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 E - Idiomatic expressions beginning with E

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  1. Eager

An eager beaver (informal)
A person who is enthusiastic about work, etc
She always starts work early and leaves late. She’s a real eager beaver.

  1. Eagle


An/smb’s eagle eye (informal)
If smb has an eagle eye they wathc things carefully and are good at noticing things
Nothing the staff did escaped the eagle eye of the manager.

  1. Ear

Go in one ear and out of the other (informal)
(of information, advice, an order; etc) be immediaely forgotten or ignored
He never remembers anything I tell him. It just goes in one ear and out the other.
Have(got) an ear for smth
Be able to recognize and copy sounds well
He has an ear for the rhythm of Irish speech.

  1. Ears


Be all ears (informal)
Listen very carefuly and with great interest
Go on, tell me what happened – I’m all ears.

  1. Earth

Like nothing on earth
Very ill or unattractive
I hadn’t slept for 48 hours. I must have looked like nothing on earth.

  1. Ease

At (your) ease
Relaxed and confident and not nervous or embarrassed
No matter what situation she was in, somehow she always managed to look completely at her ease.

  1. Easier

Easier said than done
It is easier to suggest doing smth than actually to do it
“All you have to do is climb a ladder and mend the roof.” “Easier said than done – I’m terrified of heights”

  1. Easy

Go easy on smb (informal)
Not to be too strict with smb, especially when they have done smth wrong
Go easy on the child – she didn’t mean to break the window.
Take it/things easy (informal)
Relax and avoid working too hard or doing too much; not get angry, excited, etc.
Bob’s still running the business on his own. He really ought to be taking easy at his age.

  1. Eat

Eat smb alive (informal)
(also have/eat smb for breakfast)
Critisize or punish smb severely because you are extremely angry with them.
(also eat/have smb for breakfast)
Defeat smb completely in an argument, a competition, etc.
The defence lawyers are going to eat you alive tomorrow.
(usually used in the passive)
(of insects, etc) bite smb many times
I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes.
I could eat a horse (spoken)
I’m very hungry
What’s for dinner? I could eat a horse!
He, she, etc.won’t eat you (informal)
Said to encourage smb to speak to or approach amb who seems flightening
Come on, Emma! Santa Claus won’t eat you! If you go closer, he’ll give you a present!

  1. Eggs

Put all your eggs into one basket
Risk all your money, effort, etc. on one thing, so that if it is not successful, you have no other chance
It may be better to invest a small amount of money in several businesses rather than putting all your eggs into one basket.

  1. Element

In your element
Doing smth that you enjoy and do well, especially with other similar people
Julie is in her element with anything artistic. She just loves painting and singing.

  1. Empty

On an empty stomach
Without having eaten anything
If I travel on an empty stomach, I always feel sick.

  1. End

At the end of the day (BrE, spoken)
When everything has been considered
At the end of the day it’s your decision and nobody else’s.
Be at the end of your tether (BrE)(AmE be at the end of your rope)
Having no more patience or strength left
After two hours of hearing the children shout and argue, I really was at the end of my tether.
Come to a bad/sticky end (informal)
Finish in an unpleasant way; finish by having smth unpleasant happen to you, usually because of your own actions
The neighbours used to shake their heads at his behaviour and say that he’d come to a bad end.

  1. Ends

Make (both) ends meet
Earn enough to just pay your living expenses
Since I lost my job, I’m finding it harder to nake ends meet.

  1. Exactly

Not exactly (spoken)
used when you are saying the opposite of what you really mean
He wasn’t exactly pleased to see us – in fact he refused to open the door.

  1. Expense

At the expense of smb/smth
Causing damage or loss to smb/smth
We could lower the price, but only at the expense of quality.

  1. Explain

Explain yourself
give smb reasons for your behaviour, esp. when they are angry or upset because of it
I really don’t see why I should have to explain myself.
say what you mean in a clear way
Could you explain yourself a little more – I didn’t understand.

  1. Extremes

Go to extremes; carry/take smth to extremes
Behave in a way that is not moderate or normal
She really goes to extremes, spending such huge sums of money on entertaining.

  1. Eye

Keep an/your eye on smb/smth

Take responsibility for smb or smth/make sure smb or sth is safe
It’s my job to keep an eye on how the money is spent.
What the eye doesn’t see (the heart doesn’t grieve over) – (saying)
If a person does not know about smth that they would normally disappove of, then it cannot hurt them.
What does it matter if I do use his flat while he’s away? What the eye doesn’t see…!

  1. Eyes

Be up to your eyes/eyeballs in smth
Have a lot of smth to deal with
He was up to his eyes in debt.
Before your (very) eyes
Right in front of you, where you can see smth very clearly
There, before my very eyes, he took the plane ticket and ripped it into tiny pieces.
Your eyes nearly pop out of your head (informal)
Smb has an expression of great surprise on their face
Our eyes nearly popped out of our heads when we saw a giraffe walking down the High Street.
Your eyes are bigger than your stomach (informal, humorous)
Used to say that smb has been greedy by taking more food than  they can eat
Can’t you finish your food? Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!  




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