For a song: inexpensive
e.g. You can get this on the Internet for a song.
Feel like: have a desire for something
e.g. I feel like eating a hamburger.
Easy does it: go carefully and slowly
e.g. This TV set is heavy, so easy does it.
All at sea: confused
e.g. The lawyer was all at sea when he read the two conflicting reports of the incident.
Rule the roost: be the boss
e.g. Who rules the roost at your house?
Then and there: on the spot
e.g. As soon as the candidate finished his speech, he was shot then and there.
Make or break: succeed or fail
e.g. This book will make or break my career as a writer.
Ins and outs of something: details to do something right
e.g. Take your time; you need to know the ins and outs of this procedure in order to do it right.
Has had its day: no longer popular
e.g. This bulky lawn mower has had its day. We need to get a new one.
That’s the ticket: what is needed
e.g. That’s the ticket! If you do as I tell you, you will succeed.
Under a cloud: under suspicion
e.g. He has been under a cloud; the police has been investigating him for some time.
Open a Pandora’s box: uncover a lot of previously unsuspected problems
e.g. If I were you, I would not look into his past; you might be opening a Pandora’s box.
e.g. Your remark hit the nail on the head; that was precisely the solution to the problem.
Pay the piper: receive the punishment due
e.g. You just can’t keep on spending without paying the piper.
Ball of fire: an energetic and enthusiastic person
e.g. We all want his presence; he is a ball of fire.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau