Common Idioms - M

Idioms - M

mad as a hornet

- very angry

He was mad as a hornet when I saw him at the meeting yesterday.

main drag

- the most important street in a town

We spent most of Saturday evening driving up and down the main drag of the town.

make a beeline for something

- hurry directly somewhere

When he enters the cafeteria he always makes a beeline for the dessert section.

make a bundle

- make a lot of money

My father made a bundle on the stock market in early 1998.

make a day of it

- do something all day

We decided to make a day of it and spend the day at the beach.

make a dent in

- make progress

We worked hard all day but we didn`t seem to make a dent in the amount of work left to do.

make a difference

- cause a change in a situation

It doesn`t make any difference whether he comes to the meeting or not.

make a go of

- succeed, produce good results

Although he tried hard he was never able to make a go of his business.

make a hit

- be successful

Her cake made a big hit at the party.

make a killing

- make a large amount of money

Her mother made a killing on the real estate market before she retired.

make a living

- earn enough money to live

He cannot make a living by only doing a part-time job.

make a mistake

- make an error

He made a mistake on the math test.

make a mountain out of a molehill

- make a big problem out of a small one

He is really making a mountain out of a molehill by worrying about his son`s problems.

make a name for oneself

- become well-known or famous

He has made a name for himself in the field of computers.

make a pass at someone

- make romantic advances to a member of the opposite sex

He was fired because he made a pass at one of the women who he works with.

make a point of

- do or say something with a definite intent

He always makes a point of visiting his aunt when he is in town.

make a run for it

- dash for safety, make a speedy escape

He made a run for it as soon as the class finished.

make away with

- take, carry away

The cat made away with the fish that was sitting on top of the kitchen counter.

make believe

- act as if something is true while one knows that it is not, pretend

The children were playing make believe and pretended that they lived in a castle.

make do with something

- substitute one thing for another

If there is no cream for the coffee, we`ll have to make do with milk.

make ends meet

- be able to live on the money one has

It`s hard to make ends meet on his salary.

make eyes at

- flirt, look at a member of the opposite sex to try and attract them

The boy was making eyes at the girl in his history class.

make for

- go toward, start in the direction of

As soon as it began to become dark we decided to make for a quiet place to set up a camp.

make friends

- form friendships with people or animals

She is shy and isn`t able to make friends easily.

make fun of

- ridicule

The students were making fun of the girl with the short hair.

make good

- do what one promised to do, make something come true

He made good on his promise to give everyone a raise in the new year.

make hay while the sun shines

- do something at the right time, not wait too long

You should make hay while the sun shines and paint the house while the weather is good.

(can`t) make head nor tail of something

- understand, find meaning in something

We couldn`t make head nor tail of what he was trying to say during his speech.

make it up to someone

- do something for someone to compensate for an unfulfilled promise or debt

I can`t go with you to the game tonight but I will make it up to you later.

make light of

- treat as of little importance, minimize

My friend made light of my efforts to learn how to speak and write Chinese.

make of something

- interpret, think of

What do you make of the new manager in accounting.

make merry

- have fun, laugh and celebrate

We decided to go to a nice restaurant and make merry for the evening.

make no bones about something

- make no secret, not keep from talking about something

He has made no bones about the fact that he is not interested in applying for the supervisor`s job.

make one`s bed and lie in it

- be responsible for what one has done and then have to accept the bad results

You quit your job and now you have no money. You made your bed. Now you must lie in it.

make one`s blood boil

- make someone very angry

Every time that I see him he makes my blood boil.

make one`s hair stand on end

- frighten, horrify

The horror movie that we rented last week really made my hair stand on end.

make one`s own way

- rely on one`s own abilities

His father wants him to join the family business but he wants to make his own way in the world.

make one`s mouth water

- want to eat something because of the thought or smell of the food

Looking at the menu made my mouth water.

make oneself at home

- act as if you were at home

She is able to make herself at home when she goes to visit her friends.

make oneself felt

- use one`s authority

He was not able to make himself felt when trying to resolve the conflict.

make oneself scarce

- leave quickly, go away

I think that I will make myself scarce and go to the beach for the day.

make out

- do, progress

How did you make out at your job interview yesterday?

make out

- understand, interpret

I can never make out what he wants to say when he phones me.

make out

- distinguish, identify

The ship captain couldn`t make out the other boat because of the fog.

make out

- make someone believe, show, prove

He made out that he was at the library last night but I know that he wasn`t.

make over

- make something look different, change the style of

We decided to make over our living room because we were tired of the old style.

make room for someone or something

- arrange space for

He made room for the new computer in the spare room.

make sense

- seem reasonable

His proposal makes absolutely no sense.

make short work of something

- finish quickly

He made short work of the typing and has started working on the other documents.

make something out

- manage to see or read something

I was unable to make out the sign because I didn`t have my glasses.

make something up

- invent (a story etc.)

He made up the story about his lost wallet.

make the best of

- do as well as possible in a bad situation

He has really made the best of his time since beginning his new job.

make the grade

- make good, succeed, meet a standard, qualify

He wasn`t able to make the grade and join the football team.

make the most of

- use to the greatest advantage

He made the most of his time in Europe and visited many art galleries.

make the scene

- be present, go to a certain place or event

He decided to make the scene and go to the disco for the evening.

make time

- be successful in arriving at a destination in a short time

We made very good time yesterday and arrived home before it got dark.

make up

- make something by putting things or parts together

A car is made up of many different parts.

make up

- invent, think and say something that is new or not true

She made up the story about how she got lost in the mountains.

make up

- do or supply something that is lacking, regain, repay

I had to make up the time that I was sick by working on Saturday.

make up

- put on cosmetics

She always wants to make up her face before she goes to the store.

make up

- become friends again after a quarrel

They finally made up after their fight last week.

make up for something

- compensate for a loss or mistake

I have to work hard in order to make up for the loss from the poor sales.

make up one`s mind

- decide

I haven`t made up my mind yet about whether or not I will accept the new job.

make waves

- create a disturbance

He is very calm and quiet at work and doesn`t like to make waves.

make way

- stand aside, move so someone can go through

The truck had to go to the side of the road to make way for the ambulance.

man in the street

- the average or ordinary person

According to what the man in the street is saying the government is not very popular.


- frank or direct

I had a man-to-man talk with him about the problem last night.

mark time

- move one`s feet up and down to music

He was marking time to the music as he was driving his car.

mark time

- be idle, waiting for something to happen

He has been marking time for over a month now as he waits to hear about the new job.


- be important

It doesn`t matter if you can`t come here tomorrow.

matter of course

- the usual way, habit, rule

It was done as a matter of course and nobody really thought about the results.

matter of fact

- something that is really true, something that can be proved

As a matter of fact I saw him last night and he asked me how you were.


- simply telling or showing the truth, seeming not to care much

The witness told about the murder in a matter-of-fact way.

mean business

- be serious, ready to take action

He is working very hard and really means business when he says he is going to get the office organized.

measure up

- be equal, be of high quality

The new accounting manager didn`t measure up to the previous one so we had to ask him to leave.

meet someone half-way

- make a compromise with someone

He is very stubborn and is never willing to meet his friends half-way.

meet up with

- meet by accident, come upon without planning or expecting to

He met up with a nice group of people in Australia when he was travelling there.

melt in one`s mouth

- taste very good, be delicious

The pastry that she made melted in my mouth.

mend one`s fences

- do something to make people like you after a fight, strengthen one`s friendship or influence

I made a big effort to mend my fences with my boss so that we could work together effectively.

mend one`s ways

- improve one`s habits

She has been forced to mend her ways in order to get along better at work.

mess around

- play around, engage in idle activity

The children were messing around in the school yard before the class began.

mess up

- cause trouble, spoil something

He messed up his chance to get a promotion by not making much of an effort last year.

middle of the road

- being halfway between two different ideas, seeing good on both sides of an issue

The president was elected because he was a person whose ideas were very middle of the road.

mind one`s P`s and Q`s

- be very careful about what one does or says

You should mind your P`s and Q`s and not say anything to offend your aunt.

Mind you.

- I want you to notice and understand.

I don`t want to work any more overtime. Mind you, if there is an emergency I will be able to work extra in that case.

miss out on

- lose an opportunity

He missed out on the new job because he was late for the interview.

miss the boat

- lose an opportunity

You had better hurry and get your application in or you will miss the boat on entering that new company.

might as well

- be somewhat preferable

We might as well go home now. I don`t think he will come.

mix up

- confuse, make a mistake about

He mixed up the video tapes and played the wrong one in front of the class.


- an error, some confusion

There was a mix-up at the airline ticket counter and I was given the wrong ticket.

(get or become) mixed up

- become confused

He gets all mixed up when he tries to speak French.

money to burn

- have very much money, have more than is needed

He has money to burn and never has to worry about working.

monkey business

- comical or silly actions, goofing off

The kids were involved in some kind of monkey business. That was when the window was broken.

monkey business

- unethical, illegal or objectionable activity, cheating

The company was involved in some monkey business with the tax department and have recently had to hire a lawyer to defend themselves.

more and more

- increasingly, increasing number

More and more people are buying computers for their homes.

more or less

- somewhat, to some extent

I like the new color more or less but it`s not great.

more the merrier

- the more people who join in the fun the better it will be

The more the merrier he said as his sister`s friends also decided to come to the beach.

morning after (the night before)

- a hangover

He`s not feeling well. I think it`s the morning after the night before.

(not) move a muscle

- don`t move even a small amount

The doctor told him not to move a muscle when he was fixing his leg.

move heaven and earth

- try every way, do everything one can

I will move heaven and earth to help you get a job with our company.

move in on

- take over something that belongs to another

He was angry because the other salesman was moving in on his sales territory.

mum`s the word

- say nothing of the secret you know

Don`t worry mum`s the word on the party. I won`t tell anybody.

musical chairs

- the transfer of a number of officers in an organization into different jobs - especially each other`s jobs

They seem to be playing a game of musical chairs at the company as many people move from one position to another position.

music to one`s ears

- something one likes to hear

When he told me that I could go to the sales convention in the summer it was music to my ears.

my goodness (my God)

- used to express surprise or shock etc.

"My goodness," she said when she saw the small dog jump over the fence.

Idiom Quizzes - MN

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

1. They spend too much money so it is very difficult to (keep within their budget) on his salary.

(a) make a bundle (b) make ends meet (c) make themselves at home (d) make waves

2. He (is very serious) when he says that he will do something.

(a) means business (b) makes a difference (c) makes waves (d) misses the boat

3. Living in the mountains while building the highway was (very difficult) for the workers.

(a) nobody`s fool (b) a narrow escape (c) nipped in the bud (d) no bed of roses

4. He studies very hard so (of course) he always does well.

(a) never mind (b) no wonder (c) no picnic (d) now and then

5. They don`t have to work very hard because they (made a lot of money on) the stock market.

(a) made a killing on (b) made a beeline for (c) made a point of (d) made fun of

6. (Don`t worry) about locking the door. I will do it later.

(a) no wonder (b) no matter (c) never mind (d) no picnic

7. He is (always excited) about going to baseball games.

(a) not so hot (b) nobody`s fool (c) no bed of roses (d) nuts

8. You should hurry or you will (not be able to go to) the party.

(a) make a dent in (b) make a go of (c) miss out on (d) make sense of

9. He saved up a (lot of money) from his old job.

(a) narrow escape (b) nest egg (c) neck of the woods (d) nick of time

10. We had to move the T. V. out of the living room in order to (have a place for) the new sofa.

(a) make a go of (b) make a living for (c) make room for (d) miss out on

11. The video and television are not working so we will have to (substitute) the tape recorder.

(a) make do with (b) make a dent in (c) miss out on (d) make up our mind for

12. His new car is (very impressive).

(a) named after someone (b) nothing to sneeze at (c) nobody`s fool (d) no picnic

13. The picture of the restaurant`s main dish (makes me very hungry).

(a) makes a difference (b) makes a mountain out of a molehole (c) makes my mouth water (d) makes my hair stand on end

14. I don`t want to (cause any problems) in my new company.

(a) make a name for myself (b) make waves (c) make my own way (d) make sense

15. I don`t think that you can trick him very easily. He is (very smart).

(a) no picnic (b) not so hot (c) nobody`s fool (d) no dice

16. We must stop the rumors by (stopping them from the first).

(a) the nick of time (b) nipping them in the bud (c) a narrow escape (d) no bed of roses

17. I really don`t understand him because he never really (says things clearly).

(a) makes sense (b) makes a bundle (c) makes a hit (d) makes out

18. He was (called the same as) his grandfather.

(a) never mind (b) nuts about (c) not much of (d) named after

19. I am feeling (a little sick) today so I think that I will go home early.

(a) a narrow escape (b) nobody`s fool (c) not so hot (d) the nick of time

20. >He tried hard to make his business a success but he was unable to (succeed).

(a) make a dent in it (b) make a go of it (c) miss the boat (d) mend his ways

21. He (made a lot of money) on the stock market.

(a) made a living (b) made a bundle (c) made his mouth water (d) met someone half-way

22. >Please (relax and don`t worry about anything) when you are here.

(a) make a difference (b) make a name for yourself (c) make yourself felt (d) make yourself at home

23. >I tried to (create a good relationship) with my neighbors but it was impossible.

(a) make a difference (b) make friends (c) make a living (d) make ends meet

24. >Living on the ranch for the winter was (very difficult).

(a) no matter (b) nipped in the bud (c) no picnic (d) no wonder

25. >They became a little (confused) with her bad directions.

(a) made out (b) mixed up (c) man-to-man (d) mum`s the word

26. >His presentation at the meeting (was very successful).

(a) made a hit (b) met someone half-way (c) made up their mind (d) made ends meet

27. >He really (missed an opportunity) when he refused the assignment.

(a) made a killing (b) mended his ways (c) missed the boat (d) made short work of it

28. >It (isn`t important) if he goes to the game or not.

(a) makes out (b) doesn`t matter (c) means business (d) might as well

29. >We have no truck to move our furniture so we must (substitute) our car.

(a) make a living with (b) make ends meet with (c) make waves with (d) make do with

30. >I can`t (decide) if I will go to Japan in December or not.

(a) make up my mind (b) mend my ways (c) make a hit (d) mean business

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