Update: 2012-11-28 02:54 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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nada nag nail-biter nail down nail him nail in your coffin nail it down naked as a jay bird naked eye name-dropper name is cleared name is mud nary a word natural high nature calls navel-gazing nay neat necessity is the mother of invention



From Magnuson
-- naked eye Internet link nada

nada -- nothing, none, zero, zip
"How much for the baseball cap?" "Nada - it was free."

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From Magnuson
nag --
horse, race horse
Pat bet on a nag in the sixth race and it came in second!

From Magnuson
nag --
complain too much, a hassle
Poor Erik. His wife nags him about his first marriage.

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From Magnuson
nail-biter --
(See a nail-biter)

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nail down

From Magnuson
nail down --
get a clear answer, find out, pin down
I've checked the books, but I can't nail down the reason for the loss. I can't find the error.

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nail him

From Magnuson
nail him --
hit him, hurt him, stop him
They want to nail him because he beat up on Tommy.

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nail in your coffin

From Magnuson
nail in your coffin --
(See another nail in your coffin)

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nail it down

From Magnuson
nail it down --
complete it, finalize it, close a deal
Don't spend too long on a sale. Try to nail it down quickly.

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naked as a jay bird

From Magnuson
naked as a jay bird --
no clothes on, bare naked, in the nude
A boy had taken my clothes, so there I stood, naked as a jay bird!

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naked eye

From Magnuson
naked eye --
(See the naked eye)

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From Magnuson
-- necessity is the mother of invention Internet link name-dropper

name-dropper -- one who implies famous people are his friends, drop a name
That name-dropper! He spoke of Gordon Lightfoot as his friend.

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name is cleared

From Magnuson
name is cleared --
name is not involved in a scandal or a crime
The lawyer thinks I should leave town until my name is cleared.

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name is mud

From Magnuson
name is mud --
name is bad, name is not respected
If you don't pay for the support of your child, your name is mud.

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nary a word

From Magnuson
nary a word --
not a word, nothing
When I asked the boy a question, he said nothing - nary a word.

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natural high

From Magnuson
natural high --
feeling good from having nutritious food or exercise
After swimming, she would often experience a natural high.

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nature calls

From Magnuson
nature calls --
need to go the washroom, have to go
When nature calls, just say you have an important appointment.

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From Magnuson
navel-gazing --
sitting and looking at your own navel, contemplating your own existence
"Have you nothing better to do than to sit there navel-gazing?" "No."

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From Magnuson
nay --
no, nope
"Should Tom be our team leader?" "Nay."

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From Magnuson
neat --
fine, well designed, cool
What a neat car! It's small but roomy - and comfortable!

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necessity is the mother of invention

From Magnuson
necessity is the mother of invention --
our needs cause us to invent devices, build a better mousetrap
Do you think the invention of TV proves that necessity is the mother of invention?

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N03. neck -- nerves of steel Internet link neck

neck -- kiss and hug, make out, make whoopee
For me, necking is a memory from my teenage years.

neck and neck -- running at the same speed, even-steven, side by side
It was neck and neck all the way - then Jordy won the race by leaning forward at the finish line!

neck of the woods -- area, part of the country, in these parts
In our neck of the woods, a man doesn't hit a woman.

necktie party -- (See a necktie party)

need money to make... -- (See you need money to make money)

needle -- ask bothersome questions, a hassle
She needled him with questions about his former girlfriends.

needless to say -- it is obvious, it goes without saying
Needless to say, there are many idioms in the English language.

neither fish nor fowl -- not clearly separated, a little of both
Our experiment produced a being that was neither fish nor fowl.

nerd -- weird person, nut
That nerd! He spit on my toe!

nerves of steel -- able to speak or act calmly when facing risk or danger
Percy has nerves of steel. He persuaded the gunman to leave.

N04. nervous breakdown -- new legs Internet link nervous breakdown

nervous breakdown -- (See breakdown)

nest egg -- money for retirement, life savings
After selling the farm, they had their nest egg - about $200,000.

Net surfer -- a person who frequently uses the Internet
Lisa is a Net surfer. She can help you get on the Internet.

Netwar -- an attack on computer systems via the Internet, terrorist attacks on the Net
After 9-11, the fear is Netwar. How do we defend against attacks on computer systems that control a city's water and electricity?

never mind -- do not bother to do it, do not worry, forget it
Will you help me find an idiom? Never mind. I found it.

never say die -- never quit, never give up
Set your goals and try to achieve them. Work hard. Never say die.

new blood -- different person, someone with new ideas
Armid retired because he feels the company needs new blood.

new kid on the block -- new person in the office or in the class etc.
I'm the new kid on the block. I come from Portugal.

new lease on life -- (See a new lease on life)

new legs -- young runners or players, rested players
The Geritols have a lot of old players. They need new legs.

N05. new money -- nitty-gritty Internet link  new money

new money -- money earned recently, money that is not inherited
Bill's got a million or two - it's mostly new money.

new wave -- new trend, the latest idea or fashion
Tony loves new-wave music. He buys only new-wave CD's.

Newfie -- person from The Rock; from Newfoundland
Is Gordon Pinsent a Newfie? Was he born in Newfoundland?

next of kin -- closest relatives, members of the family
The police are trying to find the man's next of kin - his family.

nine lives -- avoiding death often, lucky to survive
Some race-car drivers have nine lives. They often escape death.

nine times out of ten -- 90% of the time, very often
Jack wins at cribbage nine times out of ten. He's very lucky.

nip and tuck -- a close race, having just enough to win or finish
It was a close race - nip and tuck all the way - but we won!

nip it in the bud -- stop it before it grows, prevent it from spreading
If the students plan a revolt, we'll nip it in the bud.

nitpick -- find unfinished details, see flaws or small errors
Deborah can find the errors. She likes to nitpick.

nitty-gritty -- (See the nitty-gritty)

N06. nitwit -- no fair Internet link nitwit

nitwit -- fool, dumbbell, hairbrain, half-there
When he's drunk he acts like a nitwit - like he has no sense!

no bloody way -- (See no way)

no bones about it -- (See make no bones about it)

no business -- (See got no business)

no can do -- we cannot do it, no way
We can't sell you a pet tiger. Sorry, no can do.

no chancy -- there is no chance of it, it cannot be done, no dice
When I asked Bill for a loan, he said, "No chancy."

no contest -- one player or team wins easily, hands down
Compare the speed of light to the speed of sound. It's no contest.

no dice -- no, no chance, not approved, no way
I asked Dad if we could use the car, but no dice.

no doubt -- it is certain, without a doubt, no question
No doubt, you will inherit his fortune. You are the only heir.

no fair -- it is not fair, one person or team has an advantage
You have six players and we have five. No fair!

N07. no-frills -- no match for Internet link no-frills

no-frills -- without unnecessary additions or luxuries
We just booked a no-frills motel room in Toronto.

no fucking way [B] -- (See no way)

no great shakes -- not special, not superior, not so hot
I've tasted Granny apples. They're no great shakes.

no guff -- it is the truth, no kidding, no shit [B]
I swam across the lake. No guff.

no hard feelings -- no feelings of anger or resentment, no grudges
Dad and Paul argue about politics but there are no hard feelings.

no holds barred -- try anything, no rules apply
In a street fight, it's no holds barred. There are no rules.

no kidding -- I am serious, I am not joking
Keith's my brother. No kidding. I'm telling you the truth.

no let-up -- continuing strong, not diminishing
There was no let-up in the traffic. The cars kept coming.

no love lost -- (See there's no love lost)

no match for -- not as strong as, not an equal competitor
European basketball teams were no match for the Dream Team.

N08. no matter how you slice it -- no rest for the wicked Internet link no matter how you slice it

no matter how you slice it -- it does not matter how you look at it
No matter how you slice it, we have to hire more help.

no news is good news -- if there is no news there is still a chance of good news
The doctor hasn't phoned. No news is good news.

no nonsense -- serious, not joking, strictly business
Gil is a very serious person - a no-nonsense kind of guy.

no offense, but... -- do not be insulted but..., don't get me wrong
No offense, but I was here first. I hope you understand.

no pain, no gain -- to improve, exercise until your muscles ache
A sign on our gym wall reads No Pain, No Gain!

no problem (no prob) -- it was not a problem, don't mention it
"Thank you," I said. "No problem," she replied.

no qualms -- no doubts, no hesitation
She has no qualms about dating married men. She doesn't care.

no question -- it is certain, no doubt
"No question of its quality," he said, examining the watch.

no questions asked -- you will not be asked to explain or pay
If he returns the stolen car, there will be no questions asked.

no rest for the wicked -- wicked people must work long hours as a penalty, what did I do to deserve...
When I told the men there was another truck to unload, Per said, "No rest for the wicked, eh."

N09. no rhyme or reason -- no use for Internet link no rhyme or reason

no rhyme or reason -- no sense, no logical plan
There's no rhyme or reason to the game of golf. It's stupid!

no rush -- do not hurry, take your time
"When does he want his car?" "He left a note saying no rush, so do the other cars first."

no shit [B] -- it is true, no kidding
We drove from Calgary to Regina in seven hours - no shit.

no-show -- someone who does not attend
There were two no-shows on the class list. All but two attended.

no shrinking violet -- a bold woman, not a timid woman
Barb will defend her rights. She's no shrinking violet.

no skin off my nose -- no bother to me, will not hurt me
If he doesn't come to my party it's no skin off my nose.

no slouch -- quite skilled or talented, not half bad
Cora doesn't brag, but she's no slouch when it comes to tennis.

no sweat -- not a problem, no trouble, no prob
"Thanks for the help, Ryan." "No sweat, man."

no truth to it -- lacking any reliable information, a pack of lies
When Gary tells you about his hiking adventures, don't believe a word. There's no truth to it.

no use for -- no respect for, no desire to own
I have no use for STAR products because they are not reliable.

N10. no way -- not Internet link no way

no way -- no, do not try, it is not possible
When he told me to jump off the train, I said, "No way, man."

no word -- no news, no reply, no phone call or letter
We've had no word from Denise and Guy. I hope they're okay.

nobody's fool -- wise or intelligent person, been around
Joe is nobody's fool. He's intelligent and experienced.

none of your lip -- do not be rude, don't talk back
"You can't boss me," Bobby said. "None of your lip, boy!" I replied.

none the worse for wear -- not hurt or damaged, still in good condition, okay
The immigrants were none the worse for wear after their wagon trip across the prairie.

nookie [B] -- intercourse, sex, poontang
My man! All he wants is nookie!

nope -- no, nay
"Want to paint the fence?" "Nope."

nose is out of joint -- she is upset, he is not pleased
Ed's nose is out of joint because the Liberals lost the election.

nosebag -- food, something to eat, fill your face
I'm hungry. It's time to put on the nosebag.

not -- not a good idea, forget it
"Maybe we should buy a Lada." "Not."

N11. not a question of -- not likely Internet link not a question of

not a question of -- (See it's not a question of)

not all it's cracked up... -- (See all it's cracked up to be)

not all there -- retarded, slow to learn, one brick short...
Sometimes Vincent acts kind of strange - like he's not all there.

not at all -- it was no trouble at all, don't mention it, no prob
"Thank you for helping us find our dog," Dad said. "Not at all," the man replied.

not by a long shot -- very little chance, not likely
That horse won't win, not by a long shot. It's old and slow.

not by any stretch of the imagination -- not adding to the story, not stretching it
Gigi wasn't his only girl, not by any stretch of the imagination.

not feeling myself -- not feeling well, under the weather
I'm not feeling myself these days. I'm tired all the time.

not for all the tea in China -- no; never; not if you gave me all the tea in China
"Would you like to live in space?" "No. Not for all the tea in China!"

not half bad -- quite good, better than expected
Have you seen Honey, I Ate The Kids? It's not half bad, actually.

not likely -- very little chance, improbable, a slim chance
"Do you think we'll win the prize?" the boy asked. "Not likely," his dad replied.

N12. not long for this world -- not worth a plugged nickel Internet link not long for this world

not long for this world -- soon will die, do not have long to live
When Lee had the flu, he said, "I'm not long for this world."

not on your life -- no; it is dangerous; no way
"Can I shoot your gun?" I asked. "Not on your life," she replied.

not on your tintype -- no, never, not on your life
Mom said, "You're not going to Vegas - not on your tintype!"

not playing with a full deck -- not rational, not all there
People say he's not stable - that he's not playing with a full deck.

not so hot -- not special, not superior, no great shakes
I went to hear Le Gang last night. They're not so hot.

not speaking -- not friendly, not speaking to each other
Emily and Pam had a fight. They're not speaking.

not to worry -- do not worry, no sweat
"I dropped my ice cream!" "Not to worry. There's more."

not too shabby -- quite good, better than average
Have you seen the new Camaro? It's not too shabby.

not with it -- not feeling right, out of it
I'm just not with it these days. I lack energy and confidence.

not worth a plugged nickel -- worthless, good for nothing
In 1930, stocks weren't worth a plugged nickel - nothing!

N13. notch below -- number is up Internet link notch below

notch below -- (See a notch below)

nothing succeeds like success -- one success leads to more success
This is the first rule of learning: Nothing succeeds like success.

nothing to it -- (See there's nothing to it)

nothing to sneeze at -- of good quality, do not ignore it
That was a nice apartment - nothing to sneeze at.

nothing to write home about -- not special or spectacular, no great shakes
He's a nice guy, but nothing to write home about.

nothing ventured, nothing gained -- if you try nothing, you will gain nothing; go for it
We've decided to start a business. As the old saying goes, Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

now or never -- (See it's now or never)

nuke -- heat in a microwave oven, zap
If you nuke a potato, it cooks in about seven minutes.

nukes -- nuclear arms, nuclear weapons
He opposes the building of more nukes - like nuclear bombs.

number is up -- (See your number is up)

N14. number one -- nutty as a fruit cake Internet link number one

number one -- the best, the winner, top dog
"We're number one!" the crowd shouted when we won the game.

numbskull -- idiot, foolish person, dimwit, dipstick
Why did he call me a numbskull? I'm not stupid.

nut -- a person who acts crazy or foolish
You nut! Wearing that wig makes you look like a British judge.

nut bar, nut case -- (See a nut case)

nut house -- mental hospital, psychiatric ward, loony bin
They took Hans to the nut house when he taped paper wings to his arms and tried to fly.

nuts -- crazy, around the bend, off your rocker
If that phone rings once more I'll go nuts!

nuts -- oh no, darn, rats, sheesh
When he doesn't catch the ball, he says, "Nuts!"

nuts about -- likes a lot, passionate, crazy about
Helen is nuts about Mozart. She loves his piano concertos.

nutty as a fruit cake -- funny, kooky, mad as a hatter
Do I know Karl? Yes, I do. He's nutty as a fruit cake!

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