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Welcome to "Phrase of the Day - English"
Spice up your English with fun phrases and idioms!
Language: English
Members: 3994
Officers: Larissa (Administrator)

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 (USA) If something is a dime a dozen, it is extremely common, possibly too common.


“Oh she’s pretty enough, but dark-haired dark-eyed girls are a dime a dozen here.  I like blondes.”

“Let her quit if she wants to… typists are a dime a dozen.”

 If you dig your heels in, you resist something.


“The rest of the team are ready to go, but Jane is digging her heels in.”

“I’m going to dig my heels in until they give me the conditions I want.”

 This is used as a prediction there is no chance it will ever happen.


“It will be a cold day in hell before he gets that job.”

“I’ll go out with him when hell freezes over.”

 To make money.


“We need to get a good job to make a decent living.”

“She makes a living selling homemade quilts.”

 If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy.


“She’s been on cloud nine since she met  her new boyfriend.”

“We found out we got the house we wanted – we’re on cloud nine!”

If you bite someone's head off, you criticise them angrily.


“OK, OK, I’m sorry I said that… no need to bite my head off!”

“All I said was that I wasn’t interested in rock music, and she bit my head off!”


 A big fish in a small pond is an important person in a small place or organisation.


“He won’t leave the small company for the big ones – he prefers to be a big fish in a small pond.”

“She was a big fish in a small pond in her last job, now she’s having trouble adjusting to the huge multinational corporation.”

 If you are caught between a rock and a hard place, you are in a position where you have to choose between unpleasant alternatives, and your choice might cause you problems.


“Do I fire the new girl, or cut everyone’s salaries?  I’m between a rock and a hard place!”

“She found herself between a rock and a hard place when she had to choose between

 This is the shortened form of the full idiom, 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't', and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.


“I know my boyfriend doesn’t treat me very well, but I figure, better the devil you know…”


“This isn’t the perfect neighbourhood, but then, neither is the other.  I guess we’ll stay here… better the devil you know!”

 If something is part and parcel of your job, say, it is an essential and unavoidable part that has to be accepted.


“I’m tired, stressed, and overworked, but it’s all part and parcel of studying medicine.”

“I worked late every night last week, but I guess that’s part and parcel of being a manager.”


 If someone is very annoying and always disturbing you, they are a pain in the neck.


“Maria talks all day long about her private life, she’s such a pain in the neck.”

“My 6 year old is a real pain in the neck lately – won’t sleep at nights, and getting in trouble at school.”

 If someone is up on their soapbox about something, they are very overtly and verbally passionate about the topic.


“Eugene was really on his soapbox this morning when the topic of affirmative action came up.  He wouldn’t shut up for half an hour!”

“OK, get off your soapbox – we agree with you!”

 If someone or something is on their last legs, they're close to dying.


“This computer is on its last legs – we should look at getting a new one.”

“Our dog is on his last legs – he’s 15 years old and can barely stand up.”

 When someone is on their high horse, they are in a mood or attitude of stubborn arrogance, superiority, indignation or contempt:


“Oh get off your high horse – everyone had to work late this week.”

“Joe was really on his high horse last night when he discovered he was right about the merger.”

 To get

“OK, you’ve made your point, I won’t go out tonight.”

“This report must be done tonight.  No report, no deal.  No deal, no money.  Have I made my point?”

 If you make headway, you make progress.


“We’re really starting to make headway on this project – we should see results in the next week or so.”

“Have you made any headway on your history assignment?”