Houses and buildings – English idioms and sayings

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A difficult and annoying situation.
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a pretty/fine kettle of fish
So, you've crashed your father's car. That's a pretty kettle of fish.
An expression which means that if you want something to happen, paying attention to it will only make the waiting feel longer.
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A watched kettle never boils.
Don't check your email every second, remember, a watched kettle never boils.
Affecting somebody personally.
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close to home
Her questions have been a little bit too close to home.
A lot of different things (mostly unnecessary).
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everything but the kitchen sink
This bag weighs a hundred kilos! You've packed everything but the kitchen sink!
Something that is very fragile, delicate and won't last.
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house of cards
The ceasefire between you and your brother is a house of cards.
If food or drink is on the house it means that you don't have to pay for it, it is provided free by the owner.
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on the house
I'm sorry you have been waiting for so long. All I can do is say that the meal is on the house.
An expression that means you shouldn't crticize others for bad qualities that you have yourself.
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People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
If you are not perfect, you shouldn't criticize others, you know: people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
An expression used to stress that you can't do everything at once.
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Rome wasn't built in a day.
My garden is still not perfect, but one day it will be. Well, Rome wasn't built in a day.
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This weekend was very run-of-the-mill, nothing interesting happened.
An embarassing secret.
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skeleton in the closet
He shouldn't be so shocked to find out that hid father was not his real father, every family has a skeleton in the closet.
A warning; an expression that means that some misfortune is impending.
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the handwriting's on the wall
The football team has lost all its matches, the handwriting's on the wall for the coach.
To depend on something/someone.
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to bank on something/someone
I know I can always bank on my family.
A person who accepts being treated badly and doesn't complain.
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to be a doormat
I can't stand being anybody's doormat.
A man who spends his time trying to meet rich and fashionable peaople (especially women) at social occasions.
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to be a lounge lizard
He's a real lounge lizard, he has a new date every night.
Someone you can depend on.
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to be a tower of strength
When my father died my mother was the tower of strength.
To have troubles.
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to be in the doghouse
This time, you won't be let off with a warning, you are in the doghouse.
To entertain people successfully, make them laugh or clap loudly.
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to bring the house down
This show was so good, it just brought the house down.
To dream about or hope for things that are impossible, unrealistic.
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to build castles in the air
She is always building castles in the air and then she is disappointed.
To make decissions that can't be changed in the future.
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to burn your bridges
Remember no to burn your bridges unless it's necessary.
To be extremly bored.
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to climb the wall
The lecture was so boring that I was climbing the wall.
To annoy somebody.
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to drive someone up the wall
I drive my parents up the wall when I play my guitar.
To become involved in something from the beginning or in it's early stages.
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to get in on the ground floor
I think this company is going to achieve a lot, you'd better get in on the ground floor and start working for them.
To be in a difficult situation.
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to go through the mill
Her father is terminally ill, she is going through the mill right now.
To get mad, very angry.
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to go through the roof
I'll go through the roof if this noise doesn't stop!
To go bankrupt.
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to go to the wall
I thought it was such a good deal but it just made me go to the wall.
To have some space around oneself.
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to have elbow room
I'm the kind of person who needs a lot of elbow room.
To make a huge impression on somebody.
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to hit like a ton of bricks
This information hit me like a ton of bricks. I was devastated.
To get very angry.
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to hit the ceiling/the roof
That's enough, you've made me hit the roof! You're grounded!
To assume responsibility in another person's absence; to be left in charge of something.
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to hold the fort
Honey, I'm going shopping, please hold the fort and look after your sister.
To waste one's time trying to accomplish something that is hopeless.
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to knock/bang one's head against a brick wall
When I ask my parents permission to do something, I sometimes feel I'm banging my head against a brick wall.
To take precautions after something bad has already happened.
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to lock the barn door after the horse has bolted
Buying a burglar alarm after the house has been robbed is just locking the barn door after the horse has bolted.
To make oneself comfortable.
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to make oneself at home
I easily make myself at home wherever I go.
To provide space for someone or something.
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to make room for someone or something
Could you please move this plate to make room for the ashtray?
To take care of one's own problems, to solve them.
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to put one's own house in order
You'd better put your own house in order before you start giving advice to other people.
To throw somebody out of your house.
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to show someone the door
He was drunk and rude so I just showed him the door.
To give up, to quit.
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to throw in the towel
I didn't have any more strength to continue so I threw in the towel and came back home.
An expression used to say that you can't make something if you're not capable of doing it (without the right tools).
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You can't make bricks without straw.
Don't try to make a table if you are not a carpenter, remember you can't make bricks without straw.

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