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 L- Idiomatic expressions beginning with L

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  1. Ladies

a ladies’ man
a man who likes the company of women and is successful with them
Jim had always been a bit of a ladies’ man, and he didn’t marry until he was 45.

  1. Lame

a lame duck (informal)
a person or an organization that is in serious difficulties and needs help in order to survive
My uncle is a bit of a lame duck. The family has to help him all the time.

  1. Large

by and large (informal)
used when you are saying something that is generally, but not completely, true

  1. Last

at the last minute/moment
as late as possible; almost too late
Why do you always have to arrive at the last minute?
as a last resort
a thing you decide to do when everything else has failed
Nobody wanted to lend me the money. As a last resort I asked my brother-in-law, and luckily he was able to help me.
on your/its last legs
about to die or stop functioning very soon; be very weak or in bad condition
He was on his last legs and would never paint another picture.

  1. Laugh

laugh your head off
laugh very loudly and for a long time
If old Mr Bradley could see you now, he’d laugh his head off.
laugh in smb’s face (informal)
show in a very obvious way that you have no respect for smb
When I made my suggestion at the meeting, everybody just laughed in my face.
a laughing stock
a person that everyone laughs at because they have done smth stupid
I can’t wear this to the party! I’ll be a laughing stock!
no lauging matter
something which is too serious to joke about
Trying to find a place to live is no laughing matter.

  1. Lay

Lay claim to smth
state that you have a right to smth
‘The Lamb and Flag’ lays claim to being the oldest pub in London.

  1. Lead

lead smb astray
encourage smb to behave in a silly or criminal way
Small children are easily led astray by older children.
lead smb to believe (that…)
make smb think smth is true, usually wrongly
I was led to believe that I didn’t need a visa to enter the country, and now it appears that I do.

  1. Leap

a leap in the dark
an action or risk that you take without knowing anything about the activity or what the result will be
Government ministers are being accused of taking a leap on the dark as they prepare to radicallt change the education system.

  1. Leave

leave a bad/nasty taste in the/your mouth
(of an experience) make you feel angry, bitter or disgusted
The idea that the money had been stolen from her sick mother lefy a nasty taste in the mouth.
leave smb to their own devices
leave smb to do smth without your help, or to spend their time as they like
I’ve explained everything to him. Now I am leaving him to his own devices, and we’ll see how he manages.
take it or leave it
used to say that you don’t care if smb accepts or rejects your offer
$300 is my final offer, take it or leave it!
(informal, with ‘can’, not used in the negative) not feel strongly about smth, not mind smth
“Do you like Indian food?” “I can take it or leave it”.

  1. Left

left out in the cold
excluded from a group or an activity
Everyone had something to do or somewhere to go. I felt left out in the cold.

  1. Leisure

at (your) leisure
without needing to hurry, at a convenient time for you
I am not going to read this report now; I’ll read it later at my leisure.

  1. Lend

lend colour to smth
make smth seem probable
The tracks outside the house lend colour to her claim that somebody tried to break in last night.
lend (smb) a hand (with smth)
help to do smth
I saw two men pushing a broken-down car along the road so I stopped to lend them a hand.

  1. Length

the length and breadth of smth
everywhere in an area
I’vew travelled the length and breadth of Europe, but I’ve never seen such beautiful scenery as here.

  1. Let

Let alone
used after a statement to emphasize that because the first thing is not true or possible, the next thing cannot be true or possible either
I woudn’t speak to him, let alone trust him or lend him money.
let smb off the hook (informal)
allow smb to escape from a difficult situation or punishment
We’ll let you off the hook this time, but if you make any more mistakes like that, you’ll lose your job.
let off steam (informal)
release energy, strong feelings, nervous tension, etc by intense physical activity or noisy behaviour
He lets off steam by going to the gym after work.

  1. Liberties

take liberties (with smb/smth)
be more free with smb/smth than you should be
The translator has taken too many liberties with this. The original meaning is lost.

  1. Life

not for the life of me, etc
used for saying that you cannot do smth, however hard you try
I can’t for the life of me remember his first name.

  1. Light

(as) light as a feather
Weighing very little, very light
I love this jacket – it’s really warm, but it’s as light as a feather.

  1. Lightning

at/with lighting speed
very fast
The lecturer talked at lightning speed.

  1. Likely

not (bloody, etc) likely! (spoken, esp. BrE)
used to disagree strongly with a statement or a suggestion
Sign a blank cheque for you? Not bloody likely!

  1. Lingua

lingua franca
a shared language that is used for communication by people whose main languages are different
In the middle of the 20th century, English suddenly became the lingua franca of the world.

  1. Lips

on everyone’s lips
if smth is on everyone’s lips, they are all talking about it
The question on everyone’s lips at the moment is: will they get married or not?

  1. Live

live from hand to mouth
spend all the money you earn on basic needs such as food without being able to save any money
There is no way we can even think about going on holiday this year, as we are literally living from hand to mouth.

live up to your/its repitation
be as good/bad as people say
The restaurant lived up to its reputation. We had a wonderful meal.

  1. Living

in/within living memory
that can be remembered by people who are alive now
These are the worst floods in Britain within living memory.

  1. Load

get a load of this
used to tell smb to look at or listen to smb/smth
Get a load of this. They want to build a new road right across here.

  1. Lock

lock, stock and barrel
including everything, completely
They weren all emigrating, so they were selling everything they had, lock, stock and barrel.

  1. Long

it’s a long story (informal)
used to say that the reasons for smth are complicated and you would prefer not to give all the details
‘So why did you leave?’ ‘Oh, it’s a long story – I’ll tell you some other time.’
long time no see (spoken)
used when you greet smb you haven’t seen for a long time
Well, hello! Long time no see.

  1. Look

by/from the look(s) of it/things (informal)
Judging from the way things seem to be
From the look of it, there’s going to be another war.
look on the bright side
be cheerful or hopeful about a bad situation, for example by thinking only of the advantages and not the disadvantages
I know it’s inconvenient to be without a car, but look on the bright side – at least you’ll save money on petrol!
be smb’s (own) lookout (BrE, informal)
be smb’s problem because they are responsible for causing it
If he wants to invest all his money in one company, that’s his lookout.

  1. Loose

have(got) a loose tongue
talk too much, especially about things that are private
Be careful what you tell Sam – she’s got a very loose tongue, you know.

  1. Lose

lose face
lose the respect of other people because you have been defeated
The government can’t agree to the changes without losing face
lose it (spoken)
be unable to stop yourself from crying, laughing, etc.; become crazy
Then she just lost it completely and started screaming

  1. Love

not for love (n)or money (informal)
used to say that it is impossible to do smth
The show is sold out. You can’t get a ticket for love nor money.

  1. Luck

any luck? (spoken)
used to ask smb if they have been successful with smth
“Any luck?” “No, they are all too busy to help.”

  1. Lump

Have, etc a lump in your throat
Feel a tight feeling in your throat caused by a strong emotion
I didn’t cry but I did have a lump in my throat.


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