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 H- Idiomatic expressions beginning with H
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a hair’s breadth
a very small distance or amount
He escaped death by a hair’s breadth. If the other car had been going any faster, he would certainly have been killed.
Your hair stands on end (informal)
You feel very frightened, nervous or angry
This is a film which will make your hair stand on end.
your better/other half (informal, humorous)
your wife or husband
I’ll have to ask my better half about it.
no half measures (BrE)
used for emphasizing that you want smth done as well, fully, etc. as possible.
He entertained the visitors very well indeed. There were no half measures: the best food, the best wine, the best silver.
get out of hand
become difficult or impossible to control
How can we stop price increases getting out of hand?
go hand in hand (with smth)
be closely connected (with smth)
Poverty tends to go hand in hand with disease, and raising people’s incomes usually helps to improve their health.
hand smth to smb on a plate; hand smb smth on a plate (informal)
Give smth to somebody without the person concerned having to make any effort to get it.
She was handed the job on a plate. Somebody just telephoned her one afternoon and asked her if she’d like to work for the BBC.
Get/lay your hands on smth
Obtain smth that you want or need very much
Do you know where I can get my hands on a Russian dictionary? I need to check a translation.
Have (got) your hands full
Be very busy
I’ve got my hands full looking after four children.
In safe/good hands
Being taken care of by a responsible person or organization, and unlikely to be harmed or damaged
When the child is with my mother, I know she is in good hands.
come in handy/useful
be useful when needed
The money my aunt gave me will come in handy to pay for my music lessons.
get the hang of smth (informal)
learn and begin to understand how to do, use, etc smth
I haven’t got the hang of how to use the coffee-making machine yet.
be hard on smb
treat, criticize or punish smb too severely
Don’t be too hard on little Emma. She didn’t mean to break the cup.
be unfair to smb; be unfortunate for smb
It’s hard on the people who have to work on Christmas Day.
(as) hard as nails
(of a person) not sensitive or sympathetic
She doesn’t care what happens to anybody. She is as hard as nails.
no harm done (spoken)
used to tell smb not to worry because they have caused no serious damage or injury
Forget it, Dave, no harm done.
hate smb’s guts (informal)
dilslike smb very much
Don’t invite that man to the party. I hate his guts.
have it out with smb
have a serious discussion with somebody in order to end a disagreement, quarrel, etc.
You must stop ignoring Fred because of what he said, and have it out with him once and for all.
above/over smb’s head
too difficult for smb to understand
It was clear from the expression on his face that the lecture went completely over his head.
Be banging, etc. your head against a brick wall (informal)
Try for a long time to achieve smth. Persuade smb to do smth, etc without success
I realized they weren’t even listening to my protests. I was just banging my head against a brick wall.
can’t make head (n)or tail of smth (informal)
not be able to understand smth at all
I can’t make head or tail of this picture – is it upside down?
give smb their head
give smb the freedom to do what they want
We must give the new art teacher their head, so that she has the freedom to do things differently.
go to your head
(of alcohol) make you feel a bit drunk
I can’t drink more than 2 pints of beer – it goes straight to my head.
(of success, fame, praise) make you feel too proud of yourself in a way that other people find annoying
Just because you’ve become a film actor, don’t let it go to your head!
head over heels (in love)
completely in love
He’s head over heels in love with his new girlfriend.
take it into your head to do smth
suddenly decide to do smth
She’s taken it into her head to give all her books away.
heads will roll (for smth) (spoken, usually humorous)
used to say that some people will be punished because of smth that has happened
Have you seen this article about police corruption? Heads will roll, I am sure.
used to say what smb is really like even though they may seem to be different
He seems strict but he’s a very kind man at heart.
take smth to heart
be very upset or offended by smb’s criticism
Her review of your book is stupid. Don’t take it so much to heart.
pay great attention (to smb’s suggestions, etc)
I’m pleased to see that they have taken my suggestions to heart and followed my advice.
to your heart’s content
as much or as long as you want
On holiday I’ll be able to read to my heart’s content.
get heavy (informal)
become very serious because strong feelings are involved
They started shouting at me and it soon got very heavy.
what the heck! (informal)
used to say that you are going to do smth that you know you should not do
It means I’ll be late for work but what the heck!
here we go again
often used for showing you’re angry or annoyed that smth is starting to happen again.
Here we go again! They’re digging up the road – it’s the third time this year.
high and low
(search, etc for smth) in every possible place; everywhere
I’ve been hunting high and low for that pen, where did you find it?
hit the nail on the head (informal)
say smth that is exactly right
“So you want to move to another department”.
“You’ve hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly what I want”.
get hold of smb/smth
obtain smth; reach or contact smb
Do you know where I can get hold of a telephone directory for Paris?
bring home the bacon (informal)
be successful in smth; be the person who earns money for a family, organization, etc.
This firm wants very much to get this contract, and we’re expecting you to bring home the bacon.
come home (to smb)
become fully clear or understood
The danger of the situation we were in suddenly came home to me
by hook or by crook
(of smth difficult) by any method, whether it is honest or not
Don’t worry – we’ll have the money ready by 4 o’clock, by hook or by crook.
Draw/pull in your horns
Start being more careful in your behaviour, especially by spending less money than before
After making huge losses, the company had to draw in its horns by cancelling some major projects.
A hot potato (informal)
A very sensitive matter that is difficult or embarrassing to deal with
The minister’s resignation is a political hot potato.
it won’t/wouldn’t hurt smb to do smth
it will/would be better for smb to do it; it would be a good idea for smb to do smth.
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