Common Idioms - D

Idioms - D

dance to a different tune

- to talk or act differently because a situation has changed

Sally is dancing to a different tune because her boy friend now wants to break up with her.

dark horse

- someone or some group not favored to win

The New York Jets were the dark horse of the play offs but won the Super bowl.

dash off

- do or finish quickly, leave quickly

I'm late for work, so I'd better dash off.

dawn on

- become clear

It finally dawned on me as to why he was angry.

day and night

- continually

We worked day and night to finish the project before the end of the month.

day in and day out

- regularly, all the time

He studies day in and day out and never gets tired of it.

dead ahead

-to be exactly in front or before

There was a truck dead ahead so we immediately slammed on the car brakes.

dead as a doornail

-something or someone who has no life or movement

The man was as dead as a doornail.


- a person who never pays his debts nor has any prospects

My brother is such a deadbeat, he can never hold a job.

dead center

- exact middle

He was able to hit the target dead center every time.

dead duck

- person or thing in a hopeless situation or condition

He is a dead duck and has no hope of recovering his former position.

dead end

- the closed end of a road or an impasse

The negotiations between the team and the owners have come to a dead end.


- with an expressionless or emotionless face

A comedian will often tell a joke with a deadpan expression which will make it all the more funnier.

dead set against something

- determined not to do something

They are dead set against their son going to Europe for a year.

dead tired

- very tired, exhausted

I was dead tired so I went to bed as soon as I got home.

dead to the world

- fast asleep

The little boy was dead to the world when his father took him out of the car.

decked out

- dressed in fancy clothes

She was all decked out in her best clothes for the party.


- throw away, dispose of

I decided to deep-six the videos as I didn't want them any longer.

deep water

- serious trouble or difficulty

He will be in deep water if he doesn't tell us where he spent the money.

deliver the goods

- succeed in doing what is expected well

He is the best manager that we have ever had. He knows how to deliver the goods.

die down

- come slowly to an end, grow weaker

When the sound of the music finally died down we were able to get to sleep.

die off

- die one after another until the number is small

The house plants began to die off as soon as he moved to a new apartment.

die out

- die or disappear slowly until all gone

Dinosaurs died out millions of years ago.

dig in

- begin eating

Let's dig in and eat before everything is cold!

dime a dozen

- common, easy to get and of little value

Used books are a dime a dozen so don't worry if you can't sell them.

dirty look

- a look that shows dislike or disapproval

His mother gave him a dirty look when he smoked the cigarette.

dish out

- serve food from a large bowl or plate

He began to dish out the food as soon as the guests arrived.

dish out

- treat or criticize roughly

He likes to dish out criticism to others but he doesn't like to hear criticism about himself.

do a double take

- look again in surprise at someone or something

She did a double take when she saw her old boyfriend with another woman.

do a job on

- do harm to, make ugly or useless

He really did a job on the plans for the new house that he was working on.

do away with

- put an end to, stop, get rid of

The company has decided to do away with having fixed holidays every year.


- ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what you want

It is a dog-eat-dog world out in the world of advertising and public relations.

do in

- to ruin, destroy

He quickly did in the new shoes that he received for his birthday.

do in

- to make tired, exhaust

He was really done in by the time that he finished the marathon.

doll up

- dress in fancy clothes

She was all dolled up for a night on the town with her new boyfriend.

done for

- ruined, defeated, dying

When I saw the car hit the dog, I knew it was done for.

done with

- be finished using something

He was finally done with the computer and so he let his sister use it.

do one's best

- try to do something as well as you can

If you can' t do it well, then at least do your best.

do one's bit (part)

- share in a group project by contributing one's time and effort

He did his bit for the planning of the party.

do one's thing

- do what one wants to do and enjoys

I never get bored, because I always like to do my own thing.


- make a great effort while disregarding danger

Time was running out and his team was going to lose, now it's do or die.

do someone good

-to be of benefit or help for someone

It will do you good to go on a holiday.

do something rash

- take drastic action (usually without thinking)

She is extremely angry with her boss, so I hope that she doesn't do anything rash and quits.

do the honors

- perform the duty of a host (when serving a drink etc.)

Would you like to do the honors and cut the cake for your birthday.

do the trick

- work well, achieve a good result

I think the new piece of equipment should do the trick and solve the problem.

do time

- to spend time in jail

He was doing time when I first heard about him.

do with

- benefit from

I have been working hard all day so now I could do with a cold drink.

do with

- be acquainted, involved or associated with

I don`t have anything to do with the party this year.

do without

- manage without something

If there is no sugar, we`ll have to do without.

double back

- turn back from where you are going or have been

We decided to double back from the arena to get some money to go to a movie.


- check again to be sure something is correct

He double-checked the price of the airplane ticket.


- deceive, promise one thing and do another

He tried to double-cross his partner but was caught and sent to jail.


- talk that appears to have meaning but does not

He gave the audience a lot of double-talk so nobody knew what he wanted to say.

double up

- share a room or home with someone

The passengers had to double up in hotel rooms when the plane was delayed because of the weather.

down and out

- have no money

He has been down and out before but he has always been able to find a job eventually.

down in the dumps

- unhappy

She has been really down in the dumps since her boyfriend moved away.

down on (someone)

- be critical of someone, angry at

She is really down on her friend but I don`t really know the reason.

down one`s alley

- suited to one`s tastes and abilities

Computers are down his alley so I am sure that he will be interested in taking the job.

down the line

- straight ahead, in future

There will be many changes at this company down the line but for now your job is safe.

down the drain

- wasted or lost

He is just throwing money down the drain when he goes to the horse races.


- sensible and practical

Her mother is a very down-to-earth person.

down to the wire

- nearing a deadline, running out of time

We went right down to the wire but we were able to finish the job on time.

do wonders

- produce excellent results

If you begin to do some exercise it will do wonders for your health.

drag in

- insist on bringing another subject into a discussion

He always drags in his personal problems when we are talking about his performance on the job.

drag on

- pass very slowly, make longer

The speech seemed to drag on and on so finally we decided to leave early.

drag one`s feet/heels

- act slowly or reluctantly

He has been dragging his feet about whether or not to take the job.

draw a blank

- obtain nothing in return for an effort made, get a negative result

He drew a blank when he went to the head office to try and receive some information about the merger.

draw fire

- receive criticism or argument

He has been drawing a lot of fire since he announced that he would not play basketball another year.

draw fire

- be a target, attract or provoke shooting

The soldiers drew fire when they entered the small village.

draw in one`s horns

- spend less money

Their company is not doing well so they will have to draw in their horns for awhile.

draw (someone) out

- make a person talk or tell something


She was very quiet but we finally were able to draw her out so that she would join the party. draw the line

- set a limit

We have to draw the line somewhere in regards to the costs of the party.

draw up

- put in writing

They were able to draw up the new contract while we were waiting.

dressed to kill

- wear one`s finest clothes

She was dressed to kill when I saw her at the concert last week.

dressed to the nines (teeth)

- dressed elegantly

The stars were all dressed to the nines during the Academy Awards ceremony.

dress up

- put on one`s best clothes

He decided to dress up for dinner at the restaurant.

drive a hard bargain

- conclude a bargain without making any concessions

Although he drives a hard bargain I like doing business with him.

drive at

- try or want to say something

I don`t know what he was driving at in his speech.

drive someone up a wall

- irritate or annoy someone greatly

His constant complaining is driving me up a wall.

drop a hint

- casually utter a hint or suggestion

He dropped a hint that he wanted to transfer to a new department.

drop (someone) a line

- write or mail a note or letter to someone

She promised that she would drop me a line when she gets to Singapore.

drop back

- move or step backwards, retreat

During the hike his foot began to get sore so he decided to drop back and rest for awhile.

drop by

- to visit someone or somewhere

He dropped by after work for a drink.

drop by the wayside

- give up or fail before the finish

Many runners dropped by the wayside as the marathon continued.

Drop dead!

- go away and be quiet, stop bothering someone

I told him to drop dead when he came into my room and now he is angry at me.

drop in

- make a short or unplanned visit

I decided to drop in and visit my friend after I finished work for the day.

drop in the bucket

- small amount

The money he paid back was only a drop in the bucket compared to what he owes.

drop out (of school)

- quit school or a course of some kind

She dropped out of the class after three months.

drown one`s sorrows

- drink alcohol to forget one`s problems

He`s in the bar drowning his sorrows with a beer.

drown out

- make so much noise that it is impossible to hear

The team captain was drowned out by the cheering fans.

drum up

- invent, encourage by making an effort

They were able to drum up a lot of business during the summer.

duck soup

- easy, effortless

How was the test last week? It was duck soup - no problem at all.

dumb bunny

- a stupid gullible person

He is a dumb bunny and you never know what he will do next.

Dutch treat

- meal/movie etc. where each person pays their own way, contribute equally to something

When he goes out with his girlfriend it is always a Dutch treat as he doesn`t have much money.

dwell on

- think about or talk about something all the time

I wish he wouldn`t always dwell on his personal problems.

Idiom Quizzes - DE

Choose an idiom at the bottom to replace the expression in the brackets below:

1. Please pass me that hammer. I think it should (work well) to fix this drawer.

(a) do a double take (b) do something rash (c) do the trick (d) draw the line

2. They had to (set a limit) and refused to give their son any more money.

(a) drive a hard bargain (b) draw the line (c) drop out (d) do their best

3. He is always (pushing me on) when I am angry about something.

(a) egging me on (b) easing off (c) ending up (d) eating his words

4. Her mother gave her (a scolding) when she returned home late from school.

(a) every other (b) an earful (c) elbow room (d) elbow grease

5. She is constantly (thinking about) her husband`s problems at work.

(a) dashing off (b) driving at (c) dropping by (d) dwelling on

6. He has (a relaxed) style of managing his company.

(a) an easing off (b) an every so often (c) an easy going (d) an end in itself

7. Everyone had to (pitch in and help) to prepare for the party.

(a) draw in their horns (b) do their bit (c) do the trick (d) drive at

8. Cleaning up their new house will take a lot of (effort and energy).

(a) elbow room (b) elbow grease (c) eager beavers (d) earfuls

9. The government leader was forced to (retract his statement) about the money he received.

(a) eat his heart out (b) ease off (c) egg them on (d) eat his words

10. My friend (quit) the class after about three weeks.

(a) dawned on (b) did wonders to (c) dropped out of (d) dwelt on

11. Their new house has a lot more (space) than the old one.

(a) eyes in the back of its head (b) elbow room (c) eager beaver (d) elbow grease

12. He`s not (finished with) the newspaper yet so we will have to come back later.

(a) doing time with (b) driving at (c) done with (d) dressing up

13. We usually (go to a restaurant) at least once a week.

(a) end up (b) eke out (c) eat our heart out (d) eat out

14. I had to (wear my best clothes) for the job interview.

(a) dress up (b) drown my sorrows (c) drop in the bucket (d) double-check

15. My friend (came to visit) about three weeks ago.

(a) did without (b) dropped out (c) did the trick (d) dropped by

16. He says he absolutely doesn`t want the same kind of car as (the average person) in his neighborhood.

(a) every Tom, Dick, and Harry (b) every so often (c) elbow room (d) easy does it

17. We (finished) by going to the bar for a drink after the concert.

(a) eased off (b) ate out (c) ended up (d) egged them on

18. It will (relax him) if he goes to the beach for the weekend.

(a) do him good (b) do his best (c) do the trick (d) draw the line

19. The amount the insurance company gave them was only a (small portion) of what they needed.

(a) dead end (b) double-check (c) dead center (d) drop in the bucket

20. We go to that restaurant (sometimes) but not very often.

(a) even so (b) every so often (c) each and every (d) easy does it

21. The barking of the dog is (making me crazy).

(a) drowning my sorrows (b) driving a hard bargain (c) driving me up a wall (d) down the drain

22. He always tries to (do as well as he can) on his exams.

(a) do something rash (b) do without (c) drive a hard bargain (d) do his best

23. Please (check) the figures again before you pay the money.

(a) dead end (b) double-check (c) drive at (d) dwell on

24. There is no milk so we will have to (drink something else).

(a) do wonders (b) do time (c) do without (d) do our bit

25. She hasn't smiled all morning. She seems to be (depressed) about something.

(a) drowning her sorrows (b) drawing the line (c) down-to-earth (d) down in the dumps

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