Browse Idioms Alphabetically

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Idioms starting with letter E

What are idioms?

Idioms are phrases or expressions which are commonly used in everyday conversation, mostly by native speakers of English. The meaning of the idioms might not be that straight forward for new English speaker, however having good command of it will certainly helps to make your English sound more fluent.

The metaphorical nature of idioms makes conversation more interesting and flows in certain situation. You've probably heard some of them even though you don't fully understand the words. Let us help you increase your idioms knowledge by browsing through our extensive collection of idioms alphabetically.

  • eager beaver
    someone who is very enthusiastic; someone who works very hard.
    New volunteers are always eager beavers.
    The young assistant gets to work very early. She’s a real eager beaver.
  • eagle eye
    careful attention; an intently watchful eye. (From the sharp eyesight of the eagle.)
    The pupils wrote their essays under the eagle eye of the headmaster.
    The umpire kept his eagle eye on the ball.
  • early bird
    someone who gets up or arrives early or starts something very promptly, especially someone who gains an advantage of some kind by so doing.
    The Smith family are early birds. They caught the first ferry.
    I was an early bird and got the best selection of flowers.
  • eat humble pie
    to act very humbly, especially when one has been shown to be wrong; to accept humiliation.
    I think I’m right, but if I’m wrong, I’ll eat humble pie.
    You think you’re so smart. I hope you have to eat humble pie.
  • eat like a bird
    to eat only small amounts of food; to peck at one’s food.
    Jane is very slim because she eats like a bird.
    Bill is trying to lose weight by eating like a bird.
  • eat like a horse
    to eat large amounts of food. (Informal.)
    No wonder he’s so fat. He eats like a horse.
    John works like a horse and eats like a horse, so he never gets fat.
  • eat one’s hat
    a phrase telling the kind of thing that one would do if a very unlikely event were actually to happen.
    I’ll eat my hat if you get a rise.
    He said he’d eat his hat if she got elected.
  • eat one’s heart out 1.
    to be very sad (about someone or something).
    Bill spent a lot of time eating his heart out after his divorce.
    Sally ate her heart out when she had to sell her house. 2. to be envious (of someone or something). (Informal.)
    Do you like my new watch? Well, eat your heart out. It was the last one in the shop.
    Eat your heart out, Jane! I’ve got a new girlfriend now.
  • eat one’s words
    to have to take back one’s statements; to confess that one’s predictions were wrong.
    You shouldn’t say that to me. I’ll make you eat your words.
    John was wrong about the election and had to eat his words.
  • eat out of someone’s hands
    to do what someone else wants; to obey someone eagerly. (Often with have.)
    Just wait! I’ll have everyone eating out of my hands. They’ll do whatever I ask.
    The treasurer has everyone eating out of his hands.
    A lot of people are eating out of his hands.
  • eat someone out of house and home
    to eat a lot of food (in someone’s home); to bring someone to the point of financial ruin by eating all the food in the person’s house. (Informal.)
    Billy has a huge appetite. He almost eats us out of house and home.
    When the young people come home from college, they always eat us out of house and home.
  • either feast or famine
    either too much (of something) or not enough (of something). (Also without either.)
    This month is very dry, and last month it rained almost every day. Our weather is either feast or famine.
    Sometimes we are busy, and sometimes we have nothing to do. It’s feast or famine.
  • elbow-grease
    physical exertion; hard work. (The “grease” may be the sweat that exertion produces.)
    It’ll take some elbow-grease to clean this car.
    Expensive polishes are all very well, but this floor needs elbow-grease.
  • eleventh-hour decision
    a decision made at the last possible minute.
    Eleventh-hour decisions are seldom satisfactory.
    The treasurer’s eleventh-hour decision was made in a great hurry, but it turned out to be correct.
  • enough is as good as a feast
    a saying that means one should be satisfied if one has enough of something to meet one’s needs, and one should not seek more than one needs.
    We have enough money to live on, and enough is as good as a feast.
    I cannot understand why they want a larger house. Enough is as good as a feast.
  • enter the lists
    to begin to take part in a contest or argument.
    He had decided not to stand for Parliament, but entered the lists at the last minute.
    The family disagreement had almost been resolved when the grandfather entered the lists.
  • escape someone’s notice
    to go unnoticed; not to have been noticed. (Usually a way to point out that someone has failed to see or respond to something.)
    I suppose my earlier request escaped your notice, so I’m writing again.
    I’m sorry. Your letter escaped my notice.
  • everything but the kitchen sink
    almost everything one can think of.
    When Sally went off to college, she took everything but the kitchen sink.
    When you take a baby on holiday, you have to pack everything but the kitchen sink.
  • everything from A to Z
    almost everything one can think of.
    She knows everything from A to Z about decorating.
    The biology exam covered everything from A to Z.
  • every time one turns around
    frequently; at every turn; with annoying frequency.
    Somebody asks me for money every time I turn around.
    Something goes wrong with Bill’s car every time he turns around.
    The golf club is very exclusive. They don’t let any Tom, Dick, or Harry join.
    Mary’s sending out very few invitations. She doesn’t want every Tom, Dick, and Harry turning up.
  • expecting (a child)
    pregnant. (A euphemism.)
    Tommy’s mother is expecting a child.
    Oh, I didn’t know she was expecting.
  • extend one’s sympathy (to someone)
    to express sympathy to someone. (A very polite and formal way to tell someone that you are sorry about a death in the family.)
    Please permit me to extend my sympathy to you and your children. I’m very sorry to hear of the death of your husband.
    Let’s extend our sympathy to Bill Jones, whose father died this week.
  • eyeball to eyeball
    person to person; face to face. (Informal.)
    The discussions will have to be eyeball to eyeball to be effective.
    Telephone conversations are a waste of time. We need to talk eyeball to eyeball.
20 January, 2021