Update: 2012-11-28 02:59 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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rabbit rabbit died rabbit food rabble-rouser rack my brain rack up rad rags rags to riches ragtop railroad rain check rain on their parade raining cats and dogs raise a stink raise an eyebrow raise Cain raise hell [B] raise money raise the bar

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From Magnuson
-- ragtop Internet link rabbit

rabbit -- steal, take company supplies, pinch, scoff
Those sailors will rabbit anything that isn't chained to the deck! They're ruddy thieves!

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rabbit died

From Magnuson
rabbit died --
(See the rabbit died)

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rabbit food

From Magnuson
rabbit food --
lettuce, carrots, cabbage etc.
Dad says salad is tasteless. He calls it rabbit food.

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From Magnuson
rabble-rouser --
a person who makes noise and causes problems
A bunch of rabble-rousers were fighting at the football game.

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rack my brain

From Magnuson
rack my brain --
think hard, try to remember
I've racked my brain, but I can't remember where I saw that man.

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rack up

From Magnuson
rack up --
compile, increase, build up, run up
He racked up a lot of points with his first hand of cribbage.

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From Magnuson
rad --
radical, weird, on the fringe
What a rad video! The singer's head was sitting on a table!

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From Magnuson
rags --
clothes, threads
I need some new rags. My clothes are old and worn.

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rags to riches

From Magnuson
rags to riches --
(See from rags to riches)

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From Magnuson
ragtop --
convertible car, ragtop
In the summer, Pam drives a ragtop - a Fiat Spyder.

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From Magnuson
-- raise the bar Internet link railroad

railroad -- push a plan, force a person
No, I didn't want to resign. I was railroaded into it!

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rain check

From Magnuson
rain check --
using a service later, credit for a product
The store had sold all the CD's, so they gave me a rain check.

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rain on their parade

From Magnuson
rain on their parade --
ruin the party, spoil the fun, piss on them [B]
When Barb found out she wasn't invited to the wedding, she said, "I hope it rains on their parade."

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raining cats and dogs

From Magnuson
raining cats and dogs --
raining hard, raining heavily
You need a raincoat, Dear. It's raining cats and dogs!

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raise a stink

From Magnuson
raise a stink --
complain a lot, cause an argument or a bad scene
Gunter raised a stink by accusing the chairman of stealing funds.

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raise an eyebrow

From Magnuson
raise an eyebrow --
(See raised eyebrows)

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raise Cain

From Magnuson
raise Cain --
shout and make noise, cause a disturbance
They were having a wild party upstairs - really raising Cain.

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raise hell [B]

From Magnuson
raise hell [B] --
make noise, disturb the peace, raise Cain
The neighbors are drinking and raising hell again.

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raise money

From Magnuson
raise money --
earn or request money for a project or a charity
The Boy Scouts are raising money to pay for a trip to China.

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raise the bar

From Magnuson
raise the bar --
raise the level, set a higher standard
If we raise the bar, students will try harder but more will fail.

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R03. raise your hand against -- rant and rave Internet link raise your hand against

raise your hand against -- hit someone, hurt someone
If you ever raise your hand against her, I'll call the police.

raise your spirits -- help you feel positive, help you feel happy
If you want to raise your spirits, just have a visit with Kari.

raised eyebrows -- shock, surprise, disapproval
When Chuck and Di separated, it caused some raised eyebrows.

raisins -- old folks, seniors
Let's invite the raisins to our concert. They're a great audience.

rake in the dough -- receive a lot of money, earn a large salary or profit
When he played pro basketball he was raking in the dough.

rake you over the coals -- lecture you, scold you, ask you to explain
I got raked over the coals for taking the car without asking.

raking it in -- (See rake in the dough)

ralph -- vomit, puke, barf, hork, throw up
In the washroom, someone had ralphed all over the floor.

ram down your throat -- (See shove down my throat)

rant and rave -- yell and cry out, preach and complain
The old man was ranting and raving about his lost goats.

R04. rap your knuckles -- raw deal Internet link rap your knuckles

rap your knuckles -- (See get your knuckles rapped)

rat fink -- person who tattles, one who squeals, fink
You rat fink! Did you blab to Mom and Dad? Did you tell them?

rat on -- tell the police or the authorities, squeal, tell on
Billy won't rat on me. He won't tell the teacher.

rat race -- fast pace, busy schedule, living/working in the city
What a rat race! I want to leave the city and live in the country.

ratch -- damage, wreck, trash
Who ratched the gears on my bike? I can't shift into low!

rats -- oh no, darn, nuts
Rats! We have a flat tire!

rattle my chain -- annoy me, anger me, get under my skin
That woman rattles my chain, the way she gossips about me!

rattle on -- continue to talk, ramble, hold forth
The professor was rattling on about Canadian culture.

rattle sabres -- threaten to attack, appear to be preparing for war
The workers are rattling their sabres, but they won't strike.

raw deal -- (See a raw deal)

R05. razzle-dazzle -- read me (CB radio) Internet link razzle-dazzle

razzle-dazzle -- spectacular show, dazzling display, showboat
Grandpa said the rodeo had too much razzle-dazzle. It was too fancy.

reach for the sky -- raise your hands, put them up
The cowboy drew his gun and said, "Reach for the sky, mister!"

reach me -- phone me, contact me
You can reach me by leaving a message at my brother's place.

reach me -- cause me to feel your message
The minister said he was trying to reach the kids through a film.

reach out -- offer to help, let people know that you care
Magdalena reaches out to the children in violent families.

read along -- read with the leader, read together
The instructor asked the class to read along in their text books.

read between the lines -- see what is not written, read the implied message, find the hidden meaning
If we read between the lines, the memo says the company is going to be sold.

read into -- add your own meaning, see what you are hoping to see
Teri reads love into every letter you write to her.

read it over -- read it, go over it
Read it over and tell me what you think it says.

read me (CB radio) -- hear my voice, hear my message
"Do you read me?" she asked. "Yes. Loud and clear," he replied.

R06. read my lips -- rear end Internet link read my lips

read my lips -- my lips are saying what you are hearing, believe it
Edie said, "Read my lips, people. We have no more money."

read them and weep -- check your cards and cry about your poor hand
After dealing the cards, Walt said, "Read 'em and weep, boys."

read up on -- read about, study, look up
I'm going to the library to read up on Louis Riel.

read you -- see what you're thinking or feeling
You have an expressive face. Anybody can read you.

real McCoy -- (See the real McCoy)

realize your potential -- be the best you can, come into your own
If you work for a good company, you can realize your potential.

really deaf -- not willing to listen, not wanting to hear about
When you talk about smoking, he's really deaf.

ream out -- scold, give you hell, tie into
He reamed me out for driving too fast. He said I could have caused an accident.

reap what you sow -- (See you reap whatsoever you sow)

rear end -- buttocks, posterior, backside, butt
"Where did she pinch you?" "On my rear end - my bum."

R07. rearend -- regular guy Internet link rearend

rearend -- bump a car in the back, run into the rear of a car
"Your back bumper is dented." "Ya, some guy rearended me."

red carpet -- (See roll out the red carpet)

red-faced -- embarrassed, ashamed when something private is made public
Judy was red-faced after you kissed her in class. She was embarrassed.

red herring -- a false issue, make a mountain...
She said, "Fluoride is a red herring. It's not important."

red-letter day -- (See a red-letter day)

red tape -- government forms and procedures
An immigrant faces a lot of red tape - many interviews, forms.

redneck -- (See a redneck)

reduce to tears -- ask hurtful questions until someone cries
The lawyer's hurtful questions soon reduced Karla to tears.

reefer -- marijuana cigarette, pot
After smoking two reefers, he laughed at anything they said.

regular guy -- (See a regular guy)

R08. reject out of hand -- ride herd Internet link reject out of hand

reject out of hand -- reject without thinking, throw away quickly
If the apples aren't from B.C. he rejects them out of hand.

relate to that -- know about that, have experienced that
He said he was afraid to speak in public. I can relate to that.

rented lips -- lips that mispronounce, lips that say strange words
Did I say ossifer? I meant officer! Excuse my rented lips!

repay in kind -- give the same as you get, help one who helped you
If you help a neighbor, he may repay in kind.

rest assured -- be sure, be certain, count on
If Johnny said he would vote for Kim, you can rest assured he will.

rest his soul (God rest his soul) -- may his soul rest in peace; I hope his soul is peaceful
I remember when Jock Reynolds (rest his soul) saved Pete's life.

rest my case -- have no more arguments, have completed my work
After speaking for abortion for an hour, he said, "I rest my case."

rest on your laurels -- depend only on past success to help you, you're only as good...
If you win an award, you can rest on your laurels, or you can set new goals.

rhyme or reason -- (See no rhyme or reason)

ride herd -- try to control a group; supervise children
When my wife goes shopping, I have to ride herd on the kids.

R09. ride his coattails -- right on Internet link ride his coattails

ride his coattails -- depend on his success, use his success
My dad was a great doctor, but I don't want to ride his coattails.

ride me -- continue to remind me of a duty or habit
You can stop riding me about doing my homework. It's done.

ride the clutch -- drive a car with your foot on the clutch pedal
If you ride the clutch, we will soon have to replace it.

ride the wave -- use luck or success to achieve more success
Enjoy your success. Ride the wave to a better life.

riding high -- feeling great, on cloud nine
Jane is riding high after getting an A in math.

right as rain -- as welcome as rain, naturally good
We always enjoyed Uncle Mel's visits. They were right as rain.

right away -- now, immediately, on the double, pronto
If you leave right away, you can get to school on time.

right before my eyes -- in front of me, in plain view
There, right before my eyes, was the Eiffel Tower! I had finally arrived in Paris.

right off the bat -- at the start, the very first thing
Right off the bat she says, "Are you married?"

right on -- that's good, great, okay
When I told him he passed the test he said, "Right on, man!"

R10. right on the money -- rip-snorting mad Internet link right on the money

right on the money -- (See on the money)

right, left and center -- (See left, right and center)

rigmarole -- (See what a rigmarole)

rile up -- become afraid, upset, worked up
The horses get all riled up when they smell smoke.

ring a bell -- remind you, cause you to remember
Does the name Kurelek ring a bell? Have you heard of him?

ring leader -- leader of a gang, leader of some criminals
The ring leader, Tony Amano, helped the prisoners escape.

ring me -- phone me, call me, give me a ring
Ring me when you get home from work. Tell me about your day.

ring off the hook -- receive many phone calls
We put an ad in the paper. Now the phone's ringing off the hook!

rip-off -- (See a rip-off)

rip-snorting mad -- very angry, violent
The bull got rip-snorting mad when he missed the toreador.

R11. ripped off -- rob the cradle Internet link ripped off

ripped off -- cheated, taken
Dar paid too much for the watch. He got ripped off.

rise and shine -- wake up and be happy, get out of bed smiling
"Rise and shine," he called to us each morning - at 6 a.m.!

rise to the occasion -- be able to do what is needed at the time
When we need a speaker, Ed rises to the occasion. He speaks well.

risky business -- a risky plan, a gamble
Being a peacemaker is risky business. You could get shot!

ritzy -- very nice, luxurious, putting on the ritz, snazzy
Curt has a ritzy apartment in Berlin. It's a neat pad!

road apple -- a frozen horseturd used as a puck for road hockey
Let's play hockey. You get the sticks and I'll find a road apple.

road to hell is paved... -- (See the road to hell is paved with good intentions)

Roaring Twenties -- the decade following World War I (1920-1929)
In the Roaring Twenties, ladies had short hair with kiss curls.

rob Peter to pay Paul -- move money from one part of a budget to another
If we use grocery money to buy gas, we rob Peter to pay Paul.

rob the cradle -- court a person who is too young, date a minor
You're seeing Lisa? She's only 17! That's robbing the cradle!

R12. Rock -- roll around Internet link Rock

Rock --(See The Rock)

rock -- shock, cause a personal change, shake him
Killing Fields is a powerful movie. It will rock you.

rock -- is great, is as good as great rock music, is cool
This webcam really rocks. I can send movies to all my friends!

rock bottom -- (See hit rock bottom)

rock the boat -- disturb or upset things, don't make waves
If you rock the boat, you may be asked to leave the project.

rocks in your head -- (See got rocks in your head)

rocks socks* -- so good it will blow your socks off, cool beans
"You've just won a million dollars." "Holy crap! That rocks socks!" *coined by William Burns

rocky road -- difficult path, rough going
In life, he traveled the rocky road. He always chose the difficult way.

rodchester -- single armrest between two airplane seats
The woman beside me rested her arm on the rodchester.

roll around -- future becomes present, future date arrives, time passes
By the time your birthday rolls around, I'll have no money to buy you a present.

R13. roll in the hay -- root for Internet link roll in the hay

roll in the hay -- (See a roll in the hay)

roll off the tongue -- natural to say, easy to pronounce
Podnzilowicz is a name that doesn't roll off the tongue.

roll out the red carpet -- welcome in a special way, show lots of hospitality
We roll out the red carpet when the Queen comes to Calgary.

roll over and play dead -- not try, not compete hard, give up
The coach said, "Don't expect the Jets to roll over and play dead."

roll their eyes -- eyes express boredom or disapproval
When he told the joke again, the students began rolling their eyes.

roll with the punches -- be a flexible competitor, pick yourself up
In politics you learn to roll with the punches and keep going.

rolling in it -- rich, wealthy, filthy rich, loaded
"Is Erica rich?" "My dear, Erica is rolling in it."

rolling in the aisles -- laughing so hard they fall out of their chairs
Robin Williams made us laugh. We were rolling in the aisles.

rolling stone -- (See a rolling stone gathers no moss)

root for -- cheer for, pull for
Who are you rooting for - the Leafs or les Canadiens?

R14. root of the problem -- round up Internet link root of the problem

root of the problem -- (See the root of the problem)

rope into -- be asked to help, talk into helping
We got roped into delivering posters because we have a car.

rot gut -- homemade liquor, hooch, moonshine
If you drink that rot gut, you'll get sick. It tastes awful!

rotten to the core -- all bad, corrupt
Hitler's regime was rotten to the core - corrupt.

rotter -- one who cheats or lies, dirty rat
Hank, you rotter! You sold me a car that won't start.

rough and ready -- strong and willing, a game one
For the oil-well crews, we need people who are rough and ready.

rough going -- difficult work, tough sledding
It was rough going the first year. We had financial problems.

rough up -- beat a little bit, push and slap
The leader roughed me up a bit because I lied to him.

round the clock -- (See around the clock)

round up -- bring together, chase into a herd
Will you round up the kids and tell them to come inside?

R15. row of beans -- rube Internet link row of beans

row of beans -- (See a hill of beans)

royal pain -- (see a royal pain)

royal treatment -- special hospitality, roll out the red carpet
We received royal treatment when we visited our relatives in Sweden.

rub elbows -- work beside, associate with
Fran and I used to rub elbows when we worked at the fish plant.

rub salt in the wound -- cause it to be worse, aggravate, add insult to injury
If you criticize a student's work in front of the class, you are rubbing salt in the wound.

rub shoulders with -- work with, associate with
Art dealers rub shoulders with people from all the professions.

rub the wrong way -- bother, irritate, bug
That waiter rubs me the wrong way. He's too impatient.

rubber match -- final game, showdown
Each team has won a game. They play the rubber match today.

rubberneck -- listen to a conversation on a party (co-op) phone line
Grandma used to rubberneck so she could hear the local news.

rube -- rural man, local yokel
Axel Nelson is a rube - a farmer. He doesn't know about city life.

R16. ruddy -- run across Internet link ruddy

ruddy -- awful, cotton-picking, darn, friggin
I can't find the ruddy light switch! Ouch! Here it is. Now we can see.

ruffle your feathers -- annoy you, bother you, get your dander up
Don't let that insult ruffle your feathers. Don't let it upset you.

rug up -- dress warmly, bundle up
Rug up, my dear. It's winter in Winnipeg!

rule of thumb -- general rule, guideline
The rule of thumb for a resume is Don't exceed two pages.

rule out -- not allow, not permit, put the kibosh on
"How about the right to strike?" "That's been ruled out. They're passing a law against strikes."

rumor has it -- people say that, through the grapevine
Rumor has it you're moving to Tuktoyaktuk. Is that true?

run a red light -- go through an intersection when the light is red
The driver of the stolen car ran a red light and hit a truck.

run a tab -- charge your purchases, put it on the bill
You can run a tab for groceries at my store if you pay every month.

run a tub -- turn on the tap and fill the bathtub with water
When you're finished your bath, will you run a tub for me?

run across -- discover, happen to see, run into
While I was in Vancouver, I ran across an old friend of yours.

R17. run amuck -- run for your money Internet link run amuck

run amuck -- not go smoothly, go haywire
We ran amuck when Gus joined the band. He can't play the tuba!

run an errand -- deliver something, go and get something
Paul, please run an errand for me. Take this bread to Aunt Matty.

run circles around you -- run faster than you, win easily
Billy can run circles around any boy in school. He's very fast.

run down -- go to, walk to
Lu, please run down to the store and get an onion.

run down -- check, look over, run through
Run down the list before we go to the store. Did I miss anything?

run down -- criticize, put down
Fred doesn't run down his staff. He never says negative things.

run down -- tired, in poor condition, worn out
His car was a run-down Buick. It belonged in the junk yard.

run for office -- be a candidate in an election
I do not plan to run for office this year. I'm leaving politics.

run for the hills -- run away to a safe place, run and hide
A tiger has escaped from the zoo! Run for the hills!

run for your money -- (See a run for your money)

R18. run-in -- run out Internet link run-in

run-in -- argument, fight
Doug had a run-in with the boss yesterday. They had an argument.

run interference -- protect from attack, come between the attacker and the victim
We've been running interference for the President all week - people calling and demanding to speak with him about lying under oath.

run into -- bump, crash into
My car slid on the ice and I ran into a mail box - knocked it down.

run into -- meet by chance, bump into, run across
Did you run into anyone you know? See any old friends?

run it by me again -- tell me again, come again
I didn't get the postal code. Would you run that by me again.

run its course -- go until it stops, take its course
We don't have a cure for a cold. It will just have to run its course.

run of the mill -- average, common, off the shelf
It was a run-of-the-mill novel, the story of a man who returns to the place he was born.

run off -- make copies at a photocopier
Please run off extra copies of her resume before the job interview.

run off at the mouth -- talk a lot, talk when you should be quiet
Why do you run off at the mouth and disturb this class?

run out -- use all, not have enough, run short
Dad, we've run out of coffee. Will you make some more?

R19. run out of patience -- run through Internet link run out of patience

run out of patience -- (See lose patience)

run out of town -- chase out of town, the bum's rush
If you don't pay property taxes they'll run you out of town.

run rampant -- spread quickly, go out of control
A disease can run rampant in a ghetto. It's difficult to control.

run roughshod -- force his way, step on people
The foreman is mean. He'll try to run roughshod over you.

run short -- have less than you need, run out
First we ran out of coffee. Then we ran short of wine.

run the gamut -- look at what is available, check the range of choices
We ran the whole gamut of colors but she didn't like any of them.

run the gauntlet -- run past the enemy, go through a dangerous area
After three job interviews, I felt like I'd run the gauntlet.

run the risk -- be at risk, be unable to control the risk or danger
When you invest in stocks, you run the risk of losing money.

run the show -- manage the project, call the shots
Talk to Luc if you want to change anything. He's running the show.

run through -- practise, read, go through
Let's run through the answers again. I want to know them well.

R20. run up -- rust out Internet link run up

run up -- drive to, go to, travel to
I have to run up to Edmonton tomorrow. Do you want to come?

run up -- increase, add to a total, charge it
Ming lets us run up a bill if we pay it once a month.

run you out -- force you to leave, the bum's rush
If they find drugs in your room they'll run you out of the hotel.

run you ragged -- make you feel tired, wear you out
Grade 8 students use up all your energy. They run you ragged.

runaround -- (See the runaround)

running water -- tap water, water from a pressure system
At the cabin in the woods we don't have running water.

runt of the litter -- (See the runt of the litter)

rush -- (See what a rush)

rush hour -- the hour of heavy traffic, bumper to bumper
During rush hour, many drivers become impatient and angry.

rust out -- become rusty, be ruined by rust
Nobody wants that car because it's all rusted out.

R21. rustbucket -- rye Internet link rustbucket

rustbucket -- a car that is very rusty, beater
Can you fix my rustbucket? Can you repair the rusty fenders?

rye -- Canadian whisky, whisky made from rye
"What's your favorite drink?" "Rye and Coke."

End of TIL page