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.
maiden speecha first public speech, especially a British Member of Parliament’s first speech to the House of Commons.
The new MP makes his maiden speech tonight.
Our professor made her maiden speech to the conference yesterday.
maiden voyagethe first voyage of a ship or boat.
The liner sank on its maiden voyage.
Jim is taking his yacht on its maiden voyage.
make a beeline for someone or somethingto head straight towards someone or something. (Informal.)
Billy came into the kitchen and made a beeline for the biscuits.
After the game, we all made a beeline for John, who was serving cold drinks.
make a clean breast of somethingto confess something.
You’ll feel better if you make a clean breast of it. Now tell us what happened.
I was forced to make a clean breast of the whole affair.
make a clean sweepto do something completely or thoroughly, with no exceptions. (Informal.)
The managing director decided to sack everybody, so he made a clean sweep.
The council decided to make a clean sweep and repair all the roads in the district.
make a comebackto return to one’s former (successful) career. (Informal.)
After ten years in retirement, the singer made a comeback.
You’re never too old to make a comeback.
make a go of itto make something work out all right. (Informal.)
It’s a tough situation, but Ann is trying to make a go of it.
We don’t like living here, but we have to make a go of it.
make a great show of somethingto make something obvious; to do something in a showy fashion.
Ann made a great show of wiping up the drink that John spilled.
Jane displayed her irritation at our late arrival by making a great show of serving the overcooked dinner.
make a mountain out of a molehillto make a major issue out of a minor one; to exaggerate the importance of something.
Come on, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. It’s not that important.
Mary is always making mountains out of molehills.
make a name for oneselfto make oneself famous; to become famous.
Sally wants to work hard and make a name for herself.
It’s hard to make a name for oneself without a lot of talent and hard work.
make an example of someoneto punish someone as a public warning to others.
The judge decided to make an example of John, so he fined him the full amount.
The teacher made an example of Mary, who disturbed the class constantly with her whispering. She sent Mary out of the room.
make a pitch for someone or somethingto say something in support of someone or something; to attempt to promote or advance someone or something. (Informal.)
Bill is making a pitch for his friend’s new product again.
The theatrical agent came in and made a pitch for her client.
make a point of (doing) somethingto make an effort to do something.
Please make a point of posting this letter. It’s very important.
The hostess made a point of thanking me for bringing flowers.
make (both) ends meetto manage to live on a small amount of money.
It’s hard these days to make ends meet.
I have to work overtime to make both ends meet.
make cracks (about someone or something)to ridicule or make jokes about someone or something. (Informal.)
Please stop making cracks about my haircut. It’s the new style.
Some people can’t help making cracks. They are just rude.
make do (with someone or something)to do as well as possible with someone or something.
You’ll have to make do with less money next year. The economy is very weak.
We’ll have to make do with John even though he’s a slow worker.
Yes, we’ll have to make do.
make eyes at someoneto flirt with someone.
Tom spent all afternoon making eyes at Ann.
How could they sit there in class making eyes at each other?
make fun of someone or somethingto ridicule someone or something.
Please stop making fun of me. It hurts my feelings.
Billy teases and makes fun of people a lot, but he means no harm.
make good as somethingto succeed in a particular role.
I hope I make good as a teacher.
John made good as a soccer player.
make good moneyto earn a large amount of money. (Informal.)
Ann makes good money at her job.
I don’t know what she does, but she makes good money.
make good timeto proceed at a fast or reasonable rate. (Informal.)
On our trip to Brighton, we made good time.
I’m making good time, but I have a long way to go.
make it worth someone’s whileto make something profitable enough for someone to do.
If you deliver this parcel for me, I’ll make it worth your while.
The boss said he’d make it worth our while if we worked late.
make light of somethingto treat something as if it were unimportant or humorous.
I wish you wouldn’t make light of his problems. They’re quite serious.
I make light of my problems, and that makes me feel better.
make merryto have fun; to have an enjoyable time.
The guests certainly made merry at the wedding.
The children were making merry in the garden.
make mischiefto cause trouble.
Bob loves to make mischief and get other people into trouble.
Don’t believe what Mary says. She’s just trying to make mischief.
make no bones about somethingto have no hesitation in saying or doing something; to be open about something. (Something is often it.)
Fred made no bones about his dislike of games.
Make no bones about it, Mary is a great singer.
make nothing of itnot to understand something; not to get the significance of something.
I could make nothing of his statement.
I saw him leave, but I made nothing of it.
make oneself at hometo make oneself comfortable as if one were in one’s own home.
Please come in and make yourself at home.
I’m glad you’re here. During your visit, just make yourself at home.
make or break someoneto improve or ruin someone. (Informal.)
The army will either make or break him.
It’s a tough assignment, and it will either make or break her.
make someone look goodto cause someone to appear successful or competent (especially when this is not the case).
John arranges all his affairs to make himself look good.
The manager didn’t like the quarterly report because it didn’t make her look good.
make someone’s blood boilto make someone very angry. (Informal.)
It just makes my blood boil to think of the amount of food that gets wasted in this house.
Whenever I think of that dishonest man, it makes my blood boil.
make someone’s blood run coldto shock or horrify someone.
The terrible story in the newspaper made my blood run cold.
I could tell you things about prisons which would make your blood run cold.
make someone’s hair stand on endto cause someone to be very frightened. (Informal.)
The horrible scream made my hair stand on end.
The ghost story made our hair stand on end.
make someone’s head swim and make someone’s head spin 1.to make someone dizzy or disoriented.
Riding in your car so fast makes my head spin.
Breathing the gas made my head swim. 2. to confuse or overwhelm someone.
All these numbers make my head swim.
The physics lecture made my head spin.
make someone’s mouth waterto make someone hungry (for something); to make someone desirous of something. (Informal.)
That beautiful salad makes my mouth water.
Talking about food makes my mouth water.
Seeing those holiday brochures makes my mouth water.
make something from scratchto make something by starting with the basic ingredients. (Informal.)
We made the cake from scratch, not using a cake mix.
I didn’t have a ladder, so I made one from scratch.
make something to orderto put something together only when someone requests it. (Usually said about clothing.)
This shop only makes suits to order.
Our shirts fit perfectly because each one is made to order.
make the fur fly and make the feathers flyto cause a fight or an argument. (Informal.)
When your mother gets home and sees what you’ve done, she’ll really make the fur fly.
When those two get together, they’ll make the feathers fly. They hate each other.
make the gradeto be satisfactory; to be what is expected. (Informal.)
I’m sorry, but your work doesn’t exactly make the grade.
Jack will never make the grade as a teacher.
make up for lost timeto do much of something; to make up for not doing much before; to do something fast.
At the age of sixty, Bill learned to play golf. Now he plays it all the time. He’s making up for lost time.
Because we spent too much time eating lunch, we have to drive faster to make up for lost time. Otherwise we won’t arrive when we should.
mark my word(s)remember what I’m telling you.
Mark my word, you’ll regret this.
This whole project will fail—mark my words.
Don’t expect a lot of sympathy from Ann. She’s very matter-of-fact.
Don’t be so matter-offact. It hurts my feelings.
matter of life and deatha matter of great urgency; an issue that will decide between living and dying. (Usually an exaggeration; sometimes humorous.)
We must find a doctor. It’s a matter of life and death.
I must have some water. It’s a matter of life and death.
matter of opinionthe question of how good or bad someone or something is.
It’s a matter of opinion how good the company is. John thinks it’s great and Fred thinks it’s poor.
How efficient the committee is is a matter of opinion.
mealy-mouthednot frank or direct. (Informal.)
Jane’s too mealymouthed to tell Frank she dislikes him. She just avoids him.
Don’t be so mealy-mouthed. It’s better to speak plainly.
meet one’s endto die.
The dog met his end under the wheels of a car.
I hope I don’t meet my end until I’m one hundred years old.
meet one’s matchto meet one’s equal.
John played tennis with Bill yesterday, and it looks as if John has finally met his match.
Listen to Jane and Mary argue. I always thought that Jane was aggressive, but she has finally met her match.
meet one’s Waterlooto meet one’s final and insurmountable challenge. (Refers to Napoleon at Waterloo.)
This teacher is being very hard on Bill, unlike the previous one. It seems that Bill has met his Waterloo.
John was more than Sally could handle. She had finally met her Waterloo.
meet someone half-wayto offer to compromise with someone.
No, I won’t give in, but I’ll meet you half-way.
They settled the argument by agreeing to meet each other half-way.
melt in one’s mouthto taste very good. (Informal.)
This cake is so good it’ll melt in your mouth.
John said that the food didn’t exactly melt in his mouth.
mend (one’s) fencesto restore good relations (with someone). (Also used literally.)
I think I had better get home and mend my fences. I had an argument with my daughter this morning.
Sally called up her uncle to apologize and try to mend fences.
mend one’s waysto improve one’s behaviour.
John used to be very wild, but he’s mended his ways.
You’ll have to mend your ways if you go out with Mary. She hates people to be late.
method in one’s madness[for there to be] purpose in what one is doing. (From Shakespeare’s Hamlet.)
What I’m doing may look strange, but there is method in my madness.
Wait until she finishes; then you’ll see that there is method in her madness.
middle-of-the-roadhalf-way between two extremes, especially political extremes.
Jane is very left-wing, but her husband is politically middle-of-the-road.
I don’t want to vote for either the left-wing or the right-wing candidate. I prefer someone with more middle-of-theroad views.
milk of human kindnessnatural kindness and sympathy shown to others. (From Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.)
Mary is completely hard and selfish—she has no milk of human kindness in her.
Roger is too full of the milk of human kindness, and people take advantage of him.
millstone around one’s necka continual burden or handicap.
This huge and expensive house is a millstone around my neck.
Bill’s huge family is a millstone around his neck.
mind one’s own businessto attend only to the things that personally concern one.
Leave me alone, Bill. Mind your own business.
I’d be fine if John would mind his own business.
mind one’s P’s and Q’sto mind one’s manners.
When we go to the mayor’s reception, please mind your P’s and Q’s.
I always mind my P’s and Q’s when I eat at formal restaurants.
mind youyou must also take into consideration the fact that ....
He’s very well dressed, but mind you he’s got plenty of money to buy clothes.
Jean is unfriendly to me, but mind you she’s never very nice to anyone.
mine of informationsomeone or something that is full of information.
Grandfather is a mine of information about World War I.
The new encyclopaedia is a positive mine of useful information.
miss the pointto fail to understand the point.
I’m afraid you missed the point. Let me explain it again.
You keep explaining, and I keep missing the point.
mixed baga varied collection of people or things. (Refers to a bag of game brought home after a day’s hunting.)
The new pupils are a mixed bag—some bright, some positively stupid.
The furniture I bought is a mixed bag. Some of it is valuable and the rest is worthless.
moment of truththe point at which someone has to face the reality or facts of a situation.
The moment of truth is here. Turn over your exam papers and begin.
Now for the moment of truth, when we find out whether we have got planning permission or not.
money for jam and money for old ropepayment for very little; money very easily obtained. (Informal.)
Baby-sitting is money for jam if the child does not wake up.
Jack finds getting paid to caretake the house money for old rope.
money is no object and expense is no objectit does not matter how much something costs.
Please show me your finest car. Money is no object.
I want the finest earrings you have. Don’t worry about how much they cost because expense is no object.
money talksmoney gives one power and influence to help get things done or get one’s own way. (Informal.)
Don’t worry, I have a way of getting things done. Money talks.
I can’t compete against rich old Mrs. Jones. She’ll get her way because money talks.
monkey businesspeculiar or out of the ordinary activities, especially mischievous or illegal ones.
There’s been some monkey business in connection with the firm’s accounts.
Bob left the firm quite suddenly. I think there was some monkey business between him and the boss’s wife.
More fool you!You are extremely foolish!
More fool you for agreeing to lend John money.
You’ve offered to work for nothing. More fool you!
more’s the pityit is a great pity or shame; it is sad.
Jack can’t come, more’s the pity.
Jane had to leave early, more’s the pity.
move heaven and earthto do something to make a major effort to do something.
“I’ll move heaven and earth to be with you, Mary,” said Bill.
I had to move heaven and earth to get there on time.
much ado about nothinga lot of excitement about nothing. (This is the title of a play by Shakespeare.)
All the commotion about the new law turned out to be much ado about nothing.
Your complaints always turn out to be much ado about nothing.
much of a muchnessvery alike or similar; not much different.
I don’t mind whether we go to the restaurant in the high street or the one by the cinema. They’re much of a muchness.
We can go via Edinburgh or Glasgow. The two journeys are much of a muchness.
much sought afterwanted or desired very much.
This kind of crystal is much sought after. It’s very rare.
Sally is a great singer. She’s much sought after.
mum’s the worddon’t spread the secret. (Informal.)
Don’t tell anyone what I told you. Remember, mum’s the word.
Okay, mum’s the word. Your secret is safe with me.