Idioms and Phrases

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.


Idioms beginning with S

spin a yarn

spin a yarn


  • to tell a tale
  • to tell a long & fanciful story
  • to tell an unbelievable lengthy story


  1. Kids like to have their grandparents spin a yarn for them.
  2. His sister always spins a yarn about her childhood.
  3. Her father has to spin a yarn each night to make his daughter sleep else she would start crying
  4. There are stories about courage of many warriors. Who knows if they are just spinning yarns.
  5. Don’t you think most of the saints spin a yarn when narrating the mystic stories? They probably do it to deliver that one message of truth.
  6. I do not believe him. He has old habit of spinning yarns about his school days.
  7. He gets happy on being insisted about his spinning yarns. He doesn’t know that everyone is making a fool of him while doing so.

The expression is nautical in origin and has been used in this sense since the early 19th century owing its life to the fact that it consists of a dual meaning, yarn denote both “spun fiber” and “a tale”.

save your breath

save your breath


  • to not waste effort on something that has no outcome
  • refraining from a futile effort
  • avoid explaining or advising someone when it has no impact
  • it is useless talking to someone who does not listen


  1. You must save your breath by not asking this generation to keep their cell phones at rest.
  2. Sara wants to be a choreographer. You cannot lure her by hefty corporate packages; Instead, save your breath.
  3. The businessman won’t agree to your deal in place of his old house. Save your breath & find another place for your restaurant.
  4. There is no point arguing with him as he would never accept his mistake. It is better to save your breath.
  5. She saved her breath by not telling her parents about her detention. They would only blame her despite the fact that due to strike against the careless management, each student had been detained.
  6. It is rightly said if you try explaining something to a fool, he will start arguing. Save your breath instead.
  7. Either prove yourself by giving outstanding performance in the project or save your breath. Boss isn’t going to send you on a tour abroad just on the basis of your skills.

Any information about the origin of this idiom is currently unavailable with us.

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.

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