Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with F

foam at the mouth

foam at the mouth

Meaning

  • be extremely angry
  • be enraged and show it
  • show uncontrollable anger
  • display furious rage

Example Sentences

  1. She was foaming at the mouth when she heard of her child’s misdeeds.
  2. He was foaming at the mouth when he realized that important papers had been stolen from his office.
  3. The boss was foaming at the mouth when the team could not deliver the work on time.
  4. He was foaming at the mouth when he heard about the cost of repairing the damage.
  5. She was foaming at the mouth when she heard that the decision had gone against her.
  6. He stood at his door, foaming at the mouth, showering expletives at the miscreants who had damaged his lawn.
  7. When he found out about the robbery, he was foaming at the mouth with uncontrollable rage.
  8. The boy was foaming at the mouth, throwing things around and destroying whatever came in his way.

Origin
The phrase has a literal origin. Dogs and other animals affected by rabies foam at the mouth while in stupor, which looks like they are in anger. This phenomenon can affect humans also. The earliest usage can be traced to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in 1601.

flip the bird

flip the bird

Meaning

  • show someone the middle finger as an act of contempt or anger
  • a rude and impolite gesture of showing someone the middle finger
  • stick out the middle finger at someone in an obscene gesture

Example Sentences

  1. When he could not get the man to agree with him, he flipped him the bird and went off cursing.
  2. Fed up of his boss constantly shouting at him and criticizing him, he flipped him the bird and quit.
  3. When the police signaled him to stop, he flipped him the bird and sped off.
  4. He flipped him the bird and went away in a huff when he would not listen to him.
  5. I accidentally dropped his stuff from his table, and he flipped me the bird.
  6. If he tries to start a slanging match with me , I’ll flip him the bird.

Origin
The expression originated in the mid 1900s. The earliest record found is from 1967 in Broadside (Volume 6, Issues 17-26). The gesture itself, however, is an ancient one and can be found as far back as 423 BC in Greek texts. Even then it is used as a rude and obscene gesture. It is likely that the gesture has been used since prehistory.

flash in the pan

flash in the pan

Meaning

  • something that is promising in the beginning but fizzles out later
  • something that shows potential initially, but fails to deliver in the end
  • a sudden but brief success which is not repeated
  • something that happens for a short time and is not repeated
  • a showy beginning followed by a disappointing failure

Example Sentences

  1. His initial good performances were a mere flash in the pan. Nowadays, he delivers only mediocre work.
  2. The success of his second book turned out to be a flash in the pan. All his other books have been junked by all and termed as trash.
  3. This new wave of entrepreneurship is not just a flash in the pan. More and more people are quitting their day jobs in order to start their own ventures.
  4. He showed great promise during his first few games, but it turned out to be a flash in the pan.
  5. The invention turned out to be a flash in the pan and is no longer in demand.

Origin
The phrase originates from flintlock muskets, which had a small pan to hold a charge of gunpowder. This charge was used to ignite the main charge when the musket was fired. When an attempt to fire the musket resulted in the gunpowder flaring up without the bullet being fired, it was called a flash in the pan.

field day

field day

Meaning

  • have a great time doing something enjoyable
  • a day of excitement
  • an opportunity to do something you enjoy doing
  • a great deal to do, especially at someone else’s expense

Example Sentences

  1. The children had a field day when they were taken on a trip to the museum.
  2. Our boss did not turn up today, so we had a field day at office. None of us did any work.
  3. The media had a field day when the news of the minister’s illicit affair was leaked.
  4. The team building trip was a great success. We had a field day playing games, singing, dancing and enjoying ourselves.
  5. The press had a field day when rumours broke out that the celebrity couple were getting separated.
  6. With no one to supervise them, the kids had a field day, running all over the house, breaking things and generally creating a huge mess.

Origin
The phrase originates from the military. It was used in the literal sense, for a day spent in the field, doing manoeuvers and drills, and the first reference is found in 1747, in Scheme Equip. Men of War. Over the years, it began to be used with reference to other events as well, and by the 20th century, the current meaning was well in use.

fancy free

fancy free

Meaning

  • something or someone who has no commitments or ties
  • to do something as you please.
  • having no social responsibilities.

Example Sentences

  1. Until the time his father was around to take care of him he was footloose and fancy free. Now things are very different.
  2. The teacher in this class lets no student be fancy free. She has a schedule for the entire year made already and follows it very strictly.
  3. I was fancy free until the time I got married.
  4. It must be nice to have a fancy free I have had no such luck so far.
  5. You can’t run fancy free when you have to take care of a business.
  6. Our parents never let us be fancy free. We were always given responsibilities even if they were small in nature.
  7. You are a professional, you can’t run fancy free and take a vacation since you have clients to respond to.
  8. Kids are meant to be fancy free, mine are no exceptions.

Origin
Shakespeare used this phrase in his work ‘Midsummer nights dream’ in the year 1598. In the 1900’s the phrase is extended and read as ‘footloose and fancy free’.

fall for

fall for someone

Meaning

  • to be attracted romantically to a person
  • to fall in love with someone
  • be attracted to someone and start to love them
  • feel love for someone

Example Sentences

  1. I think Charlie has fallen for Jenny. He is always trying to find reasons to be with her.
  2. She and her husband had fallen for each other the first time they had met – at a singing competition in their neighbourhood.
  3. I don’t like it that she has fallen for that man. He has a reputation of being a womanizer and would never think twice about cheating on a partner.
  4. I think Sally would only fall for a man who is as passionate about music as she is – anyone less would not do.
  5. They met at a friend’s wedding party and fell for each other almost immediately.
  6. I know he has fallen for that girl, but I don’t think she would be much interested in him – she likes men with intellect and he is not up to the mark.
  7. It all happened in a hurry – they met, fell for each other and got married all in a month’s time.
  8. After coming out of a bad relationship, he’s now fallen for another woman; I hope this one goes better.

Origin
The origin of the phrase is not known.

fall in love

fall in love

Meaning

  • to be very attracted to someone
  • to start to love someone
  • to become enamoured of each other
  • start to feel love for someone or something

Example Sentences

  1. My brother and his fiancee fell in love when they went for a camping trip together with a group of friends.
  2. They started off as co-workers for the same organisation, but over the time, fell in love and have now decided to get married.
  3. They had fallen in love when they were in school and are still going strong.
  4. Falling in love is not something you have control over, it will just happen sometime and you will realize it later.
  5. When people fall in love, they want it to last forever, but sometimes it’s not the case.
  6. They had fallen madly in love with each other and were inseparable.
  7. He had fallen in love with her, but when he was spurned, he tried to get over it instead of being miserable.
  8. She fell in love with the red dress as soon as she saw it.

Origin
The phrase is an old one, but the exact time of origin is not known. The word fall is used in the expression to convey the sense that starting to love someone is something unexpected and unplanned, just as falling is unexpected and unplanned. It is also used to convey attraction to objects.

filthy rich

filthy rich

Meaning

  • Someone who is rich beyond measure.
  • Often refers to someone who has become rich by using unfair means.

Example Sentences

  1. His father is filthy rich so obviously he is not worried about choosing the right university. He can get admission in any of them that he chooses.
  2. Everyone is not able to get filthy rich like you, some people have to work hard for even mediocre success.
  3. To be filthy rich means that you can choose and buy whatever you want, window shopping is for the less fortunate.

Origin
The word lucre, in and around the 1400’s meant money or riches, but pointed to it negatively. The filthy part in this expression points out to something that has been done unduly. At the time foul or filthy lucre were popular which eventually changed to ‘filthy rich’.

In 1526, William Tindale used it in his work. In the 1900’s the phrase came back and became more popular than it was originally. In 1929, an Ohio newspaper used the phrase to show the get rich quick attitudes that prevailed back then. Filthy rich is no longer used in just a negative way, it could be referring to the magnitude of richness too.

flesh and blood

flesh and blood

Meaning

  • This phrase refers to direct family members, people that share a DNA, that is, flesh and blood.
  • It is also used to referring to all of mankind.
  • Literally, it refers to what human beings are made of. In using flesh and blood is used for humans only and not other beings even though they are made of the same things too.
  • Could be used as a literal meaning too.

Example Sentences

  1. Of course I care about her well-being, my sister is my flesh and blood after all.
  2. They are siblings and have a right to beat each other up silly. What is the point of being each other’s flesh and blood otherwise?
  3. The movie is quite gruesome and has a lot of flesh and blood. It is not for my appetite.
  4. Nobody would have the heart to harm their own flesh and blood.
  5. I know people who do not help their own flesh and blood. To expect that we will get help is futile.
  6. In such a terrible tragedy, flesh and blood was all over the streets.

Origin
The phrase has been used as a general indication to mankind in an old English translation of the Holy Bible. King James’ version then gives the exact quote.

fish for a compliment

fish for a compliment

Meaning

  • It refers to an attempt to make someone say something nice to you or about you.
  • It implies being even manipulative to get a compliment on the work that has been done by a person on their face.

Example Sentences

  1. When the student said that he was still not confident of the subject after a score of 80 on 100 in the test, the teacher knew that he was only fishing for a compliment.
  2. I often feel that my husband could be more appreciative of how I look. I would not have to fish for compliments if he does it all by himself.
  3. My daughter loves to fish for compliments when she manages to do her homework all by herself.
  4. Fishing for compliments is not so bad when you know you have done well but your boss is just not appreciative.
  5. I’d love to fish for compliments but it is better to let my work speak for me.
  6. That guy is a thorough professional, I have never seen him fish for compliments.
  7. A lady should not have to fish for compliments, gentlemen ought to be pouring them in by themselves.

Origin
The origin of this phrase is unavailable.

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