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 N- Idiomatic expressions beginning with N

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  1. Naked

the naked truth
the truth, which may be unpleasant
If you want the naked truth about it, she’ll certainly give it to you!

  1. Narrow

a narrow escape/squeak
a situation where smb only just avoids injury, danger or failure
We had a narrow escape on the way here. The wind blew a tree down just in front of us. We could have been killed.

  1. Necessary

a necessary evil
a thing that is unpleasant or even harmful, but which must be accepted because it brings some benefit
Injections against tropical illnesses are a necessary evil when you’re planning to travel to that part of the world.

  1. Necessity

Necessity is the mother of invention (saying)
A very difficult new problem forces people to think of, design, produce, etc. a solution to it
“So how did you manage to open the bottle?” “I used a bit of a wire and a stick. Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes”.

  1. Neck

by a neck
if a person or an animal wins a race by a neck, they win it by a short distance
The final race was very close, with Molina finally winning by a neck.

  1. Nerves

a bag/bundle of nerves (informal)
a person who is very frightened, worried or nervous about smth
She was a bundle of nerves at the start of the interview but she became more confident later.

  1. New

(as) good as new; like new
in a very good condition, as it was when it was new
I’ve had your coat cleaned – it’s as good as new now.

  1. Next

next thing (I knew) (informal)
used when smb tells a story and wants to say that smth happened suddenly or unexpectedly
I was just walking down the road and the next thing I knew someone was pointing a gun at my face.
next to nothing
a very small amount, almost nothing
He knows a great deal about flowers but next to nothing about trees and shrubs.

  1. Nice

(as) nice as pie (informal)
Very kind and friendly, especially when you are not expecting it
He’d been very nervous about meeting everyone, but they were all as nice as pie.

  1. Nineteen

talk, etc. nineteen to the dozen (BrE, informal)
talk a lot and very fast, usually in an informal conversation
An hour later they were still sitting there talking nineteen to the dozen.

  1. Nitty-gritty

Get down to the nitty-gritty (informal)
start discussing the basic, especially the practical aspects of a matter/decision
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Who’s going to pay for the renovations?

  1. No-go

a no-go area (esp. BrE)
an area, especially in a city, which is dangerous for people to enter; or thyat the police or army do not enter; often because it is controlled by a violent group
Several parts of the city have become no-go areas for the police.

  1. Nose

Get up smb’s nose (BrE, informal)
annoy smb
It gets right up my nose, the way they keep telling you how successful they are.
keep your nose out of smth (informal)
not interfere in smth that does not concern you
Keep your nose out of my business affairs, will you? It’s nothing to do with you.

  1. Note

take note of smth
notice and think about or remember smth
Well, Ms Brown, I’ve taken note of everything you’ve told me, and I’ll give you my answer next week.

  1. Nothing

there’s nothing (else) for it (but to do smth)
there is only one possible action in a particular situation
When the river flooded there was nothing for it but to move everything upstairs.

  1. Now

it’s now or never
you must do smth now because you will not get another opportunity to do it
If we don’t climb it now, we never will. It’s now or never.

  1. Numbers

by numbers
smth done easily but without imagination; following instructions
I’m not a great cook, I just do it by numbers.

  1. Nut

a hard/tough nut (to crack) (informal)
a very difficult problem to solve; a very difficult person to deal with
Persuading drivers to leave their cars at home and use public transport will be a very hard nut to crack.

  1. Nutshell

(put smth) in a nutshell (informal)
(say or express smth) in a very clear way, using few words
Unemployment is riding, prices are increasing; in a nutshell the economy is in  trouble.



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