English Idioms A - Z - Idiomatic Expressions


The Cambridge dictionary defines an idiom as a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word understood on its own: For example
To "have bitten off more than you can chew" is an idiom that means you have tried to do something which is too difficult for you.We have offered you a list of commonly used idioms from A to Z.

Idioms D - Idiomatic expressions beginning with D

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  1. Daily

Your daily bread
The food or money that you need to live
Each one of us has to earn our daily bread somehow.,

  1. Damage

What’s the damage? (BrE informal)
How much do I need to pay you?
Thanks for repairing the cooker. What’s the damage?

  1. Damper

Put a damper on smth (also put a dampener on smth) (informal)
Make an event, etc less enjoyable or cheerful
The news of my father’s illness put a bit of a damper on the birthday celebrations.

  1. Damned

I’m/I’ll be damned if…(spoken)
I certainly will not, do not, etc.
I’m damned if I will lend any money to that lazy son of mine.

  1. Dance

Dance to smb’s tune
Do whatever smb tells you to
They are richer and more powerful than us so unfortunately we have to dance to their tune.

  1. Dark

A dark horse (BrE)
A person who hides their feelings, plans, activities, etc
You’re a dark horse! I had no idea you could play the piano so well.
In the dark (about smth)
Knowing nothing about smth
Workers were kept in the dark about the plans to sell the company.

  1. Day

From day one
From the beginning
This arrangement has never worked from day one.
Make smb’s day
Make smb very happy
Thanks for sending me those flowers. It really made my day!

  1. Days

Those were the days
Used for talking about better or happier time in the past
“They bought the house for $600 in 1930”. “Ah, those were the days!”

  1. Dead

A dead loss
A person or thing that is useless or a complete failure
The television is a dead loss; the picture fades completely after 5 mintutes.
Over my dead body (spoken)
Used for saying that you will do everything possible to stop smth happening
“Mum, can I get a tattoo?” “Over my dead body!”

  1. Deal

Deal smb/smth a blow; deal a blow to smb/smth
Be a shock for smb; make smth fail, etc.
The death of her father dealt her a terrible blow.

  1. Deep

Deep down (informal)
In your most private thoughts; in reality rather than appearance
She’s very generous deep down, but this only comes out when you get to know her.

  1. Defensive

On/onto the defensive
Acting in a way that shows that you expect to be attacked or criticized; having to defend yourself
Their questions about the money put her on the defensive.

  1. Depends

It/that (all) depends (informal)
Perhaps; possible
“Would you marry him if he asked you to?” “I might. It all depends”.

  1. Devoured

be devoured by smth
be filled with a strong emotion that seems to control you
She was devoured by envy and hatred.
A different kettle of fish (informal)
A person or thing that is completely different from smb/smth else previously mentioned
You may be able to read French well, but speaking it fluently is a different kettle of fish entirely.

  1. Discretion

At smb’s discretion
According to what smb decides or wishes to do
Bail is granted at the discretion of the court.

  1. Distraction

To distraction
So that you become upset, excited, or angry and not able to think clearly
“Do you like him at all?” “Like him?? I love him to distraction!”

  1. Do

Be/have to do with smb/smth
Be connected or concerned with smb/smth
“What do you want to talk to me about?” “It’s to do with the letter you sent me”.
Could do with smth (spoken)
Want or need smth
I could really do with a coffee.

  1. Doddle

It’s a doddle (BrE, informal)
Used to refer to a task or an activity that is very easy
The first year of the course was an absolute doddle.

  1. Doldrums

In the doldrums
Quiet or depressed
Property sales have been in the doldrums for some time.

  1. Done

Done for (informal)
Be in serious trouble
The supplies are so low that we will be done for in a few days if help doesn’t come soon.
Be over and done with
(often used of smth unpleasant, unsettling, etc.)
Be completely finished
Well I’m glad that’s over and done with. I was so nervous.
Dot the/your i’s and cross your t’s
Pay great attention to small details in order to complete smth; be very thorough and careful in what you do or say
We reached a broad agreement, and decided to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
Down and out
Having no home or job and living on the streets of a city; very poor
It must be terrible to be down and out in this cold weather.
Down to smb/smth
Even including the last item of a whole list of people or things
Everybody was affected by the economic crisis, from the president down to the poorest citizen.

  1. Downhill

Go downhill
Get worse
My work has been going downhill ever since my divorce.

  1. Dressed

Dressed to kill (informal)
(especially of a woman) wearing your best clothes, especially clothes that attract attention
She went to the party dressed to kill.
Dressed (up) to the nines (informal)
Wearing very elegant or formal clothes, especially to attract attention.
She was dressed up to the nines in her furs and jewellery.

  1. Drink

Drink like a fish (informal)
Regularly drink too much alcohol
Her husband drinks like a fish.

  1. Duck

(take to smth) like a duck to water
(be able to do smth) naturally and without any difficulty
“DO the children like living in the country?” “They’ve taken to it like ducks to water. They’ve never been happier!”



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