Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

Idioms beginning with W

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.

wash dirty linen in public

wash dirty linen in public

Meaning:

  • discuss publicly matters that one should keep private
  • to discuss in public one’s private scandals, disagreements, or difficulties
  • to unveil private problems with public

Examples:

  1. She decided not to take the family dispute to court as she feared it would only lead to a lot of washing of dirty linen in public.
  2. Listen, our relationship may have real problems, but it’s unfortunate that you have chosen to wash our dirty linen in public.
  3. My parents taught me not to wash my dirty laundry in public that the reason I only discusses private issues with family.
  4. I never understand why you wash all your dirty linen in public in your group discussions.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English lin ( n ) en (noun, adj.), Old English linnen, līnen (adj.) made of flax, equivalent to līn flax (< Latin līnum; see line2 ) + -en -en2.

well-to-do

well-to-do

Meaning:
– rich and of good social status
– having plenty of money and possessions
– in favorable circumstances
– in fortunate circumstances financially

Well-to-do Synonyms:
wealthy, rich, well-off, well-healed, affluent, Prosperous, comfortable, loaded.

Examples:
1. In the capital’s well-to-do suburbs, hiring a security guard has become a must for every family.
2. People living below poverty line protested against the new tax bill that favored the well-to-dos.
3. Most of well-to-do parents send their wards to London for study.
4. One friend mine is quite well-to-do and she is kind heart.
5. They are lucky who born in a well-to-do family.
6. I was not born in well-to-do family, but I worked really hard to reach this level.
7. He was a quite well-to-do business man but left everything becomes a Buddhist monk.

Usage:
well-to-do often used with quite.

Origin:
[1805–25]

wrap in cotton wool

wrap in cotton wool
Meaning: protect somebody too much without allowing them to be independent enough.
Example: The mother wrapped the child up in cotton wool as if it would protect him from all the dangers of the world.

❮ Previous Idioms