Back to the Garden of English Idioms
|every Tom, Dick, and Harry|
It is not a smart idea to admit every Tom,
Dick, and Harry to the party. (允許張三李四，隨便什麼人都可以參加派對，並不是個好主意)
Draw the curtains or we'll have every Tom, Dick, and Harry peeking in the window. (把窗簾拉上，否則隨便哪個阿貓阿狗都可以從窗戶偷窺)
I want a qualified plumber to do the job, not just any Tom, Dick, or Harry. (我需要一個合格的水電工來做這項工作，不是隨便哪個阿貓阿狗都可以)
She uses sweet talk to get her way.
|beauty is in the eye of the beholder; love is blind|
You should remember, my dear, that beauty is
in the eye of the beholder.
|more haste, less speed|
"More haste, less speed," as the saying
|half a loaf is better than none (or no bread)|
The fund is not enough, but half a loaf is
better than none.
|the race is to the swift|
I returned, and saw under the sun that the
race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
(我又轉念，見日光之下，快跑的未必能贏，力戰的未必得勝 -- 語出聖經)
|all his geese are swans|
We all know John always says that all his
geese are swans.
|kill the goose that lays the golden eggs|
They sold part of their
business but it was the most profitable part. I think that they have killed
the goose that lays the golden eggs.
|break the butterfly on a/the wheel; take a sledgehammer to crack/break a walnut/nut|
He's a person who usually breaks the
butterfly on the wheel.
|give him an inch and he will take a mile/yard|
He's such a person that you give him an inch
and he will take a mile.
|walk/tread on air|
Susan has been
walking on air ever since she got the official letter that she's been
accepted as a graduate student at the University of California.
|a friend in need is a friend indeed|
You came to my side when I was in trouble. A
friend in need is a friend indeed.
|pull/tug at/on the/one's heartstrings|
The book about the romance between a
young lady and an old man was one that really pulled at the heartstrings.
|many hands make light work|
We need a few
more volunteers to move the furniture -- many hands make light work, you
|give oneself airs; lord it over|
Because he has two big houses, he is always
giving himself airs.
After Mary was elected president, she tried to lord it over the other girls.
|bow and scrape; cap/hat in hand|
In this fashionable store, the salespersons
virtually bow and scrape before customers.
They went to her, hat in hand, asking for a change of assignment.
|take one's time|
You can take
your time altering that dress; I don't need it right away.
|a land of milk and honey|
Taiwan is a land of milk and honey.
|the grass is greener on the other side of the hill/fence|
Don't compare yourself with others. The
grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Just do your best.
You might think you'd be happy if you were working in my company, but, well, the grass is greener on the other side. (你真是這山望著那山高，如果你來我的公司工作看看，你就知道你現在有多麼幸福了)
|an Aunt Sally|
A number of institutions revered and
respected in earlier times have become Aunt Sally for the present
Any public figure risks being made an Aunt Sally by the press. (任何公眾人物都有成為新聞界的眾矢之的的風險)
|(nearly, almost, etc.) split/burst one's sides (with laughter)|
The members of the audience almost split
their sides with laughter. (觀眾幾乎笑破了肚皮)
They nearly burst their sides when I told them my reason for being late. (當我說出我遲到的原因時，他們幾乎笑翻了天)
When I heard what happened to Patricia, I almost split my sides. (當我聽到派翠西亞所發生的事情時，我幾乎捧腹大笑)
|harm a hair of someone's head|
"My dear love," said the elder lady, as she
folded the weeping girl in her bosom, "do you think I would harm a hair of
his head?" (「親愛的，」那位年長的夫人一邊說，一邊把那個哭泣的女孩摟在懷裡，「你想我會碰他一根汗毛嗎?」)－英國大文豪狄更斯
(Charles Dickens) 名著《孤雛淚》(Oliver Twist) 中的句子。
If the kidnapper harms a hair of my daughter's head, I'll kill him. (如果綁匪敢動我女兒一根汗毛，我就殺了他)
|the blind leading the blind|
John: Mike is helping me fill out my tax
forms this year. (麥可今年要幫我填寫報稅表單)
Jane: Is he a tax expert? (他是稅務專家嗎?)
John: He read a book about income tax once. (他曾讀過一本所得稅方面的書)
Jane: Sounds to me like the blind leading the blind. (在我聽起來這好像問道於盲)
offered to be my guide through Tokyo, but since he'd never been there before
either, it was a case of the blind leading the blind.
|hide one's light under a bushel|
I didn't know
you could speak Arabic. You've been hiding your light under a bushel all
these years. (我以前不知道你還會講阿拉伯語。這些年你可真是深藏不露)
I saw stars for
hours after I hit my head against a wall last night.
The door hit me in the face and saw stars for a moment. (門撞在我的臉上，我頓時眼冒金星)
The pain made Anna see stars. (安娜痛得眼前直冒金星)
|tighten one's belt|
beginning to cost more and more. It looks like we'll all have to tighten our
I've had to tighten my belt since I stopped working full time. (自從我不再全職工作以來，我一直得勒緊腰帶過日子)
|play hard to get|
Why don't you
return any of his calls? Are you playing hard to get? (為何妳都不回他的電話呢？妳是欲擒故縱嗎？)
Mandy said Cory was avoiding her, but maybe he was just playing hard to get. (曼蒂說，柯瑞都躲著她，但或許他只是欲擒故縱)
Penny said she would accept the job if it was offered rather than playing hard to get in the hope of being offered more money. (潘妮說，如果那份工作要給她，她寧可接受而不是欲擒故縱，以期獲得較高的薪資)
|(by) a quirk of fate|
A quirk of fate
led her to work in the US and die in an uncanny car accident.
By a quirk of fate the couple booked into the same hotel after years of being apart. (命運的安排讓這對失散多年的戀人住進同一家旅館)
|at someone's beck and call|
Why am I at your
beck and call? You're not my boss. (為什麼我要對你唯命是從呢？你又不是我老闆)
Paul was tired of being at his wife's beck and call all day long. (保羅已厭倦整天受他太太的使喚)
|add insult to injury|
basement flooded, and then, to add insult to injury, a pipe burst in the
My car barely started this morning, and to add insult to injury, I got a flat tire in the driveway. (今天早上我的車子差點發不動，而雪上加霜的是，車子在車道爆胎了)
|make no bones about something|
Mr. Huang made
no bones about his dissatisfaction with the service in the restaurant.
Tracy makes no bones about wanting Dillon to leave. (崔西毫不掩飾她想要狄隆離開)
|ask/cry for the moon|
Don't ask for
the moon. Be reasonable! (別異想天開。理智一點！)
We need not hope for higher salary in the future － that would be just asking for the moon. (我們不必期望將來薪資會提高 － 那不啻異想天開)
There's no point hoping for a permanent peace in the area. It's simply/only crying for the moon. (期望該地區永久和平是沒有用的。那簡直/只不過是異想天開)
附註：ask/cry for the moon 這個成語經常用進行式。
|hide or hair (通常以 "neither hide nor hair of" 的形式出現)|
I haven't seen hide nor hair of the
children. (or "I have seen neither hide nor hair of the children.")
|fight hand to hand (名詞：hand-to-hand fighting)|
Scottish troops fixed bayonets and fought
hand to hand with a Shi'ite militia in southern Iraq in one of their
fiercest clashes since the war was declared.
|fish in muddy/troubled waters|
He often buys up
stock in companies declaring bankruptcy; fishing in troubled waters
generally pays off.
|gild the lily|
Offering three different desserts after that
elaborate meal would be gilding the lily.
|have one's heart in one's mouth|
When the plane was about to take off, my
heart was in my mouth.
|between the devil and the deep blue sea; between a rock and a hard place|
between the devil and the deep blue sea on this negotiation; I need a car,
but not at these prices.
|go through the motions|
The team is so far behind that they're just
going through the motions.
She didn't really grieve at his death; she just went through the motions.
|between the devil and the deep blue see; between a rock and a hard place; between Scylla and Charybdis; in a cleft stick|
Trying to please
both my boss and his supervisor puts me between a rock and a hard place.
Because of new employment laws, these companies are caught in a cleft stick.
附註：在這四個成語中，between Scylla and Charybdis (Scylla 是一塊岩礁，Charybdis 是大漩渦) 最早出現，而 between a rock and a hard place 最晚出現 (1900 年代初期才出現)。
|be in a class of one's/its own|
He is in a class
of his own as a computer expert.
|know all the answers (通常用在 "think one knows all the answers" 這個片語中)|
He always think
he knows all the answers and doesn't respect anybody else's opinion.
|bright and breezy|
She is a very
bright and breezy sort of girl.
|a cock-and-bull story; a tall story; an old wives' tale/story|
Jack told us some cock-and-bull story about
My sister's account of her adventures in Africa during the summer vacation sounds like a collection of tall stories.
Toads cause warts? That's an old wives' tale.
|There's no smoke without fire|
taking bribes, but there's no smoke without fire.
|run out of steam|
have been working very hard on this project for months, but now I'm
running out of steam.
|talk someone's head off|
The woman beside
me in the bus talked my head off during our journey.
|down in the dumps/mouth|
She's been down in the dumps ever since she
lost the match.
What's wrong with him? He's so down in the mouth about everything.
|have ants in one's pants|
This child just
can't sit still; she must have ants in her pants.
|diamond cut diamond|
They have been
playing chess from morning to night, because of diamond cutting diamond.
|spend money like water|
spends money like water - no wonder she's always broke.
|a bolt from the blue|
his life insurance was a bolt from the blue for his wife.
|call the shots; call the tune|
It's up to the
boss to call the shots.
Mary said that it's her turn to call the tune.
|cut one's coat according to one's cloth|
You must cut
your coat according to your cloth.
|rack one's brain(s); beat one's brains out|
racking my brain trying to recall where we put the key.
John's beating his brains out to finish this puzzle.
|caviar to the general|
popular than it used to be, the opera is still caviar to the general.
|(as) bald as a coot|
and more men are as bald as a coot.
A person who is completely bald is as bald as a coot.
|chickens come home to roost|
Now that you're
finally admitting your true age, no one believes you--chickens come home to
When I heard the
bad news, I began to have kittens. (聽到這壞消息後，我開始惶惶不安)
His mother nearly had kittens when Alex announced that he wanted to be a trapeze artist. (在艾立克斯宣布他想成為高空鞦韆表演人之後，他的母親幾乎惶惶不可終日)
|(on) the straight and narrow|
The police were
surprised that such a trustworthy man, who
had kept to the straight and narrow all his life, had committed such a high
Lashing out at your children isn't ideal behavior for keeping them on the straight and narrow. (要使你的小孩循規蹈矩，嚴斥並非理想的作法)
|have a memory/mind/head like a sieve|
I was introduced
to the manager twice, but I still cannot remember his name－I've got a
memory like a sieve. (我曾兩次被介紹跟這位經理認識，但我仍記不住他的名字
I've never known anyone so forgetful－she's got a mind like a sieve. (我還沒見過這麼健忘的人 － 她的記性真差)
|the apple of someone's eye|
The little girl
is the apple of her mother's eye. (這小女孩是她母親的掌上明珠)
Henry is the apple of his grandfather's eye. (亨利是他爺爺的心肝寶貝)
附註：這成語不可寫成 the apple of the eye of someone，其中的 apple 原指「瞳孔」(pupil of the eye)，表示某人對自己非常重要，猶如自己的眼珠一樣珍貴。這成語都位在 BE 動詞之後。
|a false alarm|
John feared that
he would not be able to pass the exam, but it was a false alarm. (約翰擔心考試不及格，結果只是虛驚一場)
Someone called to say there was a bomb inside the school, but it turned out to be a false alarm. (有人打電話來說，學校裡面有炸彈，結果只是虛驚一場)
|put our/your/their heads together|
If we put our
heads together we'll figure out a way to deal with this problem.
If they put their heads together I know they can definitely come up with a proposal that really works. (如果他們集思廣益，我知道他們肯定能提出一個真正管用的計畫)
|a nip in the air|
I felt a little
nip in the air when I opened the window. (我打開窗戶時，覺得有點寒氣逼人)
There's more of a nip in the air as winter approaches. (隨著冬天逼近，寒氣更加逼人)
There's quite a nip in the air. I think you'll need your jacket on. (寒氣相當逼人。我想你需要穿外套)
|the squeaky wheel gets the grease|
No matter what table they give her, Helen
generally insists on a better one and gets it--the squeaky wheel gets the
|it never rains but it pours|
When troubles come together, we can say "It
never rains but it pours."
|(as) drunk as a lord; drunk as a fiddler or skunk|
He came home drunk as a lord.
|the walls have ears|
Be careful what you say; the walls have
|time and tide wait for no man|
Let's get on with the voting; time and tide
won't wait, you know.
|prevention is better than cure|
More advice is needed on how to stay healthy
because, as we all know, prevention is better than cure.
|a new broom sweeps clean|
Once he takes office, you can be sure the
President will replace most of the people on the staff-- a new broom sweeps
|a blessing in disguise|
Missing the train was a blessing in
disguise, for if I hadn't, I wouldn't have met my future
|a drop in the bucket/ocean|
These contributions are just a drop in the
bucket; the new church wing will cost thousands more.
|love me, love my dog|
had agreed to take my new job only on the condition that Mr. Wang remained
at my right hand. "It's a case of love me, love my dog."
|made of money|
Do you think I'm made of money?
|lay it on thick|
He'd injured his hand slightly but he was
laying it on a bit thick about how painful it was.
|at sixes and sevens|
moved in, and the office is still at sixes and sevens.
The new college admissions tests were poorly explained, leaving the students at sixes and sevens.
|neck and neck; it is even Stephen/Steven|
The two are neck and neck in developing a
new operating system for the computer.
The two leading candidates have an equal support rate -- it's even Stephen.
|put on an act|
We know you're a good swimmer -- stop
putting on an act.
|hit/kick a man/someone when he is down|
Never hit a man
when he's down.
|next to nothing|
She knows next
to nothing about politics.
The city has done next to nothing about the parking problem.
|have/keep one's feet (set/planted) (firmly) on the ground|
She is a girl
who has her feet (planted firmly) on the ground.
|take to one's heels; show (someone) a clean pair of heels|
The boys took to
their heels when the farmer found them stealing his mangoes.
The criminal quickly showed the police a clean pair of heels when they found him with the stolen car. (當警察發現罪犯駕著那輛偷來的車子時，他飛快地逃之夭夭了)
|honesty is the best policy|
Mary: I borrowed
Jane's white blouse without asking her, and then I spilled tomato sauce on
it. Should I tell her what happened, or should I just put the blouse back in
her closet and hope she won't notice? Teresa: Honesty is the best policy.
When I was a young boy, my father usually said that honesty was the best policy. (在我小時候，我父親經常說，誠實才是上策)
|turn one's nose up at|
I never turn my
nose up at dessert, no matter what it is. (不管什麼甜點，我都不會嗤之以鼻)
Jim turned his nose up at Ann, and that hurt her feelings. (吉姆對安不屑一顧，這使她的感情很受傷)
|fortune favors fools|
fools" means that foolish people often have a lot of good luck. ("Fortune
favors fools" 的意思是「傻人有傻福」)
Popular belief claims that fortune favors fools. (一般普遍的看法都認為傻人有傻福)
|pennies from heaven|
What many people
in Taiwan want these dire days is pennies from heaven.
|act/play the goat|
Stop acting the
Allen is always acting the goat; I never know when to take him seriously. (艾倫老是裝瘋賣傻；我根本不知道什麼時候才能把他當真)
|black and blue|
His son was
beaten black and blue at the boarding school. (他兒子在寄宿學校被打得遍體鱗傷)
Her whole body was black and blue after she had fallen down. (她摔了下來，跌得渾身青一塊，紫一塊)
|make an exhibition of oneself|
sings, she makes an exhibition of herself. (瑪麗每次唱歌都大出洋相)
If Rudy keeps on drinking he's going to end up making an exhibition of himself! (如果魯迪繼續喝酒，他終將當眾出醜！)
|between two fires|
quarrels Kevin's often between two fires – his mother-in-law crying at him
on one side and his wife shouting at him on the other. (在家庭爭吵中，凱文常常腹背受敵 －
The president was caught between two fires during last election. (總統在上次選舉中腹背受敵)
Robert: Dude, I
just got fired and you know I got divorced yesterday. (老兄，我剛被炒魷魚，你知道我昨天才離婚)
Sam: Double whammy! (禍不單行！)
Critics claim that the cuts in public spending coupled with a pay freeze is a double whammy which will affect low-paid workers badly. (批評人士宣稱，削減公共支出加上凍結薪資，是雙重打擊，將嚴重影響低薪勞工)
|butter wouldn't melt in one's mouth|
always looks as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. (李教授看起來總是一副道貌岸然的樣子)
Mary: How can you suspect Sam of playing that practical joke on you? He looks so innocent. (瑪麗：妳怎麼可以懷疑山姆對妳惡作劇呢? 他看起來這麼無辜)
Wendy: Yes, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, I'm sure. (溫蒂：是啊，我肯定他是一臉無辜相)
|have/keep a foot in both camps|
corporations have a foot in both camps by donating to both KMT and DPP at
the same time. (許多大公司腳踏兩條船，同時捐款給國民黨和民進黨)
The developers, who favor more construction, and the environmentalists, who oppose it, are always two competing interests. Yet the mayor has managed to give each of them something they want. He always keeps a foot in both camps. (主張多蓋房子的開發商和反對多蓋房子的環保人士，永遠是兩個對抗的利益團體。但市長讓兩派力量都得到了一些好處，兩邊都不得罪)
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|die in one's bed|
Her father died in his bed last night.
|cast pearls before swine|
The old professor felt that lecturing on
semiotics to undergraduates would be casting pearls before swine.
|(as) different as chalk and cheese|
I don't have anything in common with my
brother. We're different as chalk and cheese.
|to the life|
John can copy
his teacher's manner of speaking to the life.
|scrimp and save|
For years we had to scrimp and save, but now
we can enjoy life more.
He was flat out
after his night's work.
|speak of the devil|
Why, speak of
the devil -- there's Amy.
附註：這成語是從 "Speak of the devil and he's sure to appear." 縮略而來。
|Necessity is the mother of invention|
The first prisoner to tie together bedsheets
to escape knew that necessity was the mother of invention.
|live off the fat of the land|
The tiny upper
class lived off the fat of the land while many of the poor were starving.
|As you sow so shall you reap|
As you sow so
shall you reap. I'm a firm believer that we create our destiny.
|do one's level best; with (all one's) might and main|
I was convinced that he did his level best
to find a new girlfriend.
She pulled on the rope with all her might and main.
附註："with might and main" 這成語算是累贅，因為 might 和 main (名詞) 都意為「力量」(strength or power)。
|six of one and half a dozen of the other|
she's a stewardess. She says she's a flight attendant. It's six of one and a
half dozen of the other.
|on the up and up (also, on the up-and-up)|
business is on the up and up. (我們的生意蒸蒸日上)
From now on everything is on the up-and-up. (從現在起，一切都會越來越好)
附註：on the up and up 這個成語在英式英語中意為「蒸蒸日上；竿頭日進」，但在美式英語 (口語) 卻意為「誠實的，正直的 (honest)；可靠的，值得信賴的 (trustworthy)」，如 Mary, don't think everyone is on the up and up with you. There are dishonest people around. (瑪麗，不要以為每個人都對你很誠實。有些人是不誠實的 )。
|do the honors|
You do the
honors and pour out the tea while I bring in the cakes.
He was asked to do the honors during his best friend's wedding. (在他最要好朋友的婚禮上，他被請求招待賓客)
|dead and gone|
father's been dead and gone for quite a spell. (我父親墓木已拱)
When I'm dead and gone, I hope folks remember me at my best. (當我墓木已拱時，我希望人們記得我在最輝煌、最風光的時候)
|Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion|
can be the headmaster of a small senior high school, or I can be a teacher
at a famous university. Which job offer do you think I should take?
Renee: Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion. (蕾妮：寧為雞首，不為牛後)
A large multinational corporation had asked Simon to work for it, but he elected to stay with his small company as Executive Vice President, since he thought it better to be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion. (一家跨國大企業已邀請賽蒙去任職，但他選擇繼續留在他現在的小公司擔任執行副總，因為他認為寧為雞首，不為牛後)
|practice makes perfect|
I've knit at least a hundred sweaters, but
in my case practice hasn't made perfect.
I was hopping mad when they left my name off
|to the backbone; first and last|
He is naive to
She was an artist first and last.
|keep to the beaten track|
His boss told
him to keep to the beaten track and not use any new ideas until the company
|too many cooks spoil the broth (有時略作：too many cooks)|
If someone says,
"Too many cooks spoil the broth," he/she means that your work will be more
efficient if you use fewer people. (如果有人說 "Too many cooks spoil the
Our director never asks more than 10 people to work with him in his projects, and he wants the best 10. He always says, "Too many cooks spoil the broth." (我們主任從未要求 10 人以上來參與他的企畫案，他要的是最佳 10 人組。他常說「廚師多了煮壞湯」)
|live and let live|
I don't care
what they do! Live and let live, I always say. (我不介意他們做什麼! 我經常說，寬以待人如待己)
His parents are strict. Mine just live and let live. (他的父母嚴以待人。我的雙親則是寬以待人如待己)
|rise (or be up) with the lark|
Fewer and fewer
people like rising with the lark. (越來越少人喜歡黎明即起)
I'm not used to being up with the lark. (我不習慣早起)
Kevin is not a
happy-go-lucky kind of person. (凱文不是那種樂天知命的人)
Alison is the most happy-go-lucky person I've ever met. (愛麗森是我所見過最樂天知命的人)
|march to (the beat of) a different drummer|
Ida has had a
lot of great new ideas since she started marching to a different drummer.
James is marching to the beat of a different drummer, and he doesn't associate with us anymore. (詹姆士逐漸獨樹一幟，現在不再跟我們來往了)
附註：march to (the beat of) a different drummer 主要為美國成語，字面意思為「隨著不同鼓手的節拍行進或齊步走」。英式英語是以 march to a different tune 來表達相同的意思。。
|bear (or carry off) the palm|
He carried off the palm by sheer
We've finally settled our differences, so
please don't make waves.
|bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; full of the joys of spring|
Here is my new
kindergarten class, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
He bounced into the office, full of the joys of spring.
|be a law unto oneself; have it one's (own) way|
You can't tell Mary how to punctuate; she's
a law unto herself.
Oh, have it your own way — I'm tired of arguing.
|swim/drift/go with the tide/current/stream|
doesn't have a mind of his own; he just swims with the tide.
附註：這成語的相反詞，即「不隨波逐流」，叫做 "swim/go against the tide/current/stream"。
|trim one's sails (before/to the wind)|
told him to trim his sails before he alienated voters and bungled the
|a flash in the pan|
His second novel
proved to be a flash in the pan.
We had high hopes for the new director, but she was a flash in the pan.
|in fear and trembling|
I went to him in
fear and trembling to seek his acceptance of my apology for my rude remarks.
|take French leave|
Randy really ill again, or is he just taking French leave?
|Man proposes, God disposes|
usually says that man proposes, God disposes.
|flutter one's eyelashes at|
All through the
meal his wife was fluttering her eyelashes at the man sitting at the next
She even very often fluttered her eyelashes at me. How could I resist? (她甚至對我頻送秋波。我怎能抗拒呢?)
|頭上長瘡，腳底流膿 － 壞透了，爛透了|
|rotten to the core|
The whole family
are rotten to the core. (這一家人全都頭上長瘡，腳底流膿，壞透了)
Bill said that Kevin is evil to the core. (比爾說，凱文壞透了)
This organization is rotten to the core. (這個組織爛透了)
|play it by ear|
I'm not sure how
long I'll stay at the party. I'll just play it by ear.
I haven't decided what to say when he comes; I'll play it by ear. (我還沒決定他來時要說什麼，到時隨機應變吧)
附註：play it by ear 原意為聽過樂曲後不看樂譜僅憑記憶演奏。
|(the) icing on the cake|
delighted to have his story published – getting paid for it was just icing
on the cake. (東尼很高興他的故事能被出版 － 因此而獲得報酬只是錦上添花)
We're really happy playing in Taipei, and if we win on Sunday that will be the icing on the cake. (我們真的很高興能來台北比賽，如果我們星期天獲勝的話，那就錦上添花了)
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buckets every time I watch this drama.
|toss and turn; twist and turn|
I was in the
hope that I had a good night's sleep but instead twisted and turned all
night long because I was worried about my job.
Bernard was tossing and turning all night. (柏納德整晚輾轉反側，難以成眠)
|would/could/will not say boo to a goose|
His wife used to
say he would not say boo to a goose.
|(as) bold as brass|
No one had
invited her to the wedding, but she showed up at the church, bold as brass.
|one good turn deserves another|
He fixed my bike
so I let him use my computer. One good turn deserves another.
One good turn deserves another so we made a great effort to help those people who had helped us in the past. (善有善報! 所以我們盡了最大努力來幫助過去曾經幫助過我們的人)
|(as) bright as a button|
My little son's
as bright as a button.
|someone's eyes (nearly/almost/practically) popped out of one's head|
My sister showed
me the ring Jim gave her, and my eyes popped out of my head. It was so
When he told me how much money he was earning, my eyes almost popped out of my head. (當他告訴我他賺多少錢時，我驚訝地瞠目結舌)
|mind one's P's and Q's|
Their grandmother often told the children to
mind their p's and q's.
|don't cry over spilt milk; it is no use crying over spilt milk|
The papers you
wanted went out in last week's trash, so don't cry over spilt milk.
|when/after all is said and done|
all's said and done, the doctors did what they could for John, but he was
too ill to survive.
|轉石 (或滾石) 不生苔； 轉業不聚財|
|a rolling stone gathers no moss|
Kate's lived in
ten cities in as many years, so I don't think the saying
"a rolling stone gathers
no moss" means anything to her.
|keep one's countenance|
circumstances it is hard for him to keep his countenance.
|put new wine in/into old bottles|
is a brand-new one, so you can present any new ideas. You will never meet
with putting new wine into old bottles.
|in a shambles|
Sarah made a
(complete) shambles of the accounts. (莎拉把帳目記得雜亂無章)
The meeting ended in a complete shambles. (會議結束時亂成一團)
Corruption has left the country's economy in a shambles. (貪污腐敗已使這國家的經濟亂象叢生)
|rake over the ashes/coals|
There's no point
in raking over the ashes - all that happened twenty years ago, and there's
nothing we can do about it now. (舊事重提已沒什麼意義了 － 那一切都發生在二十年前，現在我們也無能為力了)
His wife always rakes over the coals of their old unpleasant things when she is angry. (他太太一生氣就會將他們之間不愉快的往事重新搬出來)
|make an example of|
The teacher made an example of the boy she
The judge imposed a tough sentence to make an example of the car thieves.
|camp it up; play to the gallery|
often camp it up, trying to be more dramatic.
He peppers his speeches with humor and wisecracks about his opponent, clearly playing to the gallery.
|hold/bear/have a grudge (against someone)|
She holds a
grudge against the judge who sentenced her. (她對判她刑的法官懷恨在心)
Billy still has a grudge against Mary because she refused to go out with him years ago. (比利對瑪麗仍懷恨在心，因為多年前她拒絕跟他交往)
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|(as) plain as day; (as) plain as the nose on your face; (as) plain as a pikestaff|
plain as day that they must sell their house before they can buy another.
It's plain as the nose on your face that she's lying.
|on cloud nine|
was on cloud nine after winning the marathon.
|not have two halfpennies to rub together|
When my dad left us we did
not have two halfpennies
to rub together.
|give the game away|
We were trying to pretend we didn't know it
was her birthday but David gave the game away.
|make a noise in the world|
He seemed very
eager to make a noise in the world.
|chop and change|
After six months of chopping and changing,
we've decided to go back to our old system.
|(as) hard/tough as nails|
Don't ask her for a contribution--she's hard
|rend the skies/air|
rend the air at the boot camp.
|pride goes before a fall|
You must learn
to be modest because pride goes before a fall. (你必須學習謙虛，因為驕兵必敗)
Susan: I'm the best student in my history class. I'm sure I can pass the exam without studying very hard. Sam: Be careful. Pride goes before a fall, you know. (蘇珊：我是我們班上歷史課最優秀的學生。我確信我不用太用功就可通過考試。山姆：當心哦! 驕者必敗)
|burn the candle at both ends|
You look very
tired today. Have you been burning the candle at both ends? (你
He has been burning the candle at both ends with his work and his studies. (為了兼顧工作和學業，他一直蠟燭兩頭燒)
|there's life in the old dog yet|
Bill: I heard
your grandpa will marry a woman who is 30. He's already 85! (比爾：我聽說你爺爺要娶一名
30 歲的女子。他已經 85 歲了！)
Jack: There's life in the old dog yet. (傑克：他寶刀未老)
I may be 90 but there's life in the old dog yet. (我也許 90 歲，但我老當益壯)
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