160+ List of Idioms Starting with D | Idioms with Meaning

Idioms Starting with D | 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 D:

Idioms Starting With D

Sr. No.IdiomsMeaning
1Daft as a brushSomeone who is daft as a brush is rather stupid.
2Damp squibIf something is expected to have a great effect or impact but doesn’t, it is a damp squib.
3Dancing on someone’s graveIf you will dance on someone’s grave, you will outlive or outlast them and will celebrate their demise.
4Dark horseIf someone is a dark horse, they are a bit of a mystery.
5Davey Jones’ lockerDavey Jones’ locker is the bottom of the sea or resting place of drowned sailors.(‘Davy Jones’ locker’ is an alternative spelling.)
6Day in the sun If you have your day in the sun, you get attention and are appreciated.
7Daylight robberyIf you are overcharged or underpaid, it is a daylight robbery; open, unfair and hard to prevent. Rip-off has a similar meaning.
8Days are numberedWhen someone’s days are numbered, they are expected to die soon.
9Dead air When there is a period of total silence, there is dead air.
10Dead and buriedIf something is dead and buried, it has all long been settled and is not going to be reconsidered.
11Dead as a dodoIf something’s dead as a dodo, it is lifeless and dull. The dodo was a bird that lived the island of Mauritius. It couldn’t fly and was hunted to extinction.
12Dead as a doornailThis is used to indicate that something is lifeless.
13Dead duck If something is a dead duck, it is a failure.
14Dead evenIf people competing are dead even, they are at exactly the same stage or moving at exactly the same speed.
15Dead from the neck upSomeone who’s dead from the neck up is very stupid indeed.
16Dead heat If a race ends in a dead heat, two or more finish with exactly the same result.
17Dead in the waterIf something is dead in the water, it isn’t going anywhere or making any progress.
18Dead level bestIf you try your dead level best, you try as hard as you possibly could to do something.
19Dead man walking A dead man walking is someone who is in great trouble and will certainly get punished, lose their job or position, etc, soon.
20Dead meatThis is used as a way of threatening someone: You’ll be dead meat if you don’t go along.

Read More – Simple Present Tense Example in Hindi

21Dead men’s shoesIf promotion or success requires replacing somebody, then it can only be reached by dead men’s shoes’ by getting rid of them.
22Dead rightThis means that something or someone is absolutely correct, without doubt.
23Dead to the worldIf somebody’s fast asleep and completely unaware of what if happening around them, he or she’s dead to the world.
24Dead wrongIf someone is dead wrong, they are absolutely in error, absolutely incorrect or of incorrect opinion.
25Deaf as a post Someone who is as deaf as a post is unable to hear at all.
26Dear John letter A letter written by a partner explaining why they are ending the relationship is a Dear John letter.
27Death of a thousand cutsIf something is suffering the death of a thousand cuts, or death by a thousand cuts, lots of small bad things are happening, none of which are fatal in themselves, but which add up to a slow and painful demise.
28Death warmed upIf someone looks like death warmed up, they look very ill indeed. (‘death warmed over’ is the American form)
29Decorate the mahoganyWhen someone buys a round a pub or bar, they decorate the mahogany; putting cash on the bar.
30Deep pocketsIf someone has deep pockets, they are wealthy.
31Deep pockets but short armsSomeone who has money but never puts his hand in his pocket to pay for anything has deep pockets but short arms.
32Deer in the headlightsWhen one is caught offguard and needs to make a decision, but cannot react quickly.
33Deliver the goodsDo what is required, come up to expectations. For example, Kate delivered the goods and got us the five votes we needed. This phrase alludes to delivering an order of groceries or other items. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]
34Demon weedTobacco is the demon weed.
35Derring-doIf a person shows derring-do, they show great courage.
36Devil finds work for idle handsWhen people say that the devil finds work for idle hands, they mean that if people don’t have anything to do with their time, they are more likely to get involved in trouble and criminality.
37Devil is in the detailWhen people say that the devil in the detail, they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on.
38Devil may careIf you live a devil-may-care life it means you are willing to take more risks than most people.
39Devil’s advocateIf someone plays Devil’s advocate in an argument, they adopt a position they don’t believe in just for the sake of the argument.
40Diamond in the rough A diamond in the rough is someone or something that has great potential, but isn’t not refined and polished.

41Die is castIf the die is cast, a decision has been made that cannot be altered and fate will decide the consequences.
42Different kettle of fishIf something is a different kettle of fish, it is very different from the other things referenced.
43Different ropes for different folksThis idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.
44Different strokes for different folksThis idiom means that different people do things in different ways that suit them.
45Dig way down deepWhen someone digs way down deep, they look into their inner feelings to see how they feel about it.
46Dig your heels inIf you dig your heels in, you start to resist something.
47Dime a dozenIf something is a dime a dozen, it is extremely common, possibly too common.
48Dine on ashesI someone is dining on ashes he or she is excessively focusing attention on failures or regrets for past actions.
49DinosaurA dinosaur is a person who is thought to be too old for their position.
50Dip your toes in the waterIf you dip your toes in the water, you try something tentatively because you are not sure whether it will work or not.
51Dirty dogA dirty dog is an untrustworthy person.
52Discerning eyeIf a person has a discerning eye, they are particularly good at judging the quality of something.
53Discretion is the better part of valourThis idiom means that it is often better to think carefully and not act than to do something that may cause problems.
54Dish the dirtIf you dish the dirt on something or someone, you make unpleasant or shocking information public.
55Do a Devon LochIf someone does a Devon Loch, they fail when they were very close to winning. Devon Loch was a horse that collapsed just short of the winning line of the Grand National race.
56Do a Lord LucanIf someone disappears without a trace or runs off, they do a Lord Lucan. (Lord Lucan disappeared after a murder)
57Do a runner If people leave a restaurant without paying, they do a runner.
58Do as you would be done byTreat and respect others as you would hope to be respected and treated by them.
59Do the needfulIf you do the needful, you do what is necessary.
60Do the runningThe person who has to do the running has to make sure that things get done. (‘Make the running’ is also used.)

61Do their dirty workSomeone who does someone’s dirty work, carries out the unpleasant jobs that the first person doesn’t want to do. Someone who seems to enjoy doing this is sometimes known as a ‘henchman’.
62Do’s and don’t’sThe do’s and don’t’s are what is acceptable or allowed or not within an area or issue, etc.
63Dodge the bulletIf someone has dodged a bullet, they have successfully avoided a very serious problem.
64Dog and pony showA dog and pony show is a presentation or some marketing that has lots of style, but no real content.
65Dog days Dog days are very hot summer days.
66Dog eat dogIn a dog eat dog world, there is intense competition and rivalry, where everybody thinks only of himself or herself.
67Dog in the mangerIf someone acts like a dog in the manger, they don’t want other people to have or enjoy things that are useless to them.
68Dog tiredIf you are dog tired, you are exhausted.
69Dog’s dinnerSomething that is a dog’s dinner is a real mess.
70Dog’s lifeIf some has a dog’s life, they have a very unfortunate and wretched life.
71Dog-earedIf a book is dog-eared, it is in bad condition, with torn pages, etc.
72Dog-whistle politicsWhen political parties have policies that will appeal to racists while not being overtly racist, they are indulging in dog-whistle politics.
73Doggy bagIf you ask for a doggy bag in a restaurant, they will pack the food you haven’t eaten for you to take home.
74Doldrums If a person is in the doldrums, they are depressed. If a project or something similar is in the doldrums, it isn’t making any progress.
75Dollars for doughnutsIf something is dollars for doughnuts, it is a sure bet or certainty.
76Don’t bite the hand that feedsWhen someone says this to you, they are trying to tell you not to act against those on whom you depend.
77Don’t catch your chickens before they’re hatched This means that you should wait until you know whether something has produced the results you desire, rather than acting beforehand. (‘Don’t count your chickens until they’ve hatched’ is an alternative.)
78Don’t cry over spilt milkWhen something bad happens and nothing can be done to help it people say, ‘Don’t cry over spilt milk’.
79Don’t give up the day jobThis idiom is used a way of telling something that they do something badly.
80Don’t hold your breathIf you are told not to hold your breath, it means that you shouldn’t have high expectations about something.

81Don’t judge a book by the coverThis idiom means that you should not judge something or someone by appearances, but should look deeper at what is inside and more important.
82Don’t know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moonIf you don’t know what to do, you don’t know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon.
83Don’t look a gift horse in the mouthThis means that if you are given something, a present or a chance, you should not waste it by being too critical or examining it too closely.
84Don’t mention the warThis means that you shouldn’t speak about things that could cause an argument or tension.This idiom was used in a classic episode of the much-loved British comedy series Fawlty Towers. As a consequence if you use this phrase in Britain, listeners will understand you to be referring to Germans, or just start laughing.
85Don’t push my buttons!This can be said to someone who is starting to annoy you.
86Don’t shoot the messenger This phrase can be used when breaking some bad news to someone and you don’t want to be blamed for the news. (‘Don’t kill the messenger’ is also used.)
87Don’t stand there with curlers in your hairThis means ‘don’t keep me waiting’. It’s said to someone who is taking too long to get moving.
88Don’t sweat the small stuffThis is used to tell people not to worry about trivial or unimportant issues.
89Don’t take any wooden nickelsThis idiom is used to advise people not to be cheated or ripped off.
90Don’t throw bricks when you live in a glass houseDon’t call others out on actions that you, yourself do. Don’t be a hypocrite.
91Don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles youDon’t go looking for trouble or problems- let them come to you.
92Don’t upset the applecartIf you are advised not to upset the applecart, you are being told not to disturb the way things are done because it might ruin things.
93Don’t wash your dirty laundry in publicPeople, especially couples, who argue in front of others or involve others in their personal problems and crises, are said to be washing their dirty laundry in public; making public things that are best left private. (In American English, ‘don’t air your dirty laundry in public’ is used.)
94Done to deathIf a joke or story has been done to death, it has been told so often that it has stopped being funny.
95Donkey workDonkey work is any hard, boring work or task.
96Donkey’s yearsThis idiom means ‘a very long time’.
97Doormat A person who doesn’t stand up for themselves and gets treated badly is a doormat.
98Dot all the i’s and cross all the t’sIf you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, you do something very carefully and thoroughly.
99Double DutchIf something is double Dutch, it is completely incomprehensible.
100Double takeIf someone does a double take, they react very slowly to something to show how shocked or surprised they are.

101Double whammyA double whammy is when something causes two problems at the same time, or when two setbacks occur at the same time.
102Double-edged swordIf someone uses an argument that could both help them and harm them, then they are using a double-edged sword sword; it cuts both ways.
103Doubting ThomasA Doubting Thomas is someone who only believes what they see themselves, not what they are told.
104Down and outIf someone is down and out, they are desperately poor and need help.
105Down at heel Someone who is down at heel is short of money. (‘Down in heel’ is used in American English)
106Down for the count If someone is down for the count, they have lost a struggle, like a boxer who has been knocked out.
107Down in the doldrums If somebody’s down in the doldrums, they are depressed and lacking energy.
108Down in the dumpsIf someone’s down in the dumps, they are depressed.
109Down in the mouthIf someone is down in the mouth, they look unhappy or depressed.
110Down the drainIf something goes down the drain, especially money or work, it is wasted or produces no results.
111Down the hatchThis idiom can be said before drinking alcohol in company.
112Down the panIf something has gone down the pan, it has failed or been ruined.
113Down the tubesIf something has gone down the tubes, it has failed or been ruined.
114Down to the wireIf something goes down to the wire, like a competition, then it goes to the very last moment before it is clear who has won.
115Down-to-earthSomeone who’s down-to-earth is practical and realistic. It can also be used for things like ideas.
116Drag your feet If someone is dragging their feet, they are taking too long to do or finish something, usually because they don’t want to do it.
117Drag your heelsIf you drag your heels, you either delay doing something or do it as slowly as possible because you don’t want to do it.
118Draw a blankIf you try to find something out and draw a blank, you don’t get any useful information.
119Draw a line in the sandIf you draw a line in the sand, you establish a limit beyond which things will be unacceptable.
120Draw a long bow If someone draws a long bow, they lie or exaggerate.

121Draw the lineWhen you draw the line, you set out limits of what you find acceptable, beyond which you will not go.
122Draw the shortest strawIf someone draws the shortest straw, they lose or are chosen to do something unpleasant.
123Dress someone downIf you dress someone down, you scold them.
124Dress to killWhen someone is dressed to kill, they are dressed very smartly.
125Dressed to the nines If you are in your very best clothes, you’re dressed to the nines.
126Drink like a fishIf someone drinks like a fish, they drink far too much alcohol.
127Drive a wedgeIf you drive a wedge between people, you exploit an issue so that people start to disagree.
128Drive homeThe idiomatic expression ‘drive home’ means ‘reinforce’ as in ‘The company offered unlimited technical support as a way to drive home the message that customer satisfaction was its highest priority.’
129Drive someone up the wallIf something or someone drives you up the wall, they do something that irritates you greatly.
130Drive you spareIf someone or something drives you spare, it is extremely annoying.
131Driven by a motorThis is used to describe people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when they talk excessively: ‘they act as if driven by a motor.’
132Drop a bombshellIf someone drops a bombshell, they announce something that changes a situation drastically and unexpectedly.
133Drop a dimeIf you tell someone to drop a dime, you’re suggesting he or she telephone you at some future time.
134Drop in the bucketA drop in the bucket is something so small that it won’t make any noticeable difference.
135Drop in the ocean A drop in the ocean implies that something will have little effect because it is small and mostly insignificant.
136Drop into your lapIf something drops into your lap, you receive it suddenly, without any warning. (‘Fall into your lap’ is also used.)
137Drop like fliesThis means that something is disappearing very quickly. For example, if you said people were dropping like flies, it would mean that they were dying off, quitting or giving up something rapidly.
138Drop someone a lineIf you drop someone a line, you send a letter to them.
139Drop the ballIf someone drops the ball, they are not doing their job or taking their responsibilities seriously enough and let something go wrong.
140Dropped like a hot cakeIf something is dropped like a hot cake, it is rejected or disposed of very quickly.

141Drown your sorrowsIf someone gets drunk or drinks a lot to try to stop feeling unhappy, they drown their sorrows.
142Drunk as a lordSomeone who is very drunk is as drunk as a lord.
143Drunker than a peach orchard boarSouthern US expression – Very drunk, as when a boar would eat fermented peaches that have fallen from the tree.
144Dry as a boneIf your lawn is as dry as a bone, the soil is completely dry.
145Dry as snuffIf something is as dry as snuff, it is very dry indeed.
146Dry runA dry run is a full rehearsal or trial exercise of something to see how it will work before it is launched.
147Dry spell If something or someone is having a dry spell, they aren’t being as successful as they normally are.
148Duck soup If something is duck soup, it is very easy.
149Duck to waterIf you take to something like a duck to water, you find when you start that you have a natural affinity for it.
150Ducks in a row If you have your ducks in a row, you are well-organized.
151Dull as ditchwaterIf something is as dull as ditchwater, it is incredibly boring. A ditch is a long narrow hole or trench dug to contain water, which is normally a dark, dirty colour and stagnant (when water turns a funny colour and starts to smell bad). (In American English,’things are ‘dull as dishwater’.)
152Dumb as a rockIf you are dumb as a rock, you have no common sense and are stupid.
153Dunkirk spiritDunkirk spirit is when people pull together to get through a very difficult time.
154Dutch auctionIf something is sold by setting a price, then reducing it until someone buys it, it is sold in a Dutch auction. It can also mean that something is changed until it is accepted by everyone.
155Dutch courageDutch courage is the reckless bravery caused by drinking too much.
156Dutch treat If something like a meal is a Dutch treat, then each person pays their own share of the bill.
157Dutch uncle A Dutch uncle is a person who gives unwelcome advice.
158Dutch wife A Dutch wife is a long pillow or a hot water bottle.
159Dwell on the pastThinking too much about the past, so that it becomes a problem is to dwell on the past.
160Dyed-in-the-woolIf someone is a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of a political party, etc, they support them totally, without any questions.

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