Slang and Colloquial Expressions
Spread oneself: spare no expense.
e.g. The farmers' market has many good stuffs, but don't spread yourself.
Standing on one's head: doing something easily.
e.g. It's no big deal! I can do it standing on my head.
Put one's feet up: take a break; rest.
e.g. I'll call it a day. I'm going to put my feet up.
Put one's shirt on: wager everything.
e.g. We have to put our shirt on this project; we've no other option.
Make a dead set at: very determined to.
e.g. He made a dead set at getting that house on the market.
Jolly well: most certainly.
e.g. "Do you want another drink?" "Jolly well!"
Long in the tooth: very old.
e.g. "How old is he? " "I don't know, but he's long in the tooth
Keep early hours: go to bed early.
e.g. If you want good health, keep early hours.
Look alive: hurry up.
e.g. Look alive! We don't want to miss our flight.
Make it snappy: be quick.
e.g. Common on, make it snappy! We don't have all the time in the world!
Hold one's horse: wait a minute; not immediately.
e.g. Dinner is ready, but hold your horse; wait for the host to come down!
In good nick: in good condition.
e.g. If I were you, I would buy this car; it's in good nick.
Talk through the back of one's neck: talk nonsense.
e.g. Look what he's doing: talking through the back of his neck.
Tall order: a challenging demand.
e.g. To finish the project in a week is certainly a tall order for me.
In a jiffy: soon.
e.g. The manager will see you in a jiffy.
Stand to reason: be logical.
e.g. It stands to reason that the Mayor should resign now that he has admitted his wrongdoing.
Shoot: speak out.
e.g. "I've something I'd like to say to you, but I'm afraid. . ." "Shoot!"
In the picture: informed.
e.g. Thank you for putting me in the picture; now I know what's going on.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau