Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

ballpark figure

ballpark figure

Meaning

  • to be near about the exact (usually in amount)
  • an estimate of what the actual figure will be like

Example Sentences

  1. The management was given a ballpark figure at the very beginning of the presentation.
  2. She manages to give her father a ballpark amount that she would need every week.
  3. I have donated this ballpark figure to the children’s aid this morning.
  4. Even a ballpark figure to this number is going to hurt our overall numbers very badly this quarter.
  5. I save a ballpark figure of 20% from my salary every month as something for the rainy day.
  6. Do you know that the making of this building cost a ballpark figure of 1 million US dollars?
  7. I need a ballpark figure that will be required for this project so that the management can make further business and finance decisions.
  8. The ballpark figure has been allocated among all the shareholders, when the company liquidated.

Origin

The origin of this phrase comes from how a commentator would give an estimate of the number of audiences by just looking around. Speculated to have started in America through baseball but it is now a popular way of speaking throughout the world.

rat race

rat race

Meaning

  • to be following a routine that is both, exhaustive as well as competitive
  • to be in a competitive struggle to achieve the basics of life
  • to be competing for power or wealth in a circular manner

Example Sentences

  1. The man has been in a rat race all his life. No wonder he is enjoying his retired life to the fullest.
  2. I am not going to enter this rat race. I may as well do something else.
  3. It is a rat race at my work place. Every person there is looking either for a promotion or to change their job.
  4. This school prepares its students for the rat race from the very beginning.
  5. She is still so young, it is sad to see her being so caught in the rat race.
  6. Marie has struggled for a long time to come out of the rat race for a very long time.
  7. Her education qualification and street smart attitude never let her get caught in the rat race.

Origin

The phrase originates from the rat cages where rats are given a circular path to run on. It is a race which leads the rat nowhere but is full of struggles and exhaustion. This phrase compares the human life and some of the struggles to be as pointless as that one. A person who can come out of it is considered a true winner.

Rat race idiom meaning, phrase rat race origin, example sentences of rat race idiomatic expression, rat race definition and synonym words.

upper hand

upper hand

Meaning

  • to have the authority to make decisions over someone or something
  • to have a dominant position or an unfair advantage

Example Sentences

  1. The man clearly has an upper hand to his wife. It is clearly reflected in the way he speaks with her.
  2. She wanted an upper hand in the business and hence went ahead to buy all the shares that she could find in the market.
  3. The prime minister has an upper hand in the decision making and not the parliament, in such cases.
  4. The upper hand is given to those who take it.

Origin

The phrase is speculated to have originated in America where the baseball team would be decided based on who has his hand on the upper side of the bat when both captains start from the bottom and keep putting their hand above the other. The one with the upper hand would win and get to decide his team.

Another explanation about the origin is from the way a couple holds hands. The one who has an upper hand is considered to be the dominant partner. The literary origin of the phrase comes from Thomas Macaulay’s work titled “History of England” which was published in the year 1848 but there is a record of it being used in a ballad in the 1600’s called “Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard”.


The upper hand phrase

  • Upper hand meaning.
  • Origin and synonyms of upper hand idiom with example sentences.
  • Check upper hand in a sentence with multiple examples.
  • Comprehensive definition of upper hand idiomatic phrase.

stop by

stop by

Meaning

  • to meet someone or go somewhere in a brief and informal manner
  • to be on a very short visit

Example Sentences

  1. The gardener stopped by the nursery to get some soil for his garden.
  2. I wanted to stop by the medical store to get some prescription drugs this afternoon but had already got late for work so I did not.
  3. You should stop by if you are passing through here sometime.
  4. My mother always stops by the children’s hospital to check if they need something that she can help with.
  5. She is a good friend and stops by at my place quite regularly.
  6. I have no time to stop by today, perhaps we can catch up tomorrow?
  7. Can you stop by the garage and check how the work on my car is coming along?
  8. I could stop by at your mother’s place if you want me to.
  9. She never even stopped by, how can you claim that she likes you?

Origin

The custom of stopping by is a new world phenomenon because people do not have time for more than a brief visit. The origin of the phrase is speculated to be from the 18th century though.


  • Stop by meaning
  • Stop by example sentences
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  • Definition of stop by

must have

must have

Meaning

  • to be done in a compulsory manner
  • to compulsorily have (something)
  • something that is an essential item (though not necessarily for living)
  • a desirable item

Example Sentences

  1. The must haves this season include a tunic and a head scarf.
  2. I must have the document on my desk by noon, no later.
  3. She must have something to say to him otherwise why would she look so restless and uncomfortable in his presence?
  4. She gets these pregnancy cravings and has been saying that she must have some ice cream right now.
  5. My children must have a bicycle each.
  6. It was made very clear to the salesman that we must have all the accessories with the car.
  7. If she must have a small wedding then you should let her do it her way, don’t be such controlling parents.
  8. I must have something to eat right now or I might faint.
  9. Do you know about the must have collection by Louis Vuitton?
  10. The paintings by this artist are a must have for any good collection to be complete.

Origin

The phrase is usually used as a fashion advice and is speculated to have originated from the same genre.

come across

come across

Meaning

  • to meet someone
  • to find something
  • it is used to express something that has come up by chance and was not a planned event or meeting

Example Sentences

  1. The men had never come across a failure and hence did not know how to deal with it.
  2. I came across this very wise man who told me more about myself than anyone knew about.
  3. She wants to come across as this very confident young woman but then doesn’t that come from within?
  4. Can you come across to my desk to talk this out please?
  5. I am coming across such an issue after a very long time. Let me relook at what solution was used the last time it had happened.
  6. Have you come across such arrogant behaviour ever in your life?
  7. My mother came across this ancient recipe from my grandmother’s things and decided to give it a go. It was absolutely delicious.
  8. She should have come across his affair much sooner.
  9. Coming across such an important decision in life makes me feel closer to my friends and family.
  10. Have you come across such a problem before?

Origin

The origin of the phrase is speculated to be from the 12th century UK English.

way around

way around

Meaning

  • to find an alternative for something, someone or to perform a task
  • to find a solution
  • another way to do something

Example Sentences

  1. The way around such a problem would mean that we lose another 6 months in the completion of this project.
  2. I don’t see any way around this issue.
  3. The only way around this is that we get married without their blessings. They are our parents and will forgive us one day.
  4. Can you see a way around the muddy garden?
  5. The way around the place took me longer but it was a safer route.
  6. My sister would always find her way around my parents but I could never do it with the same ease.
  7. The chopper helps with all the chopping in the kitchen these days. It is a fabulous way around to using big knives.
  8. Do you know the way around these instructions? I am not sure I can read so many pages.
  9. I have come to accept that there is no way around walking over this swamp.

Origin

The phrase comes from regular parlance and is popular in both, UK as well as US English. The origin of the phrase is believed to be from the UK though.

just in case

just in case

Meaning

  • to do something as a precautionary measure
  • to engage in something that is meant as an alternative in case the original does not work

Example Sentences

  1. The cake was ordered just in case the desert that she made did not turn up well.
  2. He called the doctor just in case he was still in the clinic.
  3. I know that you wanted to know just in case the bike was available but you have to realize that you cannot afford it.
  4. My father came all the way to see me in college just in case I needed something and did not ask it from him.
  5. Mother would always make some extra food everyday just in case a guest was to arrive.
  6. The birds flew away and the deer ran away. Just in case you don’t know, these are the signs that a predator is around somewhere.
  7. Do you know that he arranged for the funds just in case you decided to go ahead with the plan?
  8. My boss hired an extra person in the team just in case the client agrees to give us more work.

Origin

The phrase is believed to have been around since the 17th century.

race against time

race against time

Meaning

  • effort to do something as soon as possible
  • to be in a situation where the time is short and the task pending is not
  • to be running out of time, quickly
  • process of doing something before given time

Example Sentences

  1. The completion of this project was honestly a race against time. The client needed to have filed the documents in the court by today at any cost.
  2. Can you not make this sound like a race against time? Let her take it slowly please?
  3. My mother is racing against time right now. Please be by my side because I will need you around.
  4. Uncle Ben has been racing against time ever since he has found out about the terminal illness.
  5. The exam paper was a race against time and I won!
  6. He was speeding home as if it was a race against time.
  7. You cannot really race against time now, can you?
  8. The man raced against time to get his daughter to the hospital when she had that horrid accident.
  9. Although it was a race against the clock, I am happy to announce that our team has met the target set by the client.

Origin

The phrase is speculated to have originated in the old American English but there is no literary proof to support this claim.

Synonym

baker’s dozen

baker’s dozen

Meaning

  •  not 12 in numbers but 13
  • a group or set of thirteen
  • usually 13 and rarely 14

Example Sentences

  1. The fellow gave me a baker’s dozen of cookies. It made my children very happy.
  2. I always carry a baker’s dozen chocolates in my purse.
  3. I needed only 10 cars and my car dealer friend arrange me baker’s dozen of cars.
  4. I had demanded about 15 numbers of drinking water bottle for that long journey. But shopkeeper had only a dozen and I asked him to arrange baker’s dozen at least.

Origin

The phrase’s literary origin dates back to 1599 when John Cooke used it in his work called “Tu Quoque”. But the actual practice of English baker’s adding an extra loaf of bread when they sold 12 breads dates back to much earlier. In 1154, when Henry II was in power, he had introduced a trade guide within which the statute managing bakers was called “The Worshipful Company of Bakers”. Bakers were to price the bread in line with the price of wheat. The punishment for the weight falling short included fining, pillorying or flogging. The rule was about the weight of the bread and not the number and hence whenever bakers old a dozen they would warily add an identical extra loaf, for good measure. This was done so that the total weight of the purchase would not be short. The additional bread became customary and would be called “vantage loaf” or “in-bread”. The Worshipful Company is in existence to this day and they offer an extra piece of in-bread with every loaf that they sell.

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