293+ List of Idioms Starting with B | Idioms with Meaning

idioms Starting with B | An idiom is a phrase or expression that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase. Some phrases which become figurative idioms, however, do retain the phrase’s literal meaning.

Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning.

Here are the list some of the Idioms starting with B:

Idioms Starting With B

Sr. No.IdiomsMeaning
1Babe in armsA babe in arms is a very young child, or a person who is very young to be holding a position.
2Babe in the woodsA babe in the woods is a naive, defenseless, young person.
3Baby boomerA baby boomer is someone born in the years after the end of the Second World War, a period when the population was growing very fast.
4Back burnerIf an issue is on the back burner, it is being given low priority.
5Back footIf you are on your back foot, you are at a disadvantage and forced to be defensive of your position.
6Back numberSomething that’s a back number is dated or out of fashion.
7Back the wrong horseIf you back the wrong horse, you give your support to the losing side in something.
8Back to backIf things happen back to back, they are directly one after another.
9Back to square one If you are back to square one, you have to start from the beginning again.
10Back to the drawing boardIf you have to go back to the drawing board, you have to go back to the beginning and start something again.
11Back to the salt mine If someone says they have to go back to the salt mine, they have to return to work.
12Back to the wall If you have your back to the wall, you are in a difficult situation with very little room for manoeuvre.
13Backseat driverA backseat driver is an annoying person who is fond of giving advice to the person performing a task or doing something, especially when the advice is either wrong or unwelcome.
14Bad AppleA person who is bad and makes other bad is a bad apple.
15Bad bloodIf people feel hate because of things that happened in the past, there is bad blood between them.
16Bad egg A person who cannot be trusted is a bad egg. Good egg is the opposite.
17Bad hair dayIf you’re having a bad hair day, things are not going the way you would like or had planned.
18Bad mouthWhen you are bad mouthing,you are saying negative things about someone or something. (‘Bad-mouth’ and ‘badmouth’ are also used.)
19Bad shape If something’s in bad shape, it’s in bad condition. If a person’s in bad shape, they are unfit or unhealthy.
20Bad taste in your mouthIf something leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, you feel there is something wrong or bad about it.

21Bad workers always blame their tools“A bad worker always blames their tools” – If somebody does a job badly or loses in a game and claims that they were let down by their equipment, you can use this to imply that this was not the case.
22Bag of bonesIf someone is a bag of bones, they are very underweight.
23Bag of nervesIf someone is a bag of nerves, they are very worried or nervous.
24Baker’s dozen A Baker’s dozen is 13 rather than 12.
25Bald as a coot A person who is completely bald is as bald as a coot.
26Ball is in your courtIf the ball is in your court, it is up to you to make the next decision or step.
27Ballpark figure A ballpark figure is a rough or approximate number (guesstimate) to give a general idea of something, like a rough estimate for a cost, etc.
28Balls to the walls If you do something balls to the wall, you apply full acceleration or exertion.
29Banana republic Banana republic is a term used for small countries that depend on a single crop or resource and governed badly by a corrupt elite.
30Banana skinA banana skin is something that is an embarrassment or causes problems.
31Bandit territoryAn area or an industry, profession, etc, where rules and laws are ignored or flouted is bandit territory.
32Baptism of fire A baptism of fire was a soldier’s first experience of shooting. Any unpleasant experience undergone, usually where it is also a learning experience, is a baptism of fire.
33Bar fly A bar fly is a person who spends a lot of time drinking in different bars and pubs.
34Bare your heartIf you bare your heart to someone, you tell them your personal and private feelings. (‘Bare your soul’ is an alternative form of the idiom.)
35Barefaced liar A barefaced liar is one who displays no shame about lying even if they are exposed.
36Bark is worse than their biteSomeone who’s bark is worse than their bite may well get angry and shout, but doesn’t take action.
37Barking up the wrong treeIf you are barking up the wrong tree, it means that you have completely misunderstood something or are totally wrong.
38Barkus is willingThis idiom means that someone will get married.
39Barrack-room lawyer A barrack-room lawyer is a person who gives opinions on things they are not qualified to speak about.
40Barrel of laughsIf someone’s a barrel of laughs, they are always joking and you find them funny.

41Basket caseIf something is a basket case, it is so bad that it cannot be helped.
42Bat an eyelidIf someone doesn’t bat an eyelid, they don’t react or show any emotion when surprised, shocked, etc.
43Bated breathIf someone says they’re waiting with bated breath, they’re very excited and find it difficult to be patient.(‘Baited breath’ is a common mistake.)
44Batten down the hatchesIf you batten down the hatches, you prepare for the worst that could happen to you.
45Battle of nervesA battle of nerves is a situation where neither side in a conflict or dispute is willing to back down and is waiting for the other side to weaken. (‘A war of nerves’ is an alternative form.)
46Be all earsIf you are all ears, you are very eager to hear what someone has to say.
47Be careful what you wish forIf you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.(‘Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.’ and ‘Be careful what you wish for; you may receive it.’ are also used.)
48Be on the pig’s backIf you’re on the pig’s back, you’re happy / content / in fine form.
49Be out in forceIf people are out in force, they are present somewhere in large numbers.
50Be out in left fieldTo be out in left field is not to know what’s going on. Taken from baseball, when youngsters assign less capable players to the outfield where the ball is less likely to be hit by a young player. In business, one might say, ‘Don’t ask the new manager; he’s out in left field and doesn’t know any answers yet.’
51Be that as it mayBe that as it may is an expression which means that, while you are prepared to accept that there is some truth in what the other person has just said, it’s not going to change your opinions in any significant manner.
52Be true blueIf a person/object/situation is considered to be ‘true blue’, it is considered genuine.
53Be up the spoutIf a woman is up the spout, she is pregnant.
54Bean counterA bean counter is an accountant.
55Bear fruit If something bears fruit, it produces positive results.
56Bear marketA bear market is a period when investors are pessimistic and expect financial losses so are more likely to sell than to buy shares.
57Bear the bruntPeople who bear the brunt of something endure the worst of something bad.
58Beard the lion in his own denIf you confront a powerful or dangerous rival on their territory, you are bearding the lion in his own den.
59Beat about the bushIf someone doesn’t say clearly what they mean and try to make it hard to understand, they are beating about (around) the bush.
60Beat someone to the drawIf you beat someone to the draw, you do something before they do.

61Beat swords into ploughsharesIf people beat swords into ploughshares, they spend money on humanitarian purposes rather than weapons. (The American English spelling is ‘plowshares’)
62Beat the daylights out of someoneIf someone beats the daylights out of another person, they hit them repeatedly. (‘Knock’ can also be used and it can be made even stronger by saying ‘the living daylights’.) 
63Beat the rapIf you beat the rap, you escape conviction and punishment for a crime or something you have done wrong.
64Beat to the punchIf you beat someone to the punch, you act before them and gain an advantage.
65Beat your brains outIf you beat your brains out, you think hard about something but cannot solve, understand or remember it.
66Beating a dead horseIf someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they’re beating a dead horse. This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will not make it do any more work.
67Beauty is in the eye of the beholderBeauty is in the eye of the beholder means different people will find different things beautiful and that the differences of opinion don’t matter.
68Beauty is only skin deepThis idiom means that appearances can be deceptive and something that seems or looks good may turn out to be bad.
69Beck and callSomeone who does everything for you, no matter when you ask, is at your beck and call.
70Bedroom eyesSomeone with bedroom eyes has a sexy look in their eyes.
71Bee in your bonnetIf someone is very excited about something, they have a bee in their bonnet.
72Bee’s KneesIf something is the bee’s knees, it’s outstanding or the best in its class.
73Beeline for If you make a beeline for a place, you head there directly.
74Been in the warsIf someone has been in the wars, they have been hurt or look as if they have been in a struggle.
75Been there, done thatPeople say this when they have already experienced what is being discussed.
76Beer and skittlesPeople say that life is not all beer and skittles, meaning that it is not about self-indulgence and pleasure.
77Before the ink is dry If people make an agreement or contract and then the situation changes very quickly, it changes before the ink is dry.
78Before you can say Jack RobinsonThe term Jack Robinson represents ‘a short amount of time’. When you do something before you can say Jack Robinson, you do it very quickly.
79Beg the questionIn philosophy “to beg the question” is to assume something to be true that has not yet been proved. I have seen the idiom also to mean that a question is crying out to be asked.
80Beggars can’t be choosersThis idiom means that people who are in great need must accept any help that is offered, even if it is not a complete solution to their problems.

81Behind barsWhen someone is behind bars, they are in prison.
82Behind closed doorsIf something happens away from the public eye, it happens behind closed doors.
83Behind someone’s backIf you do something behind someone’s back, you do it without telling them.
84Behind the eight ballA difficult position from which it is unlikely one can escape.
85Behind the timesSomeone that is behind the times is old-fashioned and has ideas that are regarded as out-dated.
86Believe in the hereafterA belief in the hereafter is a belief in the afterlife, or life after death. It is, therefore, associated with religions and the soul’s journey to heaven or to hell, whichever way being just deserts for the person based on how they led their life.
87Bells and whistlesBells and whistles are attractive features that things like computer programs have, though often a bit unnecessary.
88Bells onTo be somewhere with bells on means to arrive there happy and delighted to attend.
89Belly upIf things go belly up, they go badly wrong.
90Below parIf something isn’t up to standard, or someone isn’t feeling or doing very well, they are below par.
91Below the beltIf someone says something that is cruel or unfair, it is below the belt, like the illegal punches in boxing.
92Belt and bracesSomeone who wears belt and braces is very cautious and takes no risks.
93Belt and suspendersSomeone who wears belt and suspenders is very cautious and takes no risks.
94Bend over backwards If someone bends over backwards, they do everything they can to help someone.
95Bend someone’s earTo bend someone’s ear is to talk to someone about something for a long enough period that it becomes tiresome for the listener.
96Benjamin of the familyThe Benjamin of the family is the youngest child.
97Beside the pointIf something is beside the point, it’s not relevant to the matter being discussed or considered.
98Beside themselvesIf people are beside themselves, they are very worried or emotional about something.
99Beside yourselfIf you are beside yourself, you are extremely angry.
100Best of a bad bunchThe best that could be obtained from a list of options that were not exactly what was required.

101Best of both worldsIf you have the best of both worlds, you benefit from different things that do not normally go together.
102Best thing since sliced breadIf something is the best thing since sliced bread, it is excellent. (‘The greatest thing since sliced bread’ is also used.)
103Bet your bottom dollarIf you can bet your bottom dollar on something, you can be absolutely sure about it.
104Better halfYour better half is your husband or wife.
105Better late than neverThis idiom suggests that doing something late is better than not doing it at all.
106Better safe than sorryThis idiom is used to recommend being cautious rather than taking a risk.
107Better than a kick in the teethIf something is better than a kick in the teeth, it isn’t very good, but it is better than nothing.
108Better than a stick in the eyeIf something is better than a stick in the eye, it isn’t very good, but it is better than nothing.
109Better the devil you knowThis is the shortened form of the full idiom, ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’, and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.
110Between a rock and a hard placeIf you are caught between a rock and a hard place, you are in a position where you have to choose between unpleasant alternatives, and your choice might cause you problems; you will not be able to satisfy everyone.
111Between the devil and the deep blue seaIf you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, you are in a dilemma; a difficult choice.
112Between you and me and the cat’s whiskersThis idiom is used when telling someone something that you want them to keep secret.
113Beyond a shadow of a doubtIf something’s beyond a shadow of a doubt, then absolutely no doubts remain about it.
114Beyond beliefIf people behave in such a way that you find it almost impossible to accept that they actually did it, then you can say that their behavior was beyond belief.
115Beyond our kenIf something’s beyond your ken, it is beyond your understanding.
116Beyond the black stumpAn Australian idiom indicating that even if you go as far as you can, the black stump is still a little further.
117Beyond the paleIf something’s beyond the pale, it is too extreme to be acceptable morally or socially.
118Big Apple The Big Apple is New York.
119Big bucks If someone is making big bucks, they are making a lot of money.
120Big cheeseThe big cheese is the boss.

121Big Easy The Big Easy is New Orleans, Louisiana
122Big fishAn important person in a company or an organization is a big fish.
123Big fish in a small pond A big fish in a small pond is an important person in a small place or organization.
124Big girl’s blouse A person who is very weak or fussy is a big girl’s blouse.
125Big hitterA big hitter is someone who commands a lot of respect and is very important in their field.
126Big nose If someone has a big nose, it means they are excessively interested in everyone else’s business.
127Big pictureThe big picture of something is the overall perspective or objective, not the fine detail.
128Big timeThis can be used to with the meaning ‘very much’- if you like something big time, you like it a lot.
129Bigger fish to fryIf you aren’t interested in something because it isn’t important to you and there are more important things for you to do, you have bigger fish to fry.
130Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ is a proverb meaning that it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more, where you might lose everything.
131Bird’s eye view If you have a bird’s eye view of something, you can see it perfectly clearly.
132Bird-brainSomeone who has a bird-brain, or is bird-brained, is stupid.
133Birds and the bees If a child is taught about the birds and the bees, they are taught about sex.
134Birds of a feather flock together This idiom means that people with similar interests will stick together.
135Birthday suitIf you are in your birthday suit, you are naked.
136Bit between your teethIf you take or have the bit between your teeth, you take or have control of a situation. (Bit = piece of metal in a horse’s mouth)
137Bit part If someone has a small or unimportant role in something, they have a bit part.
138Bit playerA bit player has a small or unimportant role in something.
139Bite off more than you can chewIf you bite off more than you can chew, you take on more responsibilities than you can manage. ‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew’ is often used to advise people against agreeing to more than they can handle.
140Bite someone’s head offIf you bite someone’s head off, you criticize them angrily.

141Bite the bulletIf you have to bite the bullet, you have to accept or face something unpleasant because it cannot be avoided.
142Bite the dust This is a way of saying that somebody has died, especially if they are killed violently like a soldier in battle.
143Bite your lip If you have to bite your lip, you have to make a conscious effort not to react or to keep quiet about something that displeases you.
144Bite your tongueIf you bite your tongue, you refrain from speaking because it is socially or otherwise better not to.
145Bits and bobsBits and bobs are small, remnant articles and things- the same as ‘odds and ends’.
146Bitter endIf you do something to the bitter end, you do it to the very end, no matter how unsuccessful you are.
147Bitter pill to swallowA bitter pill to swallow is something that is hard to accept.
148Black and blueThis means bruised, either physically or metaphorically.
149Black and whiteWhen it is very clear who or what is right and wrong, then the situation is black and white.
150Black as Newgate’s knockerIf things are as black as Newgate’s knocker, they are very bad. New gate was an infamous prison in England, so its door knocker meant trouble.
151Black hole If there is a black hole in financial accounts, money has disappeared.
152Black sheep Someone who is the black sheep doesn’t fit into a group or family because their behavior or character is not good enough.
153BlackballIf you vote against allowing someone to be a member of an organization or group, you are blackballing him or her.
154Blank chequeIf you are given a blank cheque, you are allowed to use as much money as you need for a project.
155Bleeding edgeSimilar to ‘cutting edge’, this implies a technology or process that is at the forefront or beyond current practices. However, because it is unproven, it is often dangerous to use (hence the ‘bleeding’).
156Bleeding heartA bleeding heart is a person who is excessively sympathetic towards other people.
157Bless your pointy little head This expression is used as to patronize someone, especially when they don’t realise that they’re not very clever.(‘Bless your pointed little head’ is also used.)
158Blessing in disguiseIf some bad luck or misfortune ultimately results in something positive, it’s a blessing in disguise.
159Blind acceptance If people accept thing blindly, they accept them without questioning them at all.
160Blind as a batIf you are in total darkness and can’t see anything at all, you are as blind as a bat.

161Blind leading the blind When the blind are leading the blind, the people in charge of something don’t know anything more than the people they are in charge of, when they should have greater knowledge.
162Blind-sided If you are blind-sided, an event with a negative impact takes you completely by surprise.
163Blink of an eye If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens so fast it is almost impossible to notice it.
164Blood and thunder An emotional speech or performance is full of blood and thunder.
165Blood from a turnipIt is impossible to get something from someone if they don’t have it, just as you cannot get blood from a turnip.
166Blood is thicker than water This idiom means that family relationships are stronger than others.
167Blood is worth bottlingIf an Australian says to you “Your blood is worth bottling”, he/she is complimenting or praising you for doing something or being someone very special.
168Blood out of a stoneIf something is like getting blood out of a stone, it is very difficult indeed.
169Blood, sweat and tearsIf something will take blood, sweat and tears, it will be very difficult and will require a lot of effort and sacrifice.
170Blow a gasketIf you blow a gasket, you get very angry.
171Blow by blowA blow-by-blow description gives every detail in sequence.
172Blow hot and coldIf you blow hot and cold on an idea, your attitude and opinion keeps changing; one minute you are for it, the next you are against.
173Blow me downPeople say ‘(well,) blow me down’ when you have just told them something surprising, shocking or unexpected. (‘Blow me down with a feather’ is also used.)
174Blow off steamIf you blow off steam, you express your anger or frustration.
175Blow out of the waterIf something, like an idea, is blown out of the water, it is destroyed or defeated comprehensively.
176Blow smokeIf people blow smoke, they exaggerate or say things that are not true, usually to make themselves look better.
177Blow the cobwebs awayIf you blow the cobwebs away, you make sweeping changes to something to bring fresh views and ideas in.
178Blow the whistleIf somebody blows the whistle on a plan, they report it to the authorities.
179Blow your mindSomething that will blow your mind is something extraordinary that will amaze you beyond explanation.
180Blow your own hornIf you blow your own horn, you boast about your achievements and abilities. (‘Blow your own trumpet’ is an alternative form.)

Read More: Pronoun in Hindi

181Blow your own trumpetIf someone blows their own trumpet, they boast about their talents and achievements. (‘Blow your own horn’ is an alternative form.)
182Blow your stackIf you blow your stack, you lose your temper.
183Blow your top If someone blows their top, they lose their temper.
184Blue bloodSomeone with blue blood is royalty.
185Blue-eyed boySomeone’s blue-eyed boy is their favorite person.
186Bob’s your uncleThis idiom means that something will be successful: Just tell him that I gave you his name and Bob’s your uncle- he’ll help you.
187Body politicA group of people organized under a single government or authority (national or regional) is a body politic.
188Bold as brass Someone who is as bold as brass is very confident and not worried about how other people will respond or about being caught.
189Bolt from the blueIf something happens unexpectedly and suddenly, it is a bolt from the blue.
190Bone of contentionIf there is an issue that always causes tension and arguments, it is a bone of contention.
191Bone to pickIf you have a bone to pick with someone, you are annoyed about something they have done and want to tell them how you feel.
192Boot is on the other footWhen the boot’s on the other foot, a person who was in a position of weakness is now in a position of strength.
193Born to the purpleSomeone who is born to the purple is born in a royal or aristocratic family. (“Born in the purple” is also used.)
194Born with a silver spoon in your mouth If you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you are born into a rich family.
195Both ends meet If you make both ends meet, you live off the money you earn and don’t go into debt.
196Bottom lineIn accountancy, the bottom line is net income, and is used idiomatically to mean the conclusion.
197Bounce ideas If you bounce ideas off someone, you share your ideas with them to know whether they think they would work.
198Bounce off the wallsIf someone’s bouncing off the walls, they are very excited about something.
199Bouquet of orchidsIf someone deserves a bouquet of orchids, they have done something worthy of praise.
200Box and diceBox and dice means everything.

201Box cleverIf you box clever, you use your intelligence to get what you want, even if you have to cheat a bit.
202Boxing and coxingIf people are boxing and coxing, they are sharing responsibilities so that one of them is working while the other isn’t. It can also be used when couples are sharing a house, but their relationship has broken down and when one is at home, the other stays out.
203Boys in blueThe boys in blue are the police.
204Brain surgery If something is not brain surgery, it isn’t very complicated or difficult to understand or master.
205Brass monkeyIf it’s brass monkey weather, or cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, it is extremely cold.
206Brass neckSomeone who has the brass neck to do something has no sense of shame about what they do.
207Brass tacksIf you get down to brass tacks, you get down to the real business.
208Bread and butter Bread and butter issues are ones that affect people directly and in a very important way.
209BreadwinnerUsed to describe the person that earns the most money. For example – She’s the breadwinner in the family.
210Break a legThis idiom is a way of wishing someone good luck.
211Break evenIf you break even, you don’t make any money, but you don’t lose any either.
212Break ground If you break ground, or break new ground, you make progress, taking things into a new area or going further than anyone has gone before. ‘Groundbreaking’ is used an adjective.
213Break the back of the beastIf you break the back of the beast, you accomplish a challenge.
214Break the iceWhen you break the ice, you get over any initial embarrassment or shyness when you meet someone for the first time and start conversing.
215Break your duck If you break your duck, you do something for the first time.
216Break your heart If someone upsets you greatly, they break your heart, especially if they end a relationship.
217Breathe down your neckIf someone follows you or examines what you’re doing very closely, they are breathing down your neck.
218Breathe life intoIf you breathe life into something, you give people involved more energy and enthusiasm again. (‘Breathe new life’ is also used.)
219Breathe your lastWhen you breathe your last, you die.
220Bridge the gapIf you bridge the gap, you make a connection where there is a great difference.

221Bright and breezyWhen someone is cheerful and full of energy, they are bright and breezy.
222Bright as a buttonA person who is as bright as a button is very intelligent or smart.
223Bright-eyed and bushy-tailedIf someone’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they are full of energy and enthusiasm.
224Brighten up the dayIf something brightens up your day, something happens that makes you feel positive and happy all day long.
225Bring a knife to a gunfight If someone brings a knife to a gunfight, they are very badly prepared for something.
226Bring home the baconA person who brings home the bacon earns the money that a family live on.
227Bring on boardTo make people embrace the ideas intended by the leader or agree to join a team or project is to bring them on board.
228Bring someone to bookIf somebody is brought to book, they are punished or made to account for something they have done wrong.
229Bring someone to heelIf you bring someone to heel, you make them obey you.(‘Call someone to heel’ is also used.)
230Bring the house downSomething that brings the house down is acclaimed and praised vigorously.
231Bring to the tableIf you bring something to the table, you contribute or an offer in a discussion or negotiation.
232Broad churchIf an organization is described as broad church, it is tolerant and accepting of different opinions and ideas.
233Broad strokesIf something is described or defined with broad stokes, then only an outline is given, without fine details.
234Broke as a joke and it ain’t funnyThis idiom in my opinion describes how it’s not funny to be without a cent and just uses broke and joke as rhyming words that help explain this idiom a lot better.
235Broken recordWhen someone sounds like a broken record, they keep on repeating the same things. (‘Stuck record’ is also used.)
236Broken reedIf something or someone cannot give you the support you were hoping for, they are a broken reed.
237Brown nose When someone tries to make themselves popular with somebody, usually in a position of authority, especially by flattering them, they are brown nosing.
238Browned off To be tired of or fed up with.
239Brownie pointsIf you try to earn Brownie points with someone, you do things you know will please them.
240Brush under the carpet If you brush something under the carpet, you are making an attempt to ignore it, or hide it from others.

241Buggles’ turnIf it Buggles’ turn, someone gets promotion through length of service rather than ability, especially in the British civil service.
242Bull in a China shopIf someone behaves like a bull in a China shop, they are clumsy when they should be careful.
243Bull marketA bull market is a period when investors are optimistic and there are expectations that good financial results will continue.
244Bull sessionIf you have a bull session, you have an informal group discussion about something.
245Bull-headed If you’re a bull-headed, you’re stubborn or inflexible.
246Bums on seatsThe people who have paid to watch a performance are bums on seats.
247Bun in the oven If a woman has a bun in the oven, she is pregnant.
248Bundle of nervesSomeone who is a bundle of nerves is very worried or nervous.
249Bur under my saddleA bur under your saddle is something that annoys you or spurs you into action.(‘Burr’ is an alternative spelling.)
250Burn rubberIf you burn rubber, you drive very fast to get somewhere.
251Burn the candle at both endsSomeone who burns the candle at both ends lives life at a hectic pace, doing things which are likely to affect their health badly.
252Burn the midnight oilIf you stay up very late working or studying, you burn the midnight oil.
253Burn your bridges If you burn your bridges, you do something that makes it impossible to go back from the position you have taken.
254Burn your fingers If you burn your fingers, you suffer a loss or something unpleasant as the result of something you did, making you less likely to do it again.
255Burning questionA burning question is something we all want to know about.
256Burst at the seams To be filled to or beyond normal capacity: This room will be bursting at the seams when all the guests arrive.
257Bury the hatchetIf you bury the hatchet, you make peace with someone and stop arguing or fighting.
258Bury your head in the sandIf someone buries their head in the sand, they ignore something that is obviously wrong.
259Busman’s holiday A busman’s holiday is when you spend your free time doing the same sort of work as you do in your job.
260Bust my chops When someone says that they’re not going to bust their chops, it means they are not going to work that hard or make much effort.

261Busted flushSomeone or something that had great potential but ended up a useless failure is a busted flush.
262Busy as a beaverIf you’re as busy as a beaver, you’re very busy indeed.
263Busy as a bee If you are as busy as a bee, you are very busy indeed.
264Butt nakedIf someone is butt naked, they have no clothes on at all, often when they can be seen.
265Butt of a jokeIf something or someone becomes the butt of a joke it or they are not taken seriously anymore.
266Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouthIf someone looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth, they look very innocent.
267ButterfingersSomeone who has butterfingers is clumsy and drops things.
268Butterflies in your stomachThe nervous feeling before something important or stressful is known as butterflies in your stomach.
269Button your lipIf you button your lip, you keep quiet and don’t speak. It is also used as a way of telling someone to shut up.
270Buy the farm When somebody has bought the farm, they have died.
271By a hair’s breadthIf a person escapes from some danger by a hair’s breadth, they only just managed to avoid it. The breadth is the thickness of a hair, so they probably feel somewhat lucky because the margin between success and what could easily have been failure was so close.
272By a long chalk If you beat somebody by a long chalk, you win easily and comfortably.
273By a whiskerIf you do something by a whisker, you only just manage to do it and come very near indeed to failing.
274By and large By and large means usually or generally.
275By crackyA term used by rural folks in years past to emphasize a matter of importance or urgency. An example: ‘By cracky, you need to get out there in the field with that mule and plow and finish the sod-busting before dark.’
276By dint of This means ‘as a result of’ or ‘because of’: It would be good to think he’d risen to position of Chief Executive by dint of hard work.
277By heartIf you learn something by heart, you learn it word for word.
278By hook or by crookIf you are prepared to do something by hook or by crook, you are willing to do anything, good or bad, to reach your goal.
279By leaps and boundsSomething that happens by leaps and bounds happens very quickly in big steps.
280By the back doorIf something is started or introduced by the back door, then it is not done openly or by following the proper procedures.

281By the book This is used as a way of introducing an incidental topic in a conversation or to say that something is irrelevant. (‘By the bye’ is also used.)
282By the byIf something is done by the numbers, it is done in a mechanical manner without room for creativity.
283By the numbersIf something is done by the numbers, it is done in a mechanical manner without room for creativity.
284By the same tokenIf someone applies the same rule to different situations, they judge them by the same token: If things go well, he’s full of praise, but, by the same token, when things go wrong he gets furious.
285By the seat of your pantsIf you do something by the seat of your pants, you achieve something, but only by a narrow margin or do something without advance preparation.
286By the skin of your teethIf you do something by the skin of your teeth, you only just manage to do it and come very near indeed to failing.
287By word of mouthIf something becomes known by word of mouth, it gets known by being talked about rather than through publicity or advertising, etc.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top