Update: 2012-11-28 02:51 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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kaput keep a lid on it keep a low profile keep a promise keep a secret keep a stiff upper lip keep a straight face keep an even keel keep an eye on keep an eye open keep an eye out keep an open mind keep fit keep in good shape keep in line keep in the loop keep in touch keep it down keep it quiet keep it to yourself



From Magnuson
-- keep an eye open Internet link kaput

kaput -- broken, ruined
We have a car, but it won't go. The motor is kaput.

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keep a lid on it

From Magnuson
keep a lid on it --
not tell others, keep it quiet
The judges know who won, but they have to keep a lid on it.

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keep a low profile

From Magnuson
keep a low profile --
not go out much, lay low
He plans to keep a low profile until the trial is over.

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keep a promise

From Magnuson
keep a promise --
do what you promise to do
You can depend on Vern to keep a promise. He's reliable.

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keep a secret

From Magnuson
keep a secret --
not tell anyone, keep it to yourself
Children can keep a secret better than adults.

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keep a stiff upper lip

From Magnuson
keep a stiff upper lip --
do not cry, do not be afraid
When Arthur left Tag, Dad said, "Keep a stiff upper lip, Dear."

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keep a straight face

From Magnuson
keep a straight face --
not smile or laugh, have a a poker face
When you said I was your uncle, I couldn't keep a straight face.

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keep an even keel

From Magnuson
keep an even keel --
be steady, be calm and sensible
Customer Service needs people who can keep an even keel.

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keep an eye on

From Magnuson
keep an eye on --
watch to prevent harm, watch out for
Fred, will you keep an eye on the children? I'm going to the store.

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keep an eye open

From Magnuson
keep an eye open --
(See keep an eye out)

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keep an eye out

From Magnuson
keep an eye out
-- keep it to yourself Internet link keep an eye out

keep an eye out -- watch for, look for, keep your eyes peeled
Keep an eye out for Helen at the school reunion. You may see her.

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keep an open mind

From Magnuson
keep an open mind --
be fair to all opinions, avoid prejudging
I keep an open mind when I talk to you - open to all opinions.

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keep fit

From Magnuson
keep fit --
exercise to be healthy, look after your body
You'll feel better if you keep fit - if you exercise regularly.

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keep in good shape

From Magnuson
keep in good shape --
care for your body, be fit, keep fit
You keep your body in good shape. You look fit.

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keep in line

From Magnuson
keep in line --
obey the rules, conform, stay in line
The manager expects us to keep in line, not cause problems.

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keep in the loop

From Magnuson
keep in the loop --
(See in the loop)

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keep in touch

From Magnuson
keep in touch --
phone, write a letter
Please keep in touch with us when you move to the city.

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keep it down

From Magnuson
keep it down --
be quiet, do not be noisy, pipe down
Dad called to us, "Keep it down, eh. We're trying to go to sleep."

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keep it quiet

From Magnuson
keep it quiet --
do not tell anyone, keep a lid on it
I have a new job, but keep it quiet because I haven't told my boss.

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keep it to yourself

From Magnuson
keep it to yourself --
do not tell anyone, keep a secret
If I tell you what she said, will you keep it to yourself?

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K03. keep it up -- keep the wolf from the door Internet link  keep it up

keep it up -- continue doing it, maintain this quality
Good work, Joe. If you keep it up, you'll soon be a manager.

keep on -- continue, do it more
We asked him to stop phoning us, but he kept on doing it.

keep on trucking -- continue to go or work, carry on
Len has a sign on the door of his big rig: Keep On Truckin, Man!

keep out -- do not come in, stay outside
There was a sign on the gate: PRIVATE - KEEP OUT!

keep pace -- go as fast, keep up
Our company keeps pace with the leaders. We're near the top.

keep quiet -- do not talk, shut up
Will you please keep quiet. You've said enough.

keep tabs on -- watch and write notes, keep track of
Who keeps tabs on expenses? Who has the receipts?

keep the ball rolling -- continue the work, encourage us to continue
Reg will keep the ball rolling. He won't allow the work to stop.

keep the faith -- believe in what we know, do not doubt
When we parted, John said, "Keep the faith, eh."

keep the wolf from the door -- keep us fed, prevent hunger
This check will keep the wolf from the door. We can buy food.

K04. keep them straight -- keep you honest Internet link keep them straight

keep them straight -- know the difference, be able to identify them
Mo, you have so many relatives. How do you keep them straight?

keep to yourself -- be alone, not associate with people
When I'm feeling sad, I keep to myself. I like to be alone.

keep track -- check, count
Keep track of the time you work at the computer. Keep a record.

keep under wraps -- keep something hidden, not show or talk about
Details of the program were kept under wraps until the election.

keep up -- go as fast as the others, keep pace
In typing class, I can't keep up. I can't type as fast as the others.

keep up the good work -- continue to do good work, 'at a boy
I like to hear my supervisor say, "Keep up the good work."

keep up with the Joneses -- buy what the neighbors buy, keep pace
I can't afford to keep up with the Joneses. I'm not rich!

keep up with the times -- be aware of new methods and trends, stay abreast
Reading newspapers will help you keep up with the times.

keep you going -- provide money or food or energy, get by
If you can't stop for lunch, drink some juice to keep you going.

keep you honest -- keep you from lying, cause you to be truthful
Your child's questions will keep you honest. You can't lie to kids.

K05. keep you in mind -- keep your head Internet link keep you in mind

keep you in mind -- remember you or your request, think of you
If we have any job openings in sales, I'll keep you in mind.

keep you on track -- tell you what to do, remind you of the topic
The instructor will help to keep us on track. She'll remind us.

keep you posted -- send or phone the news to you, inform you
I'll be in Korea for six months, but I'll keep you posted.

keep your cool -- stay calm, not become excited
Can you keep your cool during an emergency, or do you panic?

keep your distance -- do not come too close, respect a person's space
Keep your distance or she'll accuse you of harassment.

keep your ear to the ground -- listen for news, listen for gossip
Keep your ear to the ground. You'll hear about drug dealers.

keep your eyes peeled -- look or watch carefully, watch for
Keep your eyes peeled for birds. Watch for animals, too.

keep your fingers crossed -- hope that plans will be successful, hope our dreams will come true
"I hope I get a pet dog for my birthday." "Keep your fingers crossed, my dear."

keep your hair on -- don't rush, be calm, keep your shirt on
"Hurry, Adriana! We're late!" "Keep your hair on. I'm coming!"

keep your head -- think clearly, do not lose your head
Try to keep your head during a crisis. Try to think clearly.

K06. keep your head above water -- kick Internet link keep your head above water

keep your head above water -- survive, have just enough to live, get by
With a part-time job, I was able to keep my head above water.

keep your nose clean -- stay out of trouble, toe the line
Keep your nose clean, and you'll get out of prison sooner.

keep your nose to the grindstone -- continue to work hard
Keep your nose to the grindstone and you'll pass the final exam.

keep your shirt on -- be calm, do not rush me, do not get your shirt in a knot
When we asked Dad to hurry, he'd say, "Keep your shirt on."

keep your word -- do as you promise, keep a promise
You can depend on him. He always keeps his word.

keeper -- (See a keeper)

keester -- buttocks, backside, bum, rear end
We laughed when Lan fell off the horse and landed on her keester.

kept woman -- (See a kept woman)

kettle of fish -- (See a different kettle of fish)

kick -- running faster at the end of a race, home stretch
If you are a distance runner, you know the meaning of kick.

K07. kick a habit -- kick the bucket Internet link kick a habit

kick a habit -- stop a habit, shake a habit
A person needs discipline to kick a habit like drinking.

kick ass [B] -- scold, lecture, give you hell
The coach will kick ass if we don't go to practice.

kick ass -- proves it is best, shows superior quality, kick some ass
This cd kicks ass, man! Even Jimmy would say it rocks!

kick at the cat -- a turn, a try, have a go
It's your kick at the cat. See if you can solve the puzzle.

kick back -- relax, sit back and put your feet up
I'm going to kick back on the deck for a couple of hours.

kick butt -- defeat badly, blow them away
The Cougars beat us last week. Let's kick their butt tonight!

kick myself -- be angry at myself, regret my choice
I could kick myself for selling that car. I wish I hadn't sold it.

kick some ass -- win, beat the other team, show them who is the best
The captain of our team said, "Let's go out there and kick some ass!"

kick start -- use battery cables to start a car, jump start
The battery was dead so we got a tow truck to kick start our car.

kick the bucket -- die, buy the farm, pass away

K08. kick the weed -- kill me Internet link kick the weed

kick the weed -- stop smoking, kick the habit (see kick a habit)of smoking
It's hard to kick the weed after smoking for twenty years.

kick up a fuss -- complain, make a scene
Jon will kick up a fuss if he doesn't get paid on time.

kick up your heels -- celebrate, go to parties, have fun
After you've written your exams you can kick up your heels.

kicking around -- lying around here; is here or there or somewhere near
"Do you have a hammer?" "Ya, there's one kickin' around here somewhere."

kid -- joke, fool, tease, josh
I was kidding when I said the mosquitoes are as big as bats.

kid you not -- tell the truth, not joke
There were three large circles in the field, I kid you not.

kill a penalty (hockey) -- prevent a goal while your player has a penalty
Team Canada killed a penalty near the end of the game.

kill an elephant -- do too much, do ten times more than necessary, overdo it
He asked you to adjust the carburetor, not rebuild the motor. Don't kill an elephant!

kill for -- do anything to get it, in the worst way
Lea would kill for a date with Mat. She really likes him.

kill me -- cause me to laugh a lot, crack me up
Your jokes kill me. They're so funny I nearly die laughing.

K09. kill off -- kiss curls (hair style) Internet link kill off

kill off -- kill all, kill every one
The oil killed off the ducks in the bays along the coast.

kill ourselves laughing -- laugh hard, hoot, split a gut
When the teacher wasn't looking we killed ourselves laughing.

kill the goose that lays the golden eggs -- lose or destroy the source of wealth
If we pollute the environment, we kill the goose - we lose it all.

kill time -- wait, put in time, time to kill
He was killing time waiting for a plane, so he phoned a friend.

kill two birds (with one stone) -- get two with one try, do two jobs on one trip
If you sell and advertise at the same time, you kill two birds... .

killer instinct -- wanting to defeat the opponent, go for the jugular
Mel is a fine tennis player, but he lacks the killer instinct.

killing me -- hurting me, causing severe pain
These new shoes are killing me. Can we stop and rest?

King Shit on Turd Island -- the ruler, the person who tells everybody what to do
He's been promoted to the rank of sergeant and he thinks he's King Shit already!

kiss ass [B] -- be nice to get favors, brown nose
I won't kiss ass to get a job. I refuse to be a slave.

kiss curls (hair style) -- flat curls on the forehead or in front of the ears
Teddi can't go out until her kiss curls are dry.

K10. kiss it off -- knee high to a grasshopper Internet link kiss it off

kiss it off -- not deal with it, put it off
We're fighting for equal pay. We won't let them kiss it off.

kiss of death -- an action that results in failure or loss
His TV speech was a disaster - the kiss of death for his party.

kiss off -- go, get lost, take off
When he's angry with me he says, "Kiss off!"

kiss that one goodbye -- say it is lost or stolen, down the drain
Hank borrowed your new pen? You can kiss that one goodbye.

kiss the blarney stone -- say a lot of compliments, flattery will get you...
You always say that I look nice. Did you kiss the blarney stone?

kit and caboodle -- everything, all the stuff, the whole shebang
The canoe tipped, and it all fell in the river - the whole kit and caboodle!

kitty bar the door -- play defensively, play only to prevent a goal
In the third period we played kitty bar the door and won 4-2.

kitty-corner -- the diagonally opposite corner of an intersection
The Bay is kitty-corner from the drugstore.

klutz -- a clumsy person, one who makes careless mistakes
What a klutz I am! I poured sugar in the salt shaker!

knee high to a grasshopper -- small or short, the size of a child
When we lived in Oslo, you were just knee high to a grasshopper.

K11. knock -- knock them down, drag them out Internet link knock

knock -- criticize, put down
Don't knock the teacher. She's trying to help us learn.

knock against -- (See the knock against)

knock around with -- be friends with, hang around with
Lynn used to knock around with us. She was our friend.

knock flat -- knock down, knock over
The flag pole was knocked flat - hit by a truck.

knock it off -- stop it, do not do that
When we teased the bull, Dad told us to knock it off.

knock me over with a feather -- I was very surprised, I could not believe it, blow me down
When she told me she was married to my ex-husband, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

knock off -- remove, kill
One by one, the wolves were knocked off - shot by hunters.

knock out -- hit a person until he is unconscious, out cold
You punched him very hard. You knocked him out.

knock the wind out of his sails -- cause him to slow down, cause him to quit, knock him down a peg (see knock you down a peg)
If you tell him his letter is full of errors, you'll knock the wind out of his sails.

knock them down, drag them out -- fighting, brawling, Donnybrook, no holds barred
After the game, a few soccer fans began to fight. It was a knock-em-down-drag-em-out brawl.

K12. knock up [B] -- know the first thing... Internet link knock up [B]

knock up [B] -- become pregnant, in a family way
She doesn't want to get knocked up, so she uses a contraceptive.

knock you down a peg -- say you are too proud, put him in his place
If you are too cocky, Don will knock you down a peg.

knock you out -- amaze you, blow your mind
You should see The Phantom of the Opera. It'll knock you out.

knock your socks off -- surprise you, perform better than you expect
This music will knock your socks off! It's rock and roll!

knocked out -- eliminated from a competition or series
Our team was knocked out during the semi-final games.

knockout -- stunning appearance, beautiful body
When Jackie wears that red party dress, she's a knockout.

know better -- know you should not do that
Why did you take the candy? You know better than to steal.

know inside out -- know a method well, know an occupation well
After 30 years in real estate, he knows the business inside out.

know like the back of your hand -- know an area well, know every feature of the land
I lived here for years. I know this town like the back of my hand.

know the first thing... -- (See don't know the first thing about)

K13. know the ropes -- kooky Internet link know the ropes

know the ropes -- know how, have much experience, learn the ropes
Good managers know the ropes. They have skills and experience.

know the score -- know what is happening, in the know, know your stuff
The leader of the party should know the score. He or she should be well informed.

know where we stand -- know our position, know if we have a chance, leave me hanging
The Department hasn't replied to our application for assistance, so we don't know where we stand.

know which end is up -- know where you are, know what to do next
With so many problems, he doesn't know which end is up.

know which side your bread is buttered on -- know who pays your salary,  you have common sense, bite the hand that feeds...
If you refuse extra work, you don't know which side your bread is buttered on.

know your stuff -- know a lot, know facts, have the answers
In calculus, Tara knows her stuff. She can solve difficult problems.

know your way around -- know how to survive, be worldly wise
To live on the street, you have to know your way around.

knuckle down -- work harder, achieve more
If you knuckle down and study, you can pass this exam.

knucklehead -- one who does not think, doughhead
What a knucklehead! He made the same mistake ten times.

kooky -- crazy, hairbrain, nuts
Just because I eat insects doesn't mean I'm kooky.

K14. kowtow -- kowtow Internet link kowtow

kowtow -- do as someone wishes, brown nose, suck up to
Marie won't kowtow to anyone. She's proud and independent.

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