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Idioms starting with letter J

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.

  • jack-of-all-trades
    someone who can do several different jobs instead of specializing in one.
    John can do plumbing, joinery, and roofing—a real jack-of-all-trades. He isn’t very good at any of them.
    Take your car to a trained mechanic, not a jack-of-all-trades.
  • jam tomorrow
    good things in the future. (It is suggested that the future never comes. From Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, in which the White Queen offers Alice “jam every other day . . . jam tomorrow and jam yesterday but never jam today.”)
    The politicians promised the people jam tomorrow during the hard times.
    Jack was tired of working for a firm that kept promising him a large salary in the future—jam tomorrow.
  • Jekyll and Hyde
    someone with both an evil and a good personality. (From The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.)
    Bill thinks Mary is so soft and gentle, but she can be very cruel—she is a real Jekyll and Hyde.
    Jane doesn’t know that Fred is a Jekyll and Hyde. She sees him only when he is being kind and generous, but he can be very mean and miserly.
  • job lot
    a mixed collection of varying quality. (Informal.)
    Mike found a valuable vase in that job lot he bought at the auction.
    There was nothing but junk in the job lot that I bought.
  • Job’s comforter
    someone who makes matters worse when trying to comfort or console someone. (Biblical.)
    Jane is a Job’s comforter. She told me how many other people were looking for jobs when I lost mine.
    John’s a Job’s comforter, too. He told Mary that there were lots of other unattached girls in the district when her engagement was broken off.
  • jockey for position
    to try to push or manoeuvre one’s way into an advantageous position at the expense of others.
    All the staff in that firm are jockeying for position. They all want the manager’s job.
    It is unpleasant working for a firm where people are always jockeying for position.
  • johnny-come-lately
    someone who joins in (something) after it is under way.
    Don’t pay any attention to Sally. She’s just a johnnycome-lately and doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
    We’ve been here for thirty years. Why should some johnny-come-lately tell us what to do?
  • joking apart
    being serious for a moment; in all seriousness.
    I know I laugh at him but, joking apart, he’s a very clever scientist.
    I know I threatened to leave and go round the world, but, joking apart, I need a holiday.
  • jolly someone along
    to keep someone happy and satisfied in order to obtain compliance with one’s wishes.
    If you jolly Jim along, he will help you with the garden.
    You’ll have to jolly Bert along if you want his help. If he’s in a bad mood, he’ll refuse.
  • jump at the chance (to do something) and leap at the chance (to do something); jump at the opportunity (to do something);
    leap at the opportunity (to do something) to take advantage of a chance to do something. (To do something can be replaced with of doing something.)
    John jumped at the chance to go to England.
    I don’t know why I didn’t jump at the opportunity myself.
    I should have leapt at the chance.
  • jump down someone’s throat and jump on someone
    to scold someone severely. (Informal.)
    If I disagree with them, my parents will jump down my throat.
    Don’t jump on me! I didn’t do it!
  • jumping-off point
    a point or place from which to begin a venture.
    The local library is a good jumping-off point for your research.
    The office job in that firm would be a good jumping-off point for a job in advertising.
  • jump out of one’s skin
    to react strongly to shock or surprise. (Informal. Usually with nearly, almost, etc.)
    Oh! You really scared me. I nearly jumped out of my skin.
    Bill was so startled he almost jumped out of his skin.
  • jump the gun 1.
    to start before the starting signal, as in a race. (Informal. Originally used in sports contests which are started by firing a gun.)
    We all had to start the race again because Jane jumped the gun.
    When we took the test, Tom jumped the gun and started early. 2. to start before the starting time. (Figurative on sense 1.)
    You jumped the gun with your proposal.
    We jumped the gun and turned in our application early.
  • just the job
    exactly what is required. (Informal.)
    Those pills were just the job for Jean’s headache.
    That jacket was just the job for wet weather.
  • just what the doctor ordered
    exactly what is required, especially for health or comfort.
    That meal was delicious, Bob. Just what the doctor ordered.
    A glass of cold water would be just what the doctor ordered.
20 January, 2021