Idioms - M

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make an ass of yourself

Defined: If you behave so stupidly that you appear ridiculous, you make an ass of yourself.
Example: Tom made an ass of himself by singing a love song outside Laura's door!

make the best of

Defined: If you make the best of things, you react in a positive way to an unsatisfactory situation that you cannot change and do the best you can with it.
Example: The apartment was badly located, but the rent was low, so they decided to make the best of things.

make an exhibition of yourself

Defined: When someone behaves in such a foolish way in public that they look ridiculous, they make an exhibition of themselves.
Example: Get down off the table Fred! You're making an exhibition of yourself!

make light of

Defined: If you make light of something, you behave as though it is less serious than it really is.
Example: He won several awards for his work but he made light of it when the subject was mentioned.

make light work of

Defined: If a person makes light work of something, they do it very easily or with little effort.
Example: The boys made light work of the cleaning up. The house was spotless in no time.

make mincemeat of

Defined: If you make mincemeat of someone or something, you completely and utterly defeat or destroy them.
Example: A good lawyer would make mincemeat of your rival's accusations.

make a mountain out of a molehill

Defined: If someone makes a mountain out of a molehill, they make a small, unimportant problem seem much more serious than it is.
Example: Stop making mountains out of molehills! It's not a major problem.

make no bones about

Defined: If you make no bones about something, you don't hesitate to say what you think in a frank and open way.
Example: I made no bones about it. I told him his offer was unacceptable.

make nothing of

Defined: If you make nothing of something, you attach no importance to it.
Example: I took him an hour to walk to the station but he made nothing of it.

make short work of

Defined: If you make short work of something, you do it or finish it quickly.
Example: The players were hungry after the match so they made short work of the food.

make someone see reason

Defined: If you make someone see reason, you persuade them to stop acting foolishly and behave more sensibly.
Example: He wanted to drop out of medical school in his fourth year but his uncle managed to make him see reason.

make up for lost time

Defined: If you make up for lost time, you increase your efforts or work harder to complete something or meet a deadline.
Example: Progress has stopped because of bad weather, but we are determined to make up for lost time.

mind one's Ps and Qs

Defined: If you tell someone to mind their Ps and Qs, you are advising them to be careful about how they behave and what they say.
Example: Politeness is very important to my grandparents, so mind your Ps and Qs.

mint condition

Defined: Something that is in mint condition is in such perfect condition that it looks new or as good as new.
Example: The car is 10 years old but according to Tom it's in mint condition.

miss the boat

Defined: If you miss the boat, you fail to take advantage of an opportunity because you don't act quickly enough.
Example: I managed to get my order through before the end of the special offer - but I nearly missed th boat!

miss the point

Defined: If you miss the point you fail to understand the essential part of what has been said.
Example: Sam missed the point. It's not the job that's the problem, it's the amount of work it involves for one person.

mix business with pleasure

Defined: When people mix business with pleasure, they combine work and leisure or social activities.
Example: Seminars or training sessions that include leisure activities are a good way of mixing business and pleasure.

mixed blessing

Defined: Something pleasant which also has disadvantages is called a mixed blessing.
Example: He inherited as 18th century mansion but the maintenance costs make it a mixed blessing.

mixed feelings

Defined: When you have mixed feelings about something, you react to it with conflicting emotions; you are happy and unhappy at the same time.
Example: I had mixed feelings about leaving the company. I was excited about my new job but sad to be leaving my colleagues.

moment of truth

Defined: A critical or decisive time when you face the reality of a situation, and find out if your efforts have succeeded, is called the moment of truth.
Example: The moment of truth has arrived - I'm going to serve my first souffle.

money burns a hole in your pocket

Defined: To say that money burns a hole in somebody's pocket means that they are eager to spend it quickly or extravagantly.
Example: As soon as she's paid she goes shopping. Money burns a hole in her pocket!

money to burn

Defined: People who have money to burn have so much money that they can spend it on anything they want.
Example: A leather jacket is no problem for Sarah. She's got money to burn!

money for jam

Defined: A very easy way of earning money is called money for jam.
Example: All you've got to do is hand out brochures. It's money for jam!

money for old rope

Defined: Money earned from a task that requires very little effort is called money for old rope.
Example: Getting paid for watering the garden is money for old rope!

money doesn't grow on trees

Defined: To say that money doesn't grow on trees means that it is not plentiful or easily obtained.
Example: Watch how you spend your money Alex. It doesn't grow on trees you know!

money laundering

Defined: When people launder money, they manage to conceal the source of illegally-obtained money so that it is believed to be legitimate.
Example: Certain countries have been accused of facilitating money laundering.

more money than sense

Defined: If you have more money than sense, you have a lot of money which you waste by spending it in a foolish manner.
Example: He celebrated the birth of the baby by buying a sports car. He's got more money than sense!

money spinner

Defined: If an activity is a money spinner, it is a very successful way of making money.
Example: Washing cars was quite a money spinner when I was a student.

money talks

Defined: Money talks means that people with a lot of money have power and influence.
Example: The owner is a millionaire and he's influential - money talks!

monkey business

Defined: An activity which is organized in a deceitful or dishonest way is called monkey business.
Example: The results announced seem suspicious - I think there's some monkey business going on.

month of Sundays

Defined: This expression is an amusing way of referring to a very long period of time.
Example: I haven't been to the theatre in a month of Sundays.

over the moon

Defined: If you are over the moon about something, you are very happy about it.
Example: When she heard the results of the exam, Caroline was over the moon!

once in a blue moon

Defined: Something that happens once in a blue moon happens rarely or hardly ever.
Example: She doesn't contact us very often. We hear from her once in a blue moon!

moonlight flit

Defined: Someone who does a moonlight flit leaves a place quickly and in secret, usually to avoid paying debts.
Example: Just before the rent was due he did a moonlight flit.

moot point

Defined: A subject which gives rise to argument or debate is called a moot point.
Example: Whether Bach composed it himself or not is a moot point among musicians.

more by accident than (by) design

Defined: Something which happens more by accident than (by) design is done without deliberate intention.
Example: I became an interperter more by accident than design; nobody else could speak the language of the refugees.

more fun than a barrel of monkeys

Defined: If something is very amusing or enjoyable, you can say that it is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Example: The TV quiz was more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

more heat than light

Defined: If a discussion or debate generates more heat than light, it causes anger or intense reaction but doesn't clarify anything.
Example: The meeting that was held to discuss the problem generated more heat than light!

more than meets the eye

Defined: When something is more complicated, difficult or interesting than it appears, it is said that there is more (to it) than meets the eye.
Example: He said that he had simply sold his shares, but I think there's more to it than meets the eye.

more power to elbow

Defined: This is said to express praise or encouragement to someone for doing something.
Example: "I've left my job and I'm going to work free-lance from now on." "Well, more power to you!"
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mouse potato

Defined: This term refers to a person who spends a lot of time in front of the computer.
Example: My son and his friends are all mouse potatoes - constantly glued to the computer!

all mouth and no trousers

Defined: This is said of someone who talks a lot about doing something but never actually does it.
Example: He keeps saying he's going to resign and travel around the world, but he's all mouth and no trousers.

move the goalposts

Defined: During a course of action, if someone moves the goalposts they change the rules or conditions.
Example: Our objectives have been set for next year. Let's hope the boss doesn't move the goalposts halfway through.

move heaven and earth

Defined: To say that you will move heaven and earth means that you are prepared to do everything that is possible to achieve something.
Example: I promise I will move heaven and earth to get a work permit for you.

move in same circles

Defined: When people move in the same circles, they socialize with others who have a similar background, interests or lifestyle.
Example: I've never met the Duchess personally. We don't move in the same circles!

move up in the world

Defined: A person who moves up in the world becomes more important in society or successful in their careeer.
Example: Rachel Jones has moved up in the world since we were kids.

movers and shakers

Defined: The term movers and shakers refers to people in power who take an active part in making things happen.
Example: Mover and shakers are assembling in Brussels for the summit.

much of a muchness

Defined: This expession means 'very similar' or 'almost alike'.
Example: It's hard to choose between the two - they're much of a muchness really.

much ado about nothing

Defined: If people make much ado about nothing, they make a lot of fuss about something which is not important.
Example: A discussion took place about the colour of the receptionist's shoes - much ado about nothing!

much obliged

Defined: Some people use this expression to say that they are very grateful.
Example: "It's raining Mr. Brown - take my umbrella." "Much obliged."

muddy the waters

Defined: If you muddy the waters, you make something less clear by giving confusing information.
Example: I had difficulty understanding, and Alan's explanation just muddied the waters!

mug's game

Defined: An unprofitable or ill-advised activity that only a fool (mug) would do is called a mug's game.
Example: Spending hours making home-made cakes for a few customers is a mug's game.

mum's the word

Defined: To say 'mum's the word' means that the subject or plan is a secret and must not be revealed.
Example: We're organizing a surprise birthday party, so mum's the work - OK?

murder something

Defined: If you say that you could murder something, such as food or drink, you mean that you want it very much.
Example: I'm so hot and thirsty I could murder a cool drink!

murphy's law

Defined: Referring to Murphy's law expresses a sentiment of bad luck and the idea that if anything can go wrong, it will.
Example: We've tried to prepare for every possible incident, but remember Murphy's law ...!

music to one's ears

Defined: If something is music to your ears, the information that you receive makes you feel very happy.
Example: His compliments were music to my ear.

mutton dressed as lamb

Defined: This expression refers to a middle-aged woman who tries to look younger by dressing in clothes designed for younger people.
Example: The style doesn't suit her - it has a mutton-dressed-as-lamb effect on her!

my way or highway

Defined: If you say to someone 'it's my way or the highway', you are telling them that either they accept to do as you say or they leave the project.
Example: You don't have much choice when someone says: 'it's my way or the highway.'!


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