- attack, join inThe football player waded into the
fight to protect his teammates.
wait on (someone) hand and foot
- serve in every possible way, do everything for
someoneHe always waits on his wife hand and foot.
- serve foodHe spent the summer waiting tables at the
wait up for
- not go to bed until someone arrives or something
happensThe woman waited up for her daughter to come home.
walk all over someone
- take advantage of someone, win a game easilyThey
walked all over the other team at the football tournament.
walk away/off with
- take and go away with, take away, stealSomeone
walked away with the computer from the library last night.
- a statement that one is fired from one`s job,
dismissalHe was given his walking papers from his company last week.
walk of life
- way of living, manner in which people livePeople
from every walk of life came to the concert in the park.
walk on air
- feel happy and excitedShe has been walking on air
all morning since she heard that she had passed her exams.
- go on strikeMore than half of the workers at the
factory decided to walk out on strike this morning.
- leave suddenlyThree people walked out of the
walk (all) over
- make someone do whatever one wishes, make selfish use
ofHe tried to walk all over me when I began the job but after I
became used to the company he stopped.
walk the floor
- walk back and forth across the floor, paceHe spent
the night in the hospital walking the floor while waiting for his wife to have a
walk the plank
- be forced to resign from a jobThe vice-president
was forced to walk the plank when the new president joined the company.
walk the plank
- be forced by pirates to walk a long plank from the ship out
over the water to your deathThe pirates seized the small ship and
forced the captain to walk the plank.
waltz off with
- to take, get or win easilyMy favorite team waltzed
off with the championship again last night.
warm one`s blood/heart
- make one feel warm or excitedThe sight of the small
boy looking after his dog warmed the heart of the people on the street.
- become friendly or interestedHis wife finally
warmed up to the idea of going to Italy for a holiday.
- get ready for a game or other event by exercising or
practisingWe spent two hours warming up for the game on Saturday.
wash one`s hands of
- abandon, refuse responsibility forHe washed his
hands of the problem after they refused to deal with it.
- no longer successful or neededThe boxer was all
washed up and had to retire last year.
waste one`s breath
- speak pointlessly without the desired resultsHe is
very stubborn and you are wasting your breath to try and argue with him.
- be careful (usually used as a command)"Watch it!
That truck is going very fast and may hit you."
watch/mind one`s P`s and Q`s
- be well-behaved, be carefulThe boy was told to
watch his P`s and Q`s by his teacher after he caused too many problems at
- make weak, diluteThe new policy was a watered down
version of the earlier one.
water under the bridge
- something that happened in the past and can`t be
changedIt was terrible that your house was robbed but it is water
under the bridge now and you must move on.
way the wind blows
- direction or course something may go, what may
happenWe will have to see which way the wind blows as far as our
plans to go to London or not.
wear and tear
- damage as a result of ordinary useThey put a lot of
wear and tear on their car during their long holiday.
- make something become less useful or smaller or weaker by
wearing or agingLittle by little the water wore down the rocks at the
edge of the river.
- exhaust or tire someone outHe was worn down after
the meeting that took seven hours.
- remove or disappear little by little by use, time or
weatherThe name on the front of my passport has worn off from using
it too much.
- anger or annoy, tireHis constant complaining is
beginning to wear on my nerves.
wear one`s heart on one`s sleeve
- show one`s feelings openlyHe was wearing his heart
on his sleeve after the meeting with his boss.
- use or wear something until it becomes uselessMy
shoes wore out during my trip to Paris.
wear out one`s welcome
- visit somewhere too long or come back too often so that one is
not welcome anymoreMy friend has worn out his welcome at our house as
he always comes to visit us without calling first.
wear the pants in a family
- be the boss in a familyShe is very strong and seems
to be the one who wears the pants in her family.
- become thin from use or the passing of timeThe
silver dollar had begun to wear thin after it was in use for many years.
- grow less or less interesting or believableHis
excuses have begun to wear thin after he keeps using the same ones over and
- remove what is unwanted, get rid ofI spent the
morning weeding out the clothes that I didn`t need anymore.
- be a weight or pressure on someone or something, worry or
upset someoneThe pressure of her exams has begun to weigh upon my
weigh one`s words
- be careful of what one saysYou should weigh your
words carefully before you tell him your decision to quit.
well and good
- good, satisfactoryIt is well and good that he will
go and talk to his supervisor about the problem.
- richHe seems rather well-heeled and is always
wearing expensive clothes and driving a nice car.
- wealthyHer parents are well-off and don`t need to
worry about money during their retirement.
- having or making enough money to live comfortablyHe
comes from a rather well-to-do family.
wet behind the ears
- inexperienced, immatureHe is a little wet behind
the ears and doesn`t know much about the company yet.
- person who discourages others from having funHe is
a wet blanket so we never invite him to any parties.
wet one`s whistle
- have a drink, especially alcoholThey decided to
stop at a bar on the way home from work to wet their whistle.
- about or concerning somethingI know that he wants
to borrow my tent but what about my sleeping bag.
what have you
- whatever one likes or wants"I`ll have a blueberry
ice cream cone or what have you."
(have) what it takes
- ability for a job, courageHe really has what it
takes to be a success at his job.
what`s the big idea
- what is the purpose, what do you have in
mind"What`s the big idea. Why are you using my bicycle?"
- what is happening, what is planned, what is
wrong"What`s up ", he said as he entered the room.
- what each thing is in a group, one thing from
anotherIt is hard to tell what`s what at an auction of old furniture.
what`s (up) with
- what is happening/wrong, how is everything"What`s
with the new supervisor? He seems very angry this morning."
- because, as a result ofWe wanted to go away for a
holiday but what with the move to a new building and the expansion we are too
busy to go anywhere.
wheel and deal
- take part in political or commercial schemingThere
was a lot of wheeling and dealing going on before they built the new convention
when hell freezes over
- neverHe said that he would come to an office party
when hell freezes over.
when the chips are down
- at the most important or dangerous time, when the winner and
loser of a bet or a game will be decidedWhen the chips are down he
will always come and help his friends.
while away the time
- make time go by pleasantlyWe spent the afternoon
whiling away the time by the river.
(a) while back
- several weeks or months in the pastI saw him a
while back but recently I have no idea where he is.
- make or do quickly or easilyIt was very late when
we got home last night so we whipped up something to eat very quickly.
- make active, stir to actionThe union leader whipped
up the crowd with his speech.
whistle a different tune
- change one`s attitude, contradict previous ideasHe
is whistling a different tune now that he has been promoted and has
responsibility for the office.
whistle in the dark
- try to stay brave and forget one`s fearAlthough he
felt very frightened he began to whistle in the dark which helped to calm him
- a useless possessionThey are having a white
elephant sale at the school next week.
- a harmless lie (eg. told for the sake of
politeness)I told her a white lie when I said that I would be too
busy to meet her.
- selling at reduced prices of towels, linens, etc.We
went to the white sale at the department store last Saturday.
- everythingThe new boss always tries to run the
wide of the mark
- far from the target or the thing aimed at,
incorrectHis ideas for the new company were wide of the mark from
what everyone expected.
- a strike not ordered by a labor union but spontaneously by a
group of workersThere was a wildcat strike at the factory last night.
will not hear of
- will not allow or considerMy aunt said that she
will not hear of us staying at a hotel when we come to see her.
wild goose chase
- absurd or hopeless searchHe led them all on a wild
goose chase when he told them about the sale at the computer store.
- strength of mindHe has very strong will power and
was able to quit smoking easily.
- end, finish, settleLet`s wind things up now and
then we can all go home.
- tighten the spring of a machine to make it work or
runEvery night before he goes to bed my grandfather winds up his
- make very excited, nervous or upsetI was really
wound up yesterday after work so I couldn`t get to sleep easily.
- act without preparationHe wasn`t prepared for the
examination so he had to wing it.
- allow and pretend not to know about something (a law or rule
being broken)The librarian always winks at the rule about borrowing a
maximum of three books.
- a series of several wins one after the otherOur
baseball team has been on a winning streak for several weeks now.
- be victorious or successful after hard work or
difficultyWe have had a lot of problems with our boss recently but
finally we won out and he agreed to listen to our complaints.
- remove, kill or destroy completelyThe city spends a
lot of money trying to wipe out rats near the river.
- a disaster, a calamityMy exams were a total
wipe-out. I think that I failed all of them.
- sarcastic or nasty remarkShe made a funny wisecrack
during the speech which caused the audience to start laughing.
- a person who acts as if he were smarter than other
peopleHe always acts like a wise guy when he is in a big group.
wise up to
- finally understand what is really going on after a period of
ignoranceHe finally wised up to the fact that he was never going to
get a promotion in his company.
- unable to decide, have no definite opinionHe is
very wishy-washy and can never make up his mind what he wants to do.
- pregnant, going to have a babyI think that the new
teacher at our school is with child.
with flying colors
- with great or total successI was able to pass my
final exams with flying colors.
within an inch of one`s life
- until one is almost deadThe elderly man was beaten
to within an inch of his life.
- sensible, reasonableI think that, within reason,
you should be able to take as much time off as you want to go to school.
with open arms
- greet someone warmly or eagerlyMy aunt and uncle
were at the airport to greet us with open arms.
with the best of them
- as well as anyoneHe can play soccer with the best
of them when he makes the effort.
- not knowing what to do, at the end of one`s mental
resourcesI have been at my wit`s end all week trying to decide what
to wear to the party.
wolf in sheep`s clothing
- a person who pretends to be good but really is
badHe is a wolf in sheep`s clothing and you should be very careful
when you have to deal with him.
word for word
- in exactly the same wordsI told her word for word
exactly what had happened before the accident.
word of mouth
- passing information orally from one person to
anotherHe heard about the new restaurant by word of mouth.
- feeling excited, angry, worriedHe is all worked up
about the fact that he wasn`t invited to the party.
- rub inWe spent a long time trying to work the
softening cream into the leather.
- slip in, mix in, put inI was able to work in a part
in the play for my best friend.
- force into little by littleHe was able to work his
foot into his boot but it was still very tight.
- make something go away - especially by workingHe
was able to work off his hangover and is now feeling much better.
- have an effect on, try to influence or convinceI am
working on my boss to let me have some time off this summer.
work one`s fingers to the bone
- work very hardShe has been working her fingers to
the bone for years trying to raise her three children.
- end successfully, be efficientI hope that
everything will work out for her when she moves to London next week.
- solve, find an answer toI was unable to work out
the math problem on the final examination.
- accomplish, arrange, planRecently we worked out a
unique system for filling out our expenses at work.
- exerciseHe spends most weekends working out at the
- beat someone up very roughly in order to intimidate them or
get moneyThe gang worked over the storeowner in order to get some
money from him.
- stir up, arouse, exciteHe really likes to work up a
sweat when he does his exercises.
world is one`s oyster
- everything is possible for one, one can get
anythingThe world is her oyster now that she has received her MBA
from Harvard University.
worse for wear
- not as good as new, worn outI borrowed my friend`s
canoe for a month and it is now beginning to look the worse for wear.
worth a cent
- worth anything, of any valueHis new car is broken
down and not worth a cent.
worth one`s salt
- worth what one is paidHe is definitely worth his
salt in our company and is one of our best employees.
would just as soon
- prefer to do one thing rather than anotherShe would
just as soon stay at home as go to the movie.
wrap around one`s finger
- have complete control over someone and be able to make them do
anything you wantShe has her boss wrapped around her finger and can
do anything that she wants.
wrapped up in
- thinking only of, interested only inHe is always
wrapped up in playing with his computer.
- put on warm clothes, dress warmlyShe wrapped
herself up in her warm clothes and went out.
- remove (an amount) from a business record, cancel (a
debt)The bank was forced to write off a large amount of its debt.
- accept (a loss or trouble) and not worry any more about
itHe was forced to write off his bad experience at his old job.
- write or describe in writing, give a full account
ofAfter our trip to Vietnam I spent a couple of weeks trying to write
it up for a magazine.
wrong side of the tracks
- the poor side of townHe married a girl who everyone
said was from the wrong side of the tracks because he loved her.