pad the bill
- add false expensesHe always pads the bill when he
goes on a business trip.
pain in the neck (ass)
- an annoying thing or person, bothersomeDealing with
my neighbor is always a pain in the neck.
paint oneself into a corner
- get oneself into a bad situation that is difficult or
impossible to get out ofHe has painted himself into a corner now that
he has begun to fight with his supervisor.
paint the town red
- go out and party and have a good timeWe decided to
go out and paint the town red after we all passed our exams.
- deceive someone by a trick or a lie, sell or give by
trickingHe palmed off his old television set as one that was new and
- end or finish favorably, work out wellI hope that
your plans to go back to school pan out well.
par for the course
- just what was expected, nothing unusualThat was par
for the course. He always comes late when there is a lot of work to do.
part and parcel
- a necessary or important part, something necessary to a larger
thingThe house that he bought was part and parcel of a much larger
piece of land.
- dieHis father passed away when he was about 96
- pass a test or checkup, be good enoughI wrote some
of the instructions of the computer manual and will send them to my partner to
see if they pass muster.
- sell or give something by false claims, offer something as
genuineThe man passed off the diamond watch as a real one and
received much more money than it was worth
- claim to be someone one is not, pretend to be someone
elseHe passed himself off as a reporter and was able to get into the
- give away something that you don`t use anymoreShe
always passes on her old clothes to her younger sister.
- dieHer grandmother passed on when she was 92 years
- faintThree teenage girls passed out at the rock
pass the buck
- shift responsibility to othersHe always tries to
pass the buck if someone tries to criticize his work.
pat on the back
- praiseHe gave me a pat on the back after I finished
- fixI have been trying to patch up our differences
for many months now.
- look at or listen to with full attentionHe never
pays attention to what his supervisor tells him.
- dirt in which much gold is found, a valuable
discoveryThe company hit pay dirt when they invented the new Internet
- pay in full and be free from a debt, yield good results (the
risk paid off)She finally paid off her car so she has lots of extra
money to spend.
- results of one`s work, a bribeHe expects to get a
big pay-off from his education when he finally begins to look for a job.
pay through the nose
- pay a lot of money for somethingMy uncle always
pays through the nose when he buys a new car.
- the way people are ranked in relation to each
otherThe pecking order in his company is very difficult to understand
for most of the workers.
- someone who looks in people`s windowsThe police
arrested a peeping Tom near our apartment building last week.
penny for one`s thoughts
- Please tell me what you are thinking about."A penny
for your thoughts," she said as she saw her boyfriend looking out of the window.
penny-wise and pound-foolish
- wise or careful in small things to the costly neglect of
important thingsHe is penny-wise and pound-foolish and is always
wasting his money on things that he doesn`t need.
people who live in glass houses should not throw
- do not complain about other people if you are as bad as they
areYou should not criticize other people so much. Remember, people
who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
- a speech to encourage people to try harder and not give
upThe coach gave his team a pep talk after they lost three games last
- become energetic or happy after being sad or
tiredMy sister began to perk up after she had a chance to rest for
- die down gradually, grow less strongThe large crowd
from the football game has begun to peter out and the streets around the stadium
are becoming quiet now.
- food or a drink one takes when one feels tired or
weakI stopped at the restaurant on my way home from work for a quick
pick a quarrel
- start a quarrel with someone on purposeI don`t like
her because she is always trying to pick a quarrel with others.
- do or say bad things to someoneHe always picked on
his sister when they were children.
- choose or selectI tried to pick out a suitable
necktie for my father.
pick someone`s brains
- extract ideas or information from someone for one`s own
useThey are always picking his brains to get new ideas for their
- get, receiveI picked up my dry cleaning after I
finished work yesterday.
- take on passengers, receiveThe bus picked us up at
about six o`clock in the morning.
- make neat and tidyHe decided to pick up his room
before his friend came to visit.
- get without trying, accidentallyHe picked up a lot
of French when he lived in France for a year.
- catch or receive the sound of a radio etc.We
couldn`t pick up the radio station when we were travelling through the
- take to the police station, arrest someoneThe
police picked up the man because they thought he had been drinking.
- pick up something that has fallen on the floor
etc.Could you please pick up my pen from the floor.
- start again after interruption, go onIt was getting
late so we decided to stop work for the evening and pick up where we left off
the next day..
pick up a trail/scent
- recognize the trail of a hunted person or animalThe
tracking dogs were able to pick up the trail of the criminal easily.
pick up speed
- increase the speed ofThe car picked up speed as it
began to go down the hill.
pick up the tab
- pay the bill for someone elseHe picked up the tab
for the dinner at the restaurant.
piece of cake
- easyThat job was a piece of cake. It was the
easiest thing I ever did.
- sitting or being carried on the back and
shouldersThe man was carrying his child around the room piggyback
- a small bank (sometimes in the shape of a pig) for saving
coinsHer daughter put all of her spare money into her piggy bank.
pig in a poke
- something accepted or bought without looking at it
carefullyThe stereo system he bought was a pig in a poke. He has no
idea if it will work well.
- accumulate, put things on top of each otherHe piled
up the magazines on top of the small table.
- be careful with money, be thrifty He has been
pinching pennies for months in order to save money for his vacation.
- keep someone from moving, make someone stay in a place or
positionThe wrestler won the match after he pinned his opponent down
for almost a minute.
- make someone tell the truth or make a commitmentI
couldn`t pin him down as to exactly when he would pay back the money that he
- dismissal notice from a jobHe received his pink
slip yesterday and no longer has a job.
- an unrealistic planHe always has a lot of pipe
dreams about what he wants to do in the future.
- speak louderWe asked the speaker to pipe up so that
we could hear him.
- a small, unimportant personHe called his friend a
pip-squeak which made him very angry.
- bother or annoy someone, make someone angryMy
supervisor pissed me off when he asked me to work late again last night.
pitch a tent
- put up a tentWe pitched the tent in a nice field
beside a stream.
- give help or money for somethingThey pitched in and
helped him finish the job quickly.
play ball with someone
- cooperate fairly with someoneIf you agree to play
ball with the new manager things should go well for you.
play by ear
- play a musical instrument by remembering the tune and not by
reading the musicAlthough she can`t read music at all she can play by
ear and is a great musician.
play cat and mouse with someone
- tease or fool someone by pretending to let him go free and
then catching him againThe boxer was playing cat and mouse with his
opponent although he could have won easily.
- give less emphasis or make something seem less
importantThe politician played down the polls that showed that he was
becoming less popular.
- tired out, worn out, exhaustedI was totally played
out last night so I went to bed early.
- touch the feet of a member of the opposite sex under the table
while flirtingThe couple in the restaurant were playing footsie under
the table during their dinner.
- engage in any kind of collaboration or flirtation especially
in a political situationThe opposition party was playing footsie with
the government in order to have their opinions heard.
play (someone) for something
- treat someone as something, act toward someone as
somethingHe was trying to play me for a fool but I could easily see
what he was trying to do.
- stay away from school or work without
permissionWhen he was a student he often played hooky and didn`t go
play into someone`s hands
- do something that gives someone else an advantageIf
you walk out of the meeting in anger you will only be playing into his hands.
play it by ear
- decide on something according to the situationLet`s
play it by ear and decide what to do after we see the movie.
- match opposing persons, forces or interests for one`s own
gainNobody likes the supervisor because he is always trying to play
off one group of workers against another.
- settle a score between two teams or contestants by more
playWe went to the game last night as our team had to play off
against the other team.
play on/upon (something)
- cause an effect on, influenceThey played on his
feelings of loneliness to get him to come and buy them dinner every night.
play on words
- a humorous use of a word to suggest a different
meaningThere are many cases of using a play on words in the newspaper
play one`s cards right
- take advantage of your opportunitiesIf you play
your cards right you will probably get a promotion soon.
play second fiddle to someone
- be second in importance to someoneHe has been
playing second fiddle to his boss for years and has finally decided to quit.
play the field
- date many different people, avoid steady dates with the same
personAfter my sister stopped seeing her boyfriend she decided to
play the field until she met someone nice.
- call attention to, emphasizeDuring the job
interview he played up his experience as an experienced computer operator.
play up to someone
- flatter or please someone to try and gain some
advantageHe is always playing up to his boss so he can leave work
play with fire
- invite danger or troubleYou are playing with fire
if you get involved with those people.
- attack vigorouslyWe plowed into the food as soon as
the waiter brought it to our table.
- crash into with forceThe truck plowed into the
group of people waiting for the bus.
- make oneself have courageHe plucked up his courage
and went and asked the woman for a date.
- explain, call attention toShe was very kind when
she pointed out the mistakes that I had made.
- a remark clearly aimed at a particular person or
thingHe made a pointed remark during the meeting that was clearly
designed to get my attention.
poke fun at
- joke about, laugh at, teaseShe is always poking fun
at the way her husband plays golf.
- finish completely, finish doing something quicklyWe
polished off the work early and went to the beach for the day.
polish the apple
- try to win favor by flattering someoneThe teacher
doesn`t like students who are always trying to polish the apple with her.
- payIt is time to pony up and pay for the equipment
that he bought.
- worn out, exhaustedWe spent all day painting the
house and were pooped out by the time we got home.
pop the question
- ask someone to marry youHe finally popped the
question to her after they had been going out together for two years.
- appear suddenly or unexpectedlyI hadn`t seen my
friend for almost a year but suddenly he popped up for a visit last week.
pot calling the kettle black
- a person who is criticizing someone else is as guilty as the
person he criticizesI was joking to her about why she was afraid to
look for another job but she said it was like the pot calling the kettle black
as I also never tried to change jobs.
pound the pavement
- look for a jobHe has been pounding the pavement for
a few months now but still has not found a job.
pour it on thick
- flatter greatlyHe has been pouring it on thick but
she still doesn`t like him.
pour oil on troubled waters
- calm down a quarrel, say something to lessen anger and bring
peace to a situationThey tried to pour oil on troubled waters after
they noticed the argument among the students.
- tell everything about somethingShe poured out her
heart to her mother when she returned home from work.
- come out in great number or quantity, stream
outAfter the football game thousands of fans poured out of the
press (push) one`s luck
- depend too much on luck, expect to continue to be
luckyHe is pushing his luck if he thinks that he will continue to
make a lot of money on the stock market.
pressed for time
- have barely enough timeHe was pressed for time so I
didn`t have a chance to speak to him.
prey on (upon)
- catch for food, kill and eatCats usually prey on
mice and small birds if they can catch them.
prey on (upon)
- cheat, robCriminals usually prey on people who are
living in poor areas.
promise the moon
- mentally alert, ready to do somethingBefore the
elections the politicians were promising everyone the moon but when they were
elected they began to talk differently.
- mentally alert, ready to do somethingThe team was
psyched up for the game but they lost anyway.
- find out the real motives of (someone)I tried to
psych out the salesman to see what he really wanted to sell the car for.
pull a fast one
- cheat, deceiveThey pulled a fast one on him when
they sold him the used car.
pull (something) off
- accomplish something remarkableHe really is lucky
in being able to pull off the new business merger with no problems.
pull one`s socks up
- make a greater effortYou had better begin to pull
your socks up or you will not be able to continue working here.
pull one`s weight
- do one`s fair share of the workIf everyone pulls
their weight we can quickly finish and go home.
pull someone`s leg
- trick or fool someone playfullyHer grandfather is
always pulling her leg when he comes to visit.
pull out of a hat
- get as if by magic, invent, imagineI didn`t think
that he was going to be able to find a dictionary but he suddenly pulled one out
of a hat and gave it to me.
- drive to the side of the road and stopThe police
pulled over the man because he had been drinking.
- assert one`s superior position or authority on a person of
lower rank in order to get a privilege or favorThe navy officer
pulled rank on the other officers and was able to stay in the best hotel during
- secretly use influence and powerHe was able to pull
some strings and get his son a job for the summer.
pull the plug
- expose someone`s secret activitiesThe company
decided to pull the plug on the salesman and tell everyone about his illegal
pull the plug
- quit a jobHe suddenly decided to pull the plug and
is no longer here.
pull the rug out from under
- spoil someone`s plans, withdraw supportHe pulled
the rug out from under our plans to open a branch office in New York.
pull the wool over someone`s eyes
- deceive or fool someoneDon`t let him pull the wool
over your eyes with his excuses.
- recover from an illness or misfortuneIt looked like
he was going to die from cancer but in the end he pulled through and is now
doing very well.
pull up stakes
- move to another locationThey decided to pull up
stakes and move to London.
push (someone) around
- make someone do what you wantHe is always pushing
around his salesmen and saleswomen.
- start, leaveThe boat pushed off from the dock and
started out to sea.
push the panic button
- become very frightened or excited at a time of danger or
worryAt first he thought that his wallet had been stolen but before
he pushed the panic button and told everyone he looked around again and found
put a damper on
- discourage, spoil a person`s funThe death of the
president put a damper on the anniversary celebrations.
- explain clearly, make oneself understoodHe spends a
lot of effort trying to put across clearly what he wants to say.
put all one`s eggs in one basket
- place all one`s efforts, interests or hopes in a single person
or thingYou should not put all your eggs in one basket and invest all
of your money in the stock market.
- put an animal to death, killWe had to have our dog
put away because he tried to bite the small girl next door.
- stop by force, crushThe government easily put down
the rebellion by the militants.
- write a record of something, write downHe was asked
by his company to put down his request for a transfer in writing.
- criticize, make someone look badHe is always
putting down his girlfriend in front of his friends.
- plant flowersWe decided to put in some roses in our
garden last year.
- stop at a port on a journey by waterThe ship put in
at several ports during the cruise.
- add to what has already been saidSuddenly he put in
that he was tired and wanted to go home.
put in for something
- apply for somethingI put in for a transfer to
another department of our company but it was refused.
put in (time)
- spend timeHe has put in a lot of time fixing up his
house and now it looks beautiful.
put in one`s two cents
- give one`s opinionShe always wants to put in her
two cents when she has a chance.
- postponeThe game was put off because of the rain.
- discourage, cause a bad feelingHe put me off with
his complaints about the hotel room that I had reserved for him.
- dress in and wear clothesPlease put on your jacket
before you go out.
- fool or joke with someone, tease, pretendI think
that he is putting me on. I don`t believe that he will move to Rome.
- produce or arrange a play etc.My sister helped to
put on the school play.
put on one`s thinking cap
- think hard and long about somethingI will put on my
thinking cap and try and decide what to do about finding a new job.
put on the map
- make a place well knownThe Woodstock rock concert
really put the town of Woodstock on the map.
put on weight
- gain weightHe has put on a lot of weight since he
stopped going to the gym.
put one`s cards on the table
- be frank, tell everythingI put my cards on the
table and told him everything about the plans for next year.
put one`s finger on something
- locate precisely, remember exactlyI was unable to
put my finger on the exact date of his arrival.
put one`s foot down
- object strongly, take firm actionHe put his foot
down and didn`t allow any more money to be spent on company entertainment.
put one`s foot in one`s mouth
- say something that is the wrong thing to say in a
situationHe really put his foot in his mouth when he told her about
the surprise party.
put one`s own house in order
- organize one`s own private affairsHe should put his
own house in order before he tells others what to do.
put our heads together
- confer, discussWe put our heads together and
finally thought of a new name for the football team.
- make a flame or light stop burning, extinguishThe
man put out his cigarette on the theater carpet.
- produce, makeThe company decided to put out a
newsletter to give news to the employees.
(be) put out
- be inconvenienced or irritatedShe was a little put
out that you didn`t call her when you were in town.
put (someone) out
- inconvenience, bother, She shouldn`t put herself
out so much when people come and visit her.
put someone in his or her place
- scold someone for rude or bad behaviorShe was very
angry and really put him in his place over the rude remark.
put someone in the picture
- tell someone what the situation isThey have finally
decided to put me in the picture about the new work procedures.
put (something or someone) out of one`s head
- try not to think about somethingHe has been trying
to put his girlfriend out of his mind since they decided to stop seeing each
put (something) over on someone
- fool, trickHe was trying to put something over on
his boss when he said that he was sick and couldn`t come to work.
put (something) past someone (negative)
- be surprised by what someone doesI wouldn`t put it
past him to try and sell the main part of the company and leave the rest.
put the bite on someone
- ask for money or favorsHe is always trying to put
the bite on his friends to collect money for charity.
put the cart before the horse
- do things in the wrong orderI think that he is
putting the cart before the horse by talking about fixing up the house before he
even buys it.
put the screws to someone
- try to force someone to do or say what you wantThe
police were putting the screws to the criminal to try and get some information.
put through the wringer
- cause a lot of stressHe really put his wife through
the wringer when he asked her for a divorce.
put two and two together
- understand or figure something out after learning the
factsI finally put two and two together and realized that she was his
- provide money or something neededThe telephone
company put up most of the money for the new stadium.
put up a good fight
- try hardThey put up a good fight but were unable to
win the tournament.
put up a good front
- pretend to be happy, fool people about one`s
statusHe always puts up a good front but actually he is very unhappy.
put up at a hotel etc.
- stay at a hotel or someone`s homeWe decided to put
up at a hotel and continue our trip the next day.
put up or shut up
- prove something or stop saying it, bet money on what one says
or stop saying itThe politician was forced to put up or shut up over
the plans to build a new convention center.
put up to
- persuade or get someone to do somethingHis friend
put him up to cheating on the examination.
put up with
- patiently accept, endureHe makes a great effort to
put up with his wife`s complaints.
put words in one`s mouth
- say something for someone elseHer husband is always
putting words in her mouth which makes her a little angry.
quite a few
- manyHe has quite a few videos at home.
Idiom Quizzes - P