Idioms and Phrases

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.


Idioms beginning with S

toll or sound the death knell

toll or sound the death knell

Cause an organization, system or activity to fail or end

1. The shutdown of the local iron industry tolled the death knell for the village.
2. Recent changes of software in cell phones sound the death knell for several popular models.
3. Resign of such a loyal manager might sound the death knell for that store.

The noun knell, used for the ringing of a bell since at least A.D. 1000, is rarely heard today except in this figurative phrase.

show the door

show the door

- make it clear that somebody must leave
- to lead or take someone to the door or exit
- to make someone leave
- ask to leave
- to ask (someone) to go away
- to request or order someone to leave; dismiss

1. After we finished our talk, he showed me to the door.
2. I told her that I wasn’t interested in her proposal and she showed me the door in no unsure terms.
4. Jane was rude to my family and I simply showed him the door.
5. I was shown the door when I asked for a raise.
6. She resented his remark and showed him the door.
7. Ruth was upsetting the other children, so I showed her the door.
8. Our neighbors invited themselves to the party and stayed until Harry showed them the door.
9. I told the bank official that I wasn’t interested in her scheme and she showed me the door.
10. Chris made the 3. mistake of complaining about the boss and was shown the door.

shed, weep crocodile tears

shed (or weep) crocodile tears
Meaning: show sadness that is not sincere, fake cry.
Example: She deceived him when he lost everything in his life, now again when he is rich man, she approached him to get together and shedding crocodile tears.

show true colors

show true colors
Meaning: betray, reveal oneself as one is really.
Example: I trusted her blindly but when I was in need too much and called her for help, she showed her true colors and even she don’t pick my phone now.

set or put the cat among the pigeons

set or put the cat among the pigeons
Meaning: do or say something that causes trouble and make a lot of people angry or worried.
Example: The information of deducting 15% of salary packages of all the employees of York Electronics company set the cat among the pigeons and many employees started resigning immediately and joining the competitor company.

sweep under the carpet, rug

sweep under the carpet or rug
Meaning: try to hide a problem or keep a problem secret instead of dealing with it.
Example: The administration team of the town attempts to sweep the scandal under the carpet were not very successful.

sell like hot cakes

sell like hot cakes
Meaning: be a great commercial success.
Example: The 2K model cars by BMW sold like hot cakes, and it was hard to produce them by company to fulfill the demands.

stand a chance

stand a chance
Meaning: have a possibility or a hope of success.
Example: If funding by government is withdrawn, small minority schools in remote northern area, don’t stand a chance.

shoot the breeze

shoot the breeze
Meaning: spend time chatting, useless talking or chit-chat.
Example: Instead of shooting the breeze for so long, she should get to work.

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