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Idioms starting with letter U

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.

  • up a blind alley
    at a dead end; on a route that leads nowhere. (Informal.)
    I have been trying to find out something about my ancestors, but I’m up a blind alley. I can’t find anything.
    The police are up a blind alley in their investigation of the crime.
  • up and doing
    active and lively.
    The children are always up and doing early in the morning.
    If Jean wants to be at work early, it’s time she was up and doing.
  • up in arms
    rising up in anger.
    The citizens were up in arms, pounding on the gates of the palace, demanding justice.
    My father was really up in arms when he got his rates bill this year.
  • up in the air
    undecided; uncertain.
    I don’t know what Sally plans to do. Things were sort of up in the air the last time we talked.
    Let’s leave this question up in the air until next week. Then we will make a decision.
  • upper crust
    the higher levels of society; the upper class. (Informal. Refers to the top, as opposed to the bottom, crust of a pie.)
    Jane speaks like that because she pretends to be from the upper crust, but her father was a miner.
    James is from the upper crust, but he is penniless. also upper-crust of the upper class; belonging to or typical of the upper class. (Informal.)
    Pam has a grating upper-crust voice.
    Many people dislike Bob because of his snobbish, upper-crust attitude.
  • upset the applecart
    to spoil or ruin something.
    Tom really upset the applecart by telling Mary the truth about Jane. Now the two women are no longer friends.
    We were going abroad, but the children upset the applecart by getting the mumps.
  • up to no good
    doing something bad or criminal. (Informal.)
    I could tell from the look on Tom’s face that he was up to no good.
    There are three boys in the front garden. I don’t know what they are doing, but I think they are up to no good.
  • use every trick in the book
    to use every method possible. (Informal.)
    I used every trick in the book, but I still couldn’t manage to get a ticket to the game on Saturday.
    Bob used every trick in the book to get Mary to go out with him, but he still failed. She simply refuses to go out with him.
  • under a cloud
    less than entirely trustworthy; suspected of some wrongdoing
    The bank manager discovered that there was money missing from Mr. Jenkins’ money drawer, and the manager suspected that Mr. Jenkins took it himself. Mr. Jenkins has been under a cloud ever since.
    This administration has been marked by widespread corruption. Even if they manage to clean it up, the politicians will always be under a cloud of suspicion.
  • under (someone's) thumb
    under someone’s control
    Don’t ask Margie to make a change in our work schedule; she won’t do anything without Larry’s permission. She’s under Larry’s thumb.
    Those two young people will never be allowed to make their own decisions or lead their own lives. Their mother will always control them. They will always be under their mother’s thumb.
20 January, 2021