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:

under a cloud
to be suspected of something.

After the murder of the kid, all the relatives were under a cloud of suspicion.

Category | nature

under a cloud
This idiom is used to describe someone who is suspected of having done something wrong.

After the murder of the old lady, everyone living in the house was under a cloud.

Category | weather

under age
The phrase under age means to be too young to be eligible for something.

This program is not for people under age.

Category | age

under arrest
The phrase under arrest is used to mean that someone is in police custody.

The phrase collocates with the verb 'be' or 'put' as in:

He is under arrest
They put him under arrest.

He is under arrest for the crime he did years ago.

None of his relatives know that the put him under arrest.

Category | crime

under canvas
The phrase under canvas, means to be in a tent.

The soldiers are under canvas.

Category | art

under construction
said about something which is being built or fixed.

The house has been under construction since last month.

Category | general

under one's belt
The idiom under your belt refers to something that you have learned, mastered, or achieved and that might be an advantage for you in the future.


The first uses of the phrase with this meaning are traced back to the 19th century.

The phrase makes an analogy to food. Once you eat something, it is in your stomach and nobody can take it from you. It has become safely your own. Similarly, once you learn, master, or achieve something it becomes yours.

This idiom should not be confused with the phrase "below the belt". The latter has a distinct meaning. It originates from the rules of boxing, where it is not allowed to hit the lower abdomen and which can be also used figuratively to refer to other types of unethical actions.

I see that you already have the techniques of drawing under your belt.
With many years of experience under his belt, he has become the expert of the company.
Jane has a Ph.D. degree under his belt.

Category | clothes

under one's nose
1. directly in front of one; clearly visible
2. obvious or apparent.
3. in someone's presence.

1. I searched for my glasses for twenty minutes, and finally found them right under my nose.
2. If we had paid more attention, we would have found that the answer was under our noses the whole time.
3. They were stealing his money just under his nose.

Category | parts of the body

under one’s thumb
completely controlled by someone; at someone’s command.

She has her husband under her thumb. He would do anything for her.

Category | parts of the body

under pressure
to be facing something in a stressful environment due to a pressure or a deadline.

They have been under a lot of pressure recently becaues of the huge work they have been doing.

Category | general

under the gun
If you are under the gun, this means that you are under pressure.

We're all under the gun to meet the deadline.

Category | war

under the influence
Intoxicated, inebriated, or otherwise stupefied by an ingested mind-altering substance, commonly speaking of alcohol : drunk.

He was arrested for driving under the influence.

Category | general

under the sun
In existance.

If you want to spend your summer holiday, this is the most beautiful place under the sun.

Category | nature

under the table
The phrase under the table is an idiom that has two meanings. This expression may refer to the fact of being drunk or to something that is done secretly.

1. After two hours of drinking, everyone was under the table.
2. He made a lot of money under the table.

Category | furniture

under the weather
Somewhat ill or gloomy.

A: How have you been?
B: I've been under the weather. But it's OK now.

Category | weather

under the wire
At the last minute; before the deadline; barely on time; nearly late.

He turned his report just under the wire.

Category | time

until hell freezes over
If someone say that someone can do something until hell freezes over, they mean that one will never in their life get the results that they want.

Idioms with similar meaning:

when pigs fly
cold day in hell

He can wait for my approval until hell freezes over - He won't marry my daughter.

Category | religion

until one is blue in the face
(talk/say something/shout until one is blue in the face) pointless efforts while trying to convince someone or change his mind.

His parents tell him to do his homework until they are blue in the face. In fact, he never does his homework.

Category | colors

unwritten law
The phrase unwritten law refers to an accepted rule in spite of its informality.

It's an unwritten law to take your hat off during the national anthem.

Category | law

up in the air
uncertain, unsettled.

The future of the company is still up in the air.

Category | nature

up to the minute
the most modern

The internet is an excellent source of up to the minute news.

Category | time

current; recent; the latest

He uses an up-to-date theory to expalin his views.

Category | time

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