Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with O

out on the town

out on the town

Meaning

  • go out and enjoy yourself at one or more places in the town
  • go out for entertainment or celebration
  • go to pubs, bars, restaurants or nightclubs to enjoy yourself

Example Sentences

  1. All of us slept till late afternoon after we had a night out on the town and returned after dawn.
  2. She has gone out on the town with her friends to celebrate getting selected for the job she always wanted.
  3. After having beaten the opposition comfortably, the players went out on the town to celebrate their win.
  4. We have had a crazy week at work. Let’s go out on the town and enjoy ourselves to beat the stress.
  5. When our old friend came to visit us after a long time, we went out on the town and had a great time together.
  6. Once they had won the competition, they all went out on the town to celebrate their success.

Origin

The origin of the phrase is unclear. It might have originated in the early 1700s in other forms, but was not very popular. It gained popularity in the mid 1900s, after a stage show called “Out On The Town” was performed in 1944 and a film by the same name came out in 1949.

on the same page

on the same page

Meaning

  • everyone in agreement
  • multiple people having the same understanding
  • having the same information or knowledge
  • thinking in the same way

Example Sentences

  1. Before we begin with the discussion, I want to make sure that all of us are on the same page.
  2. Let us discuss this internally first so that we are on the same page before we speak to the customer.
  3. I don’t think we are on the same page regarding this. I will explain to you exactly what I think, please listen to me carefully.
  4. The confusion arose because they were not on the same page. He was talking of one thing and was referring to something else.
  5. Since you were not present yesterday, I’ll quickly update you about what happened so that we are on the same page.

Origin

The origin of the phrase is unclear. It is sometimes attributed to singing in a choir, where all the singers had to be on the same page. It is also possible to have originated in classes and meetings, where everyone had to be reading the same page to understand what was being discussed. The first written reference in this exact form is from 1979, but the phrase probably existed before that too.

on pins and needles

on pins and needles

Meaning

  • being anxious or nervous
  • agitated, or in suspense
  • in a worried or excited state
  • to be tense
  • waiting nervously for something

Example Sentences

  1. We have been on pins and needles since we got the news that she had been stranded in the hills amidst a landslide.
  2. He has been on pins and needles all day today, waiting for a call from the company he had applied to for a job.
  3. Make sure that you inform me once you reach; I’ll be on pins and needles until I hear from you.
  4. When his wife went into labour and was shifted to the delivery room, he became very anxious and seemed to be on pins and needles.
  5. My brother has been on pins and needles since yesterday as his exam results are scheduled to be declared today.
  6. She has been on pins and needles since her son went out on his first camping trip with friends.
  7. Following reports of gunfire and casualties near his wife’s workplace, he was on pins and needles until she called him to say she was safe.

Origin

The phrase originated in the early 1800s, and refers to the sharp, tingling and uncomfortable sensation experienced when recovering from numbness.

off the record

off the record

Meaning

  • an informal or unofficial statement
  • comments or statements made in confidence and not to be published or recorded
  • a statement not to be attributed to the one who made it
  • not to be known publicly

Example Sentences

  1. I will give you the information regarding what really happened, but strictly off the record.
  2. He candidates comments were meant to be off the record, but the press reported it and it created a huge controversy.
  3. The actress’s off the record comments about her co star’s appearance were leaked to the media causing much embarrassment to both of them.
  4. She made it clear that her statement was off the record and could not be published anywhere or attributed to her.
  5. Off the record, he let me on to the secret strategy that his company was using to hook customers to their products.
  6. The conversation between the security advisers of the two agencies was completely secret and off the record, and it was to be reported that they never met.
  7. After the interview, the sportsman gave the reporters some off the record snippets of what went on in the locker room.
  8. “This is off the record right now, but we might announce a large bonus this year,” the manager said, much to the cheer of his employees.

Origin

The phrase originated around the 1930s.

off the hook

off the hook

Meaning

  • free of a difficult situation
  • let off from blame or trouble
  • no longer have to deal with unpleasant circumstances
  • escape or released from a tough situation

Example Sentences

  1. Since it was his first offence, and a minor one at that, he was let off the hook with just a warning.
  2. He was charged with leaking confidential information, but I got him off the hook by vouching for his integrity.
  3. The legal system had become so corrupt that the hardened criminal was repeatedly got off the hook by the powers who were behind him.
  4. All evidence of the robbery pointed to him, but he got himself off the hook by somehow proving that he was out of town during the incident.
  5. Charges of deceit and falsehood had been slapped on him, but he was confident of getting off the hook because of his connections with powerful people.
  6. I really did not want to attend that meeting. Thankfully another urgent matter came up and I got off the hook as had to attend to it.
  7. Though we are letting you off the hook this time, you’d better be careful, you won’t be so lucky next time.

Origin

The phrase alludes to a fish freeing itself from a fishhook, thus avoiding being caught. It originated in the mid 1800s.

off on the wrong foot

off on the wrong foot

Meaning

  • off to a bad start
  • begin something incorrectly
  • begin badly
  • start off something in a way that is likely to fail

Example Sentences

  1. Their relationship started off on the wrong foot when they had a huge misunderstanding.
  2. His career started off on the wrong foot when the company he joined had to shut down because of recession.
  3. We had started off on the wrong foot, but over time as we got to know each other, we developed a bond and trust for each other.
  4. Would you give some advice on how to start my new business? I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot.
  5. He started off on the wrong foot in his new job when he had a bit of an argument with his manager.

Origin

The origin of the phrase is unclear. There are theories which say that the wrong foot refers to the left foot, since there is an age old bias for the right side. Since we have “right and left” and “right and wrong”, left tends to get associated with wrong. Another theory suggests that the phrase comes from the military, where in a march, all have to start with the same foot, which is usually the left foot. So in this case the right foot is the wrong foot. The phrase has been in use since the 16th century.

one cannot love and be wise

one cannot love and be wise

Meaning

  • people often do foolish things when they are in love
  • people often fall in love with a person they are not compatible with
  • people behave strangely when in love

Example Sentences

  1. I don’t think it is wise of Elsie and Ray to decide to get married so soon into their relationship. But then, one cannot love and be wise.
  2. Everyone can see that she will not be a good match for him, but he seems to be head over heels in love with her. Well, one cannot love and be wise.
  3. I know that one cannot love and be wise, but still I would like her to at least think about her decision to marry him.
  4. Nick and Gina have decided to get married, but I don’t think they are ready for it yet. But then, one cannot love and be wise.
  5. Would it be wise of them to go for the adventure trip in this weather? Well, one cannot love and be wise.
  6. One cannot love and be wise, the saying goes; and he proved it when he made a fool of himself in front of all those people.

Origin
This phrase originated during the early 16th century.

one stop shop

one stop shop

Meaning

  • A store that fulfils various requirements which is preferable by customers.
  • It is usually a place of business that offers many services and products which are related.

Example Sentences

  1. That corner store is a one stop shop for anyone looking for video games.
  2. I just don’t have the patience to check prices with individual vendors so I go to a one stop shop for all my grocery requirements.
  3. In the current environment where everyone is in a rush for everything, one stop shops are the ultimate solution for grocery shopping.

Origin
The phrase actually refers to a business strategy which is to pull customers with the lure of getting more than one things done at the same time and in one visit. It is cost effective for the business because they can sell more items and time effective for the customers. Big super and hyper markets are the best examples of one stop shops and are commonplace for people with busy schedules.

A car repairing business in the United States of America used this phrase in their advertisement in the early 1900’s. The term was even explained in the same advert within the strapline.

on the rocks

on the rocks

Meaning

  • likely to fail because of serious problems
  • in a state of difficulty, destruction or ruin
  • a relationship having problems and likely to end soon
  • a relationship on the brink of failing

Example Sentences

  1. Their marriage was on the rocks as they couldn’t get along with each other anymore and were having huge arguments very frequently.
  2. It is not a great surprise that they are getting divorced. Their marriage has been on the rocks for quite some time.
  3. Their decade long marriage was on the rocks because of one act of indiscretion by him.
  4. She had a big wedding, but a few months down the line, her marriage was on the rocks because she suspected her husband of cheating on her.
  5. They had been going steady for the last few years, but lately, their relationship has been on the rocks for some reason.
  6. When Kate arrived at the party alone, it was clear that her relationship with Stuart was on the rocks.
  7. I feel sorry for him. He has lost his job, his marriage is on the rocks and his kids don’t even speak to him.

Origin
The phrase “on the rocks” was originally used for ships which ran aground on rocks and broke apart. Since the late 1800s it has been used figuratively for other disasters or problems.

old hat

old hat

Meaning

  • Someone who is old fashioned. The phrase can directly refer to old fashion too.
  • Hackneyed, cliched or worn out.

Example Sentences

  1. Ask that old hat to keep out of my business. She has a lot to correct in her own life first.
  2. He maybe an old hat but knows so much about his trade that is sure to surprise you.
  3. The grocer is an old hat, he will not give you a single penny of discount.
  4. I am not sure why people think grandpa is an old hat, he has many fascinating ideas.
  5. The dress that my mother wore for her wedding is an old hat now but it looked fantastic back in the day.

Origin
In the year 1911, the Cornish writer Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch used this phrase in his novel ‘Brother Copas’. Although he was referring to actual hats that were worn out. The term was in use in a much more vulgar sense prior to that and referred to a female private part in the ‘The Intrigues at Versailles’ in 1697 and ‘A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’ in 1785. After Quiller-Couch’s use of the term, however it was started to be used in the tone that is set for it today.

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