Gang up on: join to attack
e.g. They all gang up on the new student with verbal attacks.
By leaps and bounds: increase rapidly
e.g. Ever since the company’s makeover, the profits have increased by leaps and bounds.
Take the rap: take the blame or punishment for something one is not responsible
e.g. I’m not going to take the rap for something I have not done!
Strike someone’s fancy: appeal to someone
e.g. If you go to an online dating service, you may find a girlfriend who strikes your fancy.
Talk a blue streak: talk a lot and very rapidly
e.g. I didn’t understand what he was saying: he was talking a blue streak.
Stick one’s neck out: take a risk
e.g. If I were you, I wouldn’t stick my neck out for that ungrateful friend of yours
Get an in with: have influence with someone in authority
e.g. If you can get an in with the officials, you can park your car here.
Talk until one is blue in the face: talk a great deal
e.g. I talked until I was blue in the face, but she would not change her mind.
Tail wagging the dog: a situation in which a less important part is in control
e.g. In this coming election, the tail will be wagging the dog; that is, the minority will decide the outcome of the election
Buy something: believe
e.g. I don’t think I buy what you told me just now.
Take the bitter with the sweet: accept both the pleasant and the unpleasant
e.g. In life, one must take the bitter with the sweet.
Step on someone’s toes: offend
e.g. A public officer should avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.
By the skin of one’s teeth: just barely
e.g. I did not miss my plane; I made to the airport by the skin of my teeth.
Call someone on the carpet: scold or reprimand
e.g. If you late for work one more time, the manager will call you on the carpet.
Full of crap: talking nonsense all the time
e.g. I don’t like your friend; he’s full of crap.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau