Learn new expressions in English with these exercises:
If you search for something which is futile, pointless or unattainable, you are on a ‘wild-goose chase’.
- He sent us on a wild-goose chase for a book that isn’t being published until next year.
- She sent us on a wild-goose chase looking for their beach house.
A small sum of money (perhaps just comparatively small) can be called ‘chicken feed’.
- The salary they were offering was chicken feed compared to what I could earn as a consultant.
- You can only make chicken feed profits teaching English on the Internet.
If money will prevent poverty, it will ‘keep the wolf from the door’.
- The salary won’t allow me to buy very much but it should keep the wolf from the door.
- We need to get in some immediate income to keep the wolf from the door.
Sometimes when you lose patience with something, it is something very minor which causes this, even though you didn’t lose patience when there were other more serious problems earlier. This is the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’.
- I know it wasn’t a major problem but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as I was concerned.
- When they told me I had to work on Christmas Day, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I left.
If somewhere is very dirty or untidy, we can say it is a ‘pigsty’.
- This room looks like a pigsty.
- The factory was like a pigsty with materials everywhere.
If you quarrel all the time with somebody, you ‘ fight like cat and dog’ .
- They fought like cat and dog over the decision.
- They can’t work together. They fight like cat and dog.
The best or greatest thing is ‘the cat’s whiskers’.
- Now he has been promoted, he thinks he’s the cat’s whiskers.
- Don’t start thinking you are the cat’s whiskers because you are not.
If you are very nervous or uneasy, there are a couple of expression using ‘cat’.
- He’s like a cat on a hot tin roof.
- She’s like a cat on hot bricks.
If you look dirty, messy or bedraggled, you ‘look like something the cat brought/dragged in’.
- Tidy yourself up. You look like something the cat brought in.
- He turned up looking like something the cat dragged in.
If you have absolutely no chance, you have a ‘cat in hell’s chance’.
- We have a cat in hell’s chance of getting the contract.
- He has a cat in hell’s chance of going out with her.
If you are being teased cruelly by someone without knowing exactly what their intentions are, they are ‘playing cat and mouse’ with you.
- They are playing cat and mouse with us about renewing the contract.
- I don’t have any time for these cat and mouse games.
When you do something, often suddenly, that is generally disturbing or upsetting, you ‘put the cat among the pigeons’.
- The announcement of the takeover by Glazer has really put the cat among the pigeons.
- We need to find a way to put the cat among the pigeons and shake them up a bit.