Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with W

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.

wear heart on sleeve

wear your heart on your sleeve

Meaning

  • display your emotions openly
  • make your feelings apparent and obvious
  • openly reveal your feelings and emotions
  • unable to hide your emotions and feelings
  • be emotionally transparent
  • be open or forthright about your emotions.

Example Sentences

  1. It was evident that he was in love with her. He wore his heart on his sleeve and you could see how he felt about her.
  2. She is a very sensitive person and wears her heart on her sleeve, so it very easy to hurt her feelings.
  3. Sam always wears his heart on his sleeve, so everyone knew how he was feeling.
  4. He wore his heart on his sleeve and it was obvious that he was shattered by his recent breakup with his girlfriend.
  5. If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you will be very vulnerable and people are going to take advantage of you.
  6. She used to be a very passionate woman who wore her heart on her sleeve, but repeated rejections and mistreatment at the hands of the ones she trusted made her go into a shell and bottle her emotions up.

Origin
This phrase was first recorded in Shakespeare’s play “Othello” in 1604, where the treacherous Iago says this to feign openness and vulnerability.

whet one’s appetite

whet one’s appetite

Meaning

  • A stimulation that causes you to want additional of something, mostly food.
  • A reason which increases your interest in something.

Example Sentences

  1. You have whetted my appetite to go for another theatre performance after making me watch this one.
  2. The advertisements shown are meant to whet your appetite to buy those products.

Origin
Tools in the olden days were used and sharpened on grindstones which were also known as whetstones. So the word whet in this phrase merely represents sharpening of something. This phrase is sometimes confused with ‘wet your whistle’ but the two are not actually connected. The whistle phrase is a lot older than the appetite phrase and means to have a drink. Whistle refers to the throat here.

In 1612, Thomas Dekker used the phrase ‘whet your appetite’ in ‘If it be not good, the diuel is in it’. Then in 1688, Thomas Shadwell used it in his literary work called ‘The Squire of Alsatia’ albeit in a varied form than it is seen today. ‘Whet’ which means to sharpen and ‘wet’ which is to dampen are different from each other when used as verbs but in many parts of the world the two words are interchangeable with regards to this phrase.

wear off, out

wear off or wear out

Meaning

  • Something that deteriorates or changes by wearing
  • Something that diminishes slowly due to washing, getting scrapped and rubbed.
  • A garment that can no longer be used.
  • Time, effect or age which passes tediously and slowly.
  • Obsolete or out of fashion.
  • Gradual wasting of a garment.
  • Deteriorating quality.
  • Weakening, waning or declining.

Example Sentences

  1. That garment is completely worn out. Why don’t you just throw it away?
  2. I was drugged through the operation but now it seems to be wearing off.
  3. Don’t wear off that shirt, it is my favourite.
  4. I was forced to throw away that dress because it was so badly worn out.
  5. My heels are worn out so I cannot walk with you at this speed.
  6. There was so little to say to each other, time wore out.
  7. The fabric is great right now but will wear off with time.
  8. My wedding dress is completely worn out I get so upset every time that I think about it.
  9. If you would have kept it safe, your wedding dress would not have worn out.
  10. Her makeup was worn out by the time she even got to the stage.

Origin
The origin of this phrase is not available.

well read

well read

Meaning

  • Well-educated and learned.
  • A literate person who has studied and read a lot.

Example Sentences

  1. She is well read does not mean that she can go out on the streets and fend for herself. To be street smart is a requirement in what she wants to do.
  2. His business is working great since he is so well read and uses the management techniques that he has been taught in school.
  3. To be well read is a very important thing in the current times.
  4. She is looking for someone who is handsome, charming and well-read to enter her life and scoop her off her feet.
  5. Of course he feels he will do a better job since he has been doing something similar in the past and is well read about the finer details required.

Origin
The phrase completely reads ‘exceedingly well read’ which was used by Shakespeare in his work ‘Henry IV’. It is popular ever since and points out to a person with many education qualifications. In general terms this phrase refers to anyone who has been friends with books and is ‘well read’ and not just those who have a qualification certificate to go with it.

Synonym

water under the bridge

water under the bridge

also water over the dam

Meaning:

  • past events that are not important anymore
  • something that has happened and cannot be changed, hence, not important
  • past occurrence that cannot be changed
  • events that occurred long ago and have been forgotten
  • to let bygones be bygones

Example:

  1. We used to have big disagreements some years back, but that’s all water under the bridge now. We get along fine.
  2. When I was a child, I used to fancy myself being a sportsperson when I grew up, but that’s water under the bridge. Now I am stuck at this mundane job.
  3. I don’t want to talk about the argument we had last week. It’s water under the bridge now.
  4. I should have negotiated a higher salary when I was offered the job, but that’s water under the bridge now.
  5. Both parties agreed that their past disputes were water under the bridge and decided to work together towards a common goal.

Origin:
The phrase originated around the early 1900s. It probably refers to the fact that water (of a river) flows constantly towards the sea and is not still, indicating that the water that has already flowed under the bridge will not return.

wouldn’t be caught dead

wouldn’t be caught dead
also wouldn’t be seen dead

Meaning:

  • dislike something very much
  • would never do something, usually due to dislike or because it is very embarrassing
  • would rather die than do something

Example:

  1. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing shoes like that. They are so old fashioned.
  2. He is a very ethical man with high morals; he wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything illegal or unlawful.
  3. He wouldn’t be caught dead going to a place like that.
  4. She feels he’s a very creepy person. She wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out with him.
  5. He values his job a lot and wouldn’t be caught dead going against the company’s directive.
  6. She was very conscious of her social image and wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything that went against it.
  7. Ruth said she wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress like the one Emily had worn to the party.
  8. He is a staunch atheist. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a place of worship.

Origin:
This phrase originated in the early 1900s.

whole nine yards

whole nine yards

Meaning:

  • everything, all of something
  • in its entirety, all of it
  • the whole of something, full measure
  • everything that is possible

Example:

  1. She is the love of my life. For her, I’ll go the whole nine yards.
  2. The mountain trail was a difficult one, but I wanted to go the whole nine yards.
  3. We have watched every single episode of this serial, from the first to the final one, the whole nine yards.
  4. He has a toolkit with every kind of tool in all sizes – jacks, wrenches, screwdrivers – the whole nine yards.
  5. I’ll do whatever it takes to make my venture a successful one – I’ll go the whole nine yards.
  6. The story was interesting, but we had to leave midway. We didn’t get the whole nine yards.
  7. This is going to be difficult; we want a person who can go the whole nine yards.
  8. It was an adventurous tour, but we didn’t go the whole nine yards.

Origin:
The origin of this phrase is unclear. There are many beliefs about the origin, however, none have been proven. The earliest use is believed to be in 1907 in America, but it became popular during the 1960s.

wash hands of

wash your hands of

Meaning:

  • abandon taking responsibility for someone or something
  • to bring all involvement with someone or something to an end

Example:

  1. That job did no good to me. I washed my hands of it few months back and joined another one.
  2. Before being reported as a scam, he used to brag about this project. Now the minister has washed his hands of the project in front of the media.
  3. Your brother has taken care of you during your youth. You must not wash your hands of him during his difficult times.
  4. What future is this country going to witness when each individual here is in the habit of washing their hands of the work they do.
  5. He couldn’t wait to wash his hands of the project when it went into trouble.

Origin:
This phrase has been originally referred to the biblical description of Pontius Pilate, who, when he was forced to convict Jesus to death, sent for a bowl of water and as a ritual washed his hands before the people as an indication that he was innocent of ‘this just person’ (Matthew 27:24).

warn off

warn someone off

Meaning:

  • inform someone forcefully to stay at a distance
  • to advise someone to refrain from some activities because of involved risks or other reasons
  • to notify someone of staying away from danger ahead

Example:

  1. The board was placed near the manhole to warn off the kids from playing there.
  2. I had warned off Saima of her new friend because I knew he was just playing around her and would eventually get hurt.
  3. The fishermen had been warned off by the local authorities to not enter the sea as an upcoming cyclone had been forecasted by the weather department.
  4. The guards stood outside the door to warn people off until the fire was extinguished. The guards warned off everyone in the surrounding area.
  5. The police had warned off the residents to not open the door to unknown people as several incidents had been reported of robbers impersonating as officials and robbing the entire house.

Origin:
Horse racing is known to be the origin of this idiom. Before the year 1969, the British Jockey Club had a rule empowering it to warn someone off the course, i.e. to ban someone who had broken Jockey Club regulations from riding or running horses at meetings under the club’s jurisdiction.

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