Update: 2012-11-28 02:53 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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mad about mad about mad as a hatter mad hatter made for each other mainstream major (credit) make a beeline make a big deal of it make a big to-do make a booboo make a bundle make a clean breast of it make a clean sweep make a comeback make a difference make a face make a false move make a federal case of it


mad about

From Magnuson
mad about
-- make a big deal of it Internet link mad about

mad about -- like a lot, love very much, crazy about, head over heels
Olga's mad about Yorgi. She loves him too much!

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mad about

From Magnuson
mad about --
angry about, pissed off[B]
He's mad about the lost key. He told me I was careless.

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mad as a hatter

From Magnuson
mad as a hatter --
strange, eccentric, batty, plumb loco
If you wear that pink wig, people will think you're mad as a hatter.

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mad hatter

From Magnuson
mad hatter --
strange, unusual, wacko
Jo lives in a mad-hatter place. Her friends walk around nude and sing songs about heaven.

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made for each other

From Magnuson
made for each other --
be natural mates, be very compatible, soul mates
Bob and Alice are made for each other. They're happily married.

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From Magnuson
mainstream --
common, familiar, of the majority
Smoking isn't as common now. It isn't a mainstream activity.

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major (credit)

From Magnuson
major (credit) --
(See a major)

major -- big, huge, main
"Is money a problem?" "Ya. Major."

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make a beeline

From Magnuson
make a beeline --
go straight towards
When the kids saw the ice-cream man, they all made a beeline for him.

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make a big deal of it

From Magnuson
make a big deal of it --
complain a lot, make a mountain...
Whenever Todd dances with me, Brenda makes a big deal of it.

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make a big to-do

From Magnuson
make a big to-do
-- make a federal case of it Internet link make a big to-do

make a big to-do -- complain too much, make a federal case...
If the waiter makes a mistake, don't make a big to-do about it.

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make a booboo

From Magnuson
make a booboo --
cause an error, make a mistake, screw up
"I made a booboo." "Don't worry. We can fix it."

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make a bundle

From Magnuson
make a bundle --
earn a large profit, make a lot of money
Manfred made a bundle selling real estate. He's rich.

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make a clean breast of it

From Magnuson
make a clean breast of it --
tell all you know about it, admit what you did
The man went to the police and made a clean breast of his crime.

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make a clean sweep

From Magnuson
make a clean sweep --
win all games in a series
The Jets made a clean sweep of the series - won all four games.

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make a comeback

From Magnuson
make a comeback --
try to recover your former skill and success, comeback kid
George Foreman made a comeback when he was over forty!

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make a difference

From Magnuson
make a difference --
affect or change it, tip the scales
Even a small donation will make a difference. It will help us.

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make a face

From Magnuson
make a face --
wrinkle your face until it is ugly
Chad made a face at me and stuck out his tongue.

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make a false move

From Magnuson
make a false move --
reach for the phone or a gun, try to run away
"Make a false move and I'll shoot your buttons off," the boy said.

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make a federal case of it

From Magnuson
make a federal case of it --
make it too important, make a mountain...
Okay, so I used your hair dryer! Don't make a federal case of it.

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M03. make a fuss -- make a pass Internet link make a fuss

make a fuss -- cry or complain, throw a tantrum
If I don't hold the baby, it will make a fuss. It will cry.

make a go of it -- earn enough money to pay the bills, live well
With both of us working, we were able to make a go of it.

make a good impression -- meet and talk to strangers so they like you
Penny made a good impression on my parents. She is so polite!

make a killing -- earn a big profit, make a bundle
If you buy gold now, you'll make a killing when the price goes up.

make a life for yourself -- live a good life; have a job, home and family
So you want to make a life for yourself in Canada. That's good.

make a living -- earn enough money to live on, make your way
You can make a living at farming, but you won't be rich!

make a mistake -- give a wrong answer, make a booboo
Learn from making a mistake. Learn how not to do it.

make a mountain out of a mole hill -- make a problem bigger, exaggerate a problem
I spent $50, not $500! Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill.

make a name for yourself -- become well known, become famous
Martin Luther King made a name for himself - and for freedom!

make a pass -- show that you feel romantic toward someone
Julie made a pass at me. She sent me a love note and smiled at me.

M04. make a pitch -- make believe Internet link make a pitch

make a pitch -- try to sell, try to persuade
She handed him her resume and made a pitch for the job.

make a point of -- remember to do, act with a purpose, make sure
Uma made a point of telling me about the meeting. She wants us to come.

make a scene -- complain too loud, kick up a fuss
If she doesn't let Denis ride in the shopping cart, he makes a scene.

make a silk purse... -- (See you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear)

make a splash -- advertise with style, open with balloons and prizes
When Tom opened his Toyota dealership, he made quite a splash.

make advances -- try to kiss or touch, come onto, get fresh

make amends -- apologize to someone you have hurt, make up for
What can I do to make amends for opening her personal mail?

make an entrance -- enter with style, enter with a flourish
When the duchess attends an event she likes to make an entrance.

make an offer -- offer money to buy; write what you will pay for something
"Your price is too high." "Well, make an offer. What do you think the car is worth?"

make believe -- imagine, pretend, make up
"Let's make believe we are baby elephants," I said to the children.

M05. make do -- make headway Internet link make do

make do -- use whatever you can find, substitute, jury-rig
When our kids don't have toys, they make do with pots and pans.

make ends meet -- pay the bills, have enough to pay the expenses
Although the Millers are poor, they make ends meet.

make every effort -- do everything possible, bend over backwards
Our employees make every effort to please our customers.

make faces -- (See make a face)

make friends -- act in a friendly way, become a friend of
Sally makes friends easily. People seem to like her.

make fun of -- tease, laugh at, poke fun at
Ko is angry because you made fun of him. You teased him.

make good -- do as promised, follow through
When I get paid, I'll make good my promise to buy you dinner.

make good time -- travel quickly, not be delayed, not lose time
Driving to Saskatoon, we made good time. It took only five hours.

make hay while the sun shines -- work while the weather is good, work while we have time and helpers
There's a demand for our product, and we have a large stock. Let's make hay while the sun shines!

make headway -- progress, get ahead
With Freda's help, we made headway. We learned to write.

M06. make it -- make mention Internet link make it

make it -- go or come, attend
Can you make it tonight? Can you come to the meeting?

make it better -- improve it, help it
When a child is hurt, sympathy will help to make it better.

make it big -- succeed, be one of the best
Roch made it big as a singer. He's very successful.

make it snappy -- be quick, hurry up
I'll have a Coke, please, and make it snappy!

make it worse -- hinder, cause it to be worse
Stepping on the brakes will only make it worse. The car will skid.

make light of -- make a joke about, make fun of
I was hurt when you made light of my poem. You laughed at it.

make love -- embrace in a loving way and have intercourse
I can't describe how I feel when we make love. It's breathtaking!

make me do it -- cause me to act, force me to do it
I didn't want to steal the watch. The devil made me do it.

make me sick/mad etc. -- cause me to feel sick or mad etc.
It makes me sick the way he talks about war all the time.

make mention -- talk about, bring up
No one made mention of his research - not one word!

M07. make mincemeat of -- make room Internet link make mincemeat of

make mincemeat of -- defeat badly, demolish, blow them away
The heavyweight champ made mincemeat of the young boxer.

make money -- work for wages, earn a profit
You can make money in real estate. You buy low, sell high.

make my day -- do something to help me enjoy this day
Go ahead, kiss me, and make my day!

make myself clear -- say it clearly, say it so you understand
Her sister said, "Do not wear my clothes. Do I make myself clear?"

make no bones about it -- admit it, speak openly about it
She's in love with her student. She makes no bones about it.

make of it -- know what it is, identify it, make sense of it
Do you see that bright light in the sky? What do you make of it?

make off with -- take away, take without permission
The boys made off with his toys. They took all his cars and trucks.

make out -- do, finish, end up
How did you make out when you played the Rebels? Did you win?

make out -- kiss and hug, get it on, make whoopee
Keith and Dawn were making out in the back seat of the car.

make room -- create a space, move over, out of the way
Please make room so Miss Munroe can walk to her car. Move, please.

M08. make sense -- make the team Internet link make sense

make sense -- appear to be logical or sensible
Renting a car makes sense to me - if it's not too expensive.

make sense of it -- understand it, fathom it, see how it happened
He is my father, but I am not his son. Can you make sense of it?

make something of it -- (See want to make something of it)

make something of yourself -- be successful, be respected for your skill and honesty
I want to choose an occupation and make something of myself.

make strange -- be afraid of a stranger, cry when a stranger comes
Ali makes strange when we have visitors. He cries and tries to hide.

make sure -- be certain, check carefully
Make sure you mail the letter. It must be sent today.

make the bed -- arrange the sheets and blankets on a bed
Please make the bed before you eat breakfast.

make the grade -- do acceptable work, measure up
To make the grade, you have to complete the training program.

make the most of it -- do the best you can, seize the opportunity
When you speak, make the most of it. Persuade them not to fight.

make the team -- become a member of the team
Paul will make the soccer team. The coach will choose him.

M09. make tracks -- make whoopee Internet link make tracks

make tracks -- hurry, move quickly, vamoose
We better make tracks or we'll be late for dinner.

make trouble -- cause a fight, don't make waves
Don't make trouble, eh. Don't start an argument or a fight.

make up -- create, imagine
He likes to make up stories - you know, fiction.

make up -- be friends again, come together again
John and Marsha fight, but they always kiss and make up.

make up for -- repay, compensate
Please let me make up for my mistake. Let me help you.

make up your mind -- decide, choose
If you will make up your mind, we can order our dinner.

make war -- fight with troops and planes and bombs
To make war is to be greedy or insane - or both.

make waves -- (See don't make waves)

make way -- move off the path, move to the side, make room
If the leader wants your seat in parliament, you make way for her. You give her your seat.

make whoopee -- kiss and hug, get it on, make love
Tony and Victoria were making whoopee when we walked in.

M10. make your bum hum -- make yourself to home Internet link make your bum hum

make your bum hum -- excite you, please your senses, turn you on
Anchovies on a banana split - that'll make your bum hum!

make your hair stand on end -- cause you to be afraid, petrified, scared stiff
Strange sounds began coming from the closet. It was enough to make your hair stand on end.

make your head spin -- confuse you, amaze you, boggle your mind
All the numbers on this sheet will make your head spin.

make your mark -- be known for an invention or an achievement, set the world on fire
If you want to make your mark, do it for humanity. Think of a cure for hate and war.

make your mouth water -- cause you to salivate, cause you to be hungry
Your carrot cake smells so good it makes my mouth water.

make your way -- move toward, navigate
After sailing to Jamaica we made our way over to Cuba, si?

make your way -- survive, live by your own efforts, make a living
Chad, my boy, if you are going to make your way in this world, you need an education - formal and informal.

make yourself at home -- relax, feel as though you are in your own home
Lee's mom welcomed us, saying, "Please, make yourself at home."

make yourself scarce -- leave, do not stay, get lost
If you see a bull in the pasture, make yourself scarce.

make yourself to home -- (See make yourself at home)

M11. makes no difference -- matter of life and death Internet link makes no difference

makes no difference -- will not affect or change something
The color of the car makes no difference to me. I don't care.

makings of -- (See the makings of)

malarkey -- (See a bunch of malarkey)

man of few words -- (See a man of few words)

man of the cloth -- (See a man of the cloth)

mark a watershed -- begins a change, starts a shift or movement, the turning point
The invasion of Palestinian neighborhoods marked a watershed. That's when world opinion shifted.

mark my words -- listen carefully, pay attention
A California team will win the Super Bowl. Mark my words.

marked man -- (See a marked man)

match wits -- compete with someone's wit or humor
Don't try to match wits with Pat. He has a reply for everything.

matter of life and death -- (See it's a matter of life and death)

M12. mayday (m'aidez) -- melt in your mouth Internet link mayday (m'aidez)

mayday (m'aidez) -- distress signal, call for help, SOS
"Mayday! Mayday!" the pilot shouted into the microphone as he prepared to eject.  Editor's note:  I've replaced the original example with mine to make it more suitable for Myanmar students.

mean business -- is serious or determined, no nonsense
At work or play she means business. She is a serious person.

mean streak -- being unkind at times, having cruel traits
Kurt has a mean streak in him. Did you see him kick his dog?

mean well -- wants to help, has good intentions
Kay is a gossip, but she means well. She tries to be a friend.

measure up -- do enough work, achieve high quality
With more training, he'll improve. He'll measure up to our standards.

meet up with -- meet, encounter
In Montreal, he met up with a young singer named Celine.

meet you half way -- find an equitable agreement, split the difference
Try to settle the claim out of court. See if he will meet you half way.

meeting of minds -- mutual agreement, consensus
We agreed to share the cost of the project. It was a meeting of minds.

megabucks -- a lot of money, thousands of dollars
Her personal computer system cost megabucks. It was very expensive.

melt in your mouth -- fine bread or pastry, food with a fine texture
Aunt Carol's muffins are so good! They just melt in your mouth!

M13. mend fences -- miffed Internet link mend fences

mend fences -- solve political problems, listen to voters
Every summer the politicians go home and try to mend fences.

mental block -- (See a mental block)

mess up -- do a bad job, ruin it, screw up
The manager messed up. He spent too much money on advertising.

mess with -- challenge, fight with, mix it up with
We learned not to mess with the Mafia. Their revenge is deadly.

messed up -- depressed, dependent on drugs, not coping with life
At that point in his life, he was messed up on drugs and alcohol.

mete out -- administer, give according to the law or policy
It was his duty to mete out justice in the colony.

middle ground -- a position that is fair to both sides, a compromise, meeting of minds
The minister tried to find some middle ground between the nurses and the administrators.

middle of the road -- moderate, not extreme
Our education policy is middle of the road. The majority like it.

middleman -- (See the middleman)

miffed -- annoyed, not pleased, put out about, ticked off
Marnie was miffed when you swore at her cat. She said you were rude.

M14. milk it -- mind the store Internet link milk it

milk it -- take all it will give, get all you can from it, seize the opportunity
I learned the mail-order business and milked the idea for all it was worth. I earned a lot of money.

milk run -- airline route that stops at small cities
From Vancouver, we took the milk run through Kelowna.

mince words -- (See doesn't mince words)

mind boggling -- too many to count, more than you can imagine
The potential for profit is mind boggling - too large to believe.

mind games -- control people's feelings, play games
He plays mind games with me - he tries to control my feelings.

mind go blank -- cannot think what to say, lose your tongue
When the Prime Minister stopped to talk to me, my mind went blank.

mind in neutral -- not thinking, vegetate
Some of our employees stand around with their minds in neutral.

mind of his own -- independent thinker, his own man
Fu doesn't copy the work of his friends. He has a mind of his own.

mind over matter -- believing you can do it, using the mind's power
When your brain controls your heart rate, it's mind over matter.

mind the store -- manage the store, serve customers
Dana, please mind the store while I go to the post office.

M15. mind your manners -- miss you Internet link mind your manners

mind your manners -- be polite, be courteous, watch your P's and Q's
At the wedding, Mom said to me, "Now, Son, mind your manners."

mind your own business -- do not ask questions about my business
I asked about her plans, and she told me to mind my own business.

mind your P's and Q's -- be polite, do not drink too much, mind your manners
Lorraine said he was drinking too much. She told him to mind his P's and Q's.

mint condition -- new condition, original condition, super mint
In an old garage we found a Peugeot 403 in mint condition.

misery loves company -- sad people want to be with other sad people
On the door of the jail was this sign: Misery Loves Company.

miss out on -- not be there, be unable to attend
If I have a job, I'll miss out on the soccer games after school.

miss the boat -- misjudge, misunderstand, make a mistake
I missed the boat on the essay question. My answer was wrong.

miss the point -- not understand, not get the point
I missed the point of his remark. Do you know what he meant?

miss the water till... -- (See you don't miss the water till the well runs dry)

miss you -- feel lonely because you are not here
I miss you when you go to Hong Kong. Can I go with you?

M16. miss your chance -- money to burn Internet link miss your chance

miss your chance -- not do it when you can, not seize the opportunity
I'm sorry. You cannot go today. You missed your chance to go yesterday.

mix it up -- challenge, fight, mess with
If you mix it up with a street fighter, you could get injured.

mix up -- become confused or puzzled
He gets mixed up when we all give advice. He gets confused.

mix you up -- confuse you, boggle your mind
Too much information will just mix you up - confuse you.

mixed feelings -- feeling both positive and negative, happy and sad; bittersweet
I have mixed feelings. I'm happy about the new job, but sad about leaving my friends.

moment of truth -- (See the moment of truth)

money doesn't grow on trees -- money is not easy to get, we value our money
Father said, "Money doesn't grow on trees, boy. You earn it."

money is the root of all evil -- money is the cause of bad things
If money is the root of all evil, why do you want to be rich?

money talks -- money causes action, grease my palm
If you want service, money talks. When you pay, they serve.

money to burn -- lots of money, filthy rich
They've got money to burn, so why do they drive that old car?

M17. moneybags -- moonshine Internet link moneybags

moneybags -- rich person, loaded person
We used to call him moneybags. He always had money on him.

monkey business -- nonsense, foolishness, funny stuff
I've had enough of your monkey business. No more foolishness.

monkey off my back -- (See get this monkey off my back)

monkey's uncle -- (See I'll be a monkey's uncle)

monkeywrenching -- trying to ruin a project, sabotaging, throw a monkey wrench into...
The members of Green Peace were accused of monkeywrenching the whale hunt. They tried to stop it.

month of Sundays -- (See a month of Sundays)

moola -- money, cash, scratch
Without moola, we can't travel. We need money for air fare.

moon them -- show them a bare bum, show your bare buttocks
They booed him for dropping the ball, so he mooned them.

moonlighting -- working at a second job in the evening
Bernie is very tired these days because he's moonlighting.

moonshine -- homemade liquor, hooch, screech
Art invited us over to taste his moonshine - homemade wine.

M18. mop the floor with us -- mothball Internet link mop the floor with us

mop the floor with us -- perform so well the audience wants more, she peed
We loved the Gagnon concert. He mopped the floor with us.

mop up -- correct mistakes, clean up a mess left by others
The manager told us he would not mop up after us. We have to fix our own mistakes.

moppie -- mobile office professional, ambitious business people, yuppie
A lot of moppies lost their jobs when the oil industry declined.

more money than brains -- rich but not intelligent, money to burn, moneybags
He bought a house but didn't use it, rent it or sell it. He has more money than brains!

more power to you -- you deserve more support, we hope you succeed because you are kind
When she told us about her plan to help abused children, we said, "More power to you, Ms. Wah."

more than meets the eye -- (See there's more than meets the eye)

more than welcome -- we invite you, please come to our place, feel free
Mary invited them to stay. "You are more than welcome to sleep at our place," she said.

more than you can shake a stick at -- a lot, too many, oodles
Alfreda has more cats than you can shake a stick at - over 30!

mortal coil -- (See this mortal coil)

mothball -- put away, put on a shelf
The boss mothballed the report. The owners never saw it.

M19. Mother Nature -- move it Internet link Mother Nature

Mother Nature -- nature, natural forces and causes
Mother Nature provided the basic foods: wild vegetables and water.

motherfucker [B] -- a person you dislike, creep, scum
That motherfucker! I'd like to kick his ass to kingdom come!

motherhood and apple pie -- statements about mom and home etc.
The audience wants news and facts, not motherhood and apple pie.

motherlode -- the largest amount, the main supply, a shitload
He played poker for six hours before he won the motherlode.

motormouth -- one who talks fast but says very little, disk jockey
Listen to that motormouth! He talks fast but says nothing.

mount a comeback -- begin to score goals or points while losing, snatch victory from...
Our soccer team was losing 4-1, but they mounted a comeback and won the game 5-4.

Mounties -- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
The Mounties, Canada's police force, were once called Redcoats.

mousy -- worn and faded, shabby
This shirt is kind of mousy, but I love to wear it.

mouth off -- tell a secret, talk about private information
Why did you mouth off about the accident? I was going to tell Dad.

move it -- go, go faster, get going
"Move it!" said the guard. "Get in your cell!"

M20. move over -- mum's the word Internet link move over

move over -- move a little, move to the next chair, make room
I asked him if he would move over so I could sit beside him.

move you to tears -- cause you to feel sadness or sympathy, touch you
The songs in Gorecki's Third Symphony will move you to tears.

move your ass -- move quickly, get going, move it
If you want to ride on the train, you better move your ass. It's leaving now.

movers and shakers -- owners, investors, wheeler-dealer
We invited all the big investors: the movers and shakers.

much obliged -- very thankful, very grateful, thanks a million
"You can stay with us until your wounds heal," she said. "Much obliged, Ma'am," I replied.

muckrake -- gossip, tell bad stories
If you talk about your opponent, try to avoid muckraking.

mudsling -- insult people, criticize other candidates
The Liberal leader lost my vote when he began mudslinging.

mugged -- stopped and robbed, held up by robbers (see hold up)
If you walk down Cordova Street at night, you could get mugged.

mull over -- think about, consider, think it over
I've been mulling over what you said about love. I believe it's more spiritual than physical.

mum's the word -- do not tell anyone, this is on the QT
She told us the secret. Then she whispered, "Mum's the word."

M21. Murphy's Law -- my old man Internet link Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law -- "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." it never fails
Have you planned for failure? Remember, Murphy's Law applies to all projects.

muscle in -- force yourself between two people
He didn't want to go to the end of the line, so he tried to muscle in.

music to my ears -- good news, a message that makes me happy
When she called my name, it was music to my ears.

musical chairs -- a game in which each player must find a chair when the music stops (there are more players than chairs), play musical chairs
"At my birthday party can we play a game of musical chairs?" "Yes, dear."

must -- (See a must)

my ass -- I doubt it, that is not true
"It's our right to own a gun." "My ass! It's a privilege!"

my eye -- I do not believe it, that did not happen
You ate fifteen blueberry pies? My eye!

my old man -- my husband, my man
My old man is babysitting while I have a weekend holiday!

my old man -- my father, my dad
My old man gets mad if I don't come right home from school.

End of TIL page