Update: 2012-11-28 02:57 AM +0630


TIL English Idiom Collection


Collected from various sources by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ) for staff and students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale.

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Contents of this page

• P's and Q's • pack a punch • pack a rod • pack it in • pack uzis • pad • pad an expense account • paddle your own canoe • pain in the ass • pain in the butt • paint a picture • paint the town red • paint with the same brush • pair off/pair up • pale by comparison • paltry sum • pan out • parachute • pardon me • part and parcel •


P's and Q's

From Magnuson
P's and Q's
-- pain in the butt Internet link P's and Q's

P's and Q's -- (See watch your P's and Q's)

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pack a punch

From Magnuson
pack a punch --
hit hard, have a strong effect
Here's a word that packs a punch: guilty.

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pack a rod

From Magnuson
pack a rod --
carry a hand gun, have a gun on a belt
The boys knew that one of the students was packing a rod.

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pack it in

From Magnuson
pack it in --
quit, leave, pull the pin
"What if you don't get paid?" "I'll pack it in. I'll quit."

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pack uzis

From Magnuson
pack uzis --
carry automatic rifles, have powerful weapons
The news report stated that the soldiers were packing uzis.

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From Magnuson
pad --
apartment, digs
You have a nice pad, Nora. I love your leather furniture!

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pad an expense account

From Magnuson
pad an expense account --
claim more money than spent, add false expenses
How can I pad my expense account if I don't have receipts?

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paddle your own canoe

From Magnuson
paddle your own canoe --
be an individual, be independent
Love many, trust few, but always paddle your own canoe.

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pain in the ass

From Magnuson
pain in the ass [B] --
(See a pain in the ass)

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pain in the butt

From Magnuson
pain in the butt --
(See a pain in the butt)

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paint a picture

From Magnuson
paint a picture
-- part and parcel Internet link paint a picture

paint a picture -- describe in detail, portray with words
The speaker painted a picture of a ghetto with kids on the streets.

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paint the town red

From Magnuson
paint the town red --
have a party downtown, go out on the town
During the carnival they paint the town red - have a great time.

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paint with the same brush

From Magnuson
paint with the same brush --
include in the same group, generalize
He was with the gang, but can we paint him with the same brush?

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pair off/pair up

From Magnuson
pair off/pair up --
find a partner, organize people in two's
The coach asked us to pair off and practise passing the ball to each other.

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pale by comparison

From Magnuson
pale by comparison --
is not as good, is not as beautiful or talented
Most European parks pale by comparison to Banff.

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paltry sum

From Magnuson
paltry sum --
(See a paltry sum)

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pan out

From Magnuson
pan out --
succeed, go as planned, work out
Blair's ideas usually pan out. His suggestions are practical.

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From Magnuson
parachute --
to lose a job and be given another, to land in a safe position when your position is in danger, Bob's your uncle
A vice-president in trouble can parachute to one of several positions, or the board can create a position!

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pardon me

From Magnuson
pardon me --
what did you say? please repeat it
Pardon me? Did you say you grew up in Hong Kong?

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part and parcel

From Magnuson
part and parcel --
the same as, similar, one and the same
Socialism and communism are part and parcel of the same thing.

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P03. part company -- pass on Internet link part company

part company -- separate, go in different directions, split up
Mel and Brad parted company after they arrived in Germany.

part with -- sell, allow someone else to own, let go of
Papa won't part with his Peugeot. He'd never sell it.

partners in crime -- people who plan and commit crimes together, boozing buddies
As kids, Andy and I took apples from a neighbor's tree. We were partners in crime, so to speak.

party-pooper -- one who leaves a party, stick-in-the-mud
You party-pooper! Stay here and dance with us.

party to that -- (See a party to that)

pass around -- pass from person to person in the room, hand out
The speaker passed around a sheet of paper for us to sign.

pass away -- die, pass on
Grandma passed away in 1974. She was 92.

pass for -- appear similar to, look like
In that uniform, you could pass for a police officer.

pass off -- offer as real or genuine, use a fake object or paper
If you pass off counterfeit money, you can be charged with a crime.

pass on -- die, bite the dust, kick the bucket
Before her dad passed on, she visited him every day.

P04. pass out -- pat on the back Internet link pass out

pass out -- faint, become unconscious
He passed out after running the marathon. He fell on the road.

pass the buck -- blame others, refer the problem to others
I won't pass the buck. I won't blame others for our problems.

pass through -- drive or travel through a town or city
When we were passing through Regina, I called my cousin.

pass up -- not take an opportunity, not do it when you can
Do not pass up this opportunity to go back to school.

pass water -- urinate, take a leak[B], take a pee [B]
The nurse came in and asked him if he'd passed water yet.

pass wind -- let out gas, let a fart [B]
Mother says it's not polite to pass wind while you are eating.

passé -- old fashioned, dated, old hat
It's passé to say beg your pardon. We don't hear that now.

past is slipping by without a trace -- (See the past is slipping by without a trace)

pat answer -- (See a pat answer)

pat on the back -- praise, a compliment, tip of the hat
Chaya's compliment was like a pat on the back. She praised my work.

P05. patch things up -- pay in kind Internet link patch things up

patch things up -- agree to stop fighting, become friends again
Jon and May fight a lot, but they patch things up and go on.

paths will cross -- (See cross paths)

pave the way -- make it easier to do, prepare a path
A $5000 scholarship paved the way for her career in medicine.

pay a compliment -- say nice things about, say you did a good job
Tony paid you a compliment, Rita. He said you have a lovely garden.

pay a visit -- go to visit someone, drop over
I must pay her a visit. I want to see her before we move.

pay attention -- watch and listen, listen up
Pay attention to my words. Please listen carefully.

pay back -- repay, return money that was borrowed
He said he would pay back every cent he borrowed from us.

pay down -- pay more, pay off
Interest rates are high, so let's pay down our mortgage.

pay him back -- do what he did to you, get revenge
Sally paid Harry back by going on a date with Jim.

pay in kind -- (See repay in kind)

P06. pay my respects -- pay up Internet link pay my respects

pay my respects -- attend a ceremony or send a symbol of your respect for someone
Remembrance Day allows us to pay our respects to the people who defended our country.

pay off -- pay all that you owe, pay the balance
I want to pay off my loan now - pay the whole balance.

pay off -- reward you, give you what you want
Studying pays off. You get higher grades.

pay-off -- reward, profit
We invested in property, hoping for a pay-off when we sell it.

pay the penalty -- pay a fine, endure, receive punishment
He paid the penalty for his laziness: failure.

pay the price -- work hard, endure, suffer
To be an Olympic athlete, you have to pay the price: pain.

pay the shot -- pay the whole bill, pay for everybody's ticket etc.
Uncle Sammy paid the whole shot for our trip to Europe.

pay through the nose -- pay high rates for rent or service, cost an arm...
If you rent a condo in Dover, you'll pay through the nose.

pay tribute -- show that you respect or admire a person, honor someone
In a letter to Ms. Lee, the City paid tribute to her for service to her community.

pay up -- pay what is owed, pay a bet you lost
When I see Todd, I'll ask him to pay up. He owes me $20.

P07. pay your dues -- peed Internet link pay your dues

pay your dues -- work hard and learn, be loyal for years
In the sport of rodeo, you have to pay your dues to get respect.

pay your way -- pay your share of the expenses
"I don't want charity," she said. "I pay my way."

peace of mind -- freedom from worry or guilt
If you want peace of mind, you should buy insurance.

peaches-and-cream -- beautiful skin, clear complexion
This new lotion will give you a peaches-and-cream complexion.

peachy -- fine, great, wonderful, neat
When I asked Ko if she liked her job, she said, "Yes! It's peachy!"

peanuts -- small amount of money, loss of a negligible value, a paltry sum, chicken feed
"Isn't the loss of one billion worth of credits a problem for you?" "Oh, that's peanuts for a bank like us."

pecking order -- from strongest to weakest, line of authority
The first thing to learn about a company is the pecking order.

pedal her ass [B] -- sell sex, become a prostitute
Jane used to joke about pedaling her ass to earn extra money.

pedal to the metal -- accelerator all the way down, flat out
He always drives fast - pedal to the metal all the time.

peed -- (See she peed)

P08. peek-a-boo -- people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones Internet link peek-a-boo

peek-a-boo -- peek through the fingers with hands covering eyes
Shelly was playing peek-a-boo with the baby.

peep this -- look at this, check this out, eyeball this
Peep this! My fingernails are as long as Dolly's!

peer sneer -- an unfriendly look from a person who is the same age
When the manager praised my work, Vic gave me a peer sneer.

pell-mell -- in a wild manner, in panic, harum-scarum
When the fire alarm sounded we ran pell-mell down the hall.

pen those words/lines -- write those words or lines, compose that line
The medium is the message: Do you know who penned that line?

penny for your thoughts -- (See a penny for your thoughts)

penny pincher -- a person who spends carefully, a thrifty person
He used to be a penny pincher, but now he spends freely.

penny wise, dollar dumb -- wise in saving, foolish in spending; burn a hole in your pocket
You spent our carefully-saved money on an expensive electric organ that neither of us can play! Now that is penny wise, dollar dumb!

penny wise, pound foolish -- careful with pennies but careless with pounds, penny wise, dollar dumb
Our budget is penny wise and pound foolish - we save a little on food, and waste a lot on a luxury car!

people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones -- people who have faults should not criticize others
Perfect people can be critical, but people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

P09. perfect stranger -- phone-in Internet link perfect stranger

perfect stranger -- (See a perfect stranger)

perk up -- show interest or enthusiasm
When we mention girls, he perks up. His eyes sparkle.

pernickety/persnickety -- fussy, critical of details, perfectionistic
When Dale was teenager, he was pernickety about his hair.

pet -- touch intimately, kiss and caress
Petting is a prelude to sex. It is the touch of passion.

peter out -- gradually lose power, reduce, run out
After 6, sales began to peter out. We had fewer customers.

petrified -- very frightened, scared stiff
Gigi was petrified when a spider crawled up her leg.

phase me -- (See faze me)

phase me out -- (See it phased me out)

phat -- pretty hot and tempting, nice, cool
Hey, phat wheels! The WRX is a cool car.

phone-in -- a radio/TV show that invites phone calls
The topic for the phone-in show was Animal Rights.

P10. phooey -- pick up Internet link phooey

phooey -- oh no, darn it, nuts, rats, shucks
Phooey! I hit my golf ball into the water again!

photo op -- photo opportunity, chance to have your photo taken
Then Brian shook hands with students to create a photo op.

piano tied to your ass [B] -- something preventing you from moving
If you want coffee, make some! There's no piano tied to your ass.

pick a fight -- start a fight, begin an argument
If Jamie tries to pick a fight with you, just walk away.

pick holes in -- criticize, look for errors or faults, nitpick
Grant won't show you his work because you pick holes in it.

pick-me-up -- (See a pick-me-up)

pick of the litter -- (See the pick of the litter )

pick on -- criticize, tease, get on my case
Why is everybody picking on me? I feel like a victim.

pick up -- learn, understand, catch on
We pick up the street idioms faster than the grammar, eh.

pick up -- improve, increase
If business doesn't pick up soon, we'll need another loan.

P11. pick up the pace -- picture-perfect Internet link pick up the pace

pick up the pace -- go a little faster, step on it
We're walking rather slowly. Can we pick up the pace?

pick up the pieces -- put together again, mend
After her husband died, she tried to pick up the pieces of her life.

pick up the tab -- pay the bill, pay the shot
Who picked up the tab for the hotel rooms? Who paid?

pick you up -- give you a ride in a car, give you a lift (see give me a lift)
I'll pick you up at 6:45 and we'll drive to the mall.

pick you up -- make you feel better, make you happy or natural high
Here, have a cup of tea. That will pick you up.

pick your brains -- learn what you know, ask you questions
Maria wants to pick your brains about Freud and Jung. She wants to ask you what you know about them.

pick yourself up -- do not quit, persevere, roll with the punches
Don't let a failure stop you. Pick yourself up and try again.

picky -- fussy, looking for the perfect one
Don't be so picky, Dennis. Just choose a candy and eat it.

picture is worth a thousand words -- (See a picture is worth a thousand words)

picture-perfect -- perfectly made or performed, excellent, letter-perfect
Olga's performance on the balance beam was picture-perfect!

P12. piddly -- piece of tail [B] Internet link piddly

piddly -- little, small, tiny
"What a piddly car!" "Yes. It's a Micra."

piddly-assed [B] -- (See piddly)

pie-eyed -- drunk, intoxicated, hammered
Byron was pie-eyed when we got to the party. He was drunk, man.

pie in the sky -- unrealistic, not practical, hairbrain, half-baked
When first invented, the car and phone were pie-in-the-sky ideas. Now we have phones in cars.

piece of ass [B] -- (See a piece of ass)

piece of cake -- (See a piece of cake)

piece of me -- (See want a piece of me)

piece of my mind -- (See a piece of my mind)

piece of piss -- (See a piece of piss)

piece of tail [B] -- (See a piece of ass)

P13. pig -- pin down/pin him down Internet link pig

pig -- police, cop, flatfoot, fuzz
Rocky says, "There was pigs on every corner. We couldn't move."

pig in a poke -- (See a pig in a poke)

pig out -- eat a lot, fill your face
Then we went to the Dairy Queen and pigged out on soft ice cream.

piggy bank -- glass or porcelain pig used for saving coins
The little girl was counting the money in her piggy bank.

piggyback -- carried on someone's back, riding on someone's back
Jurgen loved to ride piggyback when his dad walked in the park.

piggyback -- succeed on the efforts of others
A catering firm piggybacked to success on United Airlines.

pill -- (See the pill)

pilot project -- the model or prototype, trial run
This solar generator is our pilot project. If it's successful we'll learn from it and build more.

pimple pole -- youth with pimples, teenager with zits
Hey, pimple pole! You left your locker door open.

pin down/pin him down -- get a direct answer, obtain the facts
Jed won't answer my questions. He's difficult to pin down.

P14. pin money -- pine float Internet link pin money

pin money -- extra money, money to spend on candy etc.
Janet used to earn pin money by painting signs.

pin your hopes on -- hope for one big chance, hope without planning, all your eggs...
If you pin your hopes on some horse winning a race, you will probably be disappointed.

pinch -- steal, rob, take what does not belong to you
When he was a boy he pinched pennies from his mom's purse.

pinch an inch -- pinch an inch of fat on your body
"If I can pinch an inch, am I fat?" "No. Just pleasantly plump."

pinch-hitter (baseball) -- substitute batter, extra batter
Gomez is the best pinch-hitter on the team. His average is .372.

pinch of coon shit [B] -- (See a pinch of coon shit)

pinch of salt -- (See a pinch of salt)

pinch off a loaf [B] -- have a bowel movement, drop a log
"Where were you?" "In the can, pinching off a loaf."

pinch to grow an inch -- (See a pinch to grow an inch)

pine float -- (See a pine float)

P15. pinhead -- piss away [B] Internet link pinhead

pinhead -- one who does not use his brain, dipstick
"Who broke your glasses?" "Some pinhead sat on them!"

pinko -- a socialist; one who is not as red as a communist, nor as white as a democrat
The pinkos want big business to pay for their social programs.

pinpoint -- locate the exact place or point, determine the time
Lawrence is trying to pinpoint the time of the plane crash.

pins and needles -- (See on pins and needles)

pipe down -- do not be so noisy, be quiet, keep it down
The teacher opened the door and said, "Pipe down, Grade 7."

pipe dream -- a dream based on luck, pie in the sky
Do you have a pipe dream or a plan? There's a big difference.

pipes -- voice, carry a tune
K.D. Lang has great pipes, eh.

pipsqueak -- tiny person, weak man, potlicker, wimp
Keith was a pipsqueak until he started lifting weights.

pirate -- steal, take someone else's property, bootleg, rabbit
His computer is loaded with pirated games and movies - all stolen.

piss away [B] -- waste, spend on liquor
He pissed away a lot of money when he was an alcoholic.

P16. piss in the pickles [B] -- pissed [B] Internet link piss in the pickles [B]

piss in the pickles [B] -- ruin a project, wreck a piece of work
Plans for a school were OK until the Premier pissed in the pickles.

piss like a race horse [B] -- have to urinate, back teeth are floating
I hope this mall has a washroom. I have to piss like a race horse.

piss off [B] -- leave, go, beat it, take off
"If you don't like cigar smoke," he said, "you can piss off."

piss on them [B] -- who cares about them? they are worthless
When Scotty heard you quit the team, he said, "Piss on him!"

piss parade [B] -- a group of people pissing together
On bus trips we stopped for a piss parade every two or three hours.

piss poor [B] -- of poor quality, not well made
Grandpa said, "That's a piss-poor tractor. Don't buy it."

piss pot full [B] -- a lot, very many, more than expected
After the poker game, Sammy had a piss pot full of loonies.

piss your pants [B] -- become very frightened, be very scared
The House of Horrors is so scary you'll piss your pants!

pissed [B] -- angry, upset, teed off
She was really pissed when you told her to carry your luggage.

pissed [B] -- drunk, hammered, sloshed
When I saw her walk, I knew she was pissed. She nearly fell down.

P17. pissed off [B] -- Plan B Internet link pissed off [B]

pissed off [B] -- angry, mad, pissed, ticked off
He'll be pissed off if I leave him. He'll be mad.

pissed to the gills [B] -- drunk, plastered, snapped
He was pissed to the gills, so we sent him home in a taxi.

pissing into the wind [B] -- working at a hopeless job, feeling futile about a task
Cleaning up an oil spill is like pissing into the wind - hopeless!

pit of my stomach -- (See the pit of my stomach)

pit stop -- a brief stop to buy gas or go to the washroom
Excuse me. I have to make a pit stop before we go to the movie.

pits -- (See the pits)

place on a pedestal -- (See on a pedestal)

plain as day -- easy to see, clearly visible, in broad daylight
I saw it, plain as day - Bigfoot - not twenty feet away!

plain as the nose on your face -- very easy to see or understand, very clear, crystal clear
We have photos of the earth from outer space that prove the earth is round. It's plain as the nose on your face!

Plan B -- the substitute for Plan A, an alternative plan
Plan A depends on getting a student loan. What is Plan B?

P18. plastered -- play a trick on Internet link plastered

plastered -- very drunk, hammered, looped, sloshed
After losing the fight, Jock went and got plastered.

plastic -- credit cards, bank cards
I like to use plastic when I travel. I don't feel safe carrying cash.

plate is full -- too much to do, cannot do any more
I'm busy writing exams. My plate is full.

play a big part -- do much to help, be a main factor
The nice weather played a big part in the success of our festival.

play a bit-part -- be a minor actor in a movie or a stage play
Irene played a bit-part in a movie last year. She's a good actor.

play a joke on -- fool or trick someone, play a prank on
I played a joke on Ty. I phoned and said he'd won the lottery.

play a mean game -- play very well, play to win
Ingrid may beat you. She plays a mean game of chess.

play a part -- be a cause, affect the result
His drinking played a part in his dismissal. Drinking was a cause.

play a prank on -- arrange a surprise for you so people will laugh
Ty played a prank on me. He left a message to call the president.

play a trick on -- deceive you for fun, play a joke on
We played a trick on Liz. We sent her picture to a beauty contest.

P19. play along -- play hardball Internet link play along

play along -- pretend to believe, go along with, let on
Lisa played along with the joke on Mark. She didn't tell him.

play around -- have other mates, sleep around
She knows he's playing around, but she won't confront him.

play catch-up -- try to score the number of goals the opponent has scored, catch up, too little too late
They scored four goals in the first period, and we were playing catch-up for the rest of the game.

play dead -- pretend to be dead, lie down as if you are dead
If a grizzly bear attacks you, play dead and it may go away.

play dirty -- play rough, break the rules, play hardball
Even if his opponents cheat and lie, Pat won't play dirty.

play dumb -- act as if you do not know, play along
Play dumb when she tells you I won. Pretend you don't know.

play fair -- play using rules, give everyone an equal chance
A referee will help us to play fair, to play according to the rules.

play games -- deceive people, not be sincere, mind games
He's been playing games with us. We can't believe what he says.

play hard to get -- pretend you do not care; you do not want him
When Tom invites you to go on a date, you could play hard to get.

play hardball -- play tough, try to hurt the opponent, play dirty
If the manager wants to play hardball, show him that you are tough.

P20. play havoc with -- play my cards right Internet link play havoc with

play havoc with -- interfere with, cause sudden changes
The wind played havoc with the ball, causing it to rise or fall.

play hooky -- not attend classes, stay away from school
One spring day, some of us played hooky. We went fishing.

play into his hand -- do as he planned, fall into his trap (see fall into a trap)
By accepting a ride in Paul's car, you played right into his hand.

play it by ear -- play without a plan, improvise, jam
If our plans fail, we can play it by ear. We'll be creative!

play it cool -- be calm, do not become excited, chill out
If Lisa tells you she's pregnant, play it cool. Don't become angry.

play it for all it's worth -- get the most out of it, dramatize it, ham it up
When Uncle Saul tells a story, he plays it for all it's worth.

play it safe -- be careful, do not take a chance
Play it safe when you go out in a boat. Wear a life jacket.

play it up -- act like it is important, make it a big deal
If there's an argument, he plays it up. He makes it worse.

play musical chairs -- move people around but not change the operation, shuffle the chairs on the deck
The government is playing musical chairs again - moving the the ministers around but not improving anything.

play my cards right -- behave in the best way, do the right things
If you play your cards right at the interview, you should get the job.

P21. play on my heart strings -- play the ponies Internet link play on my heart strings

play on my heart strings -- cause me to feel emotional, make me feel sentimental
The movie Hey Jude will play on your heart strings. It will make you cry.

play on words -- (See a play on words)

play out -- become tired or exhausted, become winded
After two sets of tennis, Ling said, "I'm played out!"

play out -- happen, conclude, pan out, work out,
Nina used to work for Ed. Now Ed works for Nina. I want to see how this plays out.

play second fiddle -- accept a lower position, take a back seat
Kirk won't play second fiddle to her. He wants to be the boss.

play the field -- date many people, go out with various men/women
After a long relationship with Sue, he began to play the field.

play the fool -- pretend you are a fool, act simple or foolish
If you play the fool, people will often tell you secrets.

play the ham -- act for an audience, ham it up
After a couple of drinks, he likes to play the ham - to be a clown.

play the heavy -- be the strong man or tough guy
In our gang, Don plays the heavy. He talks and acts tough.

play the ponies -- bet on horses at the race track
He's lost a lot of money playing the ponies. He bets on every race.

P22. play the stock market -- plumb loco Internet Link play the stock market

play the stock market -- buy stocks and shares, sell stocks and shares
At first he invested in real estate; then he played the stock market.

play to the crowd -- play a sport just for the crowd, a hotdog
The coach wants us to play to win, not play to the crowd.

play with fire -- do risky things, live dangerously, take chances
"If you play with fire," Trine explained, "you may get burned. You may get hurt."

pleased as punch -- very pleased, happy about
Our minister is pleased as punch when there's a large offering.

pluck at the heart strings -- cause us to feel sadness or longing, move you to tears, touch you
I'm feeling sentimental. That song is plucking at my heart strings.

plug away -- work slowly and steadily, slug away
If you plug away at physics, you will eventually understand it.

plug into -- become familiar with, learn to use
If he wants to be a dentist, he'll have to plug into the sciences.

plug the product -- (See put in a plug for)

plug the team -- add the best players from other teams
The Flyers plugged their team with star players from the league.

plumb loco -- completely crazy, crackers
After several crop failures, one farmer went plumb loco.

P23. plump full -- point out Internet Link plump full

plump full -- very full, full to the top, chock full
Johnny's glass was plump full - so full he spilled some milk.

pocket Hercules -- a small person with great strength
In the 1970s a guy named Stan Jonathan played for the Boston Bruins. He was small but very tough - a pocket Hercules.

pocket of resistance -- (See a pocket of resistance)

pogey -- checks from employment insurance
Some guys work all summer and collect pogey all winter.

point a finger at -- accuse, suggest that someone is guilty
If you aren't guilty, fine. But don't point a finger at me!

point-blank range -- close range, only a few feet away
The report stated that the gorilla was shot at point-blank range.

point is well taken -- opinion is true, statement is logical
Your point about smoking is well taken. It is expensive.

point of no return -- (See the point of no return)

point of view -- opinion, what you think of it
This is my point of view: Religion is a private matter.

point out -- tell, show, indicate
The teacher pointed out that the word run has several meanings.

P24. pointed questions -- pony up Internet Link pointed questions

pointed questions -- questions that accuse, on the carpet, the third degree
"Why did you take the files?" he asked. "Stop with the pointed questions!" I replied. "I didn't take the files!"

poke fun at -- laugh at, make fun of
Would you poke fun at someone who can't speak Chinese?

poker face -- (See a poker face)

pokey -- jail, prison, behind bars, in the clink
Don't mention pokey in your resume. You don't want to advertise your time in jail.

polish off/polish it off -- eat all of it, drink it all
Somebody polished off the last few cookies. Who ate them?

political football -- a program or issue used by politicians to get votes, play political games
A day-care program is a political football. Politicians use it to get the votes of parents with babies.

politically correct -- appropriate, not racist or sexist
Advertise for a salesperson. Use the politically correct term.

polluted -- very drunk, loaded, plastered, wasted
Every Friday night he goes to the bar and drinks till he's polluted.

pony tail -- tying the hair at the back leaving a tail of hair
Stan pulled on Judy's pony tail as he walked past her desk.

pony up -- contribute, give some money, do your part
Okay guys, it's time to pony up. Ten dollars will pay for a taxi into town.

P25. poontang [B] -- pop your buttons Internet Link poontang [B]

poontang [B] -- sex, intercourse, nookie
Listen, guys, poontang should be measured in quality, not quantity.

poop -- excrement, droppings
"Please take with you what your dog brought: We need no poop in the playground."

poor as a church mouse -- (See as poor as a church mouse)

poor house -- (See in the poorhouse)

pop a cap [B] -- shoot, murder, knock off
He says he's going to pop a cap in the supervisor. We've got to stop him.

pop in -- visit without warning, drop in
When I'm in your part of town I'll pop in for a visit, okay?

pop over -- visit for a few minutes, drop over
Why don't you pop over and see our wedding pictures?

pop the question -- ask an important question, ask someone to marry you
In the old days, a man would buy the ring and then pop the question.

pop up -- appear, occur, be visible
The name M. Greig kept popping up in the company records.

pop your buttons -- feel very proud, be full of pride
When you received the award, did you pop your buttons?

P26. popcorn brain -- pound salt Internet link popcorn brain

popcorn brain -- one who has not learned to think, an airhead
When I forgot my phone number they called me popcorn brain.

pope's nose -- (See the pope's nose)

positive -- certain, very sure, dead certain
Are you positive it was Ming? Do you know for sure it was him?

pot -- marijuana tobacco, reefer
The room smelled of tobacco, like someone had been smoking pot.

pot calling the kettle black -- a guilty person accusing another guilty person
When thief accuses robber, it's the pot calling the kettle black.

pot of gold -- a fortune, a lot of money
Izzy believes there's a pot of gold buried in every acre he buys.

potato sack -- loose fitting jacket or clothing
Potato sack looks good on Ken. Baggy clothes suit him.

potlicker -- little person, small competitor; originally a dog or other pet
George - that potlicker! I can beat him with my little finger!

pound of flesh -- revenge, an eye for an eye
For that insult, Simon will get revenge - his pound of flesh.

pound salt -- leave, go, take off
If you don't want to play by our rules, you can pound salt, man!

P27. pound the pavement -- power user Internet Link pound the pavement

pound the pavement -- look for a job, walk from company to company to find a job
Carrying several copies of his resume, Tang was pounding the pavement in Vancouver.

pour it on -- praise a lot, compliment too much
When Harry starts pouring it on, I know he wants something.

pour out your soul -- tell your private feelings, tell all
When Zora visits, she pours out her soul to me. She tells me all about her lover.

pow -- a word to describe a hit or a punch, bam
Then pow! This guy hits Cody in the stomach.

powder my nose -- go to the ladies' washroom, go to the bathroom
Excuse me. I'm going to powder my nose. Are you coming, Judy?

power play (business) -- a show of power, a grab for power
If a general manager demotes two managers, it's a power play.

power play (hockey) -- five skaters against four or three
The Russians scored twice on their five-minute power play.

power to burn -- very powerful, lots of horsepower, go like stink
That old Chev has a 454 motor. It has power to burn.

power trip -- showing power, showing authority
Last week he went on a power trip and told us to work harder.

power user -- a person who uses a computer a lot
Jay uses the computer about 12 hours a day. He's a power user.

P28. powers that be -- press charges Internet Link powers that be

powers that be -- (See the powers that be)

practice what you preach -- do what you say people should do
If you want to hear truth, tell the truth. Practice what you preach.

prairie oyster -- the testicle of a young bull or bull calf
Do you believe that some folks in Alberta eat prairie oysters?

praise him to the skies -- praise him a lot, sing his praises
Wade is an excellent student. His teachers praise him to the skies.

pre-menstrual syndrome -- emotional crises the week before menstruation, pms
Judy says pms causes most of her personal problems.

preach to the choir/preach to the converted -- tell people who already know the message, talk to the wrong audience
When I complained to the class about students who were absent, Ed reminded me that I was preaching to the choir!

prepare like crazy -- prepare thoroughly, be ready for an event or test
Before I go to a job interview I prepare like crazy.

preppy -- a youth who wears trendy clothes, clean cut
Brad is a preppy. He wears Polo sweaters and drives a Celica.

presence of mind -- ability to think clearly and act appropriately, cool under pressure
When the bear charged the car, Jill had the presence of mind to sound the burglar alarm.

press charges -- ask the police to charge someone with a crime
The police asked her if she wanted to press charges against the thief.

P29. press into service -- pride goeth before a fall Internet Link press into service

press into service -- required to help, forced to serve
The young men were injured, so the old men were pressed into service.

press on -- continue traveling, keep on going
Dumont wanted to stop at Batoche, but he pressed on to Fort Carlton.

press the panic button -- become very scared, panic, freak
If a dog growls at me, I press the panic button. I scream and run.

pretty as a picture -- very pretty, beautiful
"How do I look in my new dress?" "Pretty as a picture, my dear."

pretty penny -- (See cost a pretty penny)

price out -- check the price of, find out the price
Before we buy a European car, we should price out parts and service.

price you have to pay -- (See the price you have to pay)

prick [B] -- penis, dork, hoo-haw
When the doctor asked me where it hurt, I pointed to my prick.

prick [B] -- foolish man, jerk
Only a prick would feed liquor to his pet.

pride goeth before a fall -- you lose self-respect before you do an evil deed
I think this proverb is taken from the Bible: Pride goeth before a fall.

P30. prima donna -- pub crawl Internet Link prima donna

prima donna -- one who expects special treatment or privileges
A prima donna on our team might upset the other players.

Prince Charming -- the perfect man, the ideal mate
Colin is not Prince Charming, but I love him and he loves me.

proby -- an employee who is on probation, a new employee
When I was a proby, I tried to impress my supervisors.

promise the moon -- promise that everything will be perfect
If you promise the moon, the kids may be very disappointed.

pronto -- now, immediately, right away
You'll miss your bus if you don't leave now. Pronto!

proof of the pudding... -- (See the proof of the pudding is in the eating)

props -- respect for ability or effort; derived from "proper respect"
David deserves his props for scoring points against the champion.

psych out -- lose confidence, be unable to concentrate, faze me
If I think about making a mistake, I get psyched out.

psyched/psyched up -- prepared, excited, pumped, up for it
Claire was psyched for the exam. She was ready for the challenge.

pub crawl -- drink at many pubs in one day, bar hopping
If you go on a pub crawl today, you'll have a headache tomorrow.

P31. public property -- pull out all the stops Internet link public property

public property -- what everybody knows, public information
If you tell Zora about the plan, it'll be public property.

puddlejumper -- small car, subcompact
"Why did you buy that puddlejumper?" "Because it gets good gas mileage."

pull a face -- wrinkle your face, make a face
Lyle is 14, but he's still a boy. He pulls a face when he's upset.

pull a few strings -- help by talking to powerful people, it's not what you know...
My application was late, but a friend of mine pulled a few strings and got me an interview.

pull a muscle -- injure a muscle, strain a muscle, charley horse
One of our best players pulled a muscle and can't play tonight.

pull for -- support, cheer for
We were pulling for your team. We're glad you won.

pull in your horns -- not be so aggressive, stop attacking or criticizing
Father's advice is to pull in your horns or you could be dismissed.

pull it off -- cause it to happen; succeed, win, snatch victory...
With Jean as leader of the party, the Liberals can pull it off. They can win the election.

pull it out -- win just before the end; before it is too late
The score was tied, but we pulled it out with a last-minute goal.

pull out all the stops -- work as hard as possible, go all-out, go for broke
You're losing this match. If you want to win, you'll have to pull out all the stops.

P32. pull punches -- pull up stakes Internet Link pull punches

pull punches -- talk nice, ease up, take it easy on you
If the service is poor, he doesn't pull punches. He complains.

pull that -- do that, do something wrong, try that
She reached for the phone to call the police, but the thief said, "Don't try to pull that."

pull the goalie (hockey) -- remove the goaltender and use an extra skater
After our coach pulled the goalie we scored and tied the game.

pull the pin -- quit, resign, leave, pack it in
If the company doesn't give us a raise in pay, I'm pulling the pin.

pull the plug -- stop working on a project, not support any more, leave you in the lurch
When Zoe lied to Social Services they pulled the plug on her. They stopped paying her expenses.

pull the rug out -- take away your help, remove your support, leave you holding the bag
Some insurance companies pull the rug out from under you when you file a claim.

pull the wool over your eyes -- deceive you, trick you, fool you
Don't let him pull the wool over your eyes. He's not at the office.

pull through -- recover, get well, get over the operation
The doctor didn't think he'd pull through, but he's feeling fine.

pull together -- work together, co-operate
If we pull together, we can complete this project on time.

pull up stakes -- move away, go to live in another place
We pull up stakes when winter comes. We move to Arizona.

P33. pull up your socks -- puppy love Internet Link pull up your socks

pull up your socks -- do better, improve
He'll have to pull up his socks in math - if he wants to pass.

pull your chain -- ask you what you think, ask for your opinion
If we want your opinion we'll pull your chain. We'll ask you.

pull your leg -- fool you, tell you a false story as a joke
If he said Canada has a tropical climate, he was pulling your leg.

pull your weight -- do your job, do your share of the work
If we all pull our weight - do our share - we can achieve our goals.

pull your wire [B] -- masturbate, jerk off [B]
"Why do you pull your wire?" "Because it feels good."

pull yourself together -- control your sadness, get a grip on yourself
It's difficult to pull yourself together after a divorce.

pumped/pumped up -- excited about performing, ready to play
John's pumped for today's game. He really wants to play.

punch your lights out -- hit you, knock you down, knock you out
If you try to kiss my girlfriend I'll punch your lights out.

puppy -- a name for someone or something familiar
Your old Honda? Don't sell that puppy. It's a keeper.

puppy love -- young love, love between children or teenagers
Puppy love is sweet, but it's just a step on the path to mature love.

P34. pure luck -- pussy whipped Internet Link pure luck

pure luck -- just luck, not skill or talent
Hank won the fishing contest, but it was pure luck, not skill.

push me (to the limit) -- put pressure on me, bugme too much
Don't push me. One more insult and I'll punch you.

push the boat out -- work harder to complete the job, give 110%, go the extra mile
Chris, my son, to make your marriage work, sometimes, well, many times, you have to push the boat out.

push the envelope -- challenge yourself, innovate, take risks, think outside the box
If we are going to lead this industry, we need to push the envelope.

push the right buttons -- say the right things, do the right things
The players want to play for Pat. She pushes all the right buttons.

push your luck -- (See don't push your luck)

pusher -- a person who sells illegal drugs
The judge sentenced the pusher to ten years in prison.

pushing fifty -- nearly 50 years old, 48 or 49 years old
Bart is pushing fifty, but he looks much younger.

pushing up daisies -- dead and buried in a graveyard, deep six
Old Tom's pushin' up daisies. He died a long time ago.

pussy whipped -- controlled by his wife, afraid his wife will cut him off
Tim loves his wife, but he's not pussy whipped. He has a mind of his own.

P35. put 'em up -- put away Internet Link put 'em up

put 'em up -- raise your hands, reach for the sky
Merv sticks his finger in my ribs and says, "Put 'em up."

pussyfoot around -- not have the courage to say what you think, wimp
"Say what you believe!" Marilyn shouted. "Stop pussyfooting around here like we're made of crystal!"

put 'er there -- let us shake hands, I want to shake hands with you
After the argument, I apologized and said, "Put 'er there, eh."

put a bug in my ear -- told me secretly, a little bird told me
"Who told you I need a wallet?" "Mom put a bug in my ear."

put a different slant on it -- change the way you see it, change your view, put things in perspective
If you called the police because you thought I needed help, that puts a different slant on it.

put a hex on me -- bring a curse upon me, put me under a spell
I haven't won a game of cards today. Did you put a hex on me?

put a lid on it -- do not be noisy, keep it down
When we shout, he says, "Put a lid on it. Not so loud, eh."

put all your eggs in... -- (See all your eggs in one basket)

put an end to -- stop or end it, cause it to stop
The policeman came and put an end to the fighting.

put away -- eat or drink, pig out
Dennis has a good appetite. He put away ten pancakes!

P36. put down -- put in time Internet link put down

put down -- criticize, knock, put-down
Those poor kids are put down all the time - criticized and yelled at.

put down -- kill, shoot, dispatch, put out of its misery
The horse had to be put down because it was badly injured.

put-down -- criticism, disapproval
His speech was a put-down of our policies - very negative.

put down roots -- live in one place for years, buy land and raise a family
After moving from town to town, we put down roots in Moose Jaw.

put her there -- let us shake hands, I want to shake hands with you
After the argument he apologized and said, "Put 'er there."

put him in his place -- tell him he is wrong - that he is out of line
Dwaine has insulted all of us. I hope Dad puts him in his place.

put in a good word for -- tell the employer that you are a good applicant
If you apply for a job with us, I'll put in a good word for you.

put in a hard day -- work hard all day, a hard day
You've put in a hard day, Fran. Let's have supper at a cafe.

put in a plug for -- advertise free, promote free
When you speak on TV, please put in a plug for my book.

put in time -- be there a lot, hang out, spend time
Raj puts in a lot of time at the piano. He practices a lot.

P37. put it -- put on airs Internet Link put it

put it -- say it, express it
She said, "He's my favorite cowboy." That's how she put it.

put it on the bill -- charge a purchase, charge it, run a tab
When I buy something at the grocery store, I put it on the bill.

put me on -- (See putting me on)

put my finger on it -- (See can't put my finger on it)

put my foot down -- say no, say you cannot do that, no way
When the kids ask if they can go to a restricted movie, I put my foot down.

put my neck on the line -- risk my job or safety, stick my neck out
As a manager, I'll put my neck on the line for a good employee.

put off -- upset, unhappy, miffed, put out about
He was put off when Nola refused to go out with him.

put off -- do it later, postpone
We've put off the wedding until Chad completes his education.

put on a pedestal -- (See on a pedestal)

put on airs -- pretend you are better or richer or smarter
Martha would never put on airs. She is very sincere.

P38. put on the dog -- put the heat on Internet Link put on the dog

put on the dog -- use your finest dishes or clothes etc.; show off
When we visit Mame, she likes to put on the dog - get dressed up.

put out -- do, function, perform
Vern's crew really puts out. They do a lot of work in a day.

put out -- unhappy, upset
Was he put out when you asked for more money? Was he upset?

put out about -- bothered, annoyed, ticked off
What's Jan put out about? She seems irritated.

put out feelers -- discover indirectly, ask subtle questions, through the grapevine
I'm not really looking for a new job, but I'm going to put out a few feelers and see what happens.

put out of its misery -- kill because it is suffering, put down
One of our dogs had diabetes, so we put it out of its misery.

put stock in -- believe in, have faith in
An atheist doesn't put much stock in the Bible.

put the finishing touches on -- add the last details or trimmings
Lan decorated the cake - she put the finishing touches on it.

put the hammer down -- go faster, floor it, pedal to the metal
If we's goin from New York to LA in two days, you got to put de hammer down.

put the heat on -- cause someone to feel pressure or stress
The cops put the heat on them by asking a lot of questions.

P39. put the kibosh on -- put too fine a point on Internet Link put the kibosh on

put the kibosh on -- prevent, stop
The manager put the kibosh on our dental plan. He said no.

put the right spin on it -- say it in a diplomatic way, bafflegab, doctor it, spin doctor
Don't say it's lost. Say it's been misplaced. Put the right spin on it!

put them up -- put your hands up, stick them up
The outlaw drew his gun, saying, "Put 'em up, folks, or I'll shoot."

put things in perspective -- see things as they are, see the actual size
A few days after the flood, I was able to put things in perspective.

put to bed (print media) -- put in a box when it is ready to print
The editor always checks the paper before he puts it to bed.

put to death -- killed, shot, hanged, put down
If a soldier deserted the army he was put to death.

put to rest -- not think or worry about it any more
It's time we put to rest our quarrel over Dad's will.

put to shame -- defeated very badly, feel ashamed of losing
Our baseball team was put to shame by the Cubans: 11-0.

put to the test -- be tested, be challenged
Your computer skills will be put to the test in your new position.

put too fine a point on -- be too precise, split hairs
If you want to put too fine a point on it, the color is actually russet.

P40. put up or shut up -- put your foot in it Internet Link put up or shut up

put up or shut up -- pay for or be quiet, do instead of talk
If you brag about your cooking we'll ask you to put up or shut up.

put up the money -- pay for, finance, front me
If I start a new business, will you put up the money?

put up with -- tolerate, endure, not get frustrated
Alice puts up with a lot of complaining from Jackie.

put you at ease -- cause you to relax, break the ice
An embarrassing moment can sometimes put you at ease.

put you away -- defeat you, knock you out
If the score is tied, he must win two points to put you away.

put you in a bad mood -- cause you to feel upset or unhappy
The violence in that movie put me in a bad mood. I dislike violence.

put you off your game -- cause you to play poorly, cause you to make errors
Wearing a helmet will put me off my game. It will bother me.

put you through the mill -- test your endurance or will, give you a hard time, run the gauntlet
On the first day, the workers will put you through the mill. They want to know if you are strong.

put your best foot forward -- try to do your best work, present yourself well
If you put your best foot forward, the employer will be impressed.

put your foot in it -- say or do something that causes an argument
He really put his foot in it when he said that doctors are underpaid.

P41. put your foot in your mouth -- putting on the ritz Internet link put your foot in your mouth

put your foot in your mouth -- say something that causes pain or embarrassment
If you speak the truth, you will often put your foot in your mouth.

put your heart into it -- try hard, do your best, give it your best shot
If you hope to succeed in life, you have to put your heart into it.

put your mind to it -- use the power of your mind, be focused, mind over matter
You can do this calculus problem if you put your mind to it. Find a quiet place to work and apply all of your skill.

put your money where your mouth is -- pay what you offered, put up or shut up
I accept your offer. Now put your money where your mouth is.

put your shoulder to the wheel -- begin to work
If you want a share of the profits, put your shoulder to the wheel.

put yourself out -- give too much, sacrifice, go to a lot of trouble (see go to any trouble)
When I visit, don't put yourself out. Don't do anything special.

put yourself through college -- earn money to pay for your college education
You need a good summer job to put yourself through college.

putting me on -- joking, fooling me, kidding me
You won a Nobel Prize? You're putting me on!

putting on the ritz -- dressing fancy or classy, doing things high class
She's dining and dancing in Paris. She's putting on the ritz!

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