1. ace: make an "A" on a test, homework assignment,
"Somebody said you aced the test, Dave. That's great!"
2. all right (1): expression of reluctant agreement.
A: "Come to the party with me. Please!"
B: "Oh, all right. I don't want to, but I will."
3. all right (2): fair; not particularly good.
A: "How's your chemistry class?"
B: "It's all right, I guess, but it's not the best class I've
4. all right (3): unharmed; in satisfactory condition.
A: "You don't look normal. Are you all right?"
B: "Yes, but I have a headache."
5. and then some: and much more besides.
A: "I'd guess your new computer cost about $2,000. "
B: "It cost that much and then some because I also bought extra
RAM and VRAM."
6. antsy: restless; impatient and tired of waiting.
"I hope Katy calls soon. Just sitting around and waiting is
making me antsy."
7. as easy as pie: very easy.
"I thought you said this was a difficult problem. It isn't. In
fact, it's as easy as pie."
8. at the eleventh hour: at the last minute; almost too late.
"Yes, I got the work done in time. I finished it at the eleventh
hour, but I wasn't late.
9. bad-mouth: say unkind, unflattering, embarrassing (and
probably untrue) things about someone.
A: "I don't believe what Bob said. Why is he bad-mouthing me?"
B: "He's probably jealous of your success."
10. be a piece of cake: be very easy.
A: "Bob said the test was difficult, but I thought it was a
piece of cake."
11. be all ears: be eager to hear what someone has to say.
A: "I just got an e-mail message from our old friend Sally."
B: "Tell me what she said. I'm all ears!"
12. be broke: be without money.
"No, I can't lend you ten dollars. I'm completely broke until
13. be fed up with (with someone or something): be out of
patience (with someone or something); be very tired of someone
"Bill, you're too careless with your work. I'm fed up with
apologizing for your mistakes!"
14. be in and out: be at and away from a place during a
"Could we postpone our meeting until tomorrow? I expect to
be in and out of the office most of the day today."
15. be on the go: be very busy (going from one thing or
project to another).
"I'm really tired. I've been on the go all week long."
16. be on the road: be traveling.
"You won't be able to contact me tomorrow because I'll be on the
17. be over: be finished; end.
"I can't see you until around 4 o'clock. My meetings won't be
over until then."
18. be up and running: (for a technological process) be
operational; be ready to use .
"Dave's ESL Cafe on the Web has been up and running since
19. be used to (+Ving/noun): be accustomed to; not
"It won't be hard to get up at 5:00 AM. I'm used to getting up
20. beat: exhausted; very tired (adj.).
"This has been a long day. I'm beat!"
21. beat around the bush: evade an issue; avoid giving a
"Quit beating around the bush! If you don't want to go with me,
just tell me!"
22. beat one's brains out: try very hard to understand or do
"Can you help me with this problem? I've been beating my brains
out with it,
but I just can't solve it."
23. Beats me: I have no idea.
A: "What time's the party?"
B: "Beats me!"
24. before long: soon.
A: "I'm really tired of working."
B: "Just be patient. The weekend will be here before long."
25. bent out of shape: needlessly worried about something.
"I know you're worried about your job interview, but don't get
bent out of shape.
You'll do just fine."
26. bite off more than one can chew: take responsibility for
more than one can manage.
"I'm really behind with my project. Can you help me? I'm afraid
bit off more than I could chew!"
27. blabbermouth: a very talkative person--especially one who
says things that should be kept secret.
"Don't say anything to Bob unless you want the whole office to
Bob's quite a blabbermouth."
28. blow one's top: become extremely angry.
A: "Was your father upset when you came home at 3 AM?"
B: "He was more than upset. He blew his top!"
29. boom box: portable cassette/CD player.
"Don't forget to bring your boom box to the picnic!"
30. the bottom line: the most essential information.
"The discussion lasted many hours. The bottom line was that
the XYZ Company isn't for sale."
31. Break a leg!: Good luck!
"I understand you have a job interview tomorrow. Break a leg!"
32. break someone's heart: make someone feel very
"Joe broke his mother's heart when he dropped out of school."
33. broke: without money.
A: "Can you lend me 10 dollars?"
B: "I'm afraid not. I'm broke."
34. buck(s): dollar(s).
"The cheapest tickets for the concert cost 25 bucks. Do you
still want to go?"
35. bug: annoy; bother.
"I'm trying to concentrate! Don't bug me!"
36. bull-headed: stubborn; inflexible.
"Don't be so bull-headed. Why can't you admit that others'
opinions are just as good as yours?"
37. a bundle: a lot of money.
A: "Your new car is really nice."
B: "It should be. It cost me a bundle!"
38. burn the midnight oil: study/work all night or until very,
very late at night.
"I'm not ready for the test tomorrow. I guess I'll have to
burn the midnight oil."
39. bushed: very tired; exhausted.
"I'm going to lie down for a while. I'm really bushed."
40. by oneself: alone and without help.
"I can't do this by myself. Can you help me?"
41. by the skin of one's teeth: barely succeed in doing
"I'll have to start earlier the next time. This time I only
finished by the skin of my teeth."
42. call it a day: stop work for the day.
"It's late and you've accomplished a lot. Why don't you call it
43. can't make heads or tails of something: can't understand
something at all;
find something confusing and illogical.
"I can't make heads or tails of your e-mail. Were you having
with your computer?"
44. catch one's eye: attract one's attention/interest.
"This brochure about Tahiti caught my eye when I was at the
45. catch some Zs: sleep for a while; take a nap.
"You look tired, Dave. Why don't you catch some Zs?"
46. change one's mind: decide to do something different from
what had been decided earlier.
A: "Why are you working this week? I thought you were going to
be on vacation."
B: "I changed my mind. I'm taking my vacation next month."
47. chicken (adjective or noun): cowardly.
"Fred will never ask Lucy for a date. He's chicken / a chicken.
48. chow: food.
"How's the chow in the university cafeteria?"
49. chow down: eat.
"It's almost 6:00. Are you ready to chow down?"
50. a cinch: something that's very easy to do.
A: How was the test?
B: It was a cinch. I finished it quickly and I know that all my
answers were correct."
51. cool (also kewl): neat, special, wonderful.
"The ESL Cafe on the Web is really cool!"
52. Cool it!: calm down.
"There's no need to be so upset. Just cool it!"
53. cost (someone) an arm and a leg: cost a lot; be very
A: "Your new car is really nice."
B: "It should be. It cost (me) an arm and a leg!"
54. couch potato: someone who spends too much time watching TV.
"You're a real couch potato, Jay. You need to get more exercise!"
55. cram: try to learn as much as possible in a very short time.
"Sidney did well on the test because he crammed for it. However,
won't remember any of the information a couple of days from now."
56. crash course: short course designed to give a lot of
knowledge/information in a very short time.
"Tom's company is sending him to a business meeting in Istanbul.
Should he take a crash course in Turkish?"
57. Cut it out!: stop doing something (that's annoying).
"You kids are making too much noise. Cut it out!"
58. Don't count your chickens until (before) they hatch (they've
hatched).: Don't assume
that something will happen until it has happened.
A: I'm sure that I'm going to win a lot of money in Las Vegas."
B: "Don't count your chickens until they hatch!"
59. dicey: uncertain; taking too much of a chance.
A: A friend of mine says I can make a lot of moneyif I buy stock
in the XYZ company. Should I do it?
B: I wouldn't if I were you. The chances for success are too
60. ditch class: skip class/play hookey/play truant
"You shouldn't have ditched class yesterday. We had an
61. do a bang-up job: do a very good job; do very well at
"Have you seen Frank's home page? He did a bang-up job with it."
62. down in the dumps: depressed; "blue."
A: "Is something wrong?"
B: "Not really, but I feel kind of down in the dumps."
63. drop someone a line: write to someone.
"I haven't written to my parents for a long time. I'd better
drop them a line
today or tomorrow."
64. drag one's feet: delay; take longer than necessary to do
"Joe should have finished his project a week ago. Why is he
dragging his feet?"
65. an eager beaver: a person who is always willing to volunteer
or do extra work.
"Jan is certainly an eager beaver. Any time there's work to be
she's the first to say she'll help."
66. Easy does it!: Be very careful! / Don't do anything too fast
or too hard!
A: "I'm going to move the table just a little further from the
B: "Easy does it! If you move too fast, you might knock over the
67. an egghead: a very intelligent person.
"Jake didn't make very good grades in school, but his sister was
a real egghead."
68. elbow grease: hard work; effort.
"Yes, the car is pretty dirty, but it'll look nice again with a
little elbow grease."
69. every other _____ : alternately; omitting the second one in
each group of two.
"In your essays, please write on every other line. That will
essays much easier to read."
70. far-fetched: difficult to accept; difficult to believe.
"That story's pretty far-fetched. Nobody's going to believe it."
71. feel blue: feel sad and depressed.
"I'm feeling blue because I haven't had any mail except bills
for a long, long time."
72. fire someone: dismiss someone from a job because of poor
"If you continue to be late for work, the company will fire you."
73. feel puny: feel unwell, ill.
"Ted was feeling puny yesterday, so he decided not to go to work."
74. fender-bender: automobile accident.
"Traffic was really slow on the freeway this morning
because of a fender-bender in one of the westbound lanes."
75. for ages: for a very long time.
"Where's Marie? I haven't seen her for ages."
76. get going: leave.
"Look at the time! I'd better get going!"
77. get it: understand something (often negative).
"I don't get it. What do you mean?"
78. get a kick out of something: find something amusing.
"I really get a kick out of listening to children talk. They say
some very funny things."
79. get lost!: go away
"I wish he'd get lost and stop bothering me. I don't want to
talk to him!"
80. get on one's nerves: irritate someone; make someone upset.
"I know you like that song, but it's getting on my nerves. Can
you play something else?"
81. get a move on: hurry
"If you don't want to be late, you'd better get a move on."
82. get one's wires crossed: be confused or mistaken about
A: "Bill said there was a meeting this morning. Don't we have
B: "No. The meeting's tomorrow. I guess Bill got his wires
83. get out of hand: become out of control; become badly managed.
"Your absences are getting out of hand, Bob. You'd better do
something quickly to improve the situation if you want to keep
84. Get real!: Be realistic! / Don't be naive.
A: "I'm going to Las Vegas. I know I'll win a lot of money!"
B: "Get real! You'll probably lose a lot of money!"
85. get up and go: energy.
"I'm really tired. I don't have any get up and go."
86. give someone a hand (1): help someone.
"I can't do this alone. Can you give me a hand?"
87. give someone a hand (2): applaud (to show respect or
appreciation for someone/something).
"Dave's done a wonderful job with The ESL Café on the Web.
Let's give him a hand!"
88. a (real) go-getter: a (very) ambitious, hard-working person.
"I'm not surprised that Jean finished before anyone else. She's
a real go-getter."
89. go with the flow: take things as they come.
"There's no need to worry. Everything will be OK if you just go
with the flow."
90. grab a bite: get something to eat.
"I'm really hungry. Would you like to grab a bite with me?"
91. green: inexperienced.
"I don't think you can depend on Jack to do that job by himself.
He's too green."
92. had ('d) better: be obliged to; should (strong).
"You'd better leave soon. If you don't, you'll miss your bus."
93. hassle (noun): a troublesome situation; something
troublesome that interrupts one's normal routine.
"I know it's a hassle to complete this form now, but Mr. Rogers
needs it in his office by the end of the day."
94. hard feelings: anger; animosity; bitter feelings.
A: "I'm sorry that Jim got the job instead of you."
B: "I have no hard feelings toward him; I know that he had
95. hard-headed: stubborn; inflexible; unwilling to change.
"I don't think Julie will change her mind. She's pretty hard-headed."
96. hassle (verb): annoy; bother; interrupt one's normal routine.
"If you'd stop hassling me, I might get this finished on time!"
97. have one's hands full: be extremely busy.
A: "Will you be able to help us this afternoon?"
B: "I'm afraid not. I'll have my hands full trying to finish my
98. have/has ('ve/'s) got: have/has.
"Dave's got a son whose name is Benjamin and a daughter whose
name is Shannon."
99. have something down pat: know/understand something
completely and thoroughly.
"I know I did well on the test. I had all the material down
100. head honcho: person in charge; top boss.
"Dave's the head honcho of the ESL Cafe on the Web."
101. hit the books: study.
"I wish I could go to the movies, but I've got to hit the books."
102. hit the hay: go to bed; go to sleep.
"It's late, so I guess I'll hit the hay."
103. hit the sack: go to bed.
"I'm really tired. I think I'll hit the sack."
104. How come?: Why? (statement word order).
"How come you weren't at the party?"