Idioms about Success

This is a list of idioms about success with definitions and examples

alive and kicking

(also be alive and well) to continue to be well, healthy or successful. 1. Don't worry about your grandfather; he is alive and kicking. 2. Classical music is still alive and kicking among youngsters

back the wrong horse

to support someone or something that later cannot be successful.
Don't back the wrong horse! You know he cannot win the elections.

be dead in the water

The idiom dead in the water means that something is unsuccessful and it seems impossible that it will be successful in the future. The whole economy is dead in the water.

bear fruit

The phrase bear fruit means to yield successful results.He thinks his new plan will undoubtedly bear fruit.

come at a price

If something that you get comes at a price, something negative or unpleasant occurs as a consequence.

Another variation of the idiom is the following:

come at a cost. You say that you want to be famous, but you have to know that fame comes at a price. He made it, but his success came at a price. She got what she wanted, but this came at a cost.

count one's chickens before they hatch

To assume success too early, before it is certain. It's too soon to cry victory. Don't count your chicken before they hatch!

dead loss

something described as a dead loss is absolutely unsuccessful or useless (a complete failure) When it comes to math, my sisiter is a dead loss.


said about a world where people do anything to be successful. It's disheartening to know that we are living in a dog-eat-dog world.

every dog has its day

everyone has a time of success and satisfaction. You may become successful in your business someday. Every dog has his day.

green-eyed monster

envy, jealousy, covetousness 1. "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on." William Shakespeare 2. His success aroused the green-eyed monster in his friend.

hit a home run

to be successful. They hit a home run with their excellent performance in the new play.

home free

to be certain of being successful because you have finished the most difficult part. Once you hand in the last part of your dissertation, you're home free.

I'll eat my hat

said to suggest that you will be surprised if something happens.
If his business becomes successful, I'll eat my hat.

in the bag

Certain or extremely likely to occur; assured about the success of somoething. Don't worry about the final exam. It's in the bag.

it takes two to tango

the expression it takes two to tango means that for something to work properly the cooperation of both parties is needed.

Tango is a dance originating in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The phrase originated in a song, Takes Two to Tango, which was written and composed in 1952 by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning.For the success of the negotiations, both companies should make some concessions; it takes two to tango, you know.

jump on the bandwagon

To profit from a craze; to join a trend. After the incredible success of the new product, the company has jumped on the bandwagon, and released a new version of it.

keep one's eye on the ball

to remain alert to the events occurring around oneself.To be successful in this business, you'll have to keep your eye on the ball.

match made in heaven

The phrase a match made in heaven refers to two people, so well-suited to each other that their marriage is likely to be happy and successful.

The phrase may also refer to a very successful combination of two people or things.As soon as they met, they liked each other and decided they should get married. They were really a match made in heaven.

put one's shoulder to the wheel

to start hard work; to begin to toil. Just put your shoulder to the wheel. If you keep working hard, you’ll be successful one day!

rags to riches

The phrase rags-to-riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth. He was homeless and went on to create the largest and most successful service company in the country. It's really a rags-to-riches story.

spike someone's guns

The phrase spike someone's guns means to ruin someone's plans or prevent someone's success.

The origin of the phrase

This idiom comes from the former military practice of inserting spikes or a nail into enemy guns to prevent them from firing.The rain has spiked our guns. We cannot go for a picnic as planned.

the mother of all

an extreme example which is the biggest, most impressive, or most important of its kind.
Failure is the mother of all success.

track record

The phrase a track record is an idiomatic expression that refers to a person or organization's past performance in any type of endeavor.

The origin of the phrase comes from racing, referring either to the best performance of any racehorse or athlete on a certain track, or to the history of a certain racer's past performance.They have a strong track record in creating successful websites.

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