about to do something
- on the point of doing somethingShe was about to leave when the phone rang.
- something that should have happened earlierIt is about time that you returned that book to me.
- forgetfulMy grandfather is very absent-minded and often forgets his key.
according to Hoyle
- strictly by the rules, the usual and correct way to do somethingAccording to Hoyle you are not allowed to enter this room but if nobody is here I think it will be okay.
- seem consistent or reasonableThe things that he said about his boss don`t really add up.
ahead of time
- earlyWe started the meeting ahead of time so we could go home early.
air one`s dirty laundry (linen) in public
- make public something embarrassing that should be kept secretThe dinner party became uncomfortable when the host began to air his colleagues' dirty laundry in public.
- all the timeI knew all along that he would not get the promotion.
all at once
- suddenly, without warningAll at once the fire alarm rang so we had to leave the building.
all day long
- the whole dayShe has been sitting and waiting for the mail to arrive all day long.
- eager to listen to someoneOkay, I`m all ears, please tell me about the party.
all in all
- in summary, after considering everythingWe had a few problems but all in all the meeting was successful.
all of a sudden
- suddenly, without advance warningAll of a sudden it became cloudy and began to rain.
- okay, satisfactoryShe said that it would be all right for me to bring my friend to the party.
all the time
- continuallyShe asks for money all the time but I don`t like to give it to her.
- have difficulty fixing things or working with one`s hands, clumsyHe is all thumbs when it comes to fixing things around the house.
an arm and a leg
- (cost) a large amount of moneyHis new car must have cost him an arm and a leg.
apple of one`s eye
- one`s favoriteHis youngest daughter is the apple of his eye.
as a rule
- usually, as a habitAs a rule I usually get up at 7:00 AM every morning.
as far as
- to the extent or degree thatAs far as I know he will be here in a few minutes.
ask for trouble
- behave in a way that trouble is likelyHe is asking for trouble if he misses another class.
asleep at the switch
- not alert to an opportunityI think he was asleep at the switch. He didn`t even know that the job was available so he never applied for it.
as long as
- provided that, on condition thatAs long as you promise to be careful you can borrow my car.
as the crow flies
- by the most direct way, along a straight line between two placesAs the crow flies it is about 6 kilometers between my house and my company.
- most of the time, as is the customAs usual, she forgot to bring her book to class.
as well as
- in addition toPlease bring your swimming suit as well as your towel.
- until now, up to the presentAs yet, she has not told me about her plans to leave the company.
at cross purposes
- have opposite ways to do something, opposing goalsThey are at cross purposes and are always arguing about what to do.
- be responsible or to blame for somethingThe truck driver was at fault in the terrible accident.
- at the beginningAt first she didn`t want to go to a movie but later she changed her mind.
at first blush
- when first seen, without careful studyAt first blush he seemed like a good worker but later we had many problems with him.
- basically, fundamentallyShe is a very nice person at heart although many people dislike her.
- in one`s houseI`m sorry but I left my money at home. Can you lend me some money?
- finally, after a long timeI was waiting all morning for her call but at last it came.
- having a quarrel, opposing each otherWe have been at loggerheads over their plans to build a new office complex.
- in disagreementHe has been at odds with his boss over the new sales territory.
at someone`s beck and call
- always ready to serve somebodyHis eldest daughter is always at his beck and call when he spends an evening at home.
at the end of one`s rope
- at the limit of one`s ability to copeI am at the end of my rope about what to do about my current situation at work.
attend to someone
- take care or deal with someoneThe doctor attended to the other patient before he got to my mother.