Начальные классы

Русский язык

Тетрадкин Град


Английский язык





Русско-английские идиомы

ад кромешный

(a) hell on earth

The wounded soldiers described the battle as ‘hell on earth’.

альфа и омега the alpha and omega

ангельское терпение

the patience of Job

You need the patience of Job to deal with customers like that.

Ахиллесова пята

Achilles’ heel; a chink in someone’s armour

His Achilles’ heel is that he always wants to be right.

The lack of experience may be a chink in his armour.

бабушкины сказки

an old wives’ tale

It is an old wives’ tale that drinking milk prevents cold.

бабье лето an Indian summer

бальзам на душу

music to someone’s ears

What he said was music to my ears.

бедный как церковная крыса

(as) poor as a church mouse

My uncle was as poor as a church mouse.

без всякого преувеличения

to say the least

Her behaviour towards her boss was very rude, to say the least.

без обиняков

straight from the shoulder

John told me, straight from the shoulder, that he was not at all pleased with my work.

бить баклуши

to twiddle one’s thumbs

Don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs. Get down to work!

бить в цель

to hit the mark

His remarks hit the mark perfectly and really provided an important message for the graduating students.

бить мимо цели

to miss the mark

His speech missed the mark and he failed to gain support from the audience.

бить ниже пояса (кого-л.)

to hit someone below the belt; to be below the belt

In the run-up to the election, he won’t hesitate to hit his opponent below the belt.

Her remarks about my money problems were a bit below the belt.

биться головой о стену

to bang one’s head against a brick wall

He was banging his head against a brick wall trying to teach that dog to obey.

биться не на жизнь, а на смерть

to fight tooth and nail

They fought tooth and nail to defend their son against the false accusations.

благодарить судьбу

to thank one’s lucky stars

You can thank your lucky stars that she was there to help you.

блаженное неведение

a fool’s paradise

You are living in a fool’s paradise if you think that the business will recover shortly.

бледный как полотно

(as) white as a sheet

He looked as white as a sheet after the accident.

блуждать в потемках

to be in the dark

I’m totally in the dark about what’s going on.

Бог его знает

God knows!

Will we ever win? – God knows!

боевое крещение

baptism of fire

He was given a very important project to carry out in his first month. It was a real baptism of fire.

Боже мой!

good God/gracious/grief!; oh dear!; dear me!

Good God! You’ve finished the work already!

Oh dear! I’ve lost my keys.

Dear me! I forgot to phone him.

Боже упаси!

God/heaven forbid!

I hope we won’t have any trouble with the car. – God forbid!

бок о бок

side by side

They walked along the river side by side.

более или менее

more or less

The distance is ten miles, more or less.

Have you finished yet? – More or less.

большая шишка

a big cheese/gun/noise/shot/wheel

Bill’s father is quite a big shot in the government.

бояться собственной тени

to be afraid of one’s own shadow

Jane never goes anywhere – she seems to be afraid of her own shadow.

брать быка за рога

to take the bull by the horns

I decided to take the bull by the horns and asked my boss for a holiday.

брать верх (над кем-л./чем-л.)

to get the upper hand (over someone/something )

Our team managed to get the upper hand in the end.

брать голыми руками (кого-л.)

to beat someone hands down

The last time we played chess he beat me hands down.

брать за душу

to tug at the heartstrings

The story of a lost child was one that really pulled at the heartstrings.

брать свои слова обратно

to eat one’s words

You shouldn’t say that to me. I’ll make you eat your words.

брать себя в руки

to get a grip on oneself; to pull oneself together

Come on, get a grip on yourself and tell me what happened.

She started to panic but managed to pull herself together.

брать слово

to take the floor

Mr Smith took the floor to talk about the government’s new plans to reduce unemployment.

браться за ум

to come to one’s senses

John, you should come to your senses and stop gambling.

бросать в лицо (что-л. кому-л.)

to throw something in someone’s face

She was always throwing her husband’s clumsiness in his face.

бросать деньги на ветер

to throw money down the drain

Don’t gamble on the horses. That’s just throwing money down the drain.

бросать камень (в кого-л.)

to throw stones at someone

Many politicians seem to spend too much time throwing stones at each other.

бросать на произвол судьбы (кого-л.)

to leave someone in the lurch

Soon after their son was born he went off and left her in the lurch.

бросать перчатку

to throw down the gauntlet

He threw down the gauntlet by challenging my conclusions.

бросаться в глаза (кому-л.)

to catch someone’s eye; to stick out like a sore thumb

His shiny black car caught my eye.

The dinner is formal; if you wear old jeans you’ll stick out like a sore thumb among all the well-dressed guests.

бряцать оружием

to rattle one’s sabre

He may rattle his sabre at his enemies in public, but then will bend over backwards to agree behind closed doors.

буква закона

the letter of the law

There was the danger that the judge may follow the letter of the law rather than its spirit.

буря в стакане воды

a storm in a teacup

This isn’t a serious problem – just a storm in a teacup.

была не была

here goes

‘Well, here goes!’ shouted the parachutist and jumped out of the plane.

быть беде

the fat is in the fire

The fat’s in the fire now that she has discovered about her husband’s lover.

быть на высоте

to give a good account of oneself

John gave a good account of himself during the match.

быть навеселе

to have had one too many; to have had a few (too many)

He looks as if he has had one too many.

She’s jad a few; you should take her home and put her to bed.

быть на побегушках (у кого-л.)

to fetch and carry (for someone ); to be at someone’s beck and call

She is so lazy because her husband is always there to fetch and carry for her.

I had to be at his beck and call 24 hours a day.

быть нечистым на руку

to have light fingers

The employee on the till had light fingers and got fired.

в бегах

on the run

The jail-breakers were on the run from the police.

в глубине души

in one’s heart of hearts

In her heart of hearts, she knew that she wasn’t cut out to be a surgeon.

в здравом уме

in one’s right mind

No one in his right mind would go there.

в интересном положении

in the family way

I’ve heard that Martin’s wife is in the family way.

в кулаке (у кого-л.)

under someone’s thumb; in the palm of someone’s hand; in someone’s pocket

My sister is completely under her husband’s thumb.

The mayor had the local press in the palm of his hand and was never criticised by any of them.

Most of the officials in that country are in the pocket of a few very rich businessmen.

в курсе дела

in the know

Let’s ask Paul. He’s in the know.

в лицо (кому-л.)

to someone’s face

He wouldn’t dare say it to my face!

в лучшем случае

at best

The buses were all late and at best I could only hope to be home before midnight.

в любом случае

in any case/event; at any rate

In any event, I’ll see him on Tuesday.

At any rate we must go tomorrow.

в мгновение ока

in the twinkling of an eye

The new machine can do all the calculations in the twinkling of an eye.

в общем и целом

on the whole; all in all; first and last

On the whole, this was a very good journey.

All in all we haven’t done badly.

She is, first and last, a hard worker.

в объятиях Морфея

in the land of Nod

She was in the land of Nod and I didn’t want to wake her.

в одно ухо входит, а в другое выходит

to go in one ear and out the other

Everything she says to her son seems to go in one ear and out the other.

в одной лодке

in the same boat

When I told her that I was broke she said that she was in the same boat.

в первую очередь

in the first place

In the first place, I don’t have enough money to buy a new house.

в подметки не годиться (кому-л.)

cannot hold a candle to someone

She can’t hold a candle to her mother when it comes to cooking.

в полном разгаре

in full swing

The party was in full swing.

в порядке вещей

all in a day’s work

Dealing with complaints from quests is all in a day’s work to anyone working in a hotel.

в поте лица

by the sweat of one’s brow

I can proudly say that whatever I achieved was by the sweat of my brow.

в своей стихии

in one’s element

She is in her element when she’s singing.

в своем уме

in one’s right mind

You’re not in your right mind! That sounds crazy!

в стельку пьяный

as drunk as a lord

When he came home last night, he was as drunk as a lord.

в ус не дуть

not to give a damn

She was unemployed, but she didn’t give a damn.

в форме

on form

John was back on form and nobody could beat him.

в хороших руках

in good hands

This hospital is excellent – your mother will be in good hands.

в худшем случае

if the worst comes to the worst

If the worst comes to the worst, we’ll have to stay in the hotel for another night.

в чем мать родила

in one’s birthday suit; in the buff/altogether/raw

I used to go down to the beach and swim in my birthday suit.

He always sleeps in the raw.

в шкуре (кого-л.)

in someone’s skin

I wouldn’t want to be in your skin.

важная птица

a big cheese/gun/noise/shot/wheel

She is one of the directors of our company – a big noise.

валится из рук (у кого-л.)

to be all fingers and thumbs

I’m all fingers and thumbs today. Can you thread this needle for me?

валить с ног (кого-л.)

to lay someone low

The blow laid him low.

I was laid low by the flu for about two weeks.

валиться с ног

to be ready/fit to drop; to be on one’s last legs

After walking several miles I was ready to drop.

I worked all day in the garden and felt like I was on my last legs.

валять дурака

to play the fool

My father told me to stop playing the fool and start working hard for my examinations.

вбивать в голову (что-л. кому-л.)

to get something into someone’s head

The teacher couldn’t get the Latin grammar into his pupils’ heads.

вбивать себе в голову

to get it into one’s head

For some reason, he got it into his head that everybody was persecuting him.

вверх дном

upside down

The children turned the house upside down.

вводить в курс дела (кого-л.)

to put someone in the picture

I was new to this project and the manager put me in the picture.

вдоль и поперек (досконально)

inside out; backwards and forwards; through and through

He has lived in London for 30 years and knows the city inside out.

She knows the fashion business backwards and forwards.

I’ve studied his report through and through but couldn’t find any mistakes.

вдоль и поперек (во всех направлениях)

far and wide, the length and breadth of something

The police searched far and wide for the missing girl.

We travelled the length and breadth of the town looking for a good hotel.

вдохнуть жизнь (во что-л.)

to breathe life into something

The new director will help to breathe life into the project.

везет как утопленнику (кому-л.)

just someone’s luck

It was just my luck that the train left five minutes before I got to the station.

верить на слово ( кому-л.)

to take someone’s word for it; to take someone on trust

John will be late again. Take my word for it.

He always took his friends on trust.

вертеться как белка в колесе

to be on the go

With three children to look after she is always on the go from morning till night.

вертеться на языке (у кого-л.)

to be on the tip of one’s tongue

What’s the name of that tree? Hold on, it’s on the tip of my tongue.

вертеться под ногами (у кого-л.)

to be under someone’s feet

I can’t cook the dinner with three children under my feet all the time.

верхушка айсберга

the tip of the iceberg

The reported cases of the disease might be only the tip of the iceberg.

вечный сон the long sleep

вешать голову

to lose heart; to look down in the mouth

Don’t lose heart, even when you’re faced with serious difficulties.

She looked very down in the mouth when I told her that I couldn’t go with her.

взад и вперед

back and forth; to and fro; up and down; backwards and forwards

The lion was pacing back and forth inside the cage.

She walked to and fro in the hospital waiting room.

We’ve been running up and down the street looking for you.

The pendulum was moving slowly backwards and forwards.

взбредать в голову (кому-л.)

to take it into one’s head

Ann took it into her head to become an actress.

взвешивать свои слова

to weigh one’s words

I had to weigh my words carefully before asking my boss for more pay.

видать виды (много испытать)

to see the world; to go through the mill

He had the appearance of a man who has seen the world.

The young soldiers really went through the mill during the first two months of their training.

видать виды (поношенный)

have seen better days

My old hat has seen better days.

видеть насквозь (кого-л.)

to read someone like a book

You won’t deceive me with your lies. I can read you like a book.

видеть свет в конце туннеля to see the light at the end of the tunnel

видит Бог

honest to God/goodness!

I didn’t break the window, honest to God!

винтика в голове не хватает (у кого-л.)

to have a screw loose; to have bats in the belfry

He must have a screw loose to walk around barefoot.

The poor old woman had bats in the belfry.

висеть на волоске

to hang by a thread

His life was hanging by a thread.

висеть над головой (у кого-л.)

to hang over one’s head

The threat of dismissal hung over my head.

витать в облаках

to have one’s head in the clouds

The new secretary must be in love. She has her head in the clouds most of the time.

вить веревки (из кого-л.)

to twist/wrap someone round one’s little finger

His wife can twist him round her little finger.

владеть собой

to keep one’s temper

You should learn to keep your temper.

власти предержащие

the powers that be

The powers that be have decided to demolish the old building to make space for a car park.

влетать в копеечку (кому-л.)

to cost someone a pretty penny

That house must have cost them a pretty penny.

вместе с водой выплеснуть и ребенка

to throw the baby out with the bath water

I know there are weaknesses in the programme but we shouldn’t act too hastily and throw the baby out with the bath water.

вне себя

beside oneself

She was beside herself with joy when she heard the news about her son.

вносить свою лепту

to do one’s bit

We must all do our bit to finish this job in time.

во весь голос

at the top of one’s voice

He was shouting at the top of his voice.

во весь опор

at full tilt; for all one is worth

The boy was running at full tilt down the street.

I ran to the station for all I was worth to catch the last train.

во все глаза

all eyes

The children were all eyes, taking in every detail of their new house.

во всю мочь

with all one’s might

He struggled with all his might to open the stiff door but it stayed shut.

во всю прыть

like greased lightning; like a bat out of hell

He ran out of the room like greased lightning.

The dog ran after the cat like a bat out of hell.

во плоти

in the flesh

I’ve never seen the Queen in the flesh.

во что бы то ни стало

at all costs; at any price

You must at all costs avoid an argument with your employer.

He was determined to get his freedom at any price.

водить за нос (кого-л.)

to lead someone up the garden path; to take someone for a ride

He never realised that she had been leading him up the garden path.

The people who have invested their money in this project have been taken for a ride.

водой не разольешь

as thick as thieves

Mary and Tom are as thick as thieves. They go everywhere together.

возводить на пьедестал (кого-л.)

to put someone on a pedestal

He has put his wife on a pedestal and won’t listen to a word of criticism against her.

возлагать надежды (на кого-л./что-л.)

to pin one’s hopes on someone/something

We are pinning our hopes on the new advertising campaign.

возродиться из пепла

to rise from the ashes

He bought the firm when it was bankrupt. Now it has risen from the ashes and is in profit.

войти в историю

to go down in history

I’m sure that his name will go down in history.

волк в овечьей шкуре

a wolf in sheep’s clothing

I always suspected that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

волосы становятся дыбом (у кого-л.)

one’s hair stands on end

When the boy heard that sound, his hair stood on end.

вольная птица

(as) free as a bird

He felt as free as a bird when he escaped to his country house.

вооруженный до зубов

armed to the teeth

The robber was armed to the teeth and ready to fight.

I arrived for the interview armed to the teeth with letters of recommendation.

вопрос жизни и смерти

a matter of life and death

Go and get the doctor. Tell him it’s a matter of life and death.

воротить нос (от чего-л.)

to turn one’s nose up at something

She always turns her nose up at my cooking.

ворошить прошлое

to rake over the ashes/coals

Jim has already made an apology for his rude behaviour, so there’s no need to rake over the ashes.

воскрешать в памяти (что-л.)

to call something to mind

I know this actor but I can’t call his name to mind.

воспрянуть духом

to take heart

The soldiers took heart when they heard the news.

вот тебе и раз!

well, did you ever!; I say!

Well, did you ever! Mrs Smith has finally decided to move house.

I say! What a surprise!

впадать в детство

to be in one’s second childhood

He was acting very strange, as if he was in his second childhood.

впадать в немилость

to fall from grace

He was one of the president’s closest advisers for several years but fell from grace when the fraud was discovered.

впадать в уныние

to lose heart

After so many unsuccessful attempts to win the championship, he began to lose heart.

впитать с молоком матери (что-л.)

to imbibe something with one’s mother’s milk

We imbibed a love for music with our mother’s milk.

врать как сивый мерин

to lie through one’s teeth

When he said he was not married he was lying through his teeth but I pretended to believe him.

время от времени

from time to time; (every) now and again/then; (every) once in a while

From time to time he sends me flowers.

I drink coffee every now and then.

We go to the cinema every once in a while.

все до одного

one and all

I would like to invite you to dinner, one and all.

всей душой

with all one’s heart and soul; heart and soul

I hope with all my heart and soul that you will succeed.

He loved her heart and soul.

вставать на колени (перед кем-л.)

to throw oneself at the feet of someone ; to go down on one’s hands and knees (to someone )

Do I have to throw myself at your feet to convince you that I’m really sorry?

I won’t go down on my hands and knees to her, no matter how important she is.

вствать с левой ноги

to get out of bed on the wrong side

She must have got out of bed on the wrong side today – she is so grumpy.

вставлять палки в колеса (кому-л.)

to put a spoke in someone’s wheel; to throw a spanner in the works

We disagree about it, but I won’t put a spoke in his wheel.

You threw a spanner in the works supplying me with the wrong information.

всыпать по первое число (кому-л.)

to knock someone into the middle of next week; to give someone hell

My brother promised to knock me into the middle of next week if I crash his car.

His wife gave him hell when he came home late last night.

втирать очки (кому-л.)

to pull the wool over someone’s eyes; to throw dust in someone’s eyes

He tried to pull the wool over my eyes with some feeble explanation.

He only gave this information in order to throw dust in our eyes.

втираться в доверие (кому-л.)

to worm oneself into someone’s confidence

Within a few months he had wormed himself into her confidence and soon he was the only person she trusted.

вторая натура

second nature

It was second nature to Sally to tell everyone else what to do.

входить в долю

to go halves

I went halves with my sister when we bought Mum a birthday present.

входить в курс дела

to learn the ropes

I’ll be able to do my job better once I learn the ropes.

входить в положение (чье-л.)

to put oneself into someone’s shoes

Try putting yourself into my shoes – I really couldn’t help your sister at that time.

вчера родиться

to be born yesterday

You must think I was born yesterday if you expect me to believe that nonsense.

выбивать из колеи (кого-л.)

to put someone off one’s stroke

His tricky questions put me off my stride and I got confused.

выбивать почву из-под ног (у кого-л.)

to cut the ground from under someone’s feet; to pull the rug from under someone

The politician completely cut the ground from under his opponent’s feet.

His girlfriend pulled the rug from under him by going to Spain alone.

выбросить из головы (что-л.)

to get something out of one’s system/mind

He couldn’t get that problem out of his system.

выведенного яйца не стоить

not worth a damn

His opinion isn’t worth a damn.

выводить из равновесия (кого-л.)

to throw someone off balance

The conflicting information threw me off balance.

выводить из себя (кого-л.)

to get someone’s goat; to make someone’s hackles rise

The way she keeps denying the obvious really gets my goat.

His rude remarks made my hackles rise.

выдерживать характер

to stand/hold one’s ground; to stand firm/fast; to stick to one’s guns

The boss stood his ground and refused to accept my resignation.

He wanted me to bend to his wishes, but I stood fast and held back the tears.

John has been asked to withdraw his complaint, but he is sticking to his guns.

выжимать все соки (из кого-л.)

to bleed someone dry

The police fines have bled us dry.

вызывать на ковер (кого-л.)

to have someone on the carpet

The boss will have him on the carpet for causing trouble.

вылетать в трубу

to go bust; to go to the wall

This company he works for has gone bust.

Many small firms went to the wall in the past year.

вылетать из головы (у кого-л.)

to slip someone’s mind

I meant to invite him to lunch, but it slipped my mind.

выносить сор из избы

to wash one’s dirty linen in public

It is unfortunate that his wife has chosen to wash their dirty linen in public.

выпадать на долю (кому-л.)

to fall to someone’s lot

It fell to his lot to tell Paul the bad news about his brother.

выплакать все глаза

to cry one’s eyes out

She cried her eyes out when he married another girl.

выплывать на свет божий

to come to light

All his secrets have come to light.

выпускать из рук (что-л.)

to let something slip through one’s fingers

You will always regret that you have let such an opportunity slip through your fingers.

выпускать пар

to let off steam

Tom’s shouting didn’t mean he was angry with you; he was just letting off steam.

выходить в люди

to make one’s way in the world

He has made his own way in the world – his parents have not helped him at all.

выходить из своей скорлупы

to come out of one’s shell

Nancy was very shy when she first went to school, but since she has made some friends, she has come out of her shell.

выходить из себя

to lose one’s temper/rag; to fly off the handle; to go off the deep end

She lost her temper and shouted at her husband.

My father flew off the handle when he saw my report card.

I knew my father would be angry with me, but I had no idea he’d go off the deep end like this.

выходить сухим из воды

to get off scot free; to land/fall on one’s feet

Mark cheated on the examination and got caught, but he got scot free.

No matter what trouble he gets himself into, he always seems to land on his feet.

гадкий утенок an ugly duckling

гладить по головке (кого-л.)

to pat someone on the back

You shouldn’t criticise him all the time. Why don’t you pat him on the back occasionally?

гладить против шерсти (кого-л.)

to ruffle someone’s feathers; to rub someone up the wrong way

She always tried not to ruffle his feathers.

He rubbed me up the wrong way and this led to an argument.

глаза полезли на лоб (у кого-л.)

one’s eyes nearly popped out of one’s head

When I heard how much money she was spending on clothes, my eyes nearly popped out of my head.

глаза разгорелись (на что-л.)

to set one’s heart on something

I’ve set my heart on having that new dress.

глазом не моргнуть

not to bat an eyelid; not to turn a hair

Tom didn’t bat an eyelid when he was told that his daughter was getting married.

He didn’t turn a hair when a large dog ran straight towards him.

глас вопиющего в пустыне a voice crying in the wilderness

глупый как пробка

to be dead from the neck up

Her husband was dead from the neck up.

глухой как пень

(as) deaf as a post

He won’t hear us – he’s as deaf as a post.

гнать волну

to make waves

Why do you always have to make waves?

гнать в три шеи (кого-л.)

to throw someone out on one’s ear

If you continue to be so late, the director will throw you out on your ear.

гнуть свою линию

to stand/hold one’s ground; to stand firm/fast; to stick to one’s guns

The referee stood his ground and refused to be intimidated.

The customer stood fast and got a refund on the faulty good he brought back.

She was sticking to her guns and nobody could persuade her to do something against her wishes.

гнуть спину

to break one’s back; to work one’s fingers to the bone

I’m not going to break my back working all day for such low wages.

His parents worked their fingers to the bone so he could have everything he needed.

говорить без обиняков

not to mince matters; to talk turkey

Not to mince matters, he is absolutely useless.

I wanted to discuss his behaviour and I was prepared to talk turkey.

говорить на ветер

to waste one’s breath

You’re wasting your breath. He won’t agree to go with you.

голову даю на отсечение

I’ll eat my hat!

I’ll eat my hat if it wasn’t your little sister who stole my book.

голубая кровь

blue blood

They are very poor, but they have blue blood in their family.

голыми руками

with one’s bare hands

A desperate man can kill a leopard with his bare hands.

гора с плеч

a load off someone’s mind

It is a load off my mind to know that he has solved that problem.

городить чушь

to talk through one’s hat

You’re talking through your hat. You don’t know anything about it.

горькая пилюля

a bitter pill (to swallow)

His betrayal came as a bitter pill to swallow.

горячая линия

a hot line

The society has set up a hot line for people to report sightings of whales and dolphins.

грабеж средь бела дня

daylight robbery

The prices in this shop are unbelievable – it’s daylight robbery.

греть руки

to line one’s pockets; to feather one’s nest

When the company discovered that the director had been lining his pockets with bribes and commissions, he was dismissed.

The mayor used a lot of public money to feather his nest.

гроша медного не стоить

not worth a damn

Your advice isn’t worth a damn.

давать волю (кому-л.)

to give someone free rein

The boss gave me free rein with the new project.

давать волю (чему-л.)

to give something free rein; to give way to something

In writing that book he gave his imagination free rein.

He gave way to anger and yelled at the children.

давать выход (чему-л.)

to give vent to something

June gave vent to her anger and frustration in a furious letter to her husband.

давать жару (кому-л.)

to give someone hell

If he goes to a pub with his friends, his wife gives him hell.

давать на лапу (кому-л.)

to grease someone’s palm

We had to grease the palms of numerous officials before we could renew the licence.

давать от ворот поворот (кому-л.)

to give someone the boot/push/heave-ho/brush-off

My sister has given her latest boyfriend the heave-ho.

давать пищу сплетням

to set tongues wagging

The news of her marriage set tongues wagging through the whole village.

давать себе волю

to let oneself go

She really let herself go at the party and drank far too much beer.

давать тягу

to take to one’s heels; to turn tail and run; to do a bunk

The thief saw me and took to his heels.

Two boys did a bunk during the morning break.

I was so nervous that my only thought was to turn tail and run.

далеко не так

far from it

I thought your wife spoke fluent German. – Far from it – she doesn’t even know how to say ‘hello’.

далеко пойти

to go far

Her son has a talent for painting and I’m sure he will go far.

Дамоклов меч the sword of Damocles

дать дуба

to kick the bucket; to cash in one’s chips

His children were just waiting for the old man to kick the bucket.

Tony is too young to cash in his chips.

дать урок (кому-л.)

to teach someone a lesson

I decided to teach my neighbour a lesson after I caught him peeping through my windows.

два сапога пара

birds of a feather

I’m sure that Debbie and her boyfriend are birds of a feather.

действовать на нервы (кому-л.)

to get on someone’s nerves; to get under someone’s skin; to drive someone up the wall

Please stop whistling. It’s getting on my nerves.

I can’t stand this woman – she gets under my skin.

Their children always drive me up the wall.

делать вид

to make believe; to put on an act

The children made believe they were pirates and treasure hunters.

I thought he had hurt his foot, but he was only putting on an act.

делать из мухи слона

to make a mountain out of a molehill

Aren’t you making a mountain out of a molehill? I’m sure he’ll give you the money back.

делать посмешище (из кого-л./чего-л.)

make someone/something a laughing stock

It is a silly idea. It will make our university a laughing stock.

делать хорошую мину при плохой игре

to put on a brave face

My brother was disappointed by his failure in the examinations, but he put on a brave face and pretended nothing had happened.

делать честь (кому-л.) to do someone credit

His honesty does him credit.

делать шиворот-навыворот

to put the cart before the horse

Isn’t it rather putting the cart before the horse to buy the furniture when you haven’t yet moved to your new house?

держать (свое) слово

to keep one’s word

You must keep your word if you promised to help him.

держать в ежовых рукавицах (кого-л.)

to keep a tight rein on someone ; to rule someone with a rod of iron

The teacher kept a tight rein on his students.

His wife rules him with a rod of iron.

держать в неведении (кого-л.)

to keep someone in the dark

Peter kept his wife in the dark about his plans to buy a new car.

держать в руках (кого-л./что-л.)

to have someone/something in the palm of one’s hand

The politician has the local press in the palm of his hand.

держать в узде (кого-л./что-л.)

to keep a tight rein on someone/something

She had to keep a tight rein on her feelings.

держать на почтительном расстоянии (кого-л.)

to keep someone at arm’s length

Jack wanted to know my sister better, but she kept him at arm’s length.

держать на коротком поводке (кого-л.)

to have someone on a string

He has his poor wife on a string – she always does what he says.

держать под каблуком (кого-л.)

to have someone in the palm of one’s hand

My sister has her husband in the palm of her hand.

держать порох сухим

to keep one’s powder dry

We must act cautiously and keep our powder dry.

держать рот на замке

to keep one’s mouth shut; to button one’s lip(s)

Will he keep his mouth shut about the mistake we made?

Button your lip about me being late for work.

держать руку на пульсе

to keep one’s finger on the pulse

My father has retired from the company now, but he still likes to keep his finger on the pulse.

держать ухо востро

to keep/have one’s ear to the ground; to keep one’s eyes open; to keep a weather eye open

If you keep your ear to the ground you’ll soon find a good job.

Keep your eyes open and see if you can learn something.

A crisis is boiling up. Keep a weather eye open.

держать хвост пистолетом

to keep one’s chin up

Keep your chin up – things will get better.

держать язык за зубами

to hold one’s tongue; to keep mum

I don’t think he can be trusted to hold his tongue.

Please keep mum about my plans to go into medicine.

держаться за юбку (кого-л.)

to be tied to someone’s apron-strings

He can’t make any decisions himself because he is tied too much to his mother’s apron-strings.

держаться на ниточке

to hang by a thread

His chances to win the election were hanging by a thread.

детские игрушки

child’s play; kids’ stuff

My brother is an experienced mountaineer, so climbing that mountain was child’s play to him.

Making chairs is kid’s stuff to my father.

дешевле пареной репы

dirt cheap

He got that computer dirt cheap.

до второго пришествия

till kingdom come

I don’t want to wait till kingdom come for you to decide what to do.

до кончиков ногтей

to one’s fingertips

He is an artist to his fingertips.

до мозга костей

to the backbone; through and through

Your brother is a gentleman to the backbone.

She is a liar through and through.

до поры до времени

for the time being

I am staying at the hotel for the time being.

доводить до белого каления (кого-л.)

to make someone see red; to make someone’s blood boil

The sight of reporters standing outside her house made Helen see red.

His words really made my blood boil.

дойти до ручки

to be at the end of one’s tether

I am at the end of my tether, and if I hear that noise again, I’ll scream.

доходить до ушей (чьих-л.)

to come to someone’s ears

It has come to our ears that you have bought a new house.

дрожать как осиновый лист

to shake like a leaf

The boy stood in the corner shaking like a leaf.

дурной глаз

the evil eye

Nothing is going right for him – he is sure somebody put the evil eye on him.

дух захватывает (у кого-л.)

to take someone’s breath away

The girl was so beautiful she took my breath away.

душа нараспашку (у кого-л.)

to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve

I think she was really disappointed about your absence, but she is not a person who wears her heart on her sleeve.

душа общества

the life and soul of the party

He is so quiet at work that you’d never think he was the life and soul of the party last night.

душа ушла в пятки (у кого-л.)

to have one’s heart in one’s boots; one’s heart sank to one’s boots

I had my heart in my boots when I went to see the director.

When I saw his face, my heart sank to my boots.

души не чаять (в ком-л.)

to think the world of someone

She thinks the world of her husband.

дым коромыслом

all hell breaks loose

All hell broke loose in the house when the children started to play cowboys and Indians.

дырявая голова

to have a head/memory like a sieve

I can’t remember her name – I’ve got a memory like a sieve.

дышать на ладан (быть при смерти)

to have one foot in the grave

His children treat him as though he has one foot in the grave.

дышать на ладан (существовать последние дни)

to be on one’s last legs

My fridge is on its last legs – I’ve had it twenty years.

если бы да кабы if wishes were horses, beggars would ride

если уж на то пошло

come to that

I haven’t seen Judy for a long time. Come to that, I haven’t seen her husband either.

ехать в Тулу со своим самоваром

to carry coals to Newcastle

Taking her flowers would be like carrying coals to Newcastle – she grows flowers in her own garden.

ждать, откуда ветер подует

to see how the wind blows; to see which way the cat jumps

Before we tell them about our plans, I think we should see which way the wind blows.

My husband always waits to see which way the cat is going to jump before making a decision.

жечь корабли

to burn one’s boats

I’ve burnt my boats by telling my boss that I was leaving, but I haven’t got another job.

Жив курилка! there is life in the old dog yet


safe and sound; alive and kicking

Her son returned safe and sound from the war.

The last time I saw John, he was alive and kicking.

живого места не оставить (на ком-л.)

to beat someone black and blue; to beat the living daylights out of someone

The man beat Tom black and blue for stealing.

If you do that again, I’ll beat the living daylights out of you.

жить как кошка с собакой

to lead a cat and dog life

She and her brother lead a cat and dog life. They are always quarrelling.

жить не по средствам

to live beyond one’s means

No wonder the Browns are deeply in debt; they have been living beyond their means for years.

жребий брошен

the die is cast

I’m not sure that I’ll find a better job but the die is cast – I’ve told my boss I wanted to leave.

за спиной (у кого-л.)

behind someone’s back

She has been saying unpleasant things about you behind your back.

за деревьями леса не видеть

not to see the wood for the trees

When people get stressed they often can’t see the wood for the trees.

за здорово живешь

for kicks

The boy said that he had stolen the car just for kicks.

за плечами (у кого-л.)

under one’s belt

Gerald has a lot of experience under his belt.

за решеткой

behind bars

He spent five years behind bars after being convicted of forgery.

забот полон рот (у кого-л.)

to have one’s hands full; to have a lot on one’s plate

He has her hands full looking after four children.

Sorry, I can’t help you – I’ve got too much on my plate at the moment.

заводить волынку

to harp on the same string

I wish you’d stop harping on the same string every time I light a cigarette. I won’t give up smoking.

заговаривать зубы (кому-л.)

to spin someone a yarn

He managed to spin me a yarn about being ill to explain his lateness.

загонять в угол (кого-л.)

to box someone into a corner

Her convincing arguments quickly boxed me into a corner.

задавать головомойку (кому-л.)

to haul someone over the coals

The teacher hauled the boy over the coals for being late for school.

задавать тон

to set the pace; to call the tune

His work sets the pace for future experiments.

The secretary calls the tune in the office.

задевать за живое (кого-л.)

to cut someone to the quick; to hit/touch a (raw) nerve

Her angry words cut me to the quick.

I think I touched a nerve when I asked him about his children.

задирать нос

to put on airs and graces

Because they have a big house she is always putting on airs and graces.

закатывать истерику

to have/throw a fit

She’ll have a fit when she knows you’ve broken her vase.

закидывать удочку

to put out feelers

They put out feelers to see if anyone was interested in buying the shop.

закон джунглей the law of the jungle

закрывать глаза (на что-л.)

to close one’s eyes to something ; to turn a blind eye to something

She chose to close her eyes to her son’s rude behaviour.

The director always turned a blind eye to her mistakes in order to prevent trouble.

закрыть лавочку

to shut up shop; to put up the shutters

They’d worked hard all morning and at half past three they decided to shut up shop and go home.

During the war many shops had to put up the shutters.

закусить удила

to take the bit between one’s teeth

There was a lot of work to be finished, so he took the bit between his teeth and stayed late at the office.

зализывать раны

to lick one’s wounds

Tom was still licking his wounds from his marriage break-up.

заметать следы

to cover one’s tracks

The criminals have covered their tracks very cleverly.

замолвить словечко (за кого-л.)

to put in a good word for someone

My father is going to put in a good word for me in the hope that the boss will give me another chance.

запеть на другой лад

to change one’s tune

She said she liked travelling by car, but when she saw the road she changed her tune.

запретный плод

forbidden fruit

Forbidden fruit is always the most desirable.

заразительный смех

an infectious laugh

His laugh was so infectious that we all joined in.

заснуть вечным сном to be called to one’s eternal rest

застигать врасплох (кого-л.)

to take someone by surprise; to catch someone with one’s pants/trousers down

The news took us by surprise.

He asked me where I’d been last night and I was caught with my pants down.

застигать на месте преступления (кого-л.)

to catch someone red-handed; to catch someone in the act

The police caught the burglars red-handed.

The thief was caught in the act of breaking into the shop.

затаить дыхание

to hold one’s breath

She held her breath as she watched the attempt to save the drowning child.

заткнуть за пояс (кого-л.)

to run rings round someone ; to put someone to shame

Jane is good at French but her brother David can run rings round her – he can speak Dutch and German as well.

I thought I was in good shape for this race but my friend Tom, who was much older than me, put me to shame.

затыкать рот (кому-л.)

to shut someone’s mouth

They threatened to shut his mouth if he talks to the police.

затянуть пояс потуже

to tighten one’s belt

If the crisis gets worse, we shall just have to tighten our belts.

заходить (слишком) далеко

to go too far; to overstep the mark

He has always been a bully but this time he went too far and even his parents were ashamed of him.

You overstepped the mark when you shouted at the director.

звонить во все колокола

to shout it from the rooftops

If I’d known you were going to shout it from the rooftops, I wouldn’t have told you about my work.

здоров как бык

(as) sound as a bell

At the age of eighty her grandfather was as sound as a bell.

зеленая улица

the green light

The government gave the green light to the minister’s plan for the new road.

злой как черт

(as) cross as two sticks; like a bear with a sore head

The man was as cross as two sticks when his wife left without waiting for him.

When my brother has to get up early, he’s like a bear with a sore head.

змея подколодная

a snake in the grass

Don’t be deceived by his friendliness – he’s a real snake in the grass.

знать в лицо (кого-л.)

to know someone by sight

I know Gregory by sight but I’ve never met him.

знать свое дело

to know one’s stuff/onions

He is a good worker and knows his stuff. I’d be sorry if he left our company.

We’ve worked with him in the past. He is a man who knows his onions.

знать как свои пять пальцев (что-л.)

to know something like the back of one’s hand; to know something inside out

He knew Manchester like the back of his hand.

He is a very good plumber who knows his job inside out.

знать свое место

to know one’s place

I knew my place and kept silent.

знать, что к чему

to know what is what

You don’t have to worry about him – he knows what’s what.

золотая середина

a happy medium

You can surely find some happy medium between exercising all the time and doing nothing.

золотое дно

a gold-mine

The report represents a gold-mine of useful information.

золотое правило

the golden rule

The golden rule of teaching is to be clear.

золотое сердце

a heart of gold

His wife is a lovely woman. She has a heart of gold.

золотой телец the golden calf

зондировать почву

to put out feelers

I wanted to get a new job, so I put out some feelers with our competitors.

и глазом не успел моргнуть

before you can say Jack Robinson

I’ll catch a train and be there before you can say Jack Robinson.

и дело с концом

that’s that

You are not going to the party alone, and that’s that.

И не говорите!

you are telling me

It’s hot today, isn’t it? – You’re telling me.

(и) туда и сюда

back and forth; up and down; to and fro; backwards and forwards

The wind moved the leaves gently back and forth.

We’ve been driving up and down the street looking for you.

She walked to and fro in the room waiting for the news.

The pendulum was moving slowly backwards and forwards.

играть в кошки-мышки (с кем-л.)

to play cat and mouse with someone

If you continue to play cat and mouse with your boyfriend, he’ll break up with you.

играть вторую скрипку

to play second fiddle

He was tired of playing second fiddle to his older brother.

играть на руку (кому-л.)

to play into someone’s hands

I had an uncomfortable feeling that by leading my men into the valley I had played into the enemy’s hands.

играть с огнем

to play with fire

She knew she was playing with fire by having an affair with her boss.

Иди к черту! Go to hell!

идти в ногу (с чем-л./кем-л.)

to keep pace with something/someone

It is difficult to keep pace with current fashions.

идти в ногу со временем

to move with the times

If we don’t move with the times, our customers will go elsewhere.

идти в огонь и воду

to go through fire and water

He would go through fire and water to help us.

идти на боковую

to hit the hay/sack

I think I’ll hit the hay now.

идти на поправку

to be on the mend

She has been very ill, but she’s on the mend now.

идти навстречу (кому-л.)

to meet someone halfway

The problem would be solved if you could meet us halfway.

идти напролом

to stop at nothing

My sister will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

идти насмарку

to come to nothing; to go down the drain; to go by the board

His plans to buy a new house came to nothing when he found out how much it would cost.

All my hard work went down the drain when the boss changed his priorities.

We didn’t have enough money so the holiday plans went by the board.

идти по линии наименьшего сопротивления

to take the line of least resistance

My brother always takes the line of least resistance with his wife and he does whatever she prefers.

идти по ложному следу

to bark up the wrong tree

You are barking up the wrong tree if you think it was Hugh who stole your watch.

идти по проторенной дорожке

to keep to the beaten track

The director decided to keep to the beaten track and not try any new ideas.

идти по стопам (кого-л.)

to follow in someone’s footsteps

He is following in his father’s footsteps by becoming a teacher.

идти под гору

to go downhill

The business is going downhill. We lose money every month.

идти с молотка

to come under the hammer

His coin collection will come under the hammer next week.

идти своей дорогой

to go one’s own way

He didn’t want to listen to his parents and was determined to go his own way.

из вторых рук

at second hand

I heard the news at second hand.

из кожи лезть вон

to go out of one’s way; to bend/lean over backwards;

to move heaven and earth

He went out of his way to help his friends.

I bent over backwards to please the old man, but he wasn’t at all grateful.

She moved heaven and earth to get the job.

из любви к искусству

for love

She volunteers at the hospital for love.

из огня да в полымя

out of the frying pan into the fire

He left his job because he wanted more freedom, but in his new one he has to work overtime – out of the frying pan into the fire!

из первых рук

at first hand

I got the news at first hand.

из первых уст

straight from the horse’s mouth

I got that story straight from the horse’s mouth.

из ряда вон выходящий

out of this world

The cake she cooked was out of this world.

изливать душу

to pour out one’s heart

She came to my room and poured out her heart to me about her unhappy marriage.

изо всей силы

with all one’s might; for all one is worth

He pushed with all his might but the gate remained firmly closed.

He swam towards the shore for all he was worth.

изо дня в день

day after day; day by day; day in, day out

He wears the same clothes day after day.

In November it gets colder day by day.

Day in, day out she had to look after the old man.

из-под (самого) носа

from under someone’s nose

The money was stolen from under his nose.

из-под полы

under the counter

The shop was not licensed to sell alcohol though its owner was selling whisky under the counter.

иметь голову на плечах

to have a good head on one’s shoulder

He can be trusted with anything – he’s got a good head on his shoulder.

иметь зуб (на кого-л.)

to have it in for someone ; to have a bone to pick with someone

I don’t know why Carol has it in for me – I’ve always been nice to her.

I have a bone to pick with my neighbour.

искать иголку в стоге сена

to look for a needle in a haystack

His office was in a mess. Trying to find that document was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

искры из глаз посыпались (у кого-л.)

to see stars

I hit my head against the door and saw stars.

искушать судьбу

to tempt providence

To climb that cliff would be to tempt providence.

испокон веков

from time immemorial

The family has lived in this house from time immemorial.

испустить дух

to breathe one’s last; to give up the ghost

Mr. Johnson breathed his last yesterday.

The old man sighed and gave up the ghost.

My car has given up the ghost.

К черту! Damn it!

каждый встречный

any Tom, Dick, and Harry

You can’t go out with any Tom, Dick, and Harry you happen to meet!

как бельмо на глазу (у кого-л.)

to be a thorn in someone’s flesh/side

His sister had been a thorn in his flesh for many years, always criticising his manners and way of life.

как в воду кануть

to vanish/disappear into thin air

One day, without any warning, he disappeared into thin air.

как в воду опущенный

down in the dumps/mouth

Nancy has been down in the dumps ever since her dog died.

как в темном лесу

in the dark; (all) at sea

He might know what he was talking about, but the rest of us were completely in the dark.

When it comes to theoretical physics, I am all at sea.

как вкопанный

rooted to the spot

He shouted to her to run, but she stood rooted to the spot.

как говорится

as they say; as the saying goes

The examination was, as they say, as easy as pie.

Married life is, as the saying goes, not all beer and skittles.

как гром среди ясного неба

like a bolt from the blue

The news of his resignation came as a bolt from the blue.

как две капли воды

like two peas in a pod

The sisters are like two peas in a pod.

как красная тряпка для быка

like a red rag to a bull

Don’t talk to him about his son because it’s like a red rag to a bull.

как на (горячих) угольях

like a cat on hot bricks; on pins and needles; on tenterhooks

She was like a cat on hot bricks before her examination.

She was on pins and needles waiting for any news.

I’ve been on tenterhooks the whole morning waiting for my examination results.

как ошпаренный

like a bat out of hell; like a shot

She ran out of the room like a bat out of hell.

The boy saw me and ran like a shot.

как пить дать

(as) sure as eggs is eggs; (as) sure as hell

As sure as eggs is eggs, he’ll be back again next week asking for another loan of money.

It’s going to rain tonight, sure as hell.

как по мановению волшебной палочки

with a wave of one’s magic wand

She thought that he could put things right with a wave of his magic wand.

как рыба в воде

in one’s element

She is in her element when she is organising a party.

как с гуся вода

like water off a duck’s back

There is no point scolding that boy for his dishonesty – it’s like water off a duck’s back.

как сельди в бочке

packed like sardines

The bus was so full we were packed like sardines. I could hardly move my arms.

как сквозь землю провалиться

to vanish/disappear into thin air

The bank robbers seem to have disappeared into thin air.

как слон в посудной лавке

like a bull in a china shop

He accidentally knocked over the lamp – he really is like a bull in a china shop.

как снег на голову

out of the blue

His parents arrived out of the blue yesterday. We didn’t know they were in the area.

как сыр в масле кататься

to live in clover

She married a wealthy man and lived in clover for the rest of her life.

как угорелая кошка

like a scalded cat

She ran like a scalded cat when she saw a ghost.

Какая муха тебя укусила? What’s eating you?

каменное сердце

a heart of stone

You won’t get any sympathy from George – he has a heart of stone.

камень на шее (для кого-л.)

a millstone round someone’s neck

She regarded her brother-in-law as nothing but a millstone round her neck.

камень преткновения

a stumbling block

The scheme would be excellent, but money is the main stumbling block in any project of this size.

камень с души свалился (у кого-л.)

a load off someone’s mind

It’s a load off my mind to know that they’ve arrived safely.

камня на камне не оставить (от чего-л.)

to tear something to bits/pieces

The new director tore my work to bits.

капля в море

a drop in the ocean

Ted has offered us some money but it will be a drop in the ocean compared to what we need.

карточный домик

a house of cards

When her husband left her for another woman her whole life fell down around her like a house of cards.

кислая мина

a long face

The children pulled a long face when she told them that she couldn’t take them to the cinema.

китайская грамота (для кого-л.)

double Dutch (to someone ); all Greek (to someone )

I couldn’t understand a single word – it was all double Dutch to me.

He tried to explain how a computer worked, but it was all Greek to me.

книга за семью печатями

a closed book

Trigonometry is a closed book to me.

когда рак на горе свиснет

when hell freezes over; when pigs fly

I’ll believe his story when hell freezes over.

Will we ever receive a reward for all this hard work? – Certainly, when pigs fly.

кожа да кости

skin and bones; a bag of bones

He was all skin and bones after his illness.

When I saw her last, she was just a bag of bones.

комок в горле стоит (у кого-л.)

to have a lump in one’s throat

When I hear the national anthem, I have a lump in my throat.

комок нервов

a bag of nerves

Since the burglary Grace has been a bag of nerves.

короче говоря

to cut a long story short

Well, to cut a long story short, they found the island and the treasure.

корчить рожу

to make/pull a face

She pulled a face when it cost more than she expected.

коту под хвост

down the drain

We’ll have to start again – several months’ work down the drain.

краем глаза

out of the corner of one’s eye

I only saw the accident out of the corner of my eye.

край света

the back of beyond

After living in the capital, this town seems like the back of beyond.

красивый как картинка

(as) pretty as a picture

My little daughter is as pretty as a picture.

красный как рак

as red as a beetroot

When somebody talks about women, he goes as red as a beetroot.

краше в гроб кладут

to look like death warmed up

The poor girl looked like death warmed up.

крепкий орешек

a hard nut (to crack)

You will find him a hard nut to crack.

He tinkered with the broken car engine for hours; it was a very hard nut to crack.

кричать благим матом

to scream blue murder

The baby screamed blue murder when I put him to bed.

кричать на всех перекрестках (о чем-л.)

to shout something from the rooftops

She was in love and wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

кровь стынет в жилах (у кого-л.)

one’s blood runs cold

Her blood ran cold as she heard someone moving in the shadows.

крокодиловы слезы

crocodile tears

She is only crying crocodile tears – she never liked the old man and she’s not sorry he’s dead.

кроткий как ягненок

(as) meek as a lamb

He never complains about overwork, he’s as meek as a lamb.

кружить голову (кому-л.) (вызывать восторг)

to turn someone’s head; to go to someone’s head

Tom’s promotion has turned his head and he hardly talks to us now.

She is a famous actress; I only hope her success will not go to her head.

кружить голову (кому-л.) (влюблять в себя)

to sweep someone off one’s feet

The young girl was swept off her feet by a handsome stranger.

крыша над головой (у кого-л.)

a roof over one’s head

Our new house was not a palace, but at least we had a roof over our heads.

кто знает

you never can tell

It sounded like a promise, but you never can tell – he might change his mind later.

купаться в золоте

to be in the money; to be made of money; to have money to burn

She’s in the money now since her rich uncle has died.

Sorry, I can’t lend you fifty pounds. I’m not made of money, you know.

The only people who can afford to pay such a huge sum of money for a new suit are rich people with money to burn.

лебединая песня

( one’s ) swan song

The singer’s performance in London last week proved to be his swan song.

легкий как перышко

(as) light as a feather

Of course I can carry the suitcase. It’s as light as a feather.

легок на помине

Talk of the devil!

John always keeps us waiting. Shall we go? Oh, talk of the devil, here he is coming along the road!

легче легкого

(as) easy as pie; (as) easy as falling off a log

It was the easiest job I’ve ever done. It was as easy as pie.

He said writing songs was as easy as falling off a log for him.

лезть в бутылку

to fly off the handle

There’s no need to fly off the handle. I only wanted to explain how I felt.

лезть в петлю

to put one’s head in a noose; to put one’s head on the block; to risk one’s neck

By openly voting against the director, she’s put her head in a noose.

He put his head on the block by admitting that he was the one who made the mistake.

He was aware that in joining the military expedition he was risking his neck.

лезть на рожон

to stick one’s neck out; to ask for trouble/it

He has had the courage to stick his head out and speak the truth.

Stop talking to the boss that way, Pete. You’re just asking for trouble.

лезть на стенку

to go up the wall

She’ll go up the wall if she finds out you’ve been smoking.

летающая тарелка a flying saucer

лечь костьми

to lay down one’s life

He would lay down his life in the service of his country.

лизать пятки (кому-л.)

to lick someone’s boots

It’s disgusting the way she licks her boss’ boots all the time.

лить воду на мельницу (кого-л.)

to play into someone’s hands

By discussing his plans openly the politician was playing into the hands of the opposition.

лить как из ведра

to come down in buckets; to rain cats and dogs

I’m not going out in this rain – it’s coming down in buckets.

It’s raining cats and dogs outside tonight.

лицом к лицу

face to face

He came face to face with his enemy.

лишиться рассудка

to be/go out of one’s mind

She must be out of her mind to talk like that to the new director.

ловить каждое слово (кого-л.)

to hang upon someone’s words

Margaret is full of admiration for her husband and hangs upon his words.

ловить на слове (кого-л.)

to take someone at one’s word

When I said that I would like them to visit us in Spain they took me at my word and arrived at our villa two weeks later with all their children.

ловить рыбу в мутной воде

to fish in troubled waters

During the war, this company had been fishing in troubled waters selling goods to both sides.

ложиться под нож

to go under the knife

I have to go under the knife next week.

ложка дегтя в бочке меда

a fly in the ointment

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. The only fly in the ointment was the bad weather.

ломать (себе) голову

to rack one’s brains

She racked her brains all morning, but couldn’t remember where she put the key.

ломать комедию

to put on an act

She is putting on an act. I don’t believe she has hurt her knee.

ломать копья (с кем-л.)

to cross swords (with someone )

The last time we crossed swords I had to admit that I was wrong.

любой ценой

at all costs; at any price

He must at all costs avoid being seen.

She was willing to carry out her plan at any price.

мальчик для битья

a whipping boy

Our director always has to have a whipping boy for his mistakes.

манна небесная

manna from heaven

Helen was very bored in hospital and welcomed the books brought in by a friend as manna from heaven.

марать руки

to dirty one’s hands

Do you think I would hit someone like your brother? I wouldn’t dirty my hands on him.

мастер на все руки

a jack of all trades

Bill will take on any piece of work he is offered, from plumbing to gardening – he’s a jack of all trades.

мастер своего дела

an old hand

He is an old hand at repairing watches.

махнуть рукой (на кого-л./что-л.)

to give someone/something up as a bad job

I could not persuade him to go to university, and finally gave it up as a bad job.

I gave him up as a bad job when he failed to keep his word.

между молотом и наковальней

between a rock and a hard place; between the devil and the deep blue sea

Trying to please both his wife and his mother he finds himself between a rock and a hard place.

I couldn’t make up my mind. I was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

между нами говоря

between you and me; between ourselves; between you, me and the gatepost

Between you and me, I think he made up the whole story.

Between ourselves, he is having trouble with his wife.

Between you, me and the gatepost, I don’t believe his words.

между Сциллой и Харибдой between Scylla and Charybdis

мелкая сошка

small fry

The boss is too snobbish to greet the small fry.

мерить взглядом (кого-л.)

to look someone up and down

She looked me up and down and I knew she thought I was improperly dressed for the party.

мертвого разбудит

loud enough to wake the dead

The noise was loud enough to wake the dead.

мертвый сезон

the off season

This town is very quiet in the off season.

место под солнцем

a place in the sun

John worked very hard to earn his place in the sun.

метать бисер перед свиньями

to cast pearls before swine

She tried to show the beauty of Latin poetry to her students but it was just casting pearls before swine.

минута в минуту

on the dot

She promised to come at nine o’clock on the dot.

молоко на губах не обсохло

to be still wet behind the ears

He has no experience of the job – he is still wet behind the ears.

молочные реки и кисельные берега

a land of milk and honey

Many people regard the United States as a land of milk and honey.

мороз по коже пробежал (у кого-л.)

a shiver down someone’s spine

Every time I hear that song, I feel a shiver down my spine.

мочиться против ветра

to piss against the wind

To argue with the director is like pissing against the wind.

мутить воду

to muddy the waters

I found different definitions in other dictionaries which only muddied the waters further.

мухи не обидит

wouldn’t hurt a fly

My dog barks a lot, but really he wouldn’t hurt a fly.

на верху блаженства

on top of the world

Daniel is on top of the world – he’s just got a new job.

на вес золота

worth one’s weight in gold

She is a good secretary. She is worth her weight in gold.

на всякий случай

to be on the safe side

We should come to the station at least an hour before the train leaves, just to be on the safe side.

на глазах (у кого-л.)

before someone’s (very) eyes

The boy stole the sweets before my very eyes.

на голову выше (кого-л.)

head and shoulders above someone

Mary thinks her husband stands head and shoulders above any other man.

на голом месте

from scratch

His house was destroyed by fire and he had to start building again from scratch.

на каждом шагу

at every turn

He encountered unexpected difficulties at every turn.

на коленях

on bended knees

He was willing to go to her on bended knees to ask forgiveness.

на месте (кого-л.)

in someone’s shoes

If I were in your shoes I wouldn’t trust him.

на ногах

on one’s feet

The doctor has been on his feet all day long in the operating room.

на ножах (с кем-л.)

at daggers drawn (with someone ); at loggerheads (with someone )

They’ve been at daggers drawn with their neighbours for years.

The government and the trade unions were often at loggerheads.

на носу

(a)round the corner; close/near at hand

Winter is just around the corner. Are you prepared?

The exams are close at hand.

на первый взгляд

at first sight; on the face of it

At first sight, the problem appeared quite simple, but it actually turned out to be very difficult.

On the face of it, her husband is clearly in the wrong, but do we know the whole story?

на плохом счету (у кого-л.)

in someone’s bad/black books

I don’t know what I’ve done to get into his bad books.

на своих двоих

on shanks’s pony

My car didn’t start and I had to go the whole way on shanks’s pony.

на свой страх и риск

at one’s own risk

But remember that the sea is dangerous. You swim at your own risk.

на седьмом небе

in seventh heaven; on cloud nine

The girl was in seventh heaven with her new toy.

Peter has been on cloud nine since his engagement to Mary.

на уме (у кого-л. что-л.)

to have something on one’s mind

I could see he had something on his mind.

на хорошем счету (у кого-л.)

in someone’s good books

Paul has been in the manager’s good books since he increased last year’s sales.

на худой конец

if the worst comes to the worst; as a last resort

If the worst comes to the worst, we could always sell the car.

If we can’t get the money in any other way, I suppose we could, as a last resort, borrow from your rich uncle.

на черный день

for a rainy day

I put aside a little money each month for a rainy day.

набивать карман

to line one’s pockets

The agent has been lining his pockets with the profits for the last three years.

набивать руку (в чем-л.)

to get the hang of something ; to get one’s hand in (at something )

The task seemed difficult at first, but after a few weeks I got the hang of it.

It won’t take you long to get your hand in at the game.

навострить уши

to prick up one’s ears

He pricked up his ears when they mentioned his name.

навязнуть в зубах

to be sick and tired of someone/something ; to be sick to death of someone/something

I’m sick and tired of hearing about your new car.

I’m sick to death of her complaints.

нагонять тоску (на кого-л.)

to give someone the hump

He really gives me the hump with his boring stories.

надевать маску

to play a part

Don’t let him fool you – he’s just playing a part.

надрывать душу (кому-л.)

to break someone’s heart

The boy really broke his mother’s heart when he run away from home.

надрывать животики

to be in stitches; to split one’s sides (laughing)

It was quite funny and the audience was in stitches.

My friends nearly split their sides when I showed them my new hat.

нажимать на все педали

to pull out all the stops

We’ll have to pull out all the stops if we want to get to the station in time.

называть вещи своими именами

to call a spade a spade

Let’s call a spade a spade. The boy is a liar.

намылить голову (кому-л.)

to haul someone over the coals; to give someone the rough edge of one’s tongue

He was hauled over the coals for being absent without permission.

The boss gave me the rough edge of his tongue because I was so late for work.

напрашиваться на неприятности

to ask for it/trouble

He was really asking for it by threatening the police officer.

напугать до смерти (кого-л.)

to put the fear of God into someone ; to frighten/scare someone out of one’s wits

Driving with Ralph in his racing car puts the fear of God into me.

The dog frightened the little girl out of her wits.

наставить нос (кому-л.)

to pull a fast one on someone; to pull the wool over someone’s eyes

She certainly pulled a fast one on me.

Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes. I know what’s going on.

наступать на любимую мозоль (кому-л.)

to hit/touch a (raw) nerve

The newspaper article must have touched a nerve with a lot of readers.

наступать на пятки (кому-л.)

to be hard on someone’s heels

Our competitors are hard on our heels – we must improve our design.

находить общий язык (с кем-л.)

to find common ground (with someone )

The two sides seem unable to find any common ground.

начинать с нуля

to start from scratch; to start from square one

My sister moved to another town where she had to start from scratch.

We lost all our clients and had to start again from square one.

не ахти какой

nothing to write home about

The film was nothing to write home about.

не бог весть что

no great shakes; not much cop

His girlfriend is no great shakes.

The book wasn’t much cop.

не в духе

out of sorts; out of humour

I’ve been feeling tired and a little out of sorts.

William is out of humour this morning. He has been shouting at everybody.

не в курсе дела

out of the picture

The whole plan is a secret and she wants to keep everybody out of the picture.

не в своей тарелке

ill at ease; out of one’s element

I always feel ill at ease when I meet his wife.

When it comes to poetry, I’m out of my element.

не в своем уме

out of one’s head; off one’s head/rocker/nut

He must be out of his head to go swimming on such a cold day.

Spending that much on a dress! She must be off her rocker.

не в форме

out of sorts/form; below par; under the weather

The horse is out of form; it’s not likely to win the race.

I was feeling a little below par this morning.

He was tired and a bit under the weather.

не верить своим глазам

cannot believe one’s eyes

When I saw her husband washing up the dishes, I couldn’t believe my eyes!

не верить своим ушам

cannot believe one’s ears

I was shocked to learn that he had been fired, I couldn’t believe my ears.

не видеть дальше собственного носа

cannot see beyond the end of one’s nose

It’s obvious to me, but she can’t see beyond the end of her nose.

не все дома

not all there

Sometimes I think he is not all there.

не давать ни отдыха ни срока (кому-л.)

keep someone’s nose to the grindstone; to keep someone on the trot

The new boss believes in hard work and keeps his workers’ noses to the grindstone all the time.

My wife keeps me on the trot.

Не дай Бог!

God/heaven forbid!

I hope the car won’t break down. – God forbid!

не за горами

(a)round the corner; close/near at hand

Spring is right around the corner.

The examinations are close at hand.

не иметь ни малейшего представления (о чем-л.)

not to know the first thing about something

I’m afraid I don’t know the first thing about engines.

не к месту

beside the point; out of place

Your observation is very interesting, but beside the point.

Her dress was very beautiful, but I thought it looked out of place.

не мытьем, так катанием

by hook or by crook; by fair means or foul

I’ll get your brother to come, by hook or by crook.

He is determined to win by fair means or foul.

не находить себе места

to have kittens

The boy didn’t get home last night and his mother was having kittens wondering what to do.

не падать духом

to keep one’s chin up

When her husband left her, she had to keep her chin up for the sake of the children.

не первой молодости

no spring chicken

She looks younger than she is, but she is no spring chicken.

не по дням, а по часам

by leaps and bounds

The profits are increasing by leaps and bounds.

не спускать глаз (с кого-л./чего-л.)

to keep an eye on someone/something

She asked me to keep an eye on her suitcase.

не стесняться в выражениях

not to mince one’s words

She told him emphatically not to come again, she didn’t mince her words.

не терять головы

to keep one’s head; to keep a level head

She kept her head when she found that the house was on fire.

Hugh is known for his ability to keep a level head in every situation.

не чувствовать под собой ног (от счастья и т. п.)

to walk on air; to be beside oneself

John has been walking on air since he got the job.

The children were beside themselves on the last day of school.

не шутка

no joke; no laughing matter

It was no joke when my car broke down in the middle of the busy motorway.

The loss of a passport is no laughing matter.

невооруженным глазом

with the naked eye

These stars are too far away to be seen with the naked eye.

нем как рыба (as) silent as the grave

нести вздор

to talk through one’s hat

You’re talking through your hat. I don’t believe you.

нести свой крест

to bear one’s cross

Nobody could help him. He just had to bear his cross.

нестись сломя голову

to break one’s neck

I broke my neck trying to get there in time to meet you.

ни в грош не ставить (кого-л./что-л.)

to set little store by someone/something

Jane sets little store by her husband’s opinion.

ни в жизнь

not on your life

Will you marry her? – Not on your life!

ни в одном глазу

(as) sober as a judge

All my friends were drunk, but I was sober as a judge.

ни за какие коврижки

not for love or money; not for all the tea in China

I won’t do it for love or money.

I wouldn’t go back there for all tea in China.

ни рыба ни мясо

neither fish nor fowl

It tasted of neither fish nor fowl.

ни с того ни с сего

without rhyme or reason

Three men attacked Joe without rhyme or reason.

ни свет ни заря

bright and early

She got up bright and early.

ни слуху ни духу (о ком-л./чем-л.)

neither hide nor hair of someone/something

I thought I left the documents on the table, but I couldn’t find either hide nor hair of them.

ни то ни се

betwixt and between

The dinner we had yesterday at the restaurant was betwixt and between.

ниже пояса

below the belt

I think it was a bit below the belt to embarrass her in front of other guests.

никоим образом

by no means; not by a long chalk

I was by no means certain that they would sign the contract.

I haven’t yet finished the work by a long chalk.

ничего особенного

nothing to write home about

The concert was nothing to write home about.

ничего подобного

nothing of the kind

Isn’t your son a doctor? – Nothing of the kind – he is an actor.

нож в спину

a stab in the back

I trusted him, so it was quite a stab in the back for me when he offered the job to someone else.

носить на руках (кого-л.)

to think the world of someone

He thinks the world of his wife and gives her lots of presents.

носиться в воздухе

to be in the air

There was tension in the air.

нужно как собаке пятая нога (кто-л./что-л.)

to need something/someone like one needs a hole in the head

I need this extra work like I need a hole in the head.

нюхом чуять

to feel it in one’s bones

She knew Adam would marry her daughter. She felt it in her bones.

обагрять руки кровью (чьей-л.) to have ( someone’s ) blood on one’s hands

обводить вокруг пальца (кого-л.)

to take someone for a ride

The boy is so dumb everybody takes him for a ride.

обдавать холодом (кого-л.)

to give someone the cold shoulder

I thought that Lucy and I were friends, but when I greeted her this morning she gave me the cold shoulder.

обжечь себе пальцы

to get one’s fingers burnt

I got my fingers burnt by investing money in your friend’s company.

ободрать как липку (кого-л.)

to take someone to the cleaners

I have been completely taken to the cleaners; I haven’t a penny left.

оборотная сторона медали

the other side of the coin

One must look at the other side of the coin.

обретать второе дыхание

to get one’s second wind

Jack became very tired while jogging, but after a while he got his second wind.

одним махом

in one fell swoop

The guests ate all the snacks in one fell swoop.

одним миром мазаны

to be tarred with the same brush; to be cut from the same cloth

I don’t believe all these politicians – they are all tarred with the same brush.

She and her husband are cut from the same cloth.

одним словом

in a word

In a word, he was lying.

одного поля ягода

birds of a feather; two of a kind

I think that he and his girlfriend are birds of a feather.

The sisters are two of a kind, they like the same things.

одному Богу известно

God/heaven knows

She never had any money. How she lived, God knows.

оказаться на высоте положения

to rise to the occasion

It was a difficult task, but she rose to the occasion.

осиное гнездо a hornet’s nest

оставить в покое (кого-л.)

to get off someone’s back

I’m tired of your criticism. Why don’t you get off my back and let me do my work!

оставляет желать лучшего

to leave a lot to be desired

His wife’s cooking leaves a lot to be desired.

оставлять в дураках (кого-л.)

to make a fool of someone

He made a fool of me by pretending to be a capable musician, but he couldn’t play a note.

острый язычок

a sharp tongue

She was known for her sharp tongue.

от «а» до «я»

from ‘A’ to ‘Z’

He knows his job from ‘A’ to ‘Z’.

от всего сердца

from the bottom of one’s heart; with all one’s heart and soul

The boy was very helpful and I thanked him from the bottom of my heart.

She loves her husband with all her heart and soul.

от горшка два вершка

knee-high to a grasshopper

I haven’t seen your brother since he was knee-high to a grasshopper.

от греха подальше

out of harm’s way

She parked her car off the road – out of harms way.

от силы

at the most; at the (very) outside

It will take two hours at the most to get there.

It’ll take 45 minutes, an hour at the very outside.

отбиваться от рук

to get out of hand

‘Don’t let the children get out of hand!’ Mother warned me.

отбирать хлеб (у кого-л.)

to take the bread out of someone’s mouth

If he opens his shop next door to mine, he’ll be taking the bread out of my mouth.

отводить душу

to pour out one’s heart

She came to my room and poured her heart out to me.

отдавать Богу душу to meet one’s maker

отдавать должное (кому-л./чему-л.)

to do justice to someone/something

The meal was well cooked and we did justice to it.

отдавать жизнь

to lay down one’s life

He was ready to lay down his life for his country.

отдавать концы

to kick the bucket; to turn up one’s toes

I was so ill, I thought I was going to kick the bucket.

The dog turned up his toes last night. He was nearly fifteen years old.

отдавать сердце (кому-л.)

to lose one’s heart to someone

She lost her heart to the new teacher.

отделять плевелы от пшеницы to separate the wheat from the chaff

открывать глаза (кому-л. на что-л.)

to open someone’s eyes to something

I opened her eyes to her husband’s unfaithfulness.

откуда ни возьмись

out of the blue; all of a sudden

His brother appeared on my doorstep out of the blue.

They were speaking quietly when all of a sudden there was a deafening noise.

отогревать змею на груди to nurse a viper in one’s bosom

отодвигать на задний план (кого-л./что-л.)

to put someone/something in the shade

His tremendous success put us all in the shade.

отправляться на тот свет to go to the other side

отставать от времени

to be behind the times

Many of her ideas were behind the times.

падать духом

to lose heart

The garrison lost heart and surrendered.

падать на бесплодную почву

to fall on stony ground

Her appeal has fallen on stony ground.

падать с неба (кому-л.)

to drop into someone’s lap

She can’t stand people who don’t work and expect money to drop into their laps.

палец о палец не ударить

not to do a hand’s turn

The boy is very lazy. He has never done a hand’s turn in his life.

пальцем не пошевелить

not to lift a finger

His parents wouldn’t lift a finger to help us.

пан или пропал

sink or swim

It’s too late to help Helen. It’s sink or swim for her now.

пара пустяков

child’s play; a piece of cake

I found it child’s play to ride a bicycle.

That was easy, a piece of cake.

парень не промах

nobody’s fool

He was perfectly aware of what was happening, he was nobody’s fool.

перебегать дорогу (кому-л.)

to steal a march on someone

He has stolen a march on his competitors by starting the spring sales one week earlier than them.

перебиваться с хлеба на квас

to live from hand to mouth

I knew that his parents lived from hand to mouth during the war.

переводить дух

to catch one’s breath

After the game of tennis she had to sit down and catch her breath.

переворачиваться в гробу

to turn in one’s grave

If your uncle knew what you were doing with his favourite garden, he would turn in his grave.

перегибать палку

to overstep the mark

The director overstepped the mark when he shouted at his secretary.

перед лицом (чего-л.)

in the face of something

Caution was forgotten in the face of great danger.

перейти Рубикон to cross the Rubicon

перемывать косточки (кому-л.)

to pick someone to pieces

They started to pick Daniel to pieces as soon as he was out of the room.

пересчитать все ребра (кому-л.)

to beat the living daylights out of someone; to knock the stuffing out of someone

If I ever see you with my wife again, I’ll beat the living daylights out of you.

The neighbour caught Tom stealing fruits from his garden and knocked the stuffing out of the boy.

петь дифирамбы (кому-л.)

to sing someone praises

You must have made a good impression on her parents. They were singing your praises that evening.

Пиррова победа a Pyrrhic victory

пить горькую

to drink like a fish

The man drinks like a fish. He is drunk every night.

пища для размышлений

food for thought

His suggestions certainly provide food for thought.

платить втридорога

to pay through the nose; to pay the earth

I’ve got a ticket, but I had to pay through the nose for it.

I paid the earth for this joint of beef.

платить той же монетой (кому-л.)

to give someone a dose/taste of one’s own medicine

We will give him a taste of his own medicine for the wrongs he has done to us.

плечом к плечу

shoulder to shoulder

The soldiers were marching shoulder to shoulder.

плоть от плоти и кровь от крови

one’s own flesh and blood

Your sister has nowhere to live, so you have to take her into your house; after all, she is your own flesh and blood.

плыть в руки (кому-л.)

to drop into someone’s lap

All the best things in life must be worked for – they won’t drop into your lap.

плыть по течению

to drift with the tide

She was just drifting with the tide, relaxing and letting things happen.

плыть против течения

to swim/go against the tide

It’s better to live a quiet life than swim against the tide.

по горло (в чем-л.)

up to one’s ears/eyes/neck/eyeballs (in something )

Sorry, but I can’t come to your party. I’ve been up to my ears in work these past few days.

по правде говоря

to tell you the truth

What do you think of this book? – To tell you the truth, I haven’t read it yet.

по старой памяти

for old times’ sake

Do you want to meet for a drink sometime, just for old times’ sake?

по уши влюбиться

to fall head over heels (in love)

My brother fell head over heels in love with Mary.

Побойся Бога!

Have a heart!

Have a heart! We have to have a break sometimes.

повернуть колесо истории вспять

to put/turn the clock back

Times have changed and we can’t turn the clock back.

повернуться негде

not enough room to swing a cat

Their house is very small. There isn’t enough room to swing a cat.

повисать в воздухе

to be up in the air

Our plans are up in the air.

под башмаком (у кого-л.)

under someone’s thumb; in the palm of someone’s hand

Tom is completely under his wife’s thumb.

They would never dare contradict her. She’s got them in the palm of her hand.

под боком (у кого-л.)

at one’s elbow

I have all the books I need at my elbow.

под крылышком (у кого-л.)

under someone’s wing

I wasn’t doing well in mathematics, so the teacher took me under her wing.

под мухой

under the influence; to have had one too many; to have had a few (too many)

The police stopped him, because he was driving under the influence.

He looks as if he has had one too many.

She’s had a few; you should take her home and put her to bed.

под ногами (у кого-л.)

under someone’s feet

They don’t seem to mind having three children under their feet all the time.

под носом (у кого-л.)

under someone’s nose

This all went on under her nose, without her noticing anything.

под рукой (у кого-л.)

close/near at hand; on hand; at one’s elbow

Have you got a pen near at hand?

We had plenty of food on hand.

John has always a pot of coffee at his elbow.

подводить под монастырь (кого-л.)

to get someone into hot water

Your carelessness got us into hot water.

подготавливать почву (для чего-л.)

to pave the way for something; to set the stage for something

The government needs to pave the way for the introduction of the new monetary system.

His work set the stage for the development of computer technologies.

поджав хвост

with one’s tail between one’s legs

He went off with his tail between his legs when everybody found out what he had done.

поджилки трясутся (у кого-л.)

to shake in one’s shoes

He shook in his shoes when he heard that noise.

подкладывать свинью (кому-л.)

to do the dirty on someone

I know who did the dirty on me. He won’t get away with it.

подливать масла в огонь

to add fuel to the fire

Jane just added fuel to the fire by laughing at his threats.

поднимать на смех (кого-л./что-л.)

to make fun of someone/something

Please stop making fun of his appearance. It hurts his feelings.

поднимать перчатку to pick up the gauntlet

поднимать руку (на кого-л.)

to raise one’s hand against someone

Don’t you ever raise your hand against your brother again!

подопытный кролик

a guinea pig

Try your experiments on someone else. I don’t want to be a guinea pig.

подрезать крылья (кому-л.)

to clip someone’s wings

His wife has decided against having children. She thinks they would clip her wings.

подсластить пилюлю to sugar the pill

позолотить ручку (кому-л.)

to cross someone’s palm with silver

Cross my palm with silver and I’ll tell you everything you want to know.

поймать с поличным (кого-л.)

to catch someone red-handed; to catch someone in the act

The police caught the thief red-handed when he was breaking into the shop.

I know who broke the window. I caught him in the act.

показать, где раки зимуют (кому-л.)

to give someone what for; to give someone something to remember one by

The teacher gave her what for because she was so late.

If they don’t stop that noise I’ll give them something to remember me by!

показывать когти

to show one’s teeth

She has always been such a nice woman, but when I accidentally scratched her car she really showed her teeth.

показывать нос (кому-л.)

to cock a snook at someone; to thumb one’s nose at someone

As soon as the teacher turned his back, the boy cocked a snook at him.

She married a very rich man and thumbed her nose at those who previously looked down at her.

показывать пальцем (на кого-л.)

to point the finger (at someone )

I don’t want to point the finger at anyone, but somebody has to answer for the expenses.

показывать пятки

to show a clean pair of heels; to take to one’s heels

The thief quickly showed a clean pair of heels when the police found him breaking into a shop.

The boy saw me and took to his heels.

показывать свое настоящее лицо

to show one’s true colours

It is hard to tell what he is thinking. He never shows his true colours.

покупать кота в мешке

to buy a pig in a poke

Are you sure you are not buying a pig in a poke?

положить на обе лопатки (кого-л.)

to beat someone hollow

He is bad at tennis and you can beat him hollow on the court.

получать по мозгам

to get it in the neck

The boy got it in the neck for being late.

поменяться ролями (с кем-л.)

to turn the tables on someone

In the first game they beat us, but in the next game our team turned the tables and won 5–1.

попадать в переплет

to get into deep water

Kate had a premonition that she was getting into deep water.

попадать в точку

to hit the nail on the head; to hit the bull’s-eye; to hit the mark

You are one hundred percent correct, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Your idea really hit the bull’s-eye.

It was a random guess, but it had hit the mark.

попадать впросак

to put one’s foot in it; to drop a clanger

She is always putting her feet in it, talking without thinking.

I think I dropped a clanger when I called her by her ex-husband name.

попадать не в бровь, а в глаз

to hit the nail on the head; to hit the bull’s-eye; to hit the mark

The moment he said it he knew he had hit the nail on the head.

Paul could usually hit the bull’s eye.

You certainly hit the mark when you said that the girl was very lazy.

попадать пальцем в небо

to be wide of the mark

His calculation was wide of the mark. He undervalued our car by nearly half.

попадаться на глаза (кому-л.)

to catch someone’s eye

When I got home, the first thing that caught my eye was the open book lying on the table.

попадаться на удочку

to rise to the bait

Whenever she wants to annoy her husband, she always says that she prefers the town to the country. He rises to the bait every time.

попытать счастья (в чем-л.)

to try one’s luck (at something )

He’d never been to a casino before, but just once he thought he’d try his luck.

пороть чепуху

to talk through one’s hat

He is talking through his hat. He has no proof.

порочный круг

a vicious circle

The roads are busy, so it’s not safe to walk; parents take their children by car, so the roads are busy – it’s a vicious circle.

портить обедню

to upset the applecart

I don’t want to upset the applecart, but I must tell you the truth about your brother.

после дождичка в четверг

when hell freezes over; when pigs fly

I’ll believe him when hell freezes over.

At some time they will appreciate all our hard work. – Certainly, when pigs fly.

последнее слово (в споре)

the last/final word

His wife is so argumentative. She always has to have the last word.

последнее слово (чего-л.)

the last word (in something )

Her new hat is the last word in fashion.

последняя капля

the last straw

This is the last straw. You have insulted my wife with your suspicions too many times before.

почить на лаврах

to rest on one’s laurels

Never rest on your laurels. Always try to be better.

правая рука (кого-л.)

one’s right hand

His secretary is his right hand.

правдами и неправдами

by hook or by crook; by fair means or foul

I intend to get that job by hook or by crook.

He followed his brother in the hope of making money by fair means or foul.

превозносить до небес (кого-л./что-л.)

to praise something/someone to the skies

The cake was very tasty. Everyone praised it to the skies.

превращаться в слух

to be all ears

Be careful of what you say. The children are all ears.

предавать мечу (кого-л.)

to put ( someone ) to the sword

He vowed to put all the inhabitants of the town to the sword in revenge for the death of his brother.

предоставлять самому себе (кого-л.)

to leave someone to one’s own resources

The boy was left entirely to his own resources.

преподносить на блюдечке с голубой каемочкой ( что-л. кому-л.)

to hand something to someone on a plate

Her father is the chairman of an insurance company; she was handed a good job on a silver plate.

пресекать в корне (что-л.)

to nip something in the bud

The government decided to nip the strike in the bud.

при ближайшем рассмотрении

at close quarters

Examining the picture at close quarters I saw the details I’d previously missed.

при закрытых дверях

behind closed doors

The decision to accept their offer was reached behind closed doors.

при последнем издыхании

at one’s last gasp

The old man had been ill for seven days and was at his last gasp.

прибирать к рукам (кого-л.)

to take someone in hand

John has been very badly behaved recently. Someone will have to take him in hand.

прибирать к рукам (что-л.)

to get one’s hands on something

I know that somebody got his hands on my money.

приводить в содрогание (кого-л.)

to make someone’s flesh creep; to make someone’s hair stand on end

He told me the story that made my flesh creep.

Her terrible screams made my hair stand on end.

приводить в чувство (кого-л.) (образумить; привести в сознание)

to bring someone to one’s senses

We’ll have to call the police; perhaps it will bring him to his senses.

She threw cold water on his face to bring him to his senses.

придавать крылья (кому-л.) to lend someone wings

Fear lent me wings.

придавить подушку

to get one’s head down

I’ll get my head down for a bit before going out again.

придерживать коней

to hold one’s horses

Hold your horses! I need to tell you something before you go.

придерживать язычок

to hold one’s tongue; to shut one’s mouth

Hold your tongue! You can’t talk to your parents that way.

Oh, shut your mouth and stop telling me what to do!

прикладываться к бутылке

to hit the bottle

Since her husband left her she’s been hitting the bottle.

прикусить язык

to bite one’s tongue

I wanted to tell him that he was wrong, but I bit my tongue.

приложить руку (к чему-л.)

to have a hand in something

I was glad to have a hand in arranging the Christmas party.

принимать близко к сердцу (что-л.)

to take something to heart

You shouldn’t take his angry words to heart.

принимать за чистую монету (что-л.)

to take something at face value

He promised to send back the money, and we took his word at face value.

принимать меры

to take steps

The government took steps to protect local industries.

приносить плоды

to bear fruit

I hope your idea bears fruit.

приподнимать завесу (над чем-л.)

to take the wraps off something ; to blow the lid off something

They decided to take the wraps off their new invention.

The newspaper article blew the lid off the government’s plan to raise taxes.

прислушиваться к голосу разума

to listen to reason

Please listen to reason, and don’t do something you’ll soon regret.

пристать как банный лист (к кому-л.)

to stick/cling (to someone ) like a leech

The dog clung to us like a leech wherever we went.

присутствие духа presence of mind

притча во языцех

the talk of the town

It’ll be the talk of the town in a few days, and there is no need to keep the secret any longer.

приходить в голову (кому-л.)

to come into someone’s head; to cross someone’s mind

She said the first thing that came into her head.

It crossed my mind that the shop would be closed at five o’clock.

приходить в себя (образумиться; прийти в сознание)

to come to one’s senses

Pete, come to your senses. You’re being quite stupid.

She fainted and when she came to her senses, she was in a hospital bed.

пробовать свои силы (в чем-л.)

to try one’s hand (at something )

I want to try my hand at making bread.

проглотить пилюлю

to swallow one’s pride

She had to swallow her pride and admit her mistake to the teacher.

продрогнуть до костей

to be chilled/frozen to the marrow

Where is Tom? He’s been gone for twenty minutes. I’m chilled to the marrow.

проливать свет (на что-л.)

to shed/throw light on something

His statement has shed some light on the problem.

промокнуть до нитки

to be soaked to the skin

Come in and dry off. You must be soaked to the skin.

промочить горло

to wet one’s whistle

I need a drink to wet my whistle.

пропускать мимо ушей (что-л.)

to turn a deaf ear to something

The man turned a deaf ear to my advice.

проскакивать между пальцами

to slip through one’s fingers

A policeman tried to follow me, but I managed to slip through his fingers.

против своей воли

under protest

I’ll go with you, but I want you to write down that I do so under protest.

протягивать руку помощи (кому-л.)

to give/lend someone a (helping) hand

He was always ready to give me a helping hand every time I needed it.

протянуть ноги

to turn up one’s toes

The old man may turn up his toes any day.

проще простого

(as) easy as pie; (as) easy as falling off a log

It’s as easy as pie. I can explain the whole thing in a minute.

Passing the driving test was as easy as falling off a log.

прятать голову под крыло

to bury one’s head in the sand

He was burying his head in the sand, refusing to face up to his problems.

пускать в ход (что-л.)

to bring something into play

Even bringing into play all the resources available wouldn’t solve the problem.

пускать корни

to take root; to put down roots

His ideas have taken root in the society.

I wanted to get married and put down roots in this town.

пуститься наутек

to take to one’s heels; to turn tail and run

The little girl said hello and then took to her heels.

As I went towards the director’s office imagining a reprimand, my only thought was to turn tail and run.

путать все карты (кому-л.)

to upset the applecart; to spike someone’s guns

She has really upset the applecart by going on holiday two weeks earlier than we agreed.

I was hoping to have a quiet evening but the children spiked my guns by coming home early.

работать до седьмого пота

to work one’s guts out; to sweat blood

Why should I work my guts out for such a low salary?

Jack sweated blood to finish his work on time.

работать как ломовая лошадь

to work like a horse

I’m tired, I’ve been working like a horse all day.

Ради Бога!

for goodness’/heaven’s/God’s/Christ’s sake!

For God’s sake, stop making that noise!

разбивать сердце (кому-л.)

to break someone’s heart

If he leaves her, it’ll break her heart.

разбить лед

to break the ice

I was quite nervous, but Paul broke the ice by offering me a drink.

разбить наголову (кого-л.)

to wipe the floor with someone

Did your team win? – Yes, we wiped the floor with them!

раздавить бутылочку

to crack a bottle

On their tenth wedding anniversary they cracked a bottle with their friends.

размять ноги

to stretch one’s legs

We’ve been sitting here all the evening. Let’s go out for a walk and stretch our legs.

разносить в пух и прах (кого-л./что-л.)

to tear someone/something to bits/pieces; to pull someone/something to pieces

The teacher tore his work to bits.

My article was pulled to pieces by the editor.

разрубить Гордиев узел to cut the Gordian knot

рай земной

(a) heaven on earth

He says that his new job is heaven on earth.

ранняя пташка

an early bird

My husband was always an early bird. He got up at 6 o’clock every day of the week.

раскачивать лодку

to rock the boat

Don’t criticise the director in front of the customers; you won’t help by rocking the boat.

раскидывать мозгами

to rack one’s brains

A man waved his hand at me. I waved back, racking my brains to remember who he was.

раскрывать карты

to put one’s cards on the table; to show one’s cards

Why don’t you put your cards on the table, so we could make a decision?

I wouldn’t show your cards if I were you. It is better to keep your intentions to yourself.

расправлять крылья

to spread one’s wings

You can’t keep your son at home forever – you must encourage him to spread his wings.

рассеивать опасения (чьи-л.)

to put/set someone’s mind at rest

Your friend is not going to be fired. You can put his mind at rest on that score.

Рассказывай это своей бабушке!

Tell it to the marines!

He has a yacht? Tell it to the marines!

рвать и метать

to rant and rave; to blow one’s top

If I’m even ten minutes late, the boss starts ranting and raving about my laziness.

My husband blew his top when I told him about the car.

рвать на себе волосы

to tear one’s hair out

She has been tearing her hair out over the accounts.

рваться в бой

to champ at the bit

The new supercomputer is complete and scientists are champing at the bit to use it.

редкая птица

a rare bird

He was that rare bird – an artist and a scientist.

рубить сук, на котором сидишь

to cut one’s own throat

Can’t you see that you are just cutting your own throat in turning your back on him?

ругаться на чем свет стоит

to swear like a trooper

He swore like a trooper when he found out what had happened.



That’s the third time you’ve dropped the pan. Butter-fingers!

Руки прочь!

Hands off!

Hands off my cakes!

руки связаны (у кого-л.)

one’s hands are tied

Sorry, but I can’t do anything without your father’s permission – my hands are tied.

руки чешутся (у кого-л.)

one’s fingers itch

My fingers were itching to play the new piano.

рукой подать

close/near at hand; (within) a stone’s throw

The station is near at hand.

Our house was within a stone’s throw of the lake.

рыть себе могилу

to dig one’s own grave

She has dug her own grave. She shouldn’t have done all the housework herself.

с головы до ног

from top to toe; from head to foot/toe

A pleasant warmth overtook her from top to toe.

He was dressed in white from head to foot.

с закрытыми глазами

with one’s eyes closed

I know my way to this house so well that I could take you there with my eyes closed.

с легким сердцем

with a light heart

I came home with a light heart. I had paid off my creditors at last.

с маху

with all one’s might

He pushed with all his might but the door remained firmly closed.

с открытыми глазами

with one’s eyes open

He went into it with his eyes open, so he can’t complain now of having been cheated.

с пеленок

from the cradle

They know each other from the cradle.

с первого взгляда

at first sight

She fell in love with him at first sight.

с пылу с жару

piping hot

I like the food being served piping hot.

с точностью часового механизма

like clockwork

We got there without the least difficulty. It all went like clockwork.

с тяжелым сердцем

with a heavy heart

She left the letter unfinished and went off with a heavy heart.

сбивать спесь (с кого-л.)

to take/bring someone down a peg or two; to cut someone down to size

He is too big-headed. He ought to be taken down a peg or two.

She was beginning to forget her position. I had to cut her down to size.

сбрасывать с пьедестала (кого-л.)

to knock someone off one’s pedestal

The party leader was knocked off his pedestal by the newspaper’s reports about his private life.

сбывать с рук (кого-л./что-л.)

to get someone/something off one’s hands

The thief got the diamonds off his hands.

свободный как ветер

(as) free as the wind

He felt as free as the wind when he escaped from prison.

сводить в могилу (кого-л.)

to be the death of someone

Drink will be the death of him.

сводить концы с концами

to make both ends meet

He had to work overtime to make both ends meet.

сводить с ума (кого-л.)

to drive someone up the wall

When Alice talks about her new boyfriend, she drives me up the wall.

сводить счеты (с кем-л.)

to settle accounts with someone ; to settle a score with someone ; to get even with someone

He has insulted me in front of my friends. I intend to settle accounts with him.

I’ve lost a lot of money because of his bad advice, so I have a score to settle with him.

He has been waiting for months to get even with her, and now he saw his chance.

свой парень

one of the boys

I really like Tom. He is one of the boys.

связанный по рукам и ногам

bound/tied hand and foot

I’ll have to go without a holiday this year. I am tied hand and foot to my work.

святая святых

the holy of holies

This room is my husband’s holy of holies, which visitors are rarely permitted to enter.

сглаживать острые углы

to paper over the cracks

The politician didn’t succeed in papering over the cracks in his party’s ideas on unemployment.

сдавать в архив (кого-л.)

to put/send someone out to grass

At the age of fifty five my uncle was put out to grass and now he has nothing to do all day.

сделать отбивную котлету (из кого-л.)

to make mincemeat of someone; to beat someone black and blue

The politician has made mincemeat of all his political opponents.

The neighbour threatened to beat the boy black and blue for stealing his apples.

сделать себе имя

to make a name for oneself

His brother has made a name for himself in literature.

секрет полишинеля

an open secret

It was an open secret in the office that the director was in love with his secretary.

семимильными шагами

by leaps and bounds

Since I was taking private lessons, my knowledge of English has improved by leaps and bounds.

сердце кровью обливается (у кого-л.)

one’s heart bleeds for someone

He looked desperate, and my heart bled for him.

сесть в лужу

to fall flat on one’s face; to make a fool of oneself; to have egg on one’s face

Having no experience, Alice fell flat on her face when she tried to run a shop.

He didn’t follow my advice and made a fool of himself at the party.

The criminals have got away with no trouble at all; the police have egg on their faces today.

сжигать за собой мосты

to burn one’s bridges

I changed my mind about giving up my job, but I had burnt my bridges by resigning my position in the company.

сидеть в печенках

to be sick to death of someone/something; to be sick and tired of someone/something

I’m sick to death of his complaints.

I’m sick and tired of your dogs. They bark too much.

сидеть как на иголках

to be on pins and needles; to be on tenterhooks

She was on pins and needles all day yesterday waiting for the results of the X-rays.

I’ve been on tenterhooks the whole morning waiting for the news.

сидеть между двумя стульями

to sit on the fence

John preferred to sit on the fence during the quarrel rather than show support for one side or the other.

сидеть на бобах

not to have a bean

I’d love to go with you but I haven’t a bean until I get paid.

сидеть сложа руки

to sit on one’s hands; to twiddle one’s thumbs

They need our help. We can’t sit on our hands.

Don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs. Get busy!

сильные мира сего the powers that be

сказать пару теплых слов (кому-л.)

to give someone a piece of one’s mind

Andy has treated his wife rather roughly and I’ll give him a piece of my mind when I see him.

скользить по поверхности

to scratch the surface

Your research only scratches the surface of the problem.

скользкий как уж

(as) slippery as an eel

I wouldn’t do business with him, if I were you – he is as slippery as an eel.

сколько душе угодно

to one’s heart’s content

Come to our restaurant and eat and drink to your heart’s content!

скрежетать зубами

to gnash one’s teeth

Michael gnashed his teeth when he saw the damage to his car.

скрещивать мечи (с кем-л.)

to cross swords (with someone )

He is a hot-tempered man, few people are willing to cross swords with him.

слабый на голову

soft/weak in the head

You must be soft in the head if you think I will believe that story.

слава Богу

thank God/goodness/heaven(s)/the Lord

Thank heavens it didn’t rain.

слепая курица

(as) blind as a bat

He must be as blind as a bat not to have seen us.

словно аршин проглотить

(as) stiff as a poker; bolt upright

She sat upright, stiff as a poker, while the policeman asked her about her son.

When I heard of his arrival, I sat bolt upright with surprise.

слово в слово

word for word

I repeated this conversation word for word.

сломать себе шею

to break one’s neck

One day he’ll break his neck in that car of his.

служить и нашим и вашим

to serve two masters; to have a foot in both camps; to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds

Sooner or later you’ll have to choose between the two parties – you cannot serve two masters indefinitely.

John wanted to keep friendly with both the workers and their boss, so he had to have a foot in both camps.

He works for our company during the day and for our competitors during the evening; he must realise that he can’t run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

слышно, как муха пролетит

you could hear a pin drop

When I came into the house I was impressed by the silence. You could hear a pin drop.

слюнки потекли (у кого-л.)

one’s mouth waters

At the sight of the food my mouth watered.

сматывать удочки

to take to one’s heels; to beat/hop it

When I saw him coming I took to my heels.

Now beat it, before she calls the police.

смешивать с грязью (кого-л./что-л.)

to drag someone/something through the mud/mire; to throw mud/dirt at someone

His behaviour is causing our family name to be dragged through the mud.

I’m not going to let that man throw mud at us and then get away with this.

смеяться в кулак

to laugh up one’s sleeve

I trusted her, but now I believe that all the time she was laughing up her sleeve.

смеяться в лицо (кому-л.)

to laugh in someone’s face

I told Martin that it was his fault, but he laughed in my face.

смотреть в лицо (чему-л.)

to look something in the face

She couldn’t look the truth in the face.

смотреть в оба (за кем-л./чем-л.)

to keep an eye open for someone/something ; to keep one’s eyes peeled/skinned for someone/something ; to keep an eye on someone/something

The police were asked to keep an eye open for the little boy who had got lost in the shop.

He moved along the road very slowly, keeping his eyes peeled for wild animals.

You must keep an eye on that boy. He isn’t to be trusted on his own.

смотреть волком (на кого-л.)

to look daggers at someone

She looked daggers at her husband for being rude to her friends.

смотреть (прямо) в глаза (кому-л.)

to look someone in the face; to look someone (straight) in the eye

I was so ashamed that I couldn’t look him in the face.

Look me straight in the eye and say that you are happy there.

смотреть сверху вниз (на кого-л.)

to look down one’s nose (at someone )

She hates us. She thinks we look down our noses at her.

смотреть сквозь пальцы (на что-л.)

to turn a blind eye to something ; to close one’s eyes to something

Mary adored her son and always turned a blind eye to his misbehaviour.

She preferred to close her eyes to all his shortcomings.

смотреть сквозь розовые очки (на что-л.)

to look at something through rose-tinted spectacles

He sees everything through rose-tinted spectacles when he visits the village, but he would feel different if he had to live there.

снимать шляпу (перед кем-л.)

to take off one’s hat to someone

It was a brilliant idea. I take off my hat to you.

со всеми потрохами

lock, stock, and barrel

When they moved to London, they were obliged to sell the house and all their possessions, lock, stock and barrel.

со всех ног

at full pelt

The boy was running at full pelt down the street.

со своей стороны

for one’s part

For my part, I have no reason to doubt his words.

собака на сене

a dog in the manger

Don’t be such a dog in the manger – you didn’t want to read that book until I asked to borrow it from you.

собачья жизнь

a dog’s life

It’s a dog’s life, working all day long in the open air; there is no money in it, either.

собраться с духом

to screw up one’s courage

She screwed up her courage and told her husband that she was leaving him.

собраться с мыслями

to gather one’s wits

I needed a bit of time to gather my wits.

собственной персоной

in the flesh

Is your brother here? – Yes, he’s here, in the flesh.

совать свой нос (во что-л.)

poke one’s nose into something

I don’t want your sister poking her nose into my affairs.

совсем другая история

a different story; a horse of a different colour

Her plays are quite boring, but her songs – that’s a different story.

I’m asking this not for myself but for my father. – For your father? That’s a horse of a different colour.

соль земли

the salt of the earth

I think that people who live in rural areas are the backbone of society, the salt of the earth.

сомкнуть ряды

to close ranks

The journalists closed ranks, and no information was made available.

сорить деньгами

to spend money like water

You will never be able to buy a new car – you spend money like water.

сослужить хорошую службу (кому-л.)

to stand someone in good stead; to do someone a good turn

His knowledge of French will stand him in good stead if he wants to get a job in a French company.

He did me a good turn by warning me of the coming storm.

сохранять присутствие духа

to keep a stiff upper lip

She suffered a lot, but kept a stiff upper lip throughout her ordeal.

спасать положение

to save the day

There was nowhere to hold the exhibition, but Beryl saved the day by offering the use of her office.

спасать свою шкуру

to save one’s own skin/neck

He is an evil man who has lied to save his own neck.

спать без задних ног

to sleep like a log; to be dead to the world

The bed was very comfortable and I slept like a log.

He won’t hear anything – he is lying on his bed, dead to the world.

спать сном праведника to sleep the sleep of the just

спокоен как скала

as steady as a rock

All his friends were shaking with fear, but Tom was as steady as a rock.

спускать с лестницы (кого-л.)

to throw someone out on one’s ear

If you come home drunk again, I will throw you out on your ear.

спуститься с неба на землю

to come down to earth

Your thoughts are far away. Come down to earth.

сражаться с ветряными мельницами

to tilt at windmills

Why do you always attack the government policy? You are tilting at windmills.

средь бела дня

in broad daylight

The thief broke into the shop in broad daylight.

ставить все на одну карту

to put all one’s eggs in one basket

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In case plan A fails, keep plan B updated.

ставить крест (на ком-л./чем-л.)

to give someone/something up as a bad job

After failing the driving test three times, I gave it up as a bad job.

ставить на место (кого-л.)

to put someone in one’s place; to cut someone down to size

He started to criticise her work, but she soon put him in his place.

Your secretary has been too rude lately. It’s time someone cut her down to size.

ставить с ног на голову (что-л.)

to stand/turn something on its head

She stood the whole idea on its head.

ставить себя на место (чье-л.)

to put oneself in someone’s place

I know he was acting foolishly, but put yourself in his place.

ставить точки над i

to dot the i’s and cross the t’s

After very careful negotiations we dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.

становиться на ноги (выздороветь)

to be back on one’s feet

He looks quite well; he’ll be back on his feet again in a week.

становиться на ноги (стать самостоятельным)

to stand on one’s own two feet; to find one’s feet

As soon as he had enough money to stand on his own two feet he left home and moved to London.

When he was released from prison, Margaret helped him find his feet again.

становиться на свои места

to fall into place

She explained how the results were obtained, and then things started to fall into place.

становиться на сторону (кого-л.)

to take someone’s part/side

You know she’s the one who’s wrong. I thought I could at least rely on you to take my part.

становиться поперек горла (кому-л.)

to stick in someone’s throat

It sticks in my throat to have to take orders from your mother.

становиться поперек пути (кому-л.)

to stand in someone’s way

If you want to live away from home, I won’t stand in your way.

стараться изо всех сил

to do one’s (level) best

The girl was bad at English, but she did her level best to pass the exam.

старо как мир

(as) old as Adam; (as) old as the hills

That song is as old as Adam. Even my grandmother knows it.

Many of his stories are written in the first person singular. That is a literary convention which is as old as the hills.

стезя добродетели

the straight and narrow

I couldn’t believe that such a nice man, who had kept to the straight and narrow all his life, had done such a thing.

стереть в мелкий порошок (кого-л./что-л.)

to make mincemeat of someone/something

He was a formidable opponent – a man who made mincemeat of any ideas that contradicted his own.

стиснуть зубы

to grit one’s teeth

The fireman gritted his teeth and entered the burning building.

стоять комом в горле (у кого-л.)

to stick in someone’s throat

I longed to tell him the truth, but the words stuck in my throat.

стоять на перепутье

to be at the crossroads

We were at the crossroads; we had to decide very soon whether to stay in England or emigrate.

стоять на своем

to hold/stand one’s ground, to stick to one’s guns

The woman stood her ground and refused to withdraw her complaint.

He was determined to stick to his guns.

стоять над душой (у кого-л.)

to breathe down someone’s neck

I can’t work with you breathing down my neck all the time.

стоять одной ногой в могиле

to have one foot in the grave, to be at death’s door

Stop treating your father as though he has one foot in the grave!

I was very distressed to hear that the old woman was at death’s door.

страшный как смертный грех

(as) ugly as sin

Her new boyfriend is as ugly as sin.

стреляный воробей

an old hand

I’m an old hand and know what I’m talking about.

строить воздушные замки

to build castles in the air

I am afraid that all Neil’s ideas will come to nothing; he is always building castles in the air.

строить глазки (кому-л.)

to make eyes at someone

He didn’t like that his wife was making eyes at his friends.

Стыд и срам!

Shame on you!

Shame on you! You should never talk to your father like this.

Сущий вздор!

Stuff and nonsense!

It is a very strong team. – Stuff and nonsense! We could beat them easily.

схватить простуду

to catch a cold

I caught a cold and had to stay in bed for several days.

сходить на нет

to come to nothing

I am afraid that all his plans to buy a new flat will come to nothing when he finds out how much it will cost.

сходить с ума

to be/go out of one’s mind; to lose one’s marbles

You lent him your new laptop? You must be out of your mind.

You gave the police a false address? Have you lost your marbles?

сыграть в ящик

to kick the bucket

The old man is very ill; I think he might kick the bucket tomorrow.

сыпать соль на рану (кому-л.)

to rub salt into someone’s wounds

He humiliated me in front of my friends and then, to rub salt into my wounds, he began to laugh at my tears.

сыт по горло (чем-л.)

to be fed up to the back teeth (with something ); to have a bellyful (of something )

He was fed up to the back teeth with his wife’s complaints and decided to leave her.

She has been telling me her love stories the whole day. I’ve had a bellyful of them.

так и надо (кому-л.)

to serve someone right

He’s been sick. – It serves him right for drinking so much.

так или иначе

one way or another

One way or another I’m going to finish this job before Christmas.

так сказать so to speak

такие вот дела

that’s that

Well, that’s that. No more work till next week.

там и тут

here and there

We went here and there looking for flowers.

таскать каштаны из огня (для кого-л.)

pull the chestnuts out of the fire (for someone )

I don’t know why I should pull the chestnuts out of the fire for him. I’m not going to do it again.

творить чудеса

to work/do wonders

The new medicine works wonders for indigestion.

темная лошадка a dark horse

терять голову (растеряться)

to lose one’s head

Her brother was not a man to lose his head in an emergency.

терять голову (из-за кого-л.) (влюбиться)

to have a crush on someone

He has had a crush on her ever since they met last winter.

терять дар речи

to lose one’s tongue

Tell me who is responsible for this mess. Have you lost your tongue?

терять из виду (кого-л.)

to lose sight of someone

I lost sight of him in the crowd.

терять лицо

to lose face

He was jealous but he could not admit it without losing his face.

терять нить (чего-л.)

to lose the thread (of something )

I fell asleep half way through the film and lost the thread of the story.

тише воды ниже травы

(as) quiet as a mouse, (as) meek as a lamb

She was as quiet as a mouse, answering only when spoken to.

My sister never complains about the way she’s treated by her employer, she’s as meek as a lamb.

только пятки сверкают

to show a clean pair of heels

The girl showed a clean pair of heels after I found her stealing the sweets.

только через мой труп

over my dead body

If you want to marry that man, it’ll be over my dead body.

топтаться на месте

to mark time; to tread water

People here don’t have much money to spend, so the business is just marking time until the economy improves.

I’ve done nothing but tread water for the last two weeks.

тот свет the next world; the other side

трезвый как стеклышко

(as) sober as a judge

Are you drunk? – No, I’m as sober as a judge.

трещать по швам

to come/fall apart at the seams

It seems that the whole arrangement is just coming apart at the seams.

трогать пальцем (кого-л.)

to lay a finger on someone

If you lay a finger on her, you will regret it.

тронуться умом

to be/go out of one’s mind; to lose one’s marbles

You paid so much money for that heap of junk? Are you out of your mind?

I may seem old to you young people, but I haven’t lost my marbles yet.

турусы на колесах

a cock-and-bull story

She told me a cock-and-bull story about having to work late.

тыкать носом (кого-л.)

to rub someone’s nose in it

Please stop talking about that letter. I feel bad enough already without you rubbing my nose in it all the time.

тютелька в тютельку

to a T; to the letter

That new dress suits you to a T.

I followed the instructions to the letter, and it still doesn’t work.

тянуть кота за хвост

to beat about the bush; to hum and haw, to um and aah

Come on, don’t beat about the bush and tell me what you want.

She hummed and hawed for months before actually deciding to buy a new car.

My sister always ums and aahs before taking a decision.

у черта на куличках

in the middle of nowhere; in the back of beyond

His parents lived in a village in the middle of nowhere.

I felt as if I was in the back of beyond, yet it was only two minutes drive to the motorway.

убивать время

to kill time

The train was late, so I read a newspaper to kill time.

убивать двух зайцев

to kill two birds with one stone

You can kill two birds with one stone by working and studying at the same time.

ударять в голову (кому-л.)

to go to someone’s head

He was tired and the wine he had drunk was going to his head.

указывать на дверь (кому-л.)

to show someone the door

He was rude to my wife and I simply showed him the door.

улыбаться во весь рот

to smile from ear to ear

‘I’m so happy to see you,’ she said smiling from ear to ear.

умывать руки

to wash one’s hands of someone/something

The boy is self-willed and unruly. From now on I wash my hands of him.

уничтожать в зародыше (что-л.)

to nip something in the bud

Cannabis cultivation is an increasing problem which must be nipped in the bud.

упрямый как осел

(as) stubborn as a mule

Diana will never change her mind – she is as stubborn as a mule.

упускать из виду (что-л.)

to lose sight of something

He always loses sight of the important things.

уступать место (чему-л.)

to give way to something

Summer gave way to autumn.

утереть нос (кому-л.)

to be one up on someone ; to get the better of someone

She was delighted with her new dress. She likes to be one up on her friends.

He was always letting somebody get the better of him when it came to business deals.

утечка мозгов

brain drain

Britain suffered a brain drain because wages in America were so much higher.

утопать в роскоши

live in the lap of luxury

When we were in France we stayed in a hotel living in the lap of luxury.

Фома неверующий a doubting Thomas

хвататься за соломинку

to clutch at straws

The poor man is hoping that this new treatment will help his wife, but I think he’s simply clutching at straws.

хватить через край

to lay it on thick

Tom is the best singer I’ve ever heard. – Don’t exaggerate, you’re laying it on rather thick.

хлеб насущный

one’s bread and butter

I can’t afford to give up my research. It’s my bread and butter.

ходить вокруг да около

to beat about the bush

Stop beating about the bush. What are you trying to say?

ходить на задних лапках (перед кем-л.)

to bow and scrape (to someone )

I can’t stand the way you bow and scrape to your uncle the whole time.

ходить по кругу

to go round in circles

We were going around in circles trying to decide what to do.

хозяин своего слова

a man of his word

My brother is a man of his word. If he says he will do a thing he will do it.

хоть глаз выколи

(as) dark as pitch

It was as dark as pitch at midnight.

хоть святых выноси

enough to try the patience of a saint; enough to make a saint swear

I don’t want to offend anybody, but your wife’s rudeness is enough to try the patience of a saint.

The constant noise was enough to make a saint swear.

хохотать до упаду

to laugh like a drain

It was a good film. I laughed like a drain most of the time.

худой как щепка

(as) thin as a rake

She had been ill for several weeks and was as thin as a rake.

цел и невредим

safe and sound; in one piece

After three days of searching for them, the kids were found safe and sound.

She was glad her son came home in one piece from his army training.

цены нет

beyond price

Her paintings are beyond price.

чем черт не шутит

you never can tell

I can’t see him as a teacher, but then you never can tell.

через голову (кого-л.)

over someone’s head

The customer went over the manager’s head and complained direct to the shop owner.

черепашьим шагом

at a snail’s pace

I’m sorry for being late. My bus went at a snail’s pace all the way.

черный список

black list

His name is on the bank’s black list of debtors.

Черт возьми!

Damn it!; I’ll be damned!

Damn it! She is late again!

Well, I’ll be damned, my watch has stopped again.

черта с два!

Like hell!

I’m going to take the car, Dad. – Like hell you will!

чертова дюжина a baker’s dozen

чесать языком

to chew the fat

We spent a pleasant evening in the pub chewing the fat.

Честное слово!

honest to God/goodness!

I didn’t take your car, honest to God!

читать между строк

to read between the lines

Reading between the lines of her last letters, I have the impression that she wasn’t satisfied with her work.

чудеса в решете

a turn-up for the book

I never thought to find you here. What a turn-up for the book!

чуть свет

at the crack of dawn

We had an early flight and had to leave at the crack of dawn.

шаг вперед

a step forwards; a step in the right direction

The success of his plan took Tom another step forwards.

We agreed that the research was a step in the right direction.

шаг за шагом

step by step, little by little

If you go through the procedure step by step you’re more likely to succeed.

шестое чувство

a sixth sense

A sixth sense warned me that there was someone hiding behind the curtain.

щедрой рукой

with an open hand

Mr Jones always treated us with an open hand.

этого еще не хватало

that’s all I need

That’s all I need, another telephone bill!

яблоко раздора

a bone of contention

The ownership of the house has been a bone of contention between us for the last twelve years.

ясно как день

(as) plain as the nose on your face; (as) clear as crystal

There’s no doubt that she’s unhappy here – it’s as plain as the nose on your face.

It makes everything as clear as crystal.