Idioms - T, Page 1

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tail wagging the dog

Defined: This expression refers to a situation where there is a reversal of roles, with the small or minor element having a controlling influence on the most important element.
Example: If you let your children decide on everything, it will be a case of the tail wagging the dog!

on somebody's tail

Defined: If you are on somebody's tail, you are following them closely.
Example: The suspect hasn't been arrested yet, but the police are on his tail.

take a back seat

Defined: If you take a back seat you choose to have a less important function and become less involved in something.
Example: He decided it was time to take a back seat and let someone younger run the club.

take the bloom off something

Defined: If an incident or event takes the bloom off something, it spoils it or makes it less enjoyable.
Example: Their noisy argument in the middle of the party took the bloom off the atmosphere.

take the bull by the horns

Defined: To take the bull by the horns means that a person decides to act decisively in order to deal with a difficult situation or problem.
Example: When the argument turned into a fight, the bar owner took the bull by the horns and called the police.

take it on the chin

Defined: When you take it on the chin, you are brave and accept adversity, criticism or defeat without complaining.
Example: When his contract was not renewed, Mark took it on the chin.

take your courage in both hands

Defined: If you take your courage in both hands, you make yourself do something very brave.
Example: When I saw the child in the burning house, I took my courage in both hands and ran inside.

take cover

Defined: When someone takes cover, they hide from a danger, or bad weather, in a place where they find protection.
Example: As soon as the explosion was heard, people ran to take cover.

take one's cue

Defined: When you take your cue from someone, you wait for a signal or follow someone's example, so as to know what to do yourself or when to act.
Example: The waiter took his cue from Jack and starting serving the drinks.

take a dim view of

Defined: If you take a dim view of something, you disapprove of it.
Example: When Harry and Sally decided to live together without getting married, their grandparents took a dim view of the situation.

take it easy

Defined: When you relax, or do things at a comfortable pace, you take it easy.
Example: It's nice to slow down at the week-end and take it easy.

take the easy way out

Defined: If you take the easy way out, you choose the easiest way to deal with a difficult situation, even if it is not the best solution.
Example: The weather conditions were so bad that Mary took the easy way out and cancelled her appointment.

take a fancy

Defined: If you take a fancy to someone or something, you develop a fondness for them or begin to like them.
Example: I think Paul has taken a fancy to the new intern!

take the floor

Defined: When someone takes the floor, they rise to make a speech or presentation.
Example: 'When I take the floor, my speech will be short.' he said.

take with a grain of salt

Defined: To say that certain information should be taken with a grain of salt means that you doubt its accuracy.
Example: I hear the tuition fees are going to be reduced, but that should be taken with a grain of salt.

take the law into your own hands

Defined: If, instead of calling the police, you act personally against someone who has done something wrong, you take the law into your own hands.
Example: Instead of calling the police, he took the law into his own hands and confronted the youth who had stolen his son's scooter.

take leave of your senses

Defined: To say to someone 'have you taken leave of your senses?' means that you think their behaviour is crazy.
Example: You're going skiing in this blizzard? Have you taken leave of your senses?

take one's life into one's hands

Defined: To say that someone is taking their life in their hands means that they are taking the risk of being killed.
Example: If you drive home on this icy road, you'll be taking your life in your hands.

take a load off one's mind

Defined: If something takes a load (or weight) off someone's mind, it brings great relief because a problem has been solved.
Example: When the company closed down, finding a new job took a load off Tom's mind.

take matters into your own hands

Defined: If you take matters into your hands, you take action yourself rather than waiting for others to intervene.
Example: When Susan saw the lack of progress, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

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