AMERICAN IDIOMS:

             
             
             
         


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HOME > AMERICAN IDIOMS > Idioms starting with P

Common American Idioms for ESL students







AMERICAN IDIOMS STARTING WITH P


(A) pain in the butt:
A problematic person/thing; a hronic complainer. ex. "I hate doing my taxes. It's such a pain in the butt."; "Stop being such a pain in the butt. All you do is complain!"

(To) pass the buck:
To blame someone else. ex. "It's much easier to pass the buck than to take responsibility for something."

(To) pass the time:
To do something to keep busy. ex. "What do you do to pass the time around here?"

(A) pat on the back:
A sign of approval; "To give someone a pat on the back" means to show them that you approve of something that they did.

(To) pay an arm and a leg/ pay a fortune:
To pay a lot of money. ex. "I hate to have to pay an arm and a leg for a pair of tennis shoes."

(A) peeping Tom
Someone who looks through people's windows. ex. "Larry was a peeping tom. The neighbors caught him looking into Sarah's window one night."

(A) piece of cake:
Very easy. ex. "P1: Hey how did you do on the test? P2: I aced it. It was a piece of cake for me."

(To give someone) a piece of one's mind:
To scold, reprimand someone (for something they did). ex. "After I found out how badly Peter had treated his girlfriend, I gave him a piece of my mind."

(To) pitch in:
To help with something (especially financially). ex. "Let's all pitch in and buy him a nice present."

(To) pick up the tab:
To pay a bill. ex. "John, you picked up the tab last time. Let me pay this time."

(To) play second fiddle to someone:
To be second in importance to someone. ex. "Sam didn't join the team because they already had a star and Sam didn't wanted to play second fiddle to anyone."

(To) play something by ear:
To improvise. To see how things go and make a decision later. ex. "P1: What do you want to do tonight? P2: I don't know, let's just play it by ear."

(To) play it safe:
To act or be safe. To do something safely. ex. "Sarah isn't much of a risk taker. She likes to play it safe."

(To) play the field:
*somewhat outdated* To date many different people instead of going steady. ex. "After Mary broke up with Jim, she started playing the field."

(A) poker face:
A face with no expression. Also common is "to be poker-faced."

Preachy (adj):
An adjective that describes someone (or something) that tries to preach how one should live, etc. ex. "A preachy movie"

Pressed for time:
In a hurry. ex. "I'd love to stay and chat, but I'm a little pressed for time."

(To) promise someone the moon:
To promise someone lots of extravagant things (unrealistically). ex. "He promised her the moon, but couldn't deliver on any of his promises."

(To) puke:
To vomit. To throw up.

(To) pull someone's leg:
To kid, play a joke on someone. ex. "When he told me he was joining the military, was he just pulling my leg?"

(To) pull a fast one:
To cheat or to deceive. ex. "Con men are experts at pulling a fast one on unsuspecting passers by."

Pure gold:
* somewhat outdated* If something is "pure gold" it is "the best", "fantastic", "amazing".

(To) push one's luck:
To expect continued good fortune. ex. "Don't push your luck. I was nice to you before, but if you keep making me angry, you'll regret it."

(To) put up a good fight:
To try very hard. ex. "Well, although my team lost, they put up a good fight, so I'm not upset."


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