Fun Easy English Classroom November 26
 
 
 
 

Classroom
Today


Learn American
English idioms
letter T
Idioms Letter T

Today in the classroom you are going to learn some idioms beginning with the letter T.
Hey if you cannot understand something on this page,
then use the Fun Easy English dictionary (opens in a new window)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Idioms: American English Idioms - Letter T

Today learn idioms beginning with the letter T.
BLUE UPPER CASE LETTERS = video and detailed written definition and usage
blue lower case letters = video definition and usage
BLACK UPPER CASE LETTERS = detailed written definition and usage
black lower case letters = brief written definition and usage
Idiom Definition Usage
tacky  
tail between one's legs feeling ashamed and beaten Because of the scandal, he quit the company with his tail between his legs.
take a back seat accept a lower position I had to take a back seat for the benefit of the company.
take a crack at attempt She decided to take a crack at the entrance exam.
take advantage of benefit from Take advantage of the beautiful weather and go to the beach.
take after resemble He tries to take after his brother and wears the same type of clothes.
take back revoke He had to take back what he said about his boss.
take care of give attention to You should take care of your health.
take care of deal with She had to take care of the paperwork.
take down write Please take down many notes during the lecture.
take down dismantle We had to take down our tent because of the rain.
take a dim view of disapprove of Our company will always take a dim view of dishonest people.
take a hike leave I am tired of all your complaining. You should take a hike.
take a leak urinate He stopped at the side of the road to take a leak.
take a nosedive decrease in value The stock price is expected to take a nosedive soon after it is sold to the public.
take a powder leave quickly She decided to take a powder after the meeting.
TAKE A SHINE/FANCY TO (SOMEONE/ SOMETHING) to like someone spontaneously

Compare to: tickle (someone’s) fancy
1. Tom liked Kate from the moment he met her. He took a shine to her instantly.

2. They decided to buy the house without much discussion because they took a fancy to it.
TAKE/GIVE (SOMEONE) A RAIN CHECK to accept a different time for an appointment from the original one; to request that an appointment be rescheduled

The expression originates from baseball and other outdoor sporting events, in which rain checks are given if the game is canceled because of rain. The rain check entitles the spectator to see another game on another day free of charge.
1. Thanks for asking me to have lunch with you today. Unfortunately, I’m busy. Can I take a rain check? I’m free for lunch almost any day next week.

2. Bonnie had a date with Tom for Saturday but her mother became ill and she told him she couldn’t make it. She asked if he could give her a rain check for another time.
take a stand on be decisive on The President decided to take a stand on the tax issue.
take a trip go We plan to take a trip to Japan in July.
take in a show watch a movie Maybe I'm gonna take in a show tonight.
TAKE IT EASY to relax 1. Don’t get so upset over something that doesn’t matter. Take it easy.

2. Roger had a heart attack last year. Now he takes it easy and doesn’t work as hard as he used to.
TAKE OFF to leave quickly (sentence 1) or to do well in sales (sentences 2 and 3)

Synonym: sell like hotcakes (sentence 2)
1. The boys threw rocks at the old man’s windows. When he came out of the house to chase them away, they took off.

2. The young man invented a gadget to use in the kitchen and now he is trying to sell it. It hasn’t sold well so far but he’s sure that eventually it will take off.
take on hire The company is expected to take on more employees next year.
take over take control of The larger bank is expected to take over the smaller bank.
TAKE POTLUCK to accept whatever is available

The expression probably originates from the idea of a potluck dinner, where each guest brings one different food or dish to contribute to everyone’s meal. Nobody knows in advance exactly what foods will be brought. Potluck dinners and potluck picnics are popular in the U.S. They are informal gatherings and easy to organize because no one person has to provide more than one dish.
1. I know it’s short notice but you’re welcome to join us for dinner if you don’t mind taking potluck.

2. There isn’t much choice left, but I’m not picky. I’m happy to take potluck.
take roll check attendance I'm going to take roll now.
TAKE (SOMEONE) TO THE CLEANERS to steal or cheat someone out of all of his or her money

Synonym: clean (someone) out
1. The unsuspecting woman agreed to invest all her money with an unethical investment banker. He took her to the cleaners, and she was left without a penny to her name.

2. I made the mistake of giving my dishonest nephew a blank check from my bank account. Instead of writing it for the amount we had agreed on, he wrote it for every cent I had. He took me to the cleaners.
TAKE (SOMETHING) IN STRIDE to accept and adjust to bad fortune or trouble

Synonym: roll with the punches

Similar to: like water off a duck’s back

The expression take something in stride suggests that when one is confronted by something unexpected, it does not interrupt one’s stride (i.e., the way one walks).
1. When I told them the bad news, I expected them to be upset, but they took it in stride. It didn’t seem to bother them at all.

2. Rebecca isn’t bothered by unexpected surprises. She always takes things in stride.
TAKE (SOMETHING) WITH A GRAIN OF SALT to be skeptical or cautious about believing a story or an explanation 1. You can’t believe everything Peggy says. She’s inclined to exaggerate, so you have to take what she says with a grain of salt.

2. Nick is just making things sound worse than they really are. Take it with a grain of salt.
TAKE (SOMETHING) BY STORM to overwhelm someone or something, often by becoming famous quickly (sentence 1), or by spreading very rapidly (sentence 2) 1. The Beatles were rock musicians who took the world by storm in the 1960s.

2. Fear of the disease spread across the country very quickly. Panic took the nation by storm.
take stock count the items of merchandise or supplies in stock The store usually has to take stock every three months.
TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS to take action in a difficult or unpleasant situation

Compare to: bite the bullet; face the music; grin and bear it

The expression take the bull by the horns does not suggest that the person is necessarily responsible for the difficult situation in the same way that to face the music does.
1. When it came time to paint the living room, nobody knew where to start. Ben took the bull by the horns, chose a brush, and started painting, and everybody followed his lead.

2. You know what you want to do for a living, but you need to start working toward your goal. Don’t be afraid to take the bull by the horns and start applying for jobs.
TAKE THE CAKE to outdo; to exceed normal behavior; metaphorically, to win the prize

The expression is often used to express one’s shock at impolite or bad behavior. The shocking behavior is usually something that surpasses some previous bad behavior. It is usually used in the present simple tense and infrequently in the past tense.
1. David has done foolish things in the past, but I never thought he would do anything this foolish. This really takes the cake.

2. They have always used poor judgment when it comes to social affairs, but this outdoes anything they have done in the past. This time, their behavior takes the cake.
take the company public sell shares of the company to the general public The owner needed more money and decided to take the company public.
taken for cheated out of He was taken for all his money at the casino.
TAKE THE WIND OUT OF (SOMEONE’S) SAILS to deflate someone’s ego (sentence 1) or to ruin or destroy someone’s high expectations (sentence 2)

The expression probably originates from the sport of racing sailboats. When one sailboat cuts in front of another, it literally takes the wind out of the rear boat’s sails, causing it to lose its speed.

The expression can be used to describe one’s own disappointment (sentence 2) or it can be used to express a somewhat wicked delight that someone else has met with disappointment (sentence 1).
1. Mary was so sure that she was going to be offered that job. Wait until I tell her that the position has been given to Roger instead. That’ll take the wind out of her sails.

2. I was hoping to be accepted by that university. When the rejection letter arrived, it really took the wind out of my sails.
take with a grain of salt  
taking care of business doing what I have to do I have been taking care of business.
TALK A BLUE STREAK to talk fast and at length

Synonym: talk (someone’s) ear off; gift of gab
1. No one liked sitting at the lunch table with Phil because he had only one topic of conversation: his sports car. When it came to his car, Phil could talk a blue streak.

2. You can hardly get a word into a conversation with Wendy, the way she talks a blue streak.
TALK (SOMEONE’S) EAR OFF to bore someone with one’s unending talk

Synonym: bend (someone’s) ear

Compare to: talk a blue streak

Talk someone’s ear off conveys a sense of boredom that may or may not be present in talk a blue streak.
1. I try to keep my office door closed so that Jim won’t come in. When he does, he talks my ear off and I can’t get any work done.

2. Doug tried to signal me to interrupt his one-way conversation with Rita. It was obvious that she was talking his ear off and he was too polite to end the conversation.
TALK THROUGH (ONE’S) HAT to speak without authority on some topic; to talk nonsense

Compare to: know beans about (something), not
1. Some people drink too much alcohol and then they begin to talk through their hats. They try to make you think that they know a lot about something when they really don’t.

2. You should listen to Maria when she offers advice about buying real estate. She knows a lot about it. She’s not just talking through her hat.
TALK TO (SOMEONE) LIKE A DUTCH UNCLE person who talks to one like a close relative, giving advice that is sound, well-meant, and sometimes stern

Similar to: talk sense into (someone)
1. The young man and woman were about to run away to get married, so the boy’s brother took them aside and talked to them like a Dutch uncle. He told them that what they were doing was foolish.

2. The boy’s father and mother could talk no sense into him, so they asked a teacher at the boy’s school to talk to him like a Dutch uncle.
TALK TURKEY to talk seriously, usually about a business deal

Compare to: get down to business
1. I was ready to get serious about making an offer for the car. I was ready to talk turkey.

2. They were in agreement on their business deal; now all they had to do was work out the details. They sat down to talk turkey.
TALL ORDER something difficult to accomplish 1. My boss wants me to finish all of this work by next Tuesday. It’s a tall order—I’m going to have to work through the weekend.

2. My aunt is trying to cook dinner for our entire family without spending too much money. It’s a tall order, but I think she can do it.
TAN (SOMEONE’S) HIDE/BRITCHES to spank a child’s bottom as punishment

The expression originates from the practice of tanning (preparing) animal hides (skins) for use as clothing or shoes by hitting them with a tanning instrument. Hide is also a slang word used to refer to a person’s skin. The alternative britches (pants) refers to the fact that a person gets spanked on his bottom.

The expression is usually used to describe how parents might punish their children.
1. Ricky didn’t come home on time from his friend’s house. When he got home, his mother tanned his hide.

2. That child is disrespectful and uncontrollable. What he really needs is for one of his parents to tan his britches.
taste of one's own medicine  
team player someone who works well with others He is really a team player.
that ship has sailed  
the apple doesn't fall far from the tree  
the ball is in your court  
the calm before the storm  
the inside track the advantage over others He knows the manager so he has the inside track for getting the new job.
the jury is still out  
the last straw  
the sky's the limit  
THIRD RATE of poor quality

Synonyms: second rate; fourth rate

Antonym: first-rate

The expression third rate does not convey any ranked degree of inferiority when compared to second or fourth rate. All three expressions convey the same degree of inferiority.
1. Let’s get out of this third rate hotel now. I know we can find a better one if we try.

2. The company fired Greg when the management decided that his work was third rate.
THROUGH THICK AND THIN in good times and bad times; steadfastly and loyally 1. My brother Tom has been there with me in good times and bad, through my joys and sorrows. He has always supported me through thick and thin.

2. No matter what happens to my husband, I’ll stay with him through thick and thin. I’m sure he would do the same for me.
throw cold water on forbid The manager decided to throw cold water on the plans to leave early for the weekend.
THROW DOWN THE GAUNTLET to challenge someone to fight or argue

A gauntlet is a glove from a suit of armor.

The expression originates from a medieval custom of throwing down one’s gauntlet as a way of challenging an enemy to a fight. One accepted the challenge by picking up the gauntlet.
1. The candidate’s opponent challenged her to debate the issues. The opponent had thrown down the gauntlet and she was ready to pick it up and accept the challenge.

2. If you don’t want to start a fight with Carl, don’t throw down the gauntlet.
THROW IN THE TOWEL to stop trying; to quit

The expression comes from the game of boxing. When a boxer has had enough and is ready to give up the fight, his or her manager throws the towel used to clean his or her face during the fight into the ring as a signal that the fight is over.
1. Roger had been trying hard to arrange a business deal between two groups. He was still unsuccessful after weeks of trying, so he decided to throw in the towel and spend his time on something else.

2. I’ll never be able to pass my mathematics course, no matter how much time I spend studying. I’m going to throw in the towel and withdraw from the course.
throw money at the problem  
THROW/TOSS (ONE’S) HAT INTO THE RING to announce one’s candidacy for elected office

Originates from 19th century boxing, during which men from the crowd would throw their hats into the boxing ring to indicate they wanted to challenge the latest winner.
1. At first, Dan hadn’t decided whether or not he wanted to run for governor, but now that he felt he had a good chance of winning, he was ready to throw his hat into the ring.

2. In order to get as much publicity for her campaign for mayor of the city as possible, Dr. Smith tossed her hat into the ring early.
throw the baby out with the bathwater  
THROW THE BOOK AT (SOMEONE) to give someone the harshest penalty or punishment allowed by law, or to impose any severe sentence or punishment

The book refers to a book of laws, and throwing it at someone means applying the maximum sentence a judge can legally impose upon a person convicted of a crime.
1. The judge decided to punish the thief to the full extent of the law. Instead of being lenient and giving him a light jail sentence, he threw the book at him.

2. The girl decided to buy the pack of gum instead of taking it without paying. She knew that if she got caught, they’d throw the book at her.
TICKLE (SOMEONE’S) FANCY to please or amuse someone in a light-hearted way

Compare to: take a shine/fancy to (someone/ something); catch (someone’s) fancy
1. Fred decorated his garden with small animal statues because they tickled his fancy.

2. Before you decide that you don’t want anything for your birthday, let’s go to the jewelry store. You might see something there that tickles your fancy.
TICKLED PINK thoroughly pleased; very happy 1. I’m just tickled pink that you’ll be able to join us for dinner next Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it.

2. My niece got her first job today. She’s so pleased with herself. She’s tickled pink.
TIED TO (ONE’S) MOTHER’S APRON STRINGS emotionally or physically attached to one’s mother beyond what is considered appropriate and normal

Compare to: under (someone’s) thumb

An apron is a piece of clothing worn over the front of the body to protect normal clothing from getting dirty, especially when cooking. The apron is tied on with strings.

The expression tied to (one’s) mother’s apron strings usually describes an adult’s continued dependence on his or her mother.
1. Philip is 58 and still lives at home with his parents. He doesn’t take care of himself. He still lets his mother take care of him. He’s tied to his mother’s apron strings.

2. Rachel decided to break off her engagement to Ted. She realized he would always take his mother’s side in a dispute, and would always be tied to his mother’s apron strings.
TIE THE KNOT to get married

The expression suggests that when two people get married, they tie a knot that binds them together.
1. Roger and Sue decided to get married. They are going to tie the knot in church on Saturday.

2. You don’t need to rush into marriage. Why don’t you give yourselves more time to think it over before you tie the knot?
TIGHTEN (ONE’S) BELT to spend less money than one did previously

The expression suggests that a person loses weight because he or she is unable to buy as much food as he or she once did. As a result, he or she must tighten his belt so that his or her pants don’t fall down.
1. Marian lost her job so now the family has to make it on Sam’s paycheck. They’re going to have to tighten their belts and spend less until she finds another job.

2. My car broke down and I had to buy another one. Now I have less money for some of the things I used to be able to afford, so I’ve had to tighten my belt.
tight spot difficult situation The new product is not selling as well as expected and has put the company in a tight spot.
TILT AT WINDMILLS to fight against impossible odds in an attempt to do good

The expression originates from Miguel de Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote, in which Quixote comes upon several windmills and, thinking that they are giants, tries to defeat them in battle by tilting at them (stabbing while running or riding past) with his lance (long spear).
1. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to change a situation that cannot be changed. The bureaucracy is too big to fight. You’ll just be tilting at windmills.

2. I’ve always been one to try to help the helpless, even when I know I have little chance of success fighting against the powerful. I guess I’ll always tilt at windmills.
TIME ON (ONE’S) HANDS, HAVE (SOME) to have free time with nothing to doSynonym: time to kill, have (some)

The expression suggests a degree of boredom. Whereas have time on one’s hands means only that one has some free time, have time to kill includes the notion that one is waiting for a future event.
1. Can I help you fix a few things around the house today? I have some time on my hands until after dinner.

2. The children will get into trouble if they have too much time on their hands. We need to find something to keep them busy.
TIME TO KILL, HAVE (SOME) to have a period of time to pass while waiting for some future event

Synonym: time on (one’s) hands

The expression suggests that one must get rid of (kill) the extra time.
1. I expected the plane to leave at 4:30 but it has been delayed. Now I have some time to kill while I wait for the plane.

2. Sarah arrived at the meeting early. She had time to kill so she read a magazine.
TIP OF THE ICEBERG, JUST/ONLY THE

the smallest, evident part of something that is much greater but hidden from view; more to a situation than one can see at the moment

The expression suggests that while only the top of an iceberg may be visible, the larger and more dangerous portion of it is hidden from view under the water.
1. This latest scandal in the government is only the tip of the iceberg. I’m convinced that there is much more corruption than what has been uncovered so far.

2. The police arrested the man they thought was guilty of the robbery. While they had him in jail, they began to uncover information that linked him to many of the robberies that had taken place over the last few years. This latest robbery was just the tip of the iceberg.
TIT FOR TAT an action in exchange for another equal action

Synonym: give (someone) a taste of his own medicine; fix (someone’s) wagon

The expression may describe insults (sentence 1) or some harmless error (sentence 2).
1. Mark criticized Pam’s clothes and in return she criticized his haircut. It was tit for tat.

2. I didn’t wash the dishes for you yesterday, and today you didn’t take out the trash for me. I guess it’s tit for tat.
TO BEAT THE BAND in an exaggerated manner; with a lot of effort or to the extreme

The expression is used to describe physical activity. It is always used in the infinitive form but functions as an adverb.
1. The child was upset that she couldn’t have any more candy. Her yelling and fussing was loud enough to beat the band.

2. The girl wanted to speak English better than anyone else. She decided she would have to practice to beat the band if she wanted to succeed.
TOE THE LINE to follow the rules; to do what is expected of one

Compare to: straight and narrow

The expression originates from an early form of boxing, in which a line was drawn on the ground and opponents had to keep the toes of one foot on the line during their fight. Any opponent who removed his toes from the line was disqualified from the fight.
1. Mr. Kelly has survived in politics because he toes the line. He follows the policies of the majority and doesn’t try to stand out or be different.

2. The boss didn’t want any trouble from his workers. He told them they had better toe the line or get out.
to fall down the rabbit hole  
to have a lot on your plate  
to have butterflies  
to have nerve  
to move on to seduce I am going to try to move on Joan next Saturday.
TONGUE IN CHEEK joking or sarcastic 1. When Paul complimented his secretary’s work, he was being facetious. He meant just the opposite, but was speaking tongue in cheek.

2. Sometimes, the teacher seems like she’s being serious, but she’s really joking. What she says is tongue in cheek. The expression describes a style of speech.
TOO BIG FOR (ONE’S) BRITCHES to be sassy or arrogant, or to act or speak disrespectfully or inappropriately for one’s age or position

The expression is usually used by parents to reprimand (scold) their children.
1. Patty’s mother scolded her, “Listen to me, young lady. You may not speak so rudely to anyone. You’re getting too big for your britches.”

2. His father told the little boy that his behavior was not acceptable in their house. He told the boy he was too big for his britches and he would be punished if he continued to misbehave.
took a bath experienced great losses She took a bath on the stock market last year.
took a beating lost money His brother really took a beating on the stock market recently.
tool around drive around I don't want to tool around all night. It is time to go home.
TOO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE too many activities demanding one’s time

Synonym: have (one’s) hands full
1. I have too many obligations on my time right now. I have too many irons in the fire.

2. Beth is going to exhaust herself with all the activities she has taken on. She has too many irons in the fire.
to pan out  
TOP OF THE LINE, THE the best quality

Antonym: bottom of the barrel

Compare to: first-rate

The line refers to a group of similar products or a group of products all manufactured by the same company.
1. I’d love to have a computer system that is top of the line, but I can’t afford it right now so I’ll have to settle for one that has fewer features.

2. The customer wanted to see every television model that the store had for sale. He wanted to see the lowest-priced standard model, as well as the model that was top of the line.
TO THE HILT to be fully committed to something; to do something completely

Compare to: go to town; pull out all the stops; whole hog; whole nine yards
1. When my daughter thinks she’s getting sick, she plays the role to the hilt so that she doesn’t have to go to school. Even though she might just have a cold, she complains that she aches from head to toe.

2. They tried not to get into debt too much. But they had to get a bank loan to buy their house, so now they’re in to the hilt.
TOUCH AND GO precarious or uncertain 1. I wasn’t sure I’d get to the airport on time. First the taxi got stuck in a traffic jam and I was sure I wouldn’t make it. Then the driver found a short cut and I was sure I would make it. Then we seemed to get all the red lights and again I was sure I wouldn’t make it. It was touch and go the whole way.

2. The doctor told the woman her husband was out of danger now but that it had been touch and go the night before. The doctor hadn’t been sure whether the man would live or die.
TRACK RECORD a history of performance

The expression originates from horse racing, in which a horse’s previous wins and losses are studied in an effort to determine how well the horse will perform in the future.
1. The manager decided not to hire Steve because he had been fired from several of his previous jobs. He didn’t have a very good track record.

2. The stockbroker recommended against investing in the company because it was fairly new and didn’t have much of a track record. She suggested I consider the company again in a few years.
TRAIN OF THOUGHT a course of reasoning; a succession of connected ideas

The expression suggests a series of thoughts connected together in some logical progression (not randomly), in the same way that the cars of a train are linked together one after another.
1. Dianne couldn’t seem to concentrate on her work. Her mind was wandering and she kept losing her train of thought.

2. The professor began writing mathematical calculations across the blackboard faster than anyone could follow her. The students couldn’t follow her train of thought.
TREAT (SOMEONE) TO (SOMETHING) to buy something for another person

This expression refers to buying something small and enjoyable for another person, such as a meal or some kind of small outing.
1. Sarah was charmed when Chuck offered to treat her to an ice cream cone. She had expected to pay for it herself.

2. “Thanks for helping me with that project,” said Ellie to her friend. “Let me treat you to lunch sometime.”
treat with kid gloves  
TROUBLED WATERS emotionally rough times or an unsettled situation

The expression uses the metaphor of rough (troubled) water and is frequently accompanied by related vocabulary such as “to calm or to pour oil on,” “bridge over,” “deep in,” “wading into,” etc.
1. I’ve noticed that you and your parents have been fighting a lot these days. I would like to help calm the troubled waters if I can.

2. Mr. Williamson has been someone that we could depend on for strength and comfort ever since our father died. He has been a bridge over troubled waters.
TRUE BLUE loyal and steadfast 1. I trust Marie completely. No one is more loyal than she is. She’s true blue.

2. Silvia would change her allegiance without a second thought. She doesn’t know the meaning of true blue.
TURN A DEAF EAR to ignore someoneCompare to: fall on deaf ears 1. The child had been whining and crying all day. Eventually his mother turned a deaf ear and ignored him.

2. Grandfather has always been quarrelsome and difficult. He loves to complain to anyone who will listen. You just have to turn a deaf ear if you want to live in the same house with him.
TURNING POINT a critical point

Similar to: make or break

The expression suggests a fork in the road where one must turn in one direction or the other, depending on which path one chooses.
1. Michael’s illness was a real turning point in his life. He changed his reckless ways and began eating better, exercising more, and relaxing more.

2. Anna had to decide whether she would pursue her career in dance or go into business. She realized that she could not do both. This decision would be a major turning point in her life.
turn off repulsive thing The awful language that he uses is a turn off.
turn over rate of sale The new product turn over has been incredible.
TURN OVER A NEW LEAF

to change one’s bad ways and begin to lead a better life

Compare to: wipe the slate clean

The expression originates from the idea of life as a book full of pages (leaves). When one turns over a new leaf, one leaves behind a spoiled page of his or her life and turns to a fresh, clean page to start anew.
1. The man promised the judge that he was finished with his life of crime and that he was ready to turn over a new leaf.

2. I know Phyllis says she’s going to turn over a new leaf, but she continues to follow the same ways and befriend the same people.
TURN (SOMETHING) THUMBS DOWN/UP {GIVE (SOMETHING) THE THUMBS DOWN/UP} to vote yes or no to something

Synonym: (thumbs down) nix something

The expression originates from the Roman custom of turning a thumb downward to mean “no” or that something was unacceptable and upward to mean “yes” or that something was acceptable. People still use the thumbs-up or -down gesture, particularly when speaking or hearing is difficult.
1. I presented my idea to the boss but he didn’t like it at all. He turned it thumbs down.

2. They really liked the advertising campaign and gave it their whole-hearted approval. They gave it the thumbs up.
TURN THE OTHER CHEEK not to retaliate; not to pay back bad behavior with more bad behavior

Antonym: pay (someone) back

The expression originates from the New Testament of the Bible, in which Jesus teaches how one should respond to ill treatment.
1. When someone does something bad to you, you should not retaliate. Instead you should turn the other cheek.

2. Sometimes when people take advantage of me, it’s difficult for me not to want to get back at them in revenge. It’s hard to turn the other cheek.
TURN THE TABLES {THE TABLES HAVE TURNED}

to reverse a situation

Turn the tables originates from tabletop board games such as backgammon. During the game, players would turn the table (game) so they played from their opponent’s position.
1. Jane was poor when she started her own business and she struggled for a long time, but she finally turned the tables and now she’s wealthy.

2. They were beating the other team in the first half, but the tables have turned. Now they’re struggling to keep up and win the game.
TURN UP (ONE’S) NOSE AT (SOMETHING/ SOMEONE) to scorn, snub, or reject something

Compare to: give someone the cold shoulder

Whereas give someone the cold shoulder is limited to people, turn up one’s nose can be applied to people or things.
1. Mrs. Beasley wouldn’t have anything to do with her new neighbors. She turned up her nose at them when they tried to make friendly conversation.

2. The child was so used to eating fresh vegetables that when I tried to feed him frozen vegetables, he turned up his nose at them and refused to eat.
TURN UP THE HEAT to apply or increase pressure to a person or situation

The expression suggests how pressure is created (or increased) when heat is applied to a pot of liquid on a stove.
1. My parents have been nagging at me to get a job for several months, and now, they’re turning up the heat. They’ve told me I’ll have to move out if I don’t get a job.

2. The lawyer turned up the heat and started to question the witness much more aggressively.
twenty four seven (24-7)  
twist someone's arm  
two left feet  
two wrongs don't make a right  
More Idioms
From YOUR Teacher: Take a hike

The idiom take a hike does not only mean go for a walk on a trail or up a mountain. The actual idiomatic meaning is when you want someone to leave.
 
Additional Information
Study Tips
(Beginner - Listening)

Avoid Ineffective Study Methods. An audio lesson to help you study English more effectively. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Great English study tips.
Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Cool Stuff
Online Reference
Dictionary, Encyclopedia & more
Word:
by:
Confused?

Found a word you do not know?
1. Type the word
2. Click Look it up
Top Hits

Listen to American music while you study.
1. Click The ► button
2. Enjoy some great music
       
  Resources

These links contain many English learning resources. Some are for students, some are for teachers. If you find information not on Fun Easy English, please post a comment below, and I will make every effort to add it to the site. Thanks.
 
 
 
 
 
Site Links Site Content Contact My Other Sites
About
Site Map
Copyright
Classroom
Activities
Idioms
Alphabet
Surveys
About America
Pronunciation
Conversation
Slang
Alphabet Kids
Tests
Citizen America
Reductions
Videos
Vocabulary
Environment
Acronyms
Drive America
Grammar
Reading
Listening
Study
Portmanteau
Travel America
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Google
Howie Hayman
English Global Group
San Diego California Events
Tanegashima Japan
Japanese Language Culture Food
Akikos Kitchen
Shai Hayman