Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Love Idioms

all is fair in love and war

all is fair in love and war

Meaning

  • in situations of love and war you do not have to obey rules of reasonable behaviour
  • in love and war, people are not bound by rules of fair play
  • in certain situations, like love or war, you are allowed to be deceitful to fulfill your objectives
  • in highly charged situations, even any method of achieving your goals is acceptable
  • certain situations are so overwhelming that acting in your own selfish interest is justifiable

Example Sentences

  1. In order to go on a date with Elle, Paul tricked her into believing that her boyfriend was seeing another woman. Well, all’s fair in love and war.
  2. When Ray realised that his best friend and he were attracted to the same girl, he made every effort to put him down in front of her. All’s fair in love and war.
  3. He kept asking her out although she had said no several times – all’s fair in love and war.
  4. He did not tell her of his past lest she rejected him – all’s fair in love and war.

Origin
This phrase, in its current form, was first found in the novel “Frank Fairlegh” by Frank E. Smedley in 1850. Very similar phrases with the same meaning are found in the 1620 translation of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote II by Tom Sheldon and the 1845 novel Smuggler II by G.P.R. James. Even prior to that, love has been equated to lawlessness and trickery since 1578-1579.

an item

be an item

Meaning

  • be involved in a romantic relationship
  • a couple having a romantic relationship
  • two people who are lovers

Example Sentences

  1. John and Sally are frequently seen together nowadays. Are they an item?
  2. Andy and Becky met at a club and almost immediately became an item. Last week they decided to get married. Everything happened in a rush for them.
  3. When Dave and Lisa declared that they were an item, everyone was surprised because they did not seem to have anything in common with each other.
  4. I heard that Emma and Harry have finally become an item, is it true? They would really be very good together.
  5. They have been an item for quite some time now. Do they have any plans to get married soon?
  6. When he realised that Lucy and Alex were an item, it broke his heart. He had been attracted to Lucy very much, but had been too shy to approach her.
  7. Isn’t it obvious that Kate and Mark are an item? They are always together and never seen without one another.
  8. Chris and Clara have been an item for the past one year, and last month, they decided to move in together.

Usage Variant:

  • become an item
  • are an item
  • been an item
  • being an item

Origin
The origin of the phrase is not known till now, we have tried to figure out and asked some experts but sadly, nothing is known yet.

labour of love

labour of love

Meaning

  • a task done for the pleasure of doing it, not for gains or rewards
  • hard work done because you enjoy doing it
  • work done for pleasure or for the benefit of someone you love

Example Sentences

  1. Every morning, he dusted, cleaned and wound up the old grandfather clock that he had inherited as a family heirloom. It was truly a labour of love.
  2. After his first book was published, the author said in an interview that he had greatly enjoyed writing it, and that it was a labour of love.
  3. The famous painter gifted his most beautiful painting to his wife, saying that it was a labour of love and was not for sale.
  4. He loved his garden and maintained it with great care. It was a real labour of love and it was a pleasure watching him work in the garden.
  5. It took him years to refurbish his ancestral house and make it liveable again, but in the end he did it and it was true labour of love.
  6. The aquarium he built for his wife was a labour of love, and she loved to sit in front of it and watch the fishes.

Origin
This phrase originated in the Bible and first appears in the King James Version (KJV) also known as the Authorized Version, which is the English translation of the Bible, written from 1604 to 1611.

match made in heaven

match made in heaven

Meaning

  • a combination of two people that is perfect in every way
  • two people so well suited to each other that their marriage is sure to be happy and successful
  • a marriage that is happy and successful because the partners are very compatible
  • two people who are perfect for each other

Example Sentences

  1. Jules and Nora are a match made in heaven. They love doing things together and cannot bear to be away from each other.
  2. I hope Lily and Tim get married soon. They are really a match made in heaven.
  3. My brother and his wife are not only very supportive of each other, but they also have similar interests. They are truly a match made in heaven.
  4. Everyone had thought that Bill and Marge were a match made in heaven; but when they announced their separation last month, everyone was shocked.
  5. Looking back at their thirty years of marriage with fond memories, Greg and Tracy realized that theirs had indeed been a match made in heaven.
  6. At my friend’s wedding, everyone agreed that the couple was a match made in heaven.

Origin
This phrase is based on the belief that divine forces have a hand in making two compatible people meet and pair up. The exact origin is not known.

pop the question

pop the question

Meaning

  • propose marriage to someone
  • to ask your romantic partner to marry you
  • ask someone to marry you

Example Sentences

  1. I heard you had a special date with Tom yesterday; so did he pop the question, then?
  2. Maggie was deeply in love with Stuart, so when he popped the question, she said yes without any further thought.
  3. Jim and Clara had been dating for about two years when he popped the question to her.
  4. He is taking you to the most lavish restaurant in town. Do you think he is going to pop the question?
  5. He popped the question to her in the middle of the sea, when they had gone on a cruise together.
  6. After months of deliberation, he finally mustered the courage to pop the question to her when they went for a movie together.
  7. The setting was perfect, and she waited expectantly for him to pop the question then, but when he didn’t, she was really disappointed.
  8. He had given her enough hints for the past few days, so when he finally popped the question, she was ready with her answer.

Origin
This phrase has been used since 1725, but with other meanings related to asking about something important. The specific sense of proposing marriage has been used since 1826.

double date

double date

Meaning

  • a date on which two couples go together
  • an occasion when two couples go out together
  • a date where two people and their partners go together
  • a social engagement in which two couples participate together

Example Sentences

  1. When Jim and Sam went on a double date with their girlfriends, they had a fun evening together.
  2. Well, now that you are dating my girlfriend’s brother, we can go on a double date sometime; it would really be fun, what do you say?
  3. They had gone on a double date with another couple who were their friends, and had a really good time together.
  4. When they went on a date to the restaurant, they met an old friend who was on a date with his partner, so they joined up and had a double date.
  5. Bill asked two girls at the club whether they would like to go on a double date with him and his friend.
  6. Tom wanted Sally to go on a date with a friend of his, but when she was reluctant, he said that he would also go along with his wife, so it would be a double date.

Origin
The origin of the phrase is not known.

those three little words

those three little words

Meaning

  • the three words “I love you”

Example Sentences

  1. It is obvious that Steve really loves Sarah, but she told me that he has not said those three little words yet.
  2. After a few months of dating, Joe said those three little words to his girlfriend.
  3. Eve and Martin had been dating each other for the past six months, and now she was eagerly anticipating when he would say those three little words.
  4. Dale was really happy when his girlfriend said those three little words to him.
  5. Though Rachel and Thomas have been going around for quite some time, they have not said those three little words to each other yet.
  6. She glowed with pleasure and smiled coyly when he said those three little words to her for the first time.
  7. Have you said those three little words to her yet? If you don’t say them soon, she might be disappointed and think that you are not really interested in her.
  8. For the love-struck couple, it was a moment to cherish when they said those three little words to each other for the first time.

Origin
The origin of this phrase is not known.

walk out on

walk out on

Meaning

  • end a relationship with someone suddenly
  • leave someone with whom you have a romantic relationship
  • to abandon someone
  • leave your spouse and end the relationship with them

Example Sentences

  1. Everyone was shocked when he walked out on his wife of fourteen years and their two beautiful children aged ten and seven.
  2. After having a bitter argument, Jose walked out on Anne without so much as a final goodbye.
  3. Upset over her husband’s drinking habits, she walked out on him, ending their three year old marriage.
  4. Her husband had walked out on her a year ago, but she still clung on to his belongings, hoping that someday he will return to her.
  5. Mary walked out on Roy when she found out that he had been cheating on her right from the beginning of their relationship.
  6. He walked out on her when he realized that she was not serious about their relationship anymore.
  7. He realized that he had made a mistake when he had walked out on her, and knew that he would have to regret his indiscretion for the rest of his life.
  8. You have been together for so long, don’t walk out on him just like that, give your relationship another chance.

Origin
The origin of the phrase is not known.

leave at the altar

leave at the altar

Meaning

  • decide not to marry someone at the very last moment
  • decide not to marry someone just before the wedding

Example Sentences

  1. Judy was devastated when her fiance did not turn up for their wedding and left her at the altar.
  2. A few days before his wedding date, James started feeling extremely nervous and finally decided to leave his girlfriend at the altar.
  3. Your wedding is just a week away, don’t you get cold feet now. You don’t want to leave your partner at the altar, do you?
  4. You realize now, so close to your wedding date, that you still have feelings for your ex? What are going to do about Ron now? Will you leave him at the altar?
  5. After having being left at the altar for the second time, he decided never to think about marriage again.
  6. Sue had been very excited about her best friend’s wedding, but it turned out to be disaster when the groom left her friend at the altar.
  7. Think about whether you are ready for marriage yet. You should not say yes to him now and later leave him at the altar because you were not sure.

Origin
The origin of the phrase is not known.

break up | split up

break up

also split up

Meaning

  • end a romantic relationship with someone
  • end of a marriage or relationship
  • to become separated after being in a marriage or relationship

Example Sentences

  1. After having been married for eight years, their decision to break up came as a huge surprise to their friends.
  2. Tom has finally broken up with the girl he met at the club. Theirs was a relationship that was not meant to last.
  3. She split up with her boyfriend after he kept embarrassing her in front of her friends.
  4. After years of being in a miserable relationship, they finally decided to split up and go their separate ways.
  5. Celebrity break ups and split ups are the toast of the media. In their quest for the latest piece of gossip, they forget that they are dealing with human beings who are going through a difficult time.
  6. The news of their break up followed soon after his wife discovered his adulterous relationships.
  7. They had always come across as a happy and supportive couple; so when they announced that they were splitting up, it came as surprise for many.
  8. He broke up with his partner of three years when he found out that she was dating another man.

Origin
The origin of the phrase is not known.

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