English Idioms - Number

all in one

- combined

I was able to use my car for travelling and sleeping all in one.

all rolled up in one

- combined

His brother is president and vice-president all rolled up in one.

at one time

- at a time in the past

At one time the man had no money but now he is very rich.

at one with someone

- share the same view as someone

The other members of the committee are at one with me over my decision to fire the lazy worker.

at sixes and sevens

- in a state of confusion

Everyone was at sixes and sevens after the announcement that the company was going out of business.

back to square one

- back to where one started

We were forced to go back to square one in our efforts to change the name of the company.

cut both/two ways

- be capable of having two opposite effects

My decision to complain to our boss could cut two ways and cause him to be pleased as well as angry at me.

dressed to the nines

- dressed in one's best clothes

The woman who we saw at the concert was dressed to the nines.

(I/you/he etc) for one

- as one example

I for one do not believe that our president will really change the company policy related to hiring new staff.

for one thing

- for one reason (among others)

It is not possible to use the old building. For one thing it will not pass the fire regulations.

forty winks

- a short sleep during the day

As soon as I arrived home I lay down and had forty winks.

give three cheers for someone

- give praise or approval for someone who has done well

The crowd gave three cheers for the team after they won the final game.

great one for something

- a great enthusiast for something

My friend is a great one for staying up all night and watching horror movies.

hundred to one shot/chance

- a small chance not likely to bring success

He only has a hundred to one shot at getting the job that he has applied for.

hundred/thousand/million and one

- very/too many

I can think of a hundred and one reasons why the new employee is not capable of doing his job.

in two minds about something

- undecided

My niece is in two minds about whether or not she will come and visit me this summer.

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

- very quickly and without difficulty

Wait one minute. I will be able to help you in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

kill two birds with one stone

- achieve two aims with one effort/action

If you take the course now you may be able to kill two birds with one stone and receive credit for it on a future program.

new one on me

- something surprising that one did not know before

My friend's desire to go to London is a new one on me.

nine-day wonder

- someone/something who briefly attracts a lot of attention

The man was a nine-day wonder but soon was forgotten by most of the people at his former company.

nine times out of ten

- almost always

Nine times out of ten if you have a problem on the computer it is something small that can be easily fixed.

nine-to-five job/attitude

- a routine job in an office, attitude to life that reflects routine

He has a nine-to-five attitude and is not doing very well as a salesperson in his company.

number one (look after/take care of number one)

- oneself

His atitude is to always look after number one without thinking about anybody else.

on all fours

- on one's hands and knees

The man was down on all fours in the store looking for the keys to his car.

on cloud nine

- very happy

My sister has been on cloud nine since she won the new car in the contest.

one and only

- the only person or thing

The company has been selling the one and only compatible printer in the world.

one and the same

- exactly the same

Doing the job at home or at the company is one and the same to me so feel free to do what you want.

one by one

- individually, one at a time

The children entered the school building one by one and very quietly.

one for the road

- one last drink (of alcohol) before one leaves for home

We decided to stay at the party and have one for the road before taking a taxi home.

one good turn deserves another

- if someone helps you it is fair to help them in return

One good turn deserves another so we made a great effort to help those people who had helped us in the past.

one hell/heck of a something

- the emphasis that something is very good or bad

The residents of the town gave the Prime Minister one heck of a welcome when he visited them last winter.

one in a million

- a great or unique person

He is one of the finest coaches in the world and is definitely one in a million.

one of the boys

- an accepted member of a group

He always tries to act like one of the boys but in reality nobody really likes him.

one of these days

- soon, before long

One of these days they say that they will open a new movie theater but still we have been waiting many years.

one of those days

- a bad day where nothing goes right

It was one of those days and right from early morning things went wrong.

one of those things

- something is unfortunate but must be accepted

Her sudden illness is one of those things and there is nothing we can do about it.

one or two

- a few, a small number

There were only one or two people at the meeting so it was postponed until later.

(the) one that got away

- referring to a fish that you didn't catch or an opportunity that you missed

My father said that he had caught many fish but the biggest one was the one that got away.

one too many

- too much alcohol

The man drank one too many so his friends would not let him drive home.

one up on someone

- have an advantage over someone

I am one up on my best friend because he is still looking for a job while I have already found one.

one's lucky number comes up

- someone is lucky or has good fortune

My lucky number finally came up when I was chosen to go to Los Angeles in order to represent our company at the conference.

one's number is up

- something bad will happen to someone

I think that the manager's number is up and he will soon be fired from his job.

one's opposite number

- someone who has the same position as oneself in another company or organization

I spoke with my opposite number in the other company but he didn't agree with me about the new sales policy.

pull a fast one (on someone)

- cheat someone

They tried to pull a fast one on me at the car repair shop but I stopped them easily.

put two and two together

- make a correct guess

We were able to put two and two together and discover who was sending the unwanted E-mail.

quick one

- a single drink of alcohol taken before one does something else

We stopped for a quick one on the way home but stayed for more than an hour.

seventh heaven

- in a situation of great happiness

She has been in seventh heaven since she moved to the new department.

six feet under

- dead and buried

My uncle has been six feet under for over five years now.

six of one and a half dozen of the other

- there is little difference between two things/situations

Whatever you do is no problem for me. It is six of one and half a dozen of the other.

(a) stitch in time saves nine

- any damage or mistake should be corrected immediately in order to prevent it getting worse

You should try and repair your car before it becomes worse. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine.

ten to one

- very likely

I will make a bet that ten to one he comes to work late again today.

there are no two ways about it

- there is no alternative

His boss told him that there are no two ways about it and he will have to change his habits or he will be fired.

two can play that game

- you can also treat someone in the same way as they have treated you

The employees told the boss that two can play that game and if he was too strict they would also be unflexible at work.

two heads are better than one

- it is better to work with another person to solve problems etc

Two heads are usually better than one when you are trying to solve a difficult problem.

two wrongs don't make a right

- you can't justify a wrong action by saying that someone else did the same thing to you

Two wrongs don't make a right and if someone does something bad to you you should not try and hurt them as well.

two's company (three's a crowd)

- better to leave two people together than for a third person to interfere

My friend wanted to come along on the date between me and my girlfriend but I told him that two's company and three's a crowd so he stayed home.

three R's

- the three basic skills from school - reading, (w)riting, (a)rithmetic

Many people believe that teaching the three R's is the most important role for schools.

Idiom Quizzes - Numbers

    Choose an idiom at the bottom to replace the expression in the brackets below:

  1. The company president was (dead and buried) before anyone knew he was missing.

    (a) at sixes and sevens (b) on cloud nine (c) six feet under (d) all rolled up in one

  2. After finding many problems with the engine design we decided to go (back and start over).

    (a) on all fours (b) one for the road (c) one too many (d) back to square one

  3. I will return (very quickly).

    (a) in forty winks (b) one and the same (c) one by one (d) in two shakes of a lamb's tail

  4. I was (very happy) when I won a vacation trip to Hawaii.

    (a) on cloud nine (b) a nine-day wonder (c) dressed up to the nines (d) all in one

  5. Her friend is very selfish and is only concerned with (herself).

    (a) the three R's (b) seventh heaven (c) number one (d) her opposite number

  6. He is a strict teacher and makes sure the students have a good knowledge of (reading, writing, and arithmetic).

    (a) six of one and half a dozen of the other (b) the three R's (c) number one (d) a quick one

  7. Solving a difficult problem by yourself is not easy and usually (it is better to work with another person to solve the problem).

    (a) there are no two ways about it (b) two can play at that game (c) two wrongs don't make a right (d) two heads are better than one

  8. I think that the salesman (cheated me).

    (a) pulled a fast one on me (b) cut both ways (c) is in two minds about something (d) put two and two together

  9. They stayed late at the party and had (too much to drink).

    (a) one too many (b) six of one and half a dozen of the other (c) ten to one (d) three cheers for someone

  10. The actress was (wearing her best dress) at the charity concert.

    (a) all rolled up in one (b) a stitch in time (c) at sixes and sevens (d) dressed up to the nines

  11. The schedule of my boss is always changing but (almost always) he is in his office on Monday morning.

    (a) at one time (b) nine times out of ten (c) one by one (d) six of one or half a dozen of the other

  12. We talked to the employees (individually) when we learned of the serious financial problems we faced.

    (a) on all fours (b) all in one (c) one by one (d) one and the same

  13. Our supervisor is (a good member of the team) and helps everyone do a good job.

    (a) one of the boys (b) a quick one (c) a hundred to one shot (d) on cloud nine

  14. The new sales manager is (attracting a lot of attention) and should rise quickly in our company.

    (a) our opposite number (b) a nine-to-five attitude (c) at one with everyone (d) a nine-day wonder

  15. I stopped work for an hour in order to (have a short sleep).

    (a) pull a fast one (b) get forty winks (c) cut both ways (d) have a stitch in time