Dennis Oliver's Idioms: B
bad-mouth: say unkind, unflattering, embarrassing (and
probably untrue) things about someone.
A: "I don't believe what Bob said. Why is he
B: "He's probably jealous of your success."
be a piece of cake: be very easy.
A: "Bob said the test was difficult, but I thought it was
a piece of cake.""
be all ears: be eager to hear what someone has to say.
A: "I just got an e-mail message from our old friend
B: "Tell me what she said. I'm all ears!"
be broke: be without money.
"No, I can't lend you ten dollars. I'm
completely broke until payday."
be fed up with (with someone or something): be out of patience
(with someone or something);
be very tired of someone or something.
"Bill, you're too careless with your
work. I'm fed up with
apologizing for your mistakes!"
be in and out: be at and away from a place during a
"Could we postpone our meeting until tomorrow? I
be in and out of the office most of the day today."
be on the go: be very busy (going from one thing or project
"I'm really tired. I've been on the go all week
be on the road: be traveling.
"You won't be able to contact me tomorrow because I'll
be on the road."
be over: be finished; end.
"I can't see you until around 4 o'clock. My meetings
won't be over until then."
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 December 1995."
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 early."
beat: exhausted; very tired (adj.).
"This has been a long day. I'm beat!"
beat around the bush: evade an issue; avoid giving a direct
"Quit beating around the bush! If you don't
want to go with me, just tell me!"
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."
Beats me: I have no idea.
A: "What time's the party?"
B: "Beats me!"
before long: soon.
A: "I'm really tired of working."
B: "Just be patient. The weekend will be here before long."
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."
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 I
bit off more than I could chew!"
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 know.
Bob's quite a blabbermouth."
blow one's top: become extremely angry.
A: "Was your father upset when you came home at 3
B: "He was more than upset. He blew his top!"
boom box: portable cassette/CD player.
"Don't forget to bring your boom box to the
the bottom line: the most essential information.
"The discussion lasted many hours. The bottom
line was that
the XYZ Company isn't for sale."
Break a leg!: Good luck!
"I understand you have a job interview tomorrow.
Break a leg!"
break someone's heart: make someone feel very
"Joe broke his mother's heart when he dropped
out of school."
broke: without money.
A: "Can you lend me 10 dollars?"
B: "I'm afraid not. I'm broke."
"The cheapest tickets for the concert cost 25
bucks. Do you still want to go?"
bug: annoy; bother.
"I'm trying to concentrate! Don't bug me!"
bull-headed: stubborn; inflexible.
"Don't be so bull-headed. Why can't you admit
that others' opinions are just as good as yours?"
a bundle: a lot of money.
A: "Your new car is really nice."
B: "It should be. It cost me a bundle!"
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
burn the the midnight oil."
bushed: very tired; exhausted.
"I'm going to lie down for a while. I'm really
by oneself: alone and without help.
"I can't do this by myself. Can you help me?"
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."