white.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Grease monkey

A mechanic.
An auto mechanic.
Anybody whose job requires them to get their hands dirty, particularly with grease or oil.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Green light

Permission to go or to start something.

We’ve gotten the green light from the city engineer. We can now go ahead and get started on the office building project.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Green with envy

Very jealous.

You should have seen her looking at my dress. She turned green with envy, maybe even greener than my dress!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Grinding halt

A complete stop due to a major failure.
A work stoppage due to a major failure, mechanical or otherwise.

Production at our manufacturing company came to a grinding halt when we couldn’t receive additional orders.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ground zero

The place where things begin.
The place where things are occurring.

Q. Where are we right now?
A. We’re at ground zero of civilization. This is where it all began, I guess!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Grounded

Not allowed to do fun things, as in:
My son’s grounded. He can’t go to the movies for a while as a punishment.

Not allowed to be used, as in:
The airplanes are grounded. They’re not allowed to fly until the landing gear problem is corrected.

A regular person, as in:
Our boss seems to be grounded. He seems to be a level-headed person who hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Growing pains

The pains kids feel in their bones as they are growing.
Problems and difficulties associated with children growing up.
Typical problems that any organization, place, etc., experiences while growing or expanding.

Our start-up business is experiencing growing pains, as we attempt to meet increased customer demand.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Guilt by association

The assumption that, because you know somebody, or spend time with them, you are alike in every respect. It typically has a negative connotation.

A. Everyone thinks I’m an artist because I’m helping you with your art show!
B. Yes, my friend. You are guilty by association!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


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