Idiomatic Expressions - List in Alphabetical Order


List of idioms in alphabetical order

A list of idioms arranged in alphabetical order (with definitions and examples.) For a list arranged in categories, click here

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Learn English Idioms

A list of English idioms with definitions and examples:

quake in one's boots
To be frightened, scared, or nervous.

The thought of climbing that high had him quaking in his boots.

Category | clothes

quake like a leaf
If you quake like a leaf, you tremble violently because you are afraid, nervous, or very cold.

Other related idioms are the following:

shake like a leaf.
shake in one's boots.

Here are some synonyms of the term 'quake':


The origin of the idiom

This idiom alludes to trembling leaves. Geoffrey Chaucer used it in "The Canterbury Tales". In The Summoner's Prologue, lines 1-18, the Summoner comments on the Friar's tale:

High in his stirrups, then, the summoner stood;
Against the friar his heart, as madman's would,
Shook like very aspen leaf, for ire.

The children were quaking like a leaf when their authoritative father came home.
She was quaking like a leaf when she stood up to give her presentation.
I didn't think about it at the time, but when I realized that I was in real danger, I was shaking like a leaf.
It was so cold that even my cat was quaking like a leaf.

<img src="/images/voc/idioms/quake-like-leaf.jpg" alt="quake like a leaf" title="quake like a leaf"/>

Category | nature

question of time
(also a matter of time) said about something that will surely happen.

The criminal will be arrested. It's just a question of time.

Category | time

quick as a wink
The phrase (as) quick as a wink is an idiomatic expression that means very quickly.

Other variations of the idiom are:

  • (as)quick as a flash;

  • (as)quick as lightning;

  • (as)swift as lightning.

He stole his wallet as quick as a wink.

Please allow me five minutes of your time, I don't think you will be disappointed. I will finish the work as quick as lightening.

Category | time

quick one
to have a drink before going somewhere.

Let's have a quick one before we go to work.

Category | numbers

quote a price
state in advance the price for...

The mason quoted a price of 500$ to fix the roof of my house.

Category | money

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