Idioms and Phrases

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with D

do the trick

do the trick

Meaning:

  • successfully achieve a result
  • do just what is required
  • get the preferred consequence

Examples:

  1. If nothing seems to be working, just pray to the God, sometimes that does the trick.
  2. I am sure that herbal medicines will does the trick to cure your back-pain.
  3. If the lemonade tastes a bit sour, add a teaspoon of sugar that should do the trick.
  4. I am not getting network range on my mobile phone, getting on the top floor should do the trick.
  5. I am tired of running behind girls to find true love, please tell me something that do the trick.

Origin:
1375–1425; late Middle English trik (noun).

deals with

deals with someone or something

Meaning:

  • be concerned with something
  • to take action about something
  • to handle someone or something

Examples:

  1. We will have to plan our strategy to deal with the rising incident of theft.
  2. Don’t afraid of this project, this is very easy and we can deal with it.
  3. I don’t think I would be able to deal with Jones, he is very arrogant person.
  4. My brother usually deals with the people of Japan for business purposes.
  5. I am not going to deal with the property advisor; I will directly go to the owner of the house, to purchase that

Origin:
before 900; (v.) Middle English delen, Old English dǣlan (cognate with German teilen ), derivative of dǣl part (cognate with German teil).

dribs and drabs

in dribs and drabs

Meaning:

  • in small irregular quantities
  • in small pieces, bit by bit

Examples:

  1. The checks for the charity are coming in dribs and drabs.
  2. The water is coming in dribs and drabs from the pipe.
  3. This poetry is being written in dribs and drabs.
  4. George paid the borrowed money from me in dribs and drabs.
  5. He started earning money in dribs and drabs but now he is a successful businessman.
  6. I don’t like the way you do your work in dribs and drabs, please finish it immediately.

Origin:
We currently have no information about the origin of this idiomatic expression.

drop a bombshell

drop a bombshell or drop a bomb

Meaning:

  • make an unexpected, startling or disturbing announcement
  • reveal surprising information or news

Examples:

  1. My sister dropped a bombshell by announcing she was discontinuing her study for a job.
  2. Ruth dropped a bombshell when she told us she is pregnant.
  3. I do not have the courage to drop that kind of bombshell on my family.
  4. The boss dropped a bombshell, saying my leave application was rejected by the director.
  5. The Australian Cricket Board dropped a bombshell when they announced that they won’t go to play the series in Pakistan this year.
  6. Jane dropped a bombshell when she said she was leaving.

Origin:
This expression, which alludes to the destruction caused by a falling bomb, dates from World War I.

double whammy

double whammy

Meaning:

  • situation where two bad things happen at the same time
  • double blow or setback.

Examples:

  1. Boss fired me from the job and I lost my wallet too, what a double whammy?
  2. It is a double whammy for Lara; she lost his son and husband in terrible road accident.
  3. Media claims the cut in public spending coupled with a pay freeze is a double whammy for low-paid workers.
  4. With the heat-wave and the electricity breakdown problems, Indians were hit with a double whammy this summer.
  5. Indian public have faced the double whammy of rising rupees and falling incomes.
  6. A double whammy when the house was burned along with the safe locker contained money.

Origin:
1940s

dead end

dead end

Meaning:

  • a street, corridor, road, pipe etc., that has no exit
  • a position or job with no hope of progress; blind alley
  • the situation or project with no prospects of improvements

Examples:

  1. The interlocutors have reached a dead end in their efforts to discover a peaceful solution to the imbroglio.
  2. In spite of the scientist’s efforts the research leads to a dead end.
  3. This narrow passage dead-ends at the park.
  4. Burger shop is at the border of village on a dead end street.

Usage:

  • a dead end
  • hit a dead end
  • lead to a dead end
  • reach a dead end
  • dead end job

Origin:
1885–90

deja vu

déjà vu

Meaning:

  • already seen (Literal meaning in French)
  • a feeling that one has already experienced something that is happening currently
  • psychology the false impression of having already experienced something in real being experienced for the first time.

Examples:

  1. She suddenly had a strong sense of déjà vu.
  2. When I entered the church, I had a strange sense of déjà vu.
  3. When I saw the image, I had a strange feeling of déjà vu.
  4. After the marriage ceremony, when I took first drink, I had strange feeling of déjà vu.

Origin:
Déjà vu, from French, literally “already seen”, is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not.

doldrums

be in the doldrums

Meaning:

  • be inactive
  • very quiet or dull
  • in a low or lethargic state
  • sluggish, in low spirits

Examples:

  1. A cut in interest rates on housing loans can lift the property market out of the doldrums.
  2. When the financial system of the country is in the doldrums, my business feels the effects.
  3. My dog has been in the doldrums these past couple of days and nothing I do seems to cheer him up.
  4. My horse is in the doldrums, I cannot take part in horse racing this week.
  5. Don’t be in the doldrums, get up and let’s find some way to get out of here.

Origin:
This expression alludes to the maritime doldrums, a belt of calms and light winds north of the equator in which sailing ships were often becalmed. This idiom possibly first used to mean ‘a general state of low spirits’ in the early 19th century; for example, this piece from The Morning Herald, April 1811:

I am now in the doldrums; but when I get better, I will send [for] you.

dab hand

a dab hand at

Meaning and Synonyms:
- expert
- adept at
- one skillful at
- a person who is an expert at a particular activity
- someone specially skilled at a task

Usage:
The noun phrase a dab hand, is usually followed by at.

Examples:
1. My friend was too weak in all computer studies, but now he’s become a dab hand at Internet and Software.
2. Try one spoon of this pasta and you’ll agree she is a dab hand at making great Italian foods.
3. George is a dab hand at tennis, he always in this game.
4. Barbara is a dab hand at chopping onions fast and without tears.
5. For our new car garage, we are required a experienced mechanic who is a dab hand at engine repairing.
6. My 4 years old son is amazingly a dab hand at using mobile phones.
7. If you want to be a dab hand at chess you need to work hard.
8. Practice makes it perfect, keep practicing, you will be a dab hand at playing guitars one day.
9. I am a dab hand in touch typing on computer keyboard and typewriters more than you do on mobile phones to send texts.

Origin:
Great Britain, [1950-60s]

Dab hand apparently originated as Yorkshire dialect pre-1800, but didn’t become widely used in Britain until the 1950s, according to a Google Ngram. Following a familiar pattern, it peaked in Britain in about 1990, while U.S. use continues to rapidly increase (though it’s still used less than half as often here as there).

The first recorded use of dab by itself in a related sense is in the Athenian Mercury of 1691. It’s also in the Dictionary of the Canting Crew of 1698-99: a dab there is “an exquisite expert” in some form of roguery.

Dab Synonyms:
- daub, wipe, touch lightly, pat, small amount, bit, blob.

Hand Synonyms:
- give, hand over, pass, offer, tender, supply, furnish, dispense.

dirt cheap

dirt cheap

Meaning:
- very cheap
- almost free
- at an extremely low cost
- quite inexpensive

Examples:
1. Its quite a useful book, but luckily I could buy it dirt cheap at a junk shop.
2. Take few more of those water colors for painting they’re dirt cheap.
3. In United Kingdom, the carrots are dirt cheap.
4. Outsourcing sounds a great deal to earn money here in India, but for the people of western world it is dirt cheap.
5. The SUV truck required a huge mechanical job work, but still it was dirt-cheap.
6. I bought this welding machine dirt cheap but not working the way I want, a bad idea.
7. Don’t buy these dirt cheap electronic equipment, they are useless.

Origin:
1815–25, America.
Although the idea dates back to ancient times, the precise expression, literally meaning “as cheap as dirt,” replaced the now obsolete dog cheap. [Early 1800s]

Dirt Synonyms:
grime, filth, mud, dust, muck, soil, earth, clay.

Cheap Synonyms:
inexpensive, contemptible, despicable, low priced, economical, discounted, not expensive, shameful.

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