Idioms and Phrases

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with T

take name in vain

take name in vain

Meaning:

  • Use someone’s name in a way that shows a lack of respect
  • Speaking in a disrespectful manner, especially when concerning religion
  • Talk about someone in a criticizing manner

Examples:

  1. Atheists find one way or the other to take God’s name in vain.
  2. After being scolded by his teacher, he started taking her name in vain in front of his classmates.
  3. Some people have the habit of taking everyone’s name in vain no matter what.
  4. Taking name of politicians in vain over social media is not a small issue now. One could be imprisoned for such act.
  5. Do not get bothered about people taking your name in vain, they are simply trying to pull you down.
  6. I had warned my friend of the other group who were nice to her on her face & started taking her name in vain the moment she left. She did not believe me & now she is repenting over it.
  7. As you get famous you’re bound to hear people take your name in vain.

Origin:
This idiom has a biblical origin & has been originated from the third of the biblical Ten Commandments which is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain'(Exodus 20:7).

throw in the towel

throw in the towel

also throw in the sponge

Meaning:

  • to quit
  • to admit defeat or failure
  • to fail
  • to give up
  • to concede (a match, a duel, a bout, etc.)
  • (of boxers or their seconds) throw a towel (or sponge) into the ring as a token of defeat.

Examples:

  1. Rocky was told by his trainer that he was going to throw in the towel in if he did not start throwing punches
  2. My brother was so fed up of his manager that he threw in the towel and quit his job.
  3. Unable to make him see my point of view, I threw in the towel and let him do it his way.
  4. She was playing a game of chess with her friend and was in a good position, but finally had to throw in the towel as she had to leave.
  5. Having labored on all night to crack the code, he finally threw in the towel and went to sleep.
  6. The argument was getting heated up, but not wanting to start a slanging match, she threw in the towel.
  7. Unable to decide upon a venue, the team threw in the towel and cancelled the event.
  8. Our team fought till the very end, but the opposition was just too good; they had to throw in the towel.

Origin:
From boxing, where the boxer’s trainer throws in the towel to stop the fight and accept defeat.

third wheel or fifth wheel

fifth wheel or third wheel

Meaning:
a person who is in a situation where they are not needed; an extra and unnecessary person or thing; also know as “fifth wheel

Examples:

  1. I was the only person at the dinner party without a date. I felt like a third wheel.
  2. I felt like a fifth wheel when i couldn’t speak English well with my English teacher.
  3. I’m going, I don’t want to be a fifth wheel.
  4. I quit my bank job and am preparing for civil service. Now I feel like I am a third wheel.
  5. The way I live my life, I always feel like a fifth wheel.

Origin:

This phrase originated from extra wheel that was on four wheel coaches, carriages and wagons (American).

take the edge off

take the edge off

Meaning:

  • blunt the effect of
  • reduce the impact of
  • make less severe

Examples:

  1. Have a painkiller – it’ll take the edge off the pain your in hand.
  2. Her apology took the edge of his anger.
  3. After a strong hard work, I need to eat something to take the edge off fatigue and hunger.
  4. The coconuts took the edge off the dehydration and hunger when I was lost on an isolated island.
  5. I don’t know how to take the edge off the fear from heights.
  6. Do some meditation and yoga this will take the edge off the stress.

Origin:
This idiomatic expression dates from the first half of the 1900s.

toll or sound the death knell

toll or sound the death knell

Meaning:
Cause an organization, system or activity to fail or end

Examples:
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.

Origin:
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.

turn a deaf ear

turn a deaf ear

Meaning:
– choose not to hear
– refuse to listen
– to ignore what someone says

Examples:
1. Please do not just turn a deaf ear to their cries for help.
2. This was too cheap when Sarah turned a deaf ear to our insistent.
3. The Bank tended to turn a deaf ear to ATM card lost complaints.
4. When I asked Michael to go with me for help he just turned a deaf ear.
5. How can you turned a deaf ear to the crying victims of accident.

Origin:
This idiomatic expression dates from the first half of the 1400s and was in most proverb collections from 1546 on.

throw dust in eyes

throw dust in eyes

Meaning:
– to confuse or mislead somebody to deceive
– make a fool of

Examples:
1. She threw dust in the eyes of the jeweler by pretending to be a well-to-do lady, and then stole the jewellery.
2. The taxi drivers in Shimla throws dust in tourist’s eyes and take too much money for a small distance.
3. Give my whole money back; you cannot throw dust in my eyes.
4. The thug threw dust in her eyes and exchanged her real diamonds with fake stones.
5. The secretary of the film actress threw dust in the fan’s eyes, talking about a show at the airport when she was heading for the expressway.
6. Don’t ever earn money by throwing dust in customer’s eyes or soon you will lost your business.

Origin:
This idiomatic expression alludes to throwing dust or sand in the eyes to confuse a pursuing enemy. [Mid-1700s]

Throw dust in eyes Synonyms:
– Befool

till doomsday

till doomsday

Meaning:
– for a very long time
– for all time,
– forever

Examples:
1. You could try to convince her till doomsday, but she will not drop her demands.
2. This business is going to take me till doomsday.
3. We’ll be here till doomsday if you go blathering on.

throw to the wolves

feed, leave or throw to the wolves, dogs or lions

Meanings:
– allow somebody else to be criticized or attacked, often in order to protect one
– to sacrifice someone to save the rest
– to abandon someone to harm
– sacrifice someone, especially so as to save oneself

Examples:
1. Don’t try to throw my brother to the wolves. I’ll tell the fact about the entire issue.
2. When I got to know that they he is very dangerous person to whom I was dealing with, I felt I’d been thrown to the wolves.
3. If Jessica doesn’t achieve as they expect, they’ll throw her to the dogs.

Origin:
The first term comes from Aesop’s fable about a nurse who threatens to throw her charge to the wolves if the child does not behave. [First half of 1900s]

treat like dirt

treat like dirt

Meanings:
– behave someone very badly without respect
– show disdain toward
– to have no respect or consideration for someone
– to deal with someone in a manner that shows no respect for them

Examples:
1. My boss treats all his employees like dirt.
2. I don’t know why she stays with him. He treats her like dirt.
3. For years I allowed him to treat me like dirt.
4. If you treat your customers like dirt, they won’t come back to your shop again.

Origin:
This idiom uses dirt in the sense of “something worthless” a usage dating from the mid-1300s in English language.

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