AMERICAN IDIOMS (O)
Idioms starting with O
Odd man out:
Here is our list of popular "O" idioms that are used in American English:
An unusual or atypical person (or thing). Example: "In a high school where everyone was tough, I was the odd man out."
Not continuous(ly); Periodically. Example: "To sleep off and on", "To see someone off and on".
Rude; vulgar. Example: "I'm not a big fan of the off-color jokes he loves to tell."
Not working at one's job. Example: "The policeman couldn't help me because he was off-duty."
Off the air:
No longer on TV (or the radio). Example: "They took that show off the air in November because nobody watched it."
Off the hook:
No longer having to do something, no longer blamed or under suspicion. Example: "Ok, you're off the hook. Your brother says he'll clean the bathroom."
Off the record:
Unofficially. Example: "Off the record, they were very displeased with the way the CEO was conducting himself."
Off the wagon:
To be "off the wagon" means to start drinking (alcoholic beverages) again after having stopped for a while.
Off the top of one's head:
Spontaneously; without thinking too much. Example: "P1: How many cafes are there in this town? P2: Off the top of my head, I can think of about 6."
On-again, off-again (adj.):
Used to describe something that is not stable, permanent. Example: "They had an on-again, off-again relationship for years."
On cloud nine:
Extremely and visibly happy Example: "She was on cloud nine when she heard the news."
Nervous; Anxious. Example: "To be on edge."
On one's mind:
Occupying someone's thoughts; being thought about. Example: "You were always on my mind."
(To do something) on one's own accord:
Willingly, without anyone forcing one to do something. Example: "P1: Did you make him apologize? P2: No, he did it on his own accord."
On second thought:
Having given something more thought. Example: "On second thought, maybe you should sell your house and move into an apartment."
On the go:
Busy. Moving around busily. Example: "Jim is always on the go. He can never find time to talk to me."
On the house:
Something that is given away free by a merchant. Example: "P1: How much for the apple? P2: Nothing, it's on the house!"
On the level:
Honest. Example: "I'm pretty sure he's on the level."
On the loose:
(Most often used speaking about criminals) Free; not captured; Example: "The bank robbers are still on the loose."
(To be) on the same wavelength:
To understand each other; to see eye to eye.
On the tip of one's tongue:
Something that is almost said/remembered. Example: "I've got his name on the tip of my tongue."
On the wagon:
Not drinking alcohol. Example: "P2: Hey let's go out for a couple of beers tonight. P2: I can't, I'm on the wagon."
(To be/get) onboard:
To agree to, or be part of something (usually a plan, strategy, etc.); Example: "I'm glad that all the partners are onboard."
Once in a while:
Occasionally. Example: "Once in a while I'll pick up my old guitar and play a couple of tunes."
Similar to "very". Example: That's one large pizza! = That's a really large pizza; He's one smart man. = He's a very smart man.
Other side of the tracks
The poorer part of a town.
Unconscious. Example: "The boxer was out cold."
Out of one's mind
= Not normal, not "all-there" Example: "You want to go for a walk at 2:00 AM? Are you out of your mind?"
Out of sorts:
Not quite oneself; In a bad/strange mood. Example: "Tom has been out of sorts recently."
(To) outdo (v.):
To do or perform better than someone else. Example: "He bought his mom a car, but his brother outdid him by buying her a house."
"Over" is often used to emphasize location. Example: "I live over on Orange Street." (I live on Orange Street).
(To) overstep (v.):
To be out of line. To say/do something that's inappropriate to a situation. Example: "I'm sorry; I overstepped. I shouldn't have said those things to your parents."