Queen of Hearts

A woman who is pre-eminent in her area is a Queen of Hearts.

Queer fish

(UK) A strange person is a queer fish.

Queer Street

If someone is in a lot of trouble, especially financial, they are in Queer Street.

Queer your pitch

If someone queers your pitch, they interfere in your affairs and spoil things.

Question of time

If something’s a question of time, it’s certain to happen, though we don’t know exactly when.

Queue jumping

Someone who goes to the front of a queue instead of waiting is jumping the queue.

Quick as a flash

If something happens quick as a flash, it happens very fast indeed.

Quick buck

If you make some money easily, you make a quick buck.

Quick off the mark Top

If someone is quick off the mark, they are very quick to use, start or do something new.

Quick on the trigger

Someone who is quick on the trigger acts or responds quickly.

Quids in

(UK) If somebody is quids in, they stand to make a lot of money from something.

Quiet as a mouse

If someone’s as quiet as a mouse, they make absolutely no noise.

Rack and ruin

If something or someone goes to rack and ruin, they are utterly destroyed or wrecked.

Rack your brain

If you rack your brain, you think very hard when trying to remember something. (‚Rack your brains’ is an alternative.)

Rags to riches

Someone who starts life very poor and becomes rich goes from rags to riches.

Raining cats and dogs

When it is raining cats and dogs, it is raining very heavily.

Rainy day

If you save something, especially money, for a rainy day, you save it for some possible problem or trouble in the future.

Raise Cain

(USA) If someone raises Cain, they make a big fuss publicly, causing a disturbance.

Rake over old coals

(UK) If you go back to old problems and try to bring them back, making trouble for someone, you are raking over old coals.

Rake someone over the coals

(USA) If you rake someone over the coals, you criticize or scold them severely.

Rank and file

The rank and file are the ordinary members of a company, organisation, etc, excluding the managers and directors.

Rat race

The rat race is the ruthless, competitive struggle for success in work, etc.

Rather you than me

Rather you than me is an expression used when someone has something unpleasant or arduous to do. It is meant in a good natured way of expressing both sympathy and having a bit of a laugh at their expense.

Raw deal

If you get a raw deal, you are treated unfairly.

Read from the same page

When people are reading from the same page, they say the same things in public about an issue.

Read someone the riot act

If you read someone the riot act, you give them a clear warning that if they don’t stop doing something, they will be in serious trouble.

Real deal Top

If something is the real deal, it is genuine and good.

Real McCoy

Something that’s the real McCoy is the genuine article, not a fake.

Real trooper

A real trooper is someone who will fight for what they believe in and doesn’t give up easily.

Recipe for disaster

A recipe for disaster is a mixture of people and events that could only possibly result in trouble.

Red carpet

If you give someone the red-carpet treatment, you give them a special welcome to show that you think they are important. You can roll out the red carpet, too.

Red herring

If something is a distraction from the real issues, it is a red herring.

Red letter day

A red letter day is a one of good luck, when something special happens to you.

Red light district

The red light district is the area of a town or city where there is prostitution, sex shops, etc.

Red mist

If someone sees red or the red mist, they lose their temper and self-control completely.

Red rag to a bull

If something is a red rag to a bull, it is something that will inevitably make somebody angry or cross.

Red tape

This is a negative term for the official paperwork and bureaucracy that we have to deal with.

Reinvent the wheel

If someone reinvents the wheel, they waste their time doing something that has already been done by other people, when they could be doing something more worthwhile.

Rest is gravy

(USA) If the rest is gravy, it is easy and straightforward once you have reached that stage.

Rest on your laurels

If someone rests on their laurels, they rely on their past achievements, rather than trying to achieve things now.

Revenge is sweet

When you are happy to be proved right, then you know that revenge is sweet.

Rewrite history

If you rewrite history, you change your version of past events so as to make yourself look better than you would if the truth was told.

Rhyme or reason

If something is without rhyme or reason, it is unreasonable. (‚Beyond rhyme or reason’ is an alternative.)

Rice missionary Top

A rice missionary gives food to hungry people as a way of converting them to Christianity.

Rich as Croesus

Someone who is as rich as Croesus is very wealthy indeed.

Ride roughshod

If someone rides roughshod over other people, they impose their will without caring at all for other people’s feelings.

Right as rain

If things are right as rain, then everything is going well in your life.

Right royal

(UK) A right royal night out would be an extremely exciting, memorable and fun one.

Right up my alley

If something is right up your alley, it suits you perfectly.

Right up your street

If something is ideal for you, it is right up your street.

Ring a bell

If something rings a bell, it reminds you of something you have heard before, though you may not be able to remember it very well. A name may ring a bell, so you know you have heard the name before, but cannot place it properly.

Ringside seat

If you have a ringside seat, you can observe something from a very close and clear position.

Rip van Winkle

Rip van Winkle is a character in a story who slept for twenty years, so if someone is a Rip van Winkle, they are behind the times and out of touch with what’s happening now.

Rise from the ashes

If something rises from the ashes, it recovers after a serious failure.

Road to Damascus

If someone has a great and sudden change in their ideas or beliefs, then this is a road to Damascus change, after the conversion of Saint Paul to Christianity while heading to Damascus to persecute Christians.

Rob Peter to pay Paul

If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you try to solve one problem, but create another in doing so, often through short-term planning.

Rock the boat

If you rock the boat, you destabilise a situation by making trouble. It is often used as advice; ‚Don’t rock the boat’.

Rocket science

If something is not rocket science, it is not very complicated or difficult to understand. This idiom is normally used in the negative.

Roll out the red carpet

If you roll out the red carpet, you treat someone in a special way, especially when welcoming them.

Rolling in the aisles Top

If the audience watching something are laughing loudly, the show has them rolling in the aisles.

Rome was not built in a day

This idiom means that many things cannot be done instantly, and require time and patience.

Rooted to the spot

If someone is rooted to the spot, they canot move, either physically or they cannot think their way out of a problem.

Rose-colored glasses

If people see things through rose-colored (coloured) glasses, they see them in a more positive light than they really are.

Rose-tinted glasses

If people see things through rose-tinted glasses, they see them in a more positive light than they really are.

Rough and ready

If something is rough and ready, it has not been carefully prepared, but is fit for its purpose. If a person is rough and ready, they are not very refined or mannered.

Rough around the edges

If someone is rough around the edges, they haven’t mastered something, though they show promise.

Rough diamond

A rough diamond is a person who might be a bit rude but who is good underneath it all.

Rough edges

If something has rough edges, it is still not a finished product and not all of a uniform standard.

Rough-hewn

If something, especially something made from wood or stone, is rough-hewn, it is unfinished or unpolished.

Round the bend

If someone has gone round the bend, they have stopped being rational about something. If something drives you round the bend, it irritates you or makes you angry.

Round the houses

If you go round the houses, you do something in an inefficient way when there is a quicker, more convenient way.

Rub shoulders

If you rub shoulders with people, you meet and spend time with them, especially when they are powerful or famous.

Rub someone up the wrong way

If you annoy or irritate someone when you didn’t mean to, you rub them up the wrong way.

Rudderless ship

If an organisation, company, government, etc, is like a rudderless ship, it has no clear direction and drifts about without reaching its goals.

Ruffle a few feathers

If you ruffle a few feathers, you annoy some people when making changes or improvements.

Rule of thumb

Rule of thumb means approximately.

Run a mile

If someone "Runs a mile", they do everything they can to avoid a situation. Example: "I was worried that he’d take one look at me and run a mile."

Run before you can walk

If someone tries to run before they can walk, they try to do something requiring a high level of knowledge before they have learned the basics.

Run circles around someone

If you can run circles around someone, you are smarter and intellectually quicker than they are.

Run into the sand

If something runs into the sand, it fails to achieve a result.

Run out of gas

If a campaign, project, etc, runs out of gas, it loses energy and momentum, and progress slows or halts.

Run rings around someone

If you run rings around someone, you are so much better than them that they have no chance of keeping up with you.

Run the gauntlet

If somebody is being criticised harshly by a lot of people, they are said to run the gauntlet.

Run the show

If someone runs the show, they like to be in control and make all the decisions.

Run your mouth off

If someone runs their mouth off, they talk too much.

Run-of-the-mill

If something is run-of-the-mill, there is nothing exceptional about it- it is ordinary or average.

Running on empty

If you are exhausted but keep going, you are running on empty.

Russian roulette

If people take a dangerous and unnecessary risk, they are playing Russian roulette.

Sacred cow

Something that is a sacred cow is held in such respect that it cannot be criticised or attacked.

Safe and sound Top

If you arrive safe and sound, then nothing has harmed you on your way.

Safe bet

A proposition that is a safe bet doesn’t have any risks attached.

Safe pair of hands

A person who can be trusted to do something without causing any trouble is a safe pair of hands.

Safety in numbers

If a lot of people do something risky at the same time, the risk is reduced because there is safety in numbers.

Saigon moment

(USA) A Saigon moment is when people realise that something has gone wrong and that they will lose or fail.

Sail close to the wind

If you sail close to the wind, you take risks to do something, going close to the limit of what is allowed or acceptable.

Sail under false colours

Someone who sails under false colours (colors) is hypocritical or pretends to be something they aren’t in order to deceive people.

Salad days

Your salad days are an especially happy period of your life.

Salt in a wound

If you rub salt in a wound, you make someone feel bad about something that is already a painful experience. ‚Pour salt on a wound’ is an alternative form of the idiom.

Salt of the earth

People who are salt of the earth are decent, dependable and unpretentious.

Save face

If someone saves face, they manage to protect their reputation.

Save someone’s bacon

If something saves your bacon, it saves your life or rescues you from a desperate situation. People can also save your bacon.

Save your skin

If someone saves their skin, they manage to avoid getting into serious trouble.

Saved by the bell

If you are saved by the bell, you are rescued from a danger or a tricky situation just in time.

Saving grace

If someone has some character defects, but has a characteristic that compensate for their failings and shortcomings, this is their saving grace.

Say uncle

(USA) If you say uncle, you admit defeat. (‚Cry uncle’ is an alternative form.)

Say when

People say this when pouring a drink as a way of telling you to tell them when there’s enough in your glass.

Say-so Top

If you do something on someone else’s say-so, you do it on the authority, advice or recommendation.

Scales fall from your eyes

When the scales fall from your eyes, you suddenly realise the truth about something.

Scare the daylights out of someone

If you scare the daylights out of someone, you terrify them. (This can be made even stronger by saying ‚the living daylights’.)

Scarlet woman

This idiom is used as a pejorative term for a sexually promiscuous woman, especially an adulteress.

Scattered to the four winds

If something’s scattered to the four winds, it goes out in all directions.

Scent blood

If you can scent blood, you feel that a rival is having difficulties and you are going to beat them.

Scraping the barrel

When all the best people, things or ideas and so on are used up and people try to make do with what they have left, they are scraping the barrel.

Scream blue murder

If someone shouts very loudly in anger, or fear, they scream blue murder.

Screw loose

If someone has a screw loose, they are crazy.

Seamy side

The seamy side of something is the unpleasant or sordid aspect it has.

Searching question

A searching question goes straight to the heart of the subject matter, possibly requiring an answer with a degree of honesty that the other person finds uncomfortable.

Second thoughts

If some has second thoughts, they start to think that an idea, etc, is not as good as it sounded at first and are starting to have doubts.

Second wind

If you overcome tiredness and find new energy and enthusiasm, you have second wind.

See eye to eye

If people see eye to eye, they agree about everything.

See the light

When someone sees the light, they realise the truth.

See you anon

(UK) If somebody says this when leaving, they expect to see you again soon.

Seed money

Seed money is money that is used to start a small business.

Seeing is believing

This idiom means that people can only really believe what they experience personally.

Seen better days

If something’s seen better days, it has aged badly and visibly compared to when it was new. The phrase can also be used to describe people.

Sell down the river

If you sell someone down the river, you betray their trust.

Sell like hot cakes

If a product is selling very well, it is selling like hot cakes.

Sell your birthright for a mess of pottage

If a person sells their birthright for a mess of pottage, they accept some trivial financial or other gain, but lose something much more important. ‚Sell your soul for a mess of pottage’ is an alternative form.

Sell your soul

If someone sells their soul, their betray the most precious beliefs.

Send someone to Coventry

(UK) If you send someone to Coventry, you refuse to talk to them or co-operate with them.

Separate the sheep from the goats

If you separate the sheep from the goats, you sort out the good from the bad.

Separate the wheat from the chaff

When you separate the wheat from the chaff, you select what is useful or valuable and reject what is useless or worthless.

Separate the wheat from the chaff

If you separate the wheat from the chaff, you separate things that are of a high standard from things that are of low quality.

Set in stone Top

If something is set in stone, it cannot be changed or altered.

Set the wheels in motion

When you set the wheels in motion, you get something started.

Set your sights on

If you set your sights on someone or something, it is your ambition to beat them or to achieve that goal.

Seven sheets to the wind

If someone is seven sheets to the wind, they are very drunk.

Seventh heaven

If you are in seventh heaven, you are extremely happy.

Shades of meaning

Shades of meaning is a phrase used to describe the small, subtle differences in meaning between similar words or phrases; ‚kid’ and ‚youth’ both refer to young people, but carry differing views and ideas about young people.

Shaggy dog story

A shaggy dog story is a joke which is a long story with a silly end.

Shake a leg

If you shake a leg, you are out of bed and active.

Shanks’s pony

(UK) If you go somewhere by Shanks’s pony, you walk there.

Shape up or ship out

If someone has to shape up or ship out, they have to improve or leave their job, organisation, etc.

Sharp as a tack

(USA) If someone is as sharp as a tack, they are very clever indeed.

Sharp cookie

Someone who isn’t easily deceived or fooled is a sharp cookie.

Shifting sands

If the sands are shifting, circumstances are changing.

Shilly-shally

If people shilly-shally, they can’t make up their minds about something and put off the decision.

Shipshape and Bristol fashion

If things are shipshape and Bristol fashion, they are in perfect working order.

Shoe is on the other foot

If the shoe is on the other foot, someone is experiencing what they used to make others experience, normally negative things.

Shoestring

If you do something on a shoestring, you try to spend the absolute minimum amount of money possible on it.

Shoot yourself in the foot

If you shoot yourself in the foot, you do something that damages your ambition, career, etc.

Shooting fish in a barrel

If something is like shooting fish in a barrel, it is so easy that success is guaranteed.

Short end of the stick

If someone gets the short end of the stick, they are unfairly treated or don’t get what they deserve.

Short shrift

If somebody gives you short shrift, they treat you rudely and brusquely, showing no interest or sympathy.

Shot across the bow

A shot across the bow is a warning to tell someone to stop doing something or face very serious consequences.

Shot in the dark Top

If you have a shot in the dark at something, you try something where you have little hope of success.

Shotgun marriage

A shotgun marriage, or shotgun wedding, is one that is forced because of pregnancy. It is also used idiomatically for a compromise, agreement or arrangement that is forced upon groups or people by necessity.

Show someone a clean pair of heels

If you show someone a clean pair of heels, you run faster than them when they are chasing you.

Shrinking violet

A shrinking violet is a shy person who doesn’t express their views and opinions.

Sick as a dog

If somebody’s as sick as a dog, they throw up (=vomit) violently.

Sick as a parrot

If someone’s sick as a parrot about something, they are unhappy, disappointed or depressed about it.

Sick to death

If you are sick to death of something, you have been exposed to so much of it that you cannot take any more.

Sight for sore eyes

Someone or something that is a sight for sore eyes is a pleasure to see.

Sight to behold

If something is a sight to behold, it means that seeing it is in some way special, either spectacularly beautiful or, equally, incredibly ugly or revolting, etc.

Silence is golden

It is often better to say nothing than to talk, so silence is golden.

Silly season

The silly season is midsummer when Parliament is closed and nothing much is happening that is newsworthy, which reduces the press to reporting trivial and stupid stories.

Silver bullet

A silver bullet is a complete solution to a large problem, a solution that seems magical.

Silver screen

The silver screen is the cinema.

Silver surfer

A silver surfer is an elderly person who uses the internet.

Since time immemorial

If something has happened since time immemorial, it’s been going on for such a long time that nobody can remember a time without it.

Sing from the same hymn sheet

If people are singing from the same hymn sheet, they are expressing the same opinions in public.

Sink or swim

Of you are left to sink or swim, no one gives you any help and it’s up to you whether you fail or succeed.

Sit on the fence

If someone sits on the fence, they try not to support either side in a dispute.

Sit pretty

Someone who’s sitting pretty is in a very advantageous situation.

Sitting duck

A sitting duck is something or someone that is easy to criticise or target.

Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other

This is an idiom used when there is little or no difference between two options.

Sixes and sevens

If something is all at sixes and sevens, then there is a lot of disagreement and confusion about what should be done.

Sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question

The sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question is the most important question that can be asked about something.

Skate on thin ice Top

If someone is skating on thin ice, they are taking a big risk.

Skeleton in the closet

If someone has a skeleton in the closet, they have a dark, shameful secret in their past that they want to remain secret.

Skin and bones

If someone is skin and bones, they are very underweight and look bad.

Skin in the game

A person who has skin in the game has invested in the company they are running.

Skin someone alive

If someone skins you alive, they admonish and punish you hard.

Slap on the wrist

If someone gets a slap on the wrist, they get a very minor punishment when they could have been punished more severely.

Sleep like a baby

If you sleep very well, you sleep like a baby.

Sleep like a log

If you sleep like a log, you sleep very soundly.

Sleep well- don’t let the bedbugs bite

This is a way of wishing someone a good night’s sleep

Sleight of hand

Sleight of hand is the ability to use your hands in a clever way, like a magician performing tricks you can’t see.

Slim chance

A slim chance is a very small chance.

Slippery customer

A person from whom it is difficult to get anything definite or fixed is a slippery customer.

Slippery slope

A slippery slope is where a measure would lead to further worse measures.

Slough of despond

If someone is very depressed or in despair, they’re in a slough of despond.

Slow boat to China

This idiom is used to describe something that is very slow and takes a long time.

Slow but sure

If something or someone is slow but sure, they may take their time to do something, but they are reliable.

Small beer

If something is small beer, it’s unimportant.

Small fry

If someone is small fry, they are unimportant. The term is often used when the police arrest the less important criminals, but are unable to catch the leaders and masterminds.

Smart Alec

A smart Alec is a conceited person who likes to show off how clever and knowledgeable they are.

Smell a rat

If you smell a rat, you know instinctively that something is wrong or that someone is lying to you.

Smoke and mirrors

An attempt to conceal something is smoke and mirrors.

Smoke like a chimney

Someone who smokes very heavily smokes like a chimney.

Smoke the peace pipe

If people smoke the peace pipe, they stop arguing and fighting.

Smokestack industry

Heavy industries like iron and steel production, especially if they produce a lot of pollution, are smokestack industries.

Smoking gun Top

A smoking gun is definitive proof of someone’s guilt.

Smooth as a baby’s bottom

If something is smooth as a baby’s bottom, it has a regular, flat surface.

Snake in the grass

Someone who is a snake in the grass betrays you even though you have trusted them.

Snake oil salesperson

A person who promotes something that doesn’t work, is selling snake oil.

Snug as a bug in a rug

If you’re as snug as a bug in a rug, you are feeling very comfortable indeed.

So on and so forth

And so on and so forth mean the same as etcetera (etc.).

Sod’s law

Sod’s law states that if something can go wrong then it will.

Soft soap someone

If you soft soap someone, you flatter them.

Some other time

If somebody says they’ll do something some other time, they mean at some indefinite time in the future, possibly never, but they certainly don’t want to feel obliged to fix a specific time or date.

Something nasty in the woodshed

Something nasty in the woodshed means that someone as a dark secret or an unpleasant experience in their past.

Sound as a bell

If something or someone is as sound as a bell, they are very healthy or in very good condition.

Sound as a pound

(UK) if something is as sound as a pound, it is very good or reliable.

Sour grapes

When someone says something critical or negative because they are jealous, it is a case of sour grapes.

Sow the seeds

When people sow the seeds, they start something that will have a much greater impact in the future

Spanner in the works

(UK) If someone puts or throws a spanner in the works, they ruin a plan. In American English, ‚wrench’ is used instead of ‚spanner’.

Speak of the devil!

If you are talking about someone and they happen to walk in, you can use this idiom as a way of letting them know you were talking about them.

Spend a penny

(UK) This is a euphemistic idiom meaning to go to the toilet.

Spend like a sailor

Someone who spends their money wildly spends like a sailor.

Spick and span

If a room is spick and span, it is very clean and tidy.

Spill the beans

If you spill the beans, you reveal a secret or confess to something.

Spinning a line

When someone spins you a line, they are trying to deceive you by lying.

Spinning a yarn

When someone spins you a yarn, they are trying to deceive you by lying.

Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak

If the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, someone lacks the willpower to change things they do because they derive too much pleasure from them.

Spirit of the law

The spirit of the law is the idea or ideas that the people who made the law wanted to have effect.

Spit blood

If someone is spitting blood, they are absolutely furious.

Spitting image

If a person is the spitting image of somebody, they look exactly alike.

Split hairs

If people split hairs, they concentrate on tiny and unimportant details to find fault with something.

Spoil the ship for a ha’pworth of tar

(UK) If someone spoils the ship for a ha’pworth (halfpenny’s worth) of tar, they spoil something completely by trying to make a small economy.

Spot on Top

If something is spot on, it is exactly right.

Sprat to catch a mackerel

If you use a sprat to catch a mackerel, you make a small expenditure or take a small risk in the hope of a much greater gain.

Spur of the moment

If you do something on the spur of the moment, you do it because you felt like it at that time, without any planning or preparation.

Sputnik moment

A Sputnik moment is a point where people realise that they are threatened of challenged and have to redouble their efforts to catch up. It comes from the time when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, the Sputnik 1, and beat the USA into space.

Square Mile

(UK) The Square Mile is the City, the financial area of London.

Square peg in a round hole

If somebody’s in a situation, organisation, etc, where they don’t fit in and feel out of place, they are a square peg in a round hole.

Squeaky clean

If something is squeaky clean, it is very clean indeed- spotless. If a person is squeaky clean, they have no criminal record and are not suspected of illegal or immoral activities.

Squeaky wheel gets the grease

(USA) When people say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, they mean that the person who complains or protests the loudest attracts attention and service.

Squeeze blood out of a turnip

(USA) When people say that you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, it means that you cannot get something from a person, especially money, that they don’t have.

Stand in good stead

If something will stand you in good stead, it will probably be advantageous in the future.

Stars and stripes

The stars and stripes is the American flag.

Stars in your eyes

Someone who dreams of being famous has stars in their eyes.

State of the art

If something is state of the art, it is the most up-to-date model incorporating the latest and best technology.

Status quo

Someone who wants to preserve the status quo wants a particular situation to remain unchanged.

Steal someone’s thunder

If someone steals your thunder, they take the credit and praise for something you did.

Steer clear of

If you steer clear of something, you avoid it.

Stem the tide

If people try to stem the tide, they are trying to stop something unpleasant from getting worse, usually when they don’t succeed.

Step up to the plate

If someone steps up to the plate, they take on or accept a challenge or a responsibility.

Stick out like a sore thumb

If something sticks or stands out like a sore thumb, it is clearly and obviously different from the things that are around it.

Stick to your guns

If you stick to your guns, you keep your position even though people attack or criticise you.

Stick your neck out

If you stick you neck out, you take a risk because you believe in something.

Stick your neck out

If you stick your neck out, you take a risk.

Stick-in-the-mud

A stick-in-the-mud is someone who doesn’t like change and wants things to stay the same.

Sticking point

A sticking point is a controversial issue that blocks progress in negotiations, etc, where compromise is unlikely or impossible.

Sticky wicket

(UK) If you are on a sticky wicket, you are in a difficult situation.

Stiff upper lip

(UK) If you keep your emotions to yourself and don’t let others know how you feel when something bad happens, you keep a stiff upper lip.

Stiff-necked

A stiff-necked person is rather formal and finds it hard to relax in company.

Still in the game

If someone is still in the game, they may be having troubles competing, but they are not yet finished and may come back.

Still waters run deep

People use this idiom to imply that people who are quiet and don’t try to attract attention are often more interesting than people who do try to get attention.

Stitch in time saves nine Top

A stitch in time saves nine means that if a job needs doing it is better to do it now, because it will only get worse, like a hole in clothes that requires stitching.

Stone dead

This idiom is a way of emphasizing that there were absolutely no signs of life or movement.

Stone’s throw

If a place is a stone’s throw from where you are, it is a very short distance away.

Stool pigeon

(USA) A stool pigeon is a police informer.

Storm in a teacup

If someone exaggerates a problem or makes a small problem seem far greater than it really is, then they are making a storm in a teacup.

Straw man

A straw man is a weak argument that is easily defeated. It can also be a person who is used as to give an illegal or inappropriate activity an appearance of respectability.

Straw poll

A straw poll is a small unofficial survey or ballot to find out what people think about an issue.

Straw that broke the camel’s back

The straw that broke the camel’s back is the problem that made you lose your temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something.

Streets ahead

If people are streets ahead of their rivals, they are a long way in front.

Stroll down memory lane

If you take a stroll down memory lane, you talk about the past or revisit places that were important to you in the past. (You can also ‚take a trip down memory lane’.)

Strong as an ox

Someone who’s exceedingly strong physically is said to be as strong as an ox.

Stubborn as a mule

Someone who will not listen to other people’s advice and won’t change their way of doing things is as stubborn as a mule.

Stuffed to the gills

If someone is stuffed to the gills, they have eaten a lot and are very full.

Sure as eggs is eggs

These means absolutely certain, and we do say ‚is’ even though it is grammatically wrong.

Sure-fire

If something is sure-fire, it is certain to succeed. (‚Surefire’ is also used.)

Swansong

A person’s swansong is their final achievement or public appearance.

Swear like a sailor

Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a sailor.

Swear like a trooper

Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a trooper.

Sweat blood

If you sweat blood, you make an extraordinary effort to achieve something.

Sweep things under the carpet

If people try to ignore unpleasant things and forget about them, they sweep them under the carpet.

Swim against the tide

If you swim against the tide, you try to do something that is very difficult because there is a lot of opposition to you. (‚Go against the tide’ is an alternative form.)

Swim with the fishes

If someone is swimming with the fishes, they are dead, especially if they have been murdered. ‚Sleep with the fishes’ is an alternative form.

Swim with the tide

If you swim with the tide, you do the same as people around you and accept the general consensus. (‚Go with the tide’ is an alternative form.)

Swimmingly Top

If things are going swimmingly, they are going very well.

Swings and roundabouts

If something’s swings and roundabouts, it has about as many disadvantages as it has advantages.

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