Phrases and Sayings – November

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Here is a list of all of the sayings and phrases we have looked at and discussed on our Facebook page this month. This are all commonly used and are useful to know and understand. If you are learning English these sayings and phrases can really help you add more feeling and personality to your spoken English. If you would like to join in the discussion then like or follow us on Facebook.

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Has the cat got your tongue?

This saying is used when someone is asked a question and they do not answer. They may not be sure what they can say, they may be scared to answer if they are in trouble or have done something wrong. It is not a friendly saying and should only really be used if you are having a strong discussion or argument.

On cloud nine

Cloud 9 or cloud nine is a term used to describe a very happy place. If someone is on cloud nine they are very very happy. You might see a friend who has just got a new job and see she is very happy; you could say “she is on cloud nine about her new job”.

Storm in a teacup

A storm in a teacup is a big argument or disagreement about something very small. The idea behind this is that a storm is a big thing but when it’s in a teacup it is obviously very small. You may hear about an argument among two work colleagues that was very loud and angry but about something very small. It could be described to another friend as a storm in a teacup.

The lion’s share

The lion’s share is the biggest share of something. If three people shared a pizza but one person ate almost all of it you could say “he has had the lion’s share.” This could also be used at work if the jobs were shared between workers and one person got more work than the others.

They are selling like hot potatoes

The term hot potatoes describes anything that is being bought or sold very quickly. It can even be used if something for free is being taken by people very quickly. You may have made a new product at work and the sales manager says “they are selling like hot potatoes”. This is good news and it means they are selling fast!

Don’t miss the boat

This phrase is used when there is something good that you may want to buy, or a trip you may want to go on and you do not have much time to join. Missing the boat describes the time when the offer is gone and you cannot have it anymore. There may be a sale on some new shoes but it only lasts for 2 days. Someone might say don’t miss the boat; this means go and buy the shoes before the sale finishes or the shoes run out.

Over the top

This phrase is used to describe doing more than you need too or doing something so much it is far more than it should be. For example, if someone asked you to make a cake for a party and you made 10 cakes they may say you went over the top. It is also used if someone gets very angry with another person, more angry than anyone would expect. Going over the top in an argument is not a good thing.