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Idioms, Upper Hand

An idiom is an expression that is characteristic of a particular language, but that means something different from the literal meaning of the words. For example, the idiom "having the upper hand," has nothing to do with hands. It means to have the advantage in a situation.

People frequently use idioms because they make speech and writing more colorful and interesting. Here are some commonly used idioms and their meanings.

Sell someone short - underestimate someone.

Sitting pretty - be in a fortunate position.

Hit the ceiling - become very angry.

Pull someone's leg - fool someone.

Wet blanket - a dull or boring person who spoils the happiness of others.

Keep under one's hat - keep something a secret.

Get off someone's back - stop bothering someone.

Shape up or ship out - behave properly or leave.

Make ends meet - pay one's bills.

Out of the woods - out of danger.

In stitches - laugh very hard.

Spill the beans - reveal a secret.

Tongue in cheek - not serious.

For the birds - uninteresting and meaningless.

Shake a leg - hurry.

There are hundreds, even thousands of idioms that are used in the English language. You may find it helpful to purchase one of the many dictionaries of idioms that are available.

Here is one more idiom.

Give it your best shot - try hard.

Idioms are hard to learn, but give it your best shot.

All articles in the Language Arts category:

Building Vocabulary Capitalization Rules Choosing a Topic
Common Foreign Phrases Common Prefixes Commonly Misspelled Words
Confusing Pairs of Words Critical Reading Eponyms
Expository Writing Five Paragraph Essay Forming Plurals
Idioms Metaphors Number Prefixes
Parts of Speech Phonics Rules Proofreading
Using Punctuation Marks Reading Comprehension Reading Novels
Revising and Editing an Essay Similes Spelling Long Words
Transition Words and Phrases Useful Spelling Rules Using Quotation Marks
Word Identification Writing a Book Report Writing a Narrative Essay
Writing a Persuasive Essay Writing a Research Paper Writing Numbers
Writing Techniques Writing Terms  

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