Back to The Garden of English Idioms

a bad egg
壞蛋 (a bad person, bum)。
That man is a bad egg so you should try and avoid him if you can.
a hard/tough nut to crack
He is a very serious person and is a very hard nut to crack.

a hot potato
The issue of building the nuclear power plant is a real hot potato for the local town council.

a piece of cake
It was a piece of cake. I had everything done before lunch this morning.

an apple a day keeps the doctor away
Remember to take an apple in your dinner today. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. (記得今天晚餐要吃蘋果。一天一蘋果,醫生遠離我)
Grandma always fed us lots of apples when we visited her. She believed that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. (每次我們去看奶奶,她總是給我們吃很多蘋果。她相信一天一蘋果,醫生遠離我)

(compare) apples and oranges
You can't talk about John and Jack in the same breath! They're like apples and oranges. (你不能將約翰和傑克相提並論!他們無法比較)
You can't compare city schools and schools in the country - they're apples and oranges. (你不能拿都市的學校和鄉下的學校來做比較。它們無法相比)
Comparing the average wages of workers and managers is like trying to compare apples and oranges. (比較工人和經理人的平均薪資,就像拿蘋果和橘子來做比較一樣,它們難以相比)

as nutty as a fruitcake
He is a very nice man but he acts strange sometimes and I often think that he is as nutty as a fruitcake.

a/the big cheese
He is a big cheese in his company so you should be very nice to him.

bread and butter
The voters are worried about bread and butter issues like jobs and taxes.

bring home the bacon
Recently he has been working very hard trying to bring home the bacon. He has no time to do anything else.

butter both sides of one's bread
He's buttering both sides of his bread - he works for us during the day and has a job with another company during the evening.

carrot and stick
The government took a carrot and stick approach to the people who were illegally protesting against the construction of the dam.

chew the fat
We stayed up very late last night chewing the fat about our university days.

(as) cool as a cucumber
泰然自若;(遇到麻煩或困難) 極為冷靜。
He is always as cool as a cucumber and never worries about anything.

(the) cream of the crop
The company is well-known as a good place to work and is always able to hire the cream of the crop of university graduates.

cry over spilt milk
Don't cry over spilt milk. The past is past and you can't do anything to change it.

cut the mustard
He wasn't able to cut the mustard so he had to leave the army after only one year.

(as) different as chalk and/from cheese
Mary and Lily are sisters, but they are as different as chalk and cheese.

duck soup
It was duck soup. I was able to finish everything early last night.

(be) easy meat (or be an easy mark/target)
容易到手的東西或人; 容易受騙的人;易被愚弄的人;歹徒可輕易下手的對象。
I heard when I was working on the site that that woman was easy meat. (我在那裡工作時就聽說那女人很容易到手)
The elderly living alone are an easy mark for scam gangs. (獨居老人很容易成為詐騙集團下手的目標)

eat crow
I was forced to eat crow and had to apologize for the mistake that I made about the restructuring of our company.

eat dirt
We made him eat dirt after he accused us of lying about the salary cut.

eat humble pie
Our boss was forced to eat humble pie after everyone realized that he had made the wrong budget estimate for next year.

eat one's words
I told my boss that I would be leaving but later I had to eat my words and tell him that I wanted to stay.

eat someone out of house and home
把 (某人) 吃窮,吃空。
The man was eating his parents out of house and home until he found a job. (這名男子在未找到工作之前,真的把他父母吃窮了)
My two sons are eating me out of house and home. (我兩個兒子快把我吃空了)

food for thought
值得深思的事情; 啟發深思的材料。
The teacher's advice gave me plenty of food for thought.

full of beans
She is full of beans tonight and doesn't want to stop talking.

go back to the salt mines
回去工作 -- 自我解嘲或幽默的說法,用來表示「回去做不愉快的工作」的意思。
Well, lunch is over so let's go back to the salt mines for the afternoon.

gravy train
For many years his job was a real gravy train but now the company has become very strict and will not pay overtime.

have a bun in the oven
Honey, I've something to tell you ... I've a bun in the oven. (親愛的,我有事告訴你 我 有喜了)
Do you know Anna has got a bun in the oven? (你知道安娜懷孕了嗎?)

have a plum in one's mouth; speak with a plum in one's mouth
All I can remember is that he was overweight and spoke with a plum in his mouth. (我所能記得的是,他體重過胖而且說話故作高雅狀)
Nowadays a lot of workers frequently have a plum in their mouth. (現今許多工人常常

have (or get) egg/jam on (or all over) one's face
He has egg on his face because everyone knows that he was sick at the party.

have one's cake and eat it too
He refuses to give up anything and always wants to have his cake and eat it too.

have/keep one's finger (or a finger) in the pie
參與某事。注意:如果將 ... in the pie 改成 ... in every pie,則意為「樣樣事都插一手;凡事參與」。此外,還有 ... in a pie, ... in several pies 和 ... in many pies 的寫法。
He always tries to keep his finger in the pie so that he can control everything.

hit the sauce
喝酒 (通常是指經常喝酒)。 sauce 的俚語就是「酒」。
I think that she has begun to hit the sauce since her husband lost his job.

in a nutshell
We went to the meeting and they told us in a nutshell what would be happening to everyone next year.

in the soup
She is really in the soup now. She told her boss that she was sick but he saw her downtown shopping.

know one's onions/stuff
John is a man who knows his onions. I'd be sorry if he left the company.

lay an egg
I guess I really laid an egg, huh? (我想我真的搞砸了,嗯?)
The cast laid an egg in both performances. (這些卡司在兩場表演中都演得很差)

make one's mouth water
The restaurant is supposed to be wonderful and every time that I see the menu it makes my mouth water.

not know beans about something
My grandpa doesn't know beans about computers - He's never even used one. (我爺爺對電腦一竅不通 他甚至從未用過電腦)
I don't know beans about the stock market. (我對股票市場一無所知)

one's cup of tea
Going to art galleries is not my cup of tea so I think that I will stay home this evening and not go with you.

one's salad days
某人少不更事的時期;某人年輕識淺的青少年時期;某人 年輕沒有經驗的時期。
I recall the joys I experienced during the Lunar New Year in my salad days. (我想起青少年時期農曆過年期間我所經歷的歡樂)
In our salad days, we were apt to get into all sorts of mischief on the weekends. (在我們少不更事的時期,每到週末我們就會亂搞各種惡作劇)

out of the frying pan (and) into the fire
跳出油鍋又落火坑;才脫小災又遭大難;越來越倒楣。out of ... 前面的動詞通常使用 jump。
She quit the job because of some small problems but she has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire because now her problems are much worse.

out to lunch
She is totally out to lunch and you should never believe what she tells you.

polish the apple (with)
Nobody likes her because she is always trying to polish the apple with her teacher.

rub salt into someone's wounds; rub salt in/into the wound
某人 傷口抹鹽;使某人痛上加痛;使某人更加難堪。
Losing was bad enough and having to watch them receiving the trophy just rubbed salt into our wounds. (吃敗仗已經夠糟了,還要看他們領獎,簡直就是在我們的傷口抹鹽)
The manager is really unpopular because he is always rubbing salt in the wounds of his employees by criticizing them harshly. (這位經理真不得人緣,因為他老是嚴厲指責他的員工,使他們更加難堪)

sell like hot cakes
(由於價格低廉或熱門等緣故) 被搶著要;銷售得很快。
The new CD has only been released for about a week but already it is selling like hot cakes.

shake like a jelly/leaf
(因恐懼、不安等) 怕得渾身發抖;緊張得直打哆嗦;嚇得腿軟。這成語通常用進行式。

John shook like a jelly as he waited for his turn to bungee jump. (約翰在等候輪到他高空彈跳時,渾身抖得很厲害)
I saw her just before her talk and she was shaking like a leaf. (就在她說話前,我看到她緊張得直打哆嗦)

small beer
微不足道的人;無關緊要的事;瑣事 (trivia)。
Randy owns a lot of property but he is still small beer compared to Kevin. (蘭迪擁有許多資產,但跟凱文比起來,他仍然算不了什麼)
My mother is busy with small beer every day. (我母親每天忙於瑣事)

spill the beans
Please don't spill the beans about my plans to quit working and go back to school next year.

stew in one's own juice
He is the one who caused the problem for himself and is now being forced to stew in his own juice.

take a sledgehammer to crack/break a walnut/nut; crack/break a walnut/nut with a sledgehammer
Three men spent all day yesterday mending my telephone. One man could have done the job in half an hour. It was like taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

take something with a grain/pinch of salt
You should take everything that he says with a grain of salt as everyone knows that he likes to exaggerate things when he is speaking.

take the bread out of someone's mouth
If Paul does that work, he'll be taking the bread out of the mouths of his fellow workers. (如果保羅從事那項工作,他就會搶了他同事的飯碗)
Lowering wages is taking the bread out of the workers' mouths. (降低工資將剝奪這些工人的生計)

teach one's grandmother to suck eggs
He is always telling the director how to run the business; that's like teaching his grandmother to suck eggs.

that's the way the cookie crumbles
人生 (本來) 就是這麼回事。
I can't believe they chose Peter for the job but not me. Ah well, that's the way the cookie crumbles. (我不敢相信,他們竟然挑選彼得來擔任這項工作而不是我。啊,算了,人生就是這麼回事)
You'll just have to accept this result. That's the way the ball bounces. (你只能接受這項結果。人生就是這麼回事)

註:這成語字面的意思是「餅乾掉到地上就會碎掉」,用來比喻人生本來就是這麼回事,因此當希望落空或遭遇不幸、不好或不 如意的事情時可別太在意,也不要氣餒或惱怒。美國還有 That's the way the ball bounces. 的說法。

the apple of one'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)

the salt of the earth
We think of ourselves as the salt of the earth. (我們自認是社會中堅)
His father is the salt of the earth. (他父親是個正派的好人)

註:本成語源自《聖經》《馬太福音》(Matthew) 中的 "You are the salt of the earth." (你們是世上的鹽)。
two bites at the cherry/a second bite at the cherry
One is not often given two bites at the cherry in the world of business. (在商界,倘若失去一次機會,很可能就沒有第二次機會了)
He failed the exam last summer, but fortunately he gets two bites at the cherry and will do the re-sit in September. (他今夏的考試沒有過關,但幸運地他獲得了第二次機會,將在九月再考一次)
He's very lucky – he gets a second bite at the cherry in October if he fails the exam in June. (他非常幸運 -- 如果六月的考試沒有過關,他十月還有機會再考一次)

upset the/someone's apple cart (or apple-cart)
(無意間) 破壞計畫或事件;把事情搞砸或搞得一團糟。
Everything was going well at the company until he came along and upset the apple cart.

worth one's salt
He has only been working here for a month but over and over he has proved that he is worth his salt.