Idioms - F

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face the music

Defined: If you have to face the music, you have to accept the unpleasant consequences of your actions.
Example: He was caught stealing. Now he has to face the music!

fall over backwards

Defined: If you fall over backwards to accomplish something, you do everything you possibly can to please and impress.
Example: Sally's mother fell over backwards to make her wedding reception a memorable event.

false move

Defined: In a dangerous or risky situation, if you make a false move, you do something which may have unpleasant consequences.
Example: He is under close surveillance. If he makes one false move he'll be arrested.

feed the kitty

Defined: If you feed the kitty, you contribute to a collection of money called a 'kitty' in order to help a good cause.
Example: Come on! Every little helps. You should feed the kitty for a good cause!

fiddling while Rome burns

Defined: To say that someone is fiddling while Rome burns means that they are doing unimportant things while there are serious problems to be dealt with.
Example: His visit to the trade fair was 'fiddling while Rome burns' according to the strikers.

fight a losing battle

Defined: If someone is fighting a losing battle, they are trying to do something even when there is little chance of succeeding.
Example: The headmaster is fighting a losing battle trying to ban mobile phones at school.

fight shy

Defined: If you fight shy of something, such as a task, a problem or a duty, you want to avoid doing it or you are unwiling to confront it.
Example: He had money problems for years but he fought shy of asking his children for help.

fish for compliments

Defined: When someone is obviously waiting for you to say something nice, they are fishing for compliments.
Example: I know why she invited us to her new house - she's just fishing for compliments.

fling oneself into something

Defined: If you fling yourself into an activity, you do it with a lot of energy and enthsiasm.
Example: Ever since she flung herself in the anti-pollution campaign, she rarely has a free moment!

follow one's nose

Defined: If you follow your nose, you go straight ahead. This can also mean to follow your instinct in life.
Example: The station is at the end of the road - just follow your nose.

follow in someone's footsteps

Defined: If you follow in someone's footsteps, for example a parent, you lead a similar life or do the same job.
Example: Lily followed in her her mother's footsteps and became a teacher.

foul one's own nest

Defined: If you act in a way that harms your own interests, your position or your reputation, you foul your own nest.
Example: He fouled his own nest by wrongly accusing his boss.

freeze somebody out

Defined: If you deliberately isolate someone or prevent them from participating in a social or business activity by treating them unfairly or harshly, you freeze them out.
Example: Pablo was treated unfairly. He was frozen out of the project by the rest of the team.

french leave

Defined: If you leave an official or social event without notifying the person who invited you, you take French leave.
Is Bill coming back for the closing speech or has he taken French leave?

freudian slip

Defined: A Freudian slip is a mistake made by a speaker which is considered to reveal their true thoughts or feelings.
Example: So you got the job - I'm so sad ... Sorry, I mean 'glad'!


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