Common Idioms - Y & Z

Idioms Y-Z


- to talk a lot of talk about things that are not really important

My sister really likes to talk, she can yakety-yak for hours.


- operating all year

We usually spend all summer at a year-round resort in California.


- extremely timid, cowardly

He is a yellow-bellied person who is not good to have as a friend.

yellow streak

- cowardice in a person`s character

He has a real yellow streak and will not say anything to defend his friends.


- a person who tries to be liked by agreeing with everything said (especially by a boss)

He is a yes-man who will do anything that his boss asks him to do.

you bet/you bet your boots/you bet your life

- most certainly, yes, without any doubt

You bet your life I will be attending the conference next year.

you don`t say

- used to show surprise at what is said

"You don`t say", he said when he heard about the accident on the highway.

you said it/you can say that again

- used to show strong agreement with what another person has said

"You can say that again," I answered when the woman mentioned how hot it was out in the sun.

you`re telling me

- used to show that a thing is so clear that it need not be said

"This restaurant is very expensive and the food is not so good."
"You`re telling me."

You tell`em

- used to agree with or encourage someone in what they are saying

"You tell`em," I yelled out to the politician who was making the speech.

zero hour

- the exact time when an attack or other military action will start

The air force planes waited until zero hour in order to start out on their bombing mission.

zero hour

- the time when an important decision or change is supposed to come

We waited for zero hour and the time when the new computer system was supposed to begin operating.

zero in on

- adjust a gun so that it will hit a target, aim at

The soldiers zeroed in on the target and began to fire their guns.

zero in on

- give one`s full attention to

We spent the morning zeroing in on the problem of what to do with the excess space in our office.

zonk out

- fall asleep very quickly

As soon as I got home last night I immediately zonked out.

Idiom Quizzes - UWY

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

1. It is time to (finish) the job so we can return home.

(a) water down (b) work out (c) wind up (d) wait up for

2. I have (had enough of) his bad manners so I don`t want to meet him anymore.

(a) had it under the table with (b) had it up the river with no paddle with (c)had it up to par with (d) had it up to here with

3. You should (think carefully) before talking to him about the problem or you will make it worse.

(a) weigh your words (b) waste your breath (c) wear the pants in your family (d) wet your whistle

4. They went on a (search with no results) after they were told about the cheap apartment to rent.

(a) wet blanket (b) wild goose chase (c) white elephant (d) yellow streak

5. He is rather (wealthy) and never has to work.

(a) within reason (b) watered down (c) well-off (d) washed up

6. Repairing motors is (suitable for him) so he enjoys his work a lot.

(a) under the table (b) up his alley (c) up to his ears in work (d) up the river with no paddle

7. We didn`t keep him as a cook because his work was not (up to an acceptable standard).

(a) up his alley (b) up to our ears in work (c) up to par (d) under the table

8. He paid the border guard a large sum of money (illegally) to get his video camera into the country.

(a) under the weather (b) under the table (c) up and about (d) up his alley

9. The football player was (finished) several years ago and should have quit then.

(a) yellow-bellied (b) washed up (c) wound up (d) watered down

10. His son couldn`t (solve) the mathematics problem.

(a) water down (b) work out (c) wind up (d) wear out

11. If you make a request that is (sensible) he will probably agree with it.

(a) within reason (b) washed up (c) weighing your words (d) well-heeled

12. He is feeling a little (sick) so he won`t be joining us for dinner tonight.

(a) under the table (b) up and about (c) up his alley (d) under the weather

13. He should (think a little more often) and then he wouldn`t make so many mistakes.

(a) use his head (b) be up to his ears in work (c) be under the table (d) be up the river with no paddle

14. You will only (waste your time) if you try and talk to him because he never listens.

(a) wash your hands of him (b) waste your breath (c) walk all over him (d) wear the pants in his family

15. They were (in a lot of trouble) when the motor in their boat stopped working.

(a) under the weather (b) up and about (c) up the river with no paddle (d) using their head

16. It is (his decision) to decide if he wants to go to Europe or not.

(a) up to him (b) up to par (c) under the weather (d) upsetting the applecart

17. I heard about the concert (from friends) and not in the newspaper.

(a)on a wild goose chase (b) by word of mouth (c) by will power (d) when the chips were down

18. I didn`t want (to cause any problems) so I didn`t say anything during the meeting.

(a) to upset the applecart (b) an unearthly hour (c) to use my head (d) any ups and downs

19. He has been (working very hard) since his father gave him the restaurant to manage.

(a) wetting his whistle (b) whistling a different tune (c) within reason (d) working his fingers to the bone

20. I didn`t go to the movie last night because I was (very busy) writing an essay for university.

(a) up to my ears (b) up to here with (c) under the table (d) up my alley

21. He decided to (not go to bed) until his wife came home.

(a) be wishy-washy (b) work his fingers to the bone (c) wait up (d) wing it

22. She (takes advantage of) her mother and never does any work around the house.

(a) wear the pants in the family of (b) whistles a different tune with (c) walks all over (d) would just as soon be

23. He has begun to (change his attitude) with regard to the new company policy.

(a) whistle a different tune (b) watch his P`s and Q`s (c) weigh his words (d) use word of mouth

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