Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with H

haste makes waste

haste makes waste

Meaning

  • if you do things too quickly, you can make mistakes
  • hurrying will result in poor endings
  • you will make mistakes if you are too hasty
  • rushing through things causes errors, resulting in time, efforts, resources, etc being wasted
  • doing things too quickly will result in bad finishing

Example Sentences

  1. Try not to rush through things, even though you are in a hurry. After all, haste makes waste.
  2. You need to check these files carefully. Do not try to finish them too quickly – remember, haste makes waste.
  3. If you try to finish off your work in a hurry, you might end up making a lot of mistakes and then you would have to redo it. Haste makes waste, you know.
  4. I’d rather miss the deadline and submit a good report than rush through it and make one full of errors. After all, haste makes waste.
  5. Be careful while checking the papers. Haste makes waste, so check them thoroughly before submitting them.

Origin
The idea that haste is counterproductive is an ancient one and can be found in the Book of Wisdom in 190 BC. This exact phrase, however, occurs much later and the first recorded instance is in 1575. It is also found in John Ray’s 1678 proverb collection.

hard cheese

hard cheese

also tough cheese

Meaning

  • bad luck, tough luck
  • a difficult, unpleasant or adverse situation
  • said to indicate lack of sympathy for someone’s adverse situation

Example Sentences

  1. The construction workers have a tough time out there, working continuously in the sweltering heat. It’s really hard cheese for them.
  2. He’s complaining because he has to read and correct all the documents manually, is he? Well, hard cheese; he’ll have to keep doing that. That’s what he is paid for.
  3. If you do  not like the food served at the mess, hard cheese. That’s the only food you are going to get out there.
  4. He keeps failing in the qualifying rounds, doesn’t he? Well, hard cheese, but he will have to work harder if he wants to progress further.
  5. It’s hard cheese for the employees of that company. The haven’t been paid their salary for months, the company is on the verge of shutting down, and no one else wants to take them.

Origin
This phrase is of British origin and was used since the early 19th century. The literal meaning of hard cheese refers to old, stale and indigestible cheese, which is obviously unpleasant. So the idiomatic expression derives from this as an allusion to undesirable events. The expression is not very popular now.

have eyes only for

have eyes only for

also only have eyes for

Meaning

  • be attracted to someone exclusively
  • be romantically interested or loyal to one person
  • desire someone
  • want no one else but one person

Example Sentences

  1. Jane was a very popular girl in her college and was surrounded by admirers, but she had eyes only for Steve.
  2. They are a very romantic couple. They have eyes only for each other and are always seen together.
  3. I don’t think Maggie has any reason to be jealous. Though Mark may be friends with other girls, he has eyes only for her.
  4. Don’t waste time trying to date him. He only has eyes for the girl he met at a club sometime back.
  5. He may not be very expressive, but I know that he has eyes only for you. Give him a chance and I think he’ll be ideal for you.
  6. I think they are back together. They didn’t speak to others much at the party and only had eyes for each other.
  7. He had eyes only for her, but didn’t have the courage to tell her as he was very shy and she was a very popular girl.
  8. She has eyes only for him and would never dream of dating anyone else.

Origin
This phrase has been used since the early 1800s.

head over heels

head over heels

also head over heels in love / fall head over heels for someone

Meaning

  • fall deeply and completely in love, especially suddenly
  • madly in love
  • be very much in love with someone

Example Sentences

  1. Tom and Mary are head over heels in love with each other and are going to get married next month.
  2. He met her through a dating website and fell head over heels for her.
  3. She fell head over heels in love with her tennis coach and they have decided to get married soon.
  4. A new receptionist was hired at the workplace and my friend fell head over heels for her. She was very attractive and had a great sense of humour.
  5. She and her husband make an amazing couple. They are head over heels in love and are very supportive of each other.
  6. Susan and Jeff used to work together and spent a lot of time with each other. It was a matter of time before they fell head over heels in love.

Origin
This phrase has reference to people actually falling. The inverted form of this phrase “heels over head” was used to describe a bad fall. The idiom changed to “head over heels” around the late 1700s and came to be associated with falling in love.

have a soft spot

have a soft spot for someone

Meaning

  • like someone a lot
  • feel a lot of affection for someone
  • a strong liking for someone
  • be emotionally vulnerable about someone
  • have special feelings for someone

Example Sentences

  1. My brother used to have a soft sport for a girl in his class. He found something about her very appealing and always wanted to be with her.
  2. Though my uncle is always bungling and goofing things up, I have a soft spot for him; he has a big heart and means well.
  3. She was a very bright student and most teachers in her school had a soft spot for her.
  4. She had a soft spot for the boy next door – she found him cute and adorable and always ran off to help him out.
  5. Though he denied being in love with her, it was evident that he had a soft spot for her – he could never see her unhappy and was always caring for her.
  6. She had a soft spot for her youngest brother and was always fighting for him, even if it was his fault.

Origin
The phrase has been used since the mid 1800s. Apart from conveying emotions of affection, “soft spot” is also used to denote weak points that can be exploited.

have the hots for

have the hots for someone

Meaning

  • be very sexually attracted to someone
  • desire someone sexually
  • be sexually aroused by someone
  • think someone to be sexually attractive

Example Sentences

  1. My friend has the hots for the new girl who has recently joined his team.
  2. She has the hots for her gym instructor – she loves his bulging muscles and finds him very appealing.
  3. The way he is looking at the girl in the little black dress, I think he has the hots for her.
  4. The swimming coach has the hots for one of the girls he coaches. Whenever she’s in the pool, he never looks anywhere else.
  5. He has the hots for the yoga teacher who lives down the neighbourhood. He has signed up for her classes just so that he can look at her doing yoga.
  6. He used to be a footballer in high school and most of the girls had the hots for him; but he was very shy and never gave them any encouragement.
  7. I think that girl has the hots for my friend, she keeps looking for opportunities to be with him.
  8. I know you have the hots for her, but be careful, she has the reputation of dumping guys every few months.

Origin
The origin of this phrase is not known.

hissy fit

throw a hissy fit

Meaning

  • To throw a tantrum.
  • An outburst.
  • A temperamental explosion.
  • To show that one is disturbed and angry.

Example Sentences

  1. A hissy fit is not justified just to get someone to listen to you. You have to be more mature than that.
  2. She needs to discipline her children, they can’t just throw a hissy fit every time they cross the ice cream parlour.
  3. I threw a hissy fit when I learned that he is not going to come for the event even after promising to do so.
  4. No one should be allowed to throw hissy fits for such trivial things.
  5. The reason does not matter when you embarrass me in pubic by throwing hissy fits.
  6. The media these days have no real news to report so paparazzi follow celebrities around until they throw a hissy fit at them.

Origin
The origination of the phrase is speculated to be either from the term hysterical or the spluttering and hissing sound that an outburst causes. The literary origin comes from the 1934 US based publication titled ‘American Speech’ which explained the concept. The best and most popular usage is to describe the tantrums that celebrities throw which is speculated to have been first used by the Daily Mirror in 2004 towards the celebrity Sir Elton John.

having a crush

having a crush on

Meaning

  • infatuated with someone
  • have strong feelings of love for someone
  • have romantic feelings for a person, usually for a short time and with no results
  • a brief but intense feeling of love for someone

Example Sentences

  1. I think Steve has a crush on our new English teacher; he always looks forward to her classes and even goes to ask questions after classes, though he actually doesn’t need to.
  2. When I was young, I had a big crush on one of the top actresses of our times; I even had posters of her all over my room.
  3. Teenagers usually have a crush on famous personalities – film stars, celebrities, sportspersons – as they grow older, they outgrow these fantasies.
  4. Elvis Presley was a huge star of his time, he was so popular that a whole generation of young women had a huge crush on him.
  5. My niece told me that she has a crush on the new boy in her class – she found her very cute and attractive.
  6. After being spurned twice, Sally said she would never have a crush on anyone again.
  7. My sister thinks she has a crush on my best friend.
  8. Joe is the athletics champion of our school, and and many girls have a crush on him.

Origin
The origin of the idiom is not known.

harp on

harp on

Meaning

  • To speak in a boring tone.
  • To speak continuously about something that is not interesting.
  • To emphasize on something that it puts other people off.

Example Sentences

  1. He kept harping on about something. I had stopped paying attention a long while back.
  2. My history teacher gets too carried away even when talking personally. He has a habit of harping on and on.
  3. Her daughter kept harping on about buying that toy but she did not budge.
  4. I don’t like people that harp on about the past, it is better to live in the present.
  5. He harped on money so much and look at him now, left with absolutely nothing.
  6. He needs to understand that his daughters are now teenagers. He can’t just harp on about rules now.

Origin
The phrase has been around since the 1600’s. A harp is a musical instrument which is so soothing that can put people to sleep. The origination is speculated to be from this point about something being able to put someone off to sleep. It later changed into being boring and hence putting people off.

The phrase was used in ‘Hamlet’ by Shakespeare in the year 1602.

happy as a clam

as happy as a clam

Meaning

  • To be very happy.
  • Someone who is content and which shows on him.

Example Senteces

  1. Although the job does not pay very well, she is as happy as a clam there.
  2. The students were as happy as clams when they heard that the teacher is not going to be coming in that day.
  3. He always does his work on time, no wonder his boss is as happy as a clam.

Origin
Open clams often give a picture of a smile. Hence the origin is speculated to be from an open clam rather than a closed one. The phrase, however, had an addition to it which has been trimmed over the years. The full text read, ‘as happy as a clam at high water’. It originated in the United States, speculated around the beginning of the 19th century.  It has been used exactly as it is seen today in 1833’s ‘The Harpe’s Head – A Legend of Kentucky’. In 1848, John Russell Bartlett used it in his ‘Dictionary Of Americanisms – A Glossary of Words And Phrases Usually Regarded As Peculiar To The United States’. The phrase has been popular ever since and especially used more by the people at the coast of New England.

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