labor of love
- something done for personal pleasure and not for moneyThe book that he wrote was a labor of love and he doesn't expect to make any money from it.
- a man who some women find very charming and attractiveThe man in the movie was a lady killer who broke many women's hearts before he left them.
- a man who is popular with womenHe is a lady's man who always seems to have a lot of women interested in him.
- be confined to bed or unfit for workHe has been laid up for a few days because of a cold.
- public official who has a short time left to serve in office and therefore has less power than beforeHe is a lame duck president so it is difficult for him to get things accomplished.
land on one's feet
- come out of a bad situation successfullyHe always manages to land on his feet no matter how difficult the situation is.
- eat or drink with the tongueThe dog lapped up the milk that his master had given him.
- take in eagerlyHe lapped up the praise that his boss gave him for the recently completed project.
- try suddenly to hit someoneHe suddenly lashed out and hit the man who was sitting beside him.
- attack someone with wordsThey were walking along the beach when she suddenly lashed out in anger at her boyfriend.
last but not least
- in the last place but not the least importantLast but not least he came up to the front of the class to receive his report card.
- the last insult or mistake that one can endure and which then causes some reactionThe fourth time he came late was the last straw and we finally fired him.
- the last remark in an argument, the final say in deciding somethingShe always expects to have the last word when she and her husband go to the store to buy something important.
- not take seriouslyHe laughed off the attempt of his boss to tell him that he should try and come to work on time.
(not) lay a finger on someone
- not touch someone, not bother to do something (not even a little)He was told by the police never to lay a finger on his wife again.
lay an egg
- fail to win the interest or favor of an audienceAlthough he was supposed to be a good magician, his performance was terrible and it laid an egg with the audience.
- saveThey are trying to lay away some money for their holiday next year.
- a plan in which one pays some money down and then pays the rest little by little and the store holds the article until the full price has been paidHe decided to buy the television set on the department store's layaway plan.
lay down the law
- tell someone what to do using your power or influenceThe new management plans to lay down the law to the workers regarding long lunch breaks.
lay eyes on
- seeI have never laid eyes on a more beautiful dog in my life.
lay hands on something
- get hold of or find somethingIf I can lay my hands on a slide projector I will show you the pictures of my trip tonight.
lay hands on someone
- do violence to, harm, hurtHe said that if he ever lays hands on the person who stole his car he will take him directly to the police.
lay hold of
- get possession ofIf I can lay hold of a car this weekend we can go for a drive.
- store up a supply of something, get and keep for future useThey are trying to lay in as much food as possible before winter comes.
lay (light) into
- attack physically, do (eat) something with energyHe laid into the steak as soon as the waiter brought it to his table.
lay (light) into
- attack with wordsAs soon as I came into work this morning she laid (lit) into me about my poor sales performance last month.
lay it on the line
- say plainly so that there can be no doubt, tell truthfullyThe librarian finally had to lay it on the line and told everyone not to bring drinks into the library.
lay it on thick
- praise someone too muchHe really began to lay it on thick when he met me at the party.
- hide, keep out of sight for awhileHe decided to lay low for awhile until his friend forgot that he had damaged his car.
lay off (someone)
- get rid of workers when business is badSix hundred workers at the automobile factory were recently laid off.
- stop bothering, leave aloneThe players were told by the coach to lay off teasing the new player so that he could relax before the game.
- stop using or taking (drugs/cigarettes)I was told by my doctor to lay off smoking or I would be very sick in the future.
lay one's cards on the table
- let someone know one's position and feelings openly, deal honestly about somethingHe decided to lay his cards on the table and tell his boss about the job offer from the other company.
- spend or pay some moneyHe will have to lay out a lot of money for his new apartment.
- plan somethingThey will lay out their plan for the new building at the next meeting.
- arrive in one place and wait some time before continuing a journeyWe were told that we will have to lay over in London for nine hours before we go on to Kenya.
lay to rest
- get rid of, put away permanently, stopThey have been trying to lay to rest the rumors about the financial problems in the company.
- take out of active service, put in a boat dock or a garageThe weather was getting cold so they decided to lay up their boat for the winter.
- collect a supply of something, save for future use, storeThey are trying to lay up some canned fruit for the winter.
- destroy and leave in ruins, wreckThe army troops laid waste to the enemy territory.
lead a dog's life
- live a hard life, work hard and be treated unkindlyHe says that he has been leading a dog's life since he started his new job.
lead a merry chase
- delay or escape capture by someone, make a person work hardHe led the investigators on a merry chase before they finally arrested him.
lead by the nose
- have full control of, make or persuade someone to do anything you wantHe isn't very aggressive and always lets his boss lead him by the nose.
- begin, start, openThe golfer was the first to lead off in the tournament.
- insincerely encourageI think he was leading me on when he told me about the new job.
lead the way
- go before and show how to go somewhere, guideI had to lead the way because nobody else knew where the new office was located.
- pressure someone by blackmailing or threats of physical violence to make the person comply with a requestThe gang decided to lean on the small shop owner to get him to sell his property.
learn the ropes
- learn how to do a jobHe is a new employee and is still learning the ropes.
leave a bad taste in one's mouth
- leave a bad impression, make one feel disgustedThe way that the company fired the workers left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.
- don't disturb someonePlease leave me alone so I can finish this essay.
- leave something somewhereI left my coat behind in the restaurant.
leave hanging (in the air)
- leave undecided or unsettledWhether or not they will be leaving next year was left hanging in the air at the end of the meeting.
leave (someone) holding the bag
- leave someone else to take the blameHe left me holding the bag when he ran away from the accident.
leave in the lurch
- desert or leave alone and in trouble, refuse to help or support someoneHe left me in the lurch when he didn't come over to help me although he had promised to earlier in the day.
leave no stone unturned
- try in every way, do everything possibleThe police left no stone unturned when they were looking for the little girl who was lost.
- omitHe told me about the accident but he left out some of the main points.
leave (let) well enough alone
- be satisfied with something that is good enoughYou should let well enough alone and be happy with your work schedule the way it is.
- an ambiguous compliment interpreted as offensiveHe gave her a left-handed compliment when he said that her dyed hair looked nice.
- someone who performs messenger services, an errand boyHe was working as a leg man for the motion picture company.
leg to stand on
- a firm foundation of facts, facts to support one's claimsShe doesn't have a leg to stand on as far as her excuses for not finishing her work goes.
- physical workHe was forced to do all of the leg work preparing for the meeting because his assistant was sick.
- certainly notI don't have enough money to go to a movie let alone go on a holiday.
let bygones be bygones
- forget about problems that happened in the pastWe need to let bygones be bygones and forget about our past differences.
- fail to do as well as expected, disappointHe let down his parents when he failed the university entrance exams.
let down easy
- refuse or say no to someone in a pleasant wayI will talk to her tomorrow and try and let her down easy about her not getting the promotion.
let down one's hair
- relax, act freely and naturallyEverybody at the party let down their hair and had a good time.
let (something) go
- pay no attention to, neglectShe seems to be letting her appearance go since she lost her job.
- allow something to pass, do nothing about somethingAlthough I was angry at his remark I decided to let it go.
- discharge from a job, fireThe company has decided to let go several hundred workers in order to become profitable again.
let go of
- releaseHe let go of the rope and the suitcase fell from the bus.
let grass grow under one's feet
- be idle, be lazy, waste timeHe is always working hard and is not the type of person to let grass grow under his feet.
let (someone) have it
- hit someone hardHe really let the other man have it when they got into a fight on the bus.
let it all hang out
- not to disguise anything, let the truth be knownShe decided to let it all hang out and told her boss about the mistakes she had made with the new sales account.
let it lay
- forget it, leave it aloneYou should let it lay and stop worrying about what she did to you last year.
let it rip
- become involved and make the most of something, really try to winHe let it rip and set off from the shore in the motorboat.
- set free, give up one's hold on something, release something being heldThey decided to let loose the injured bird that they had found in the park.
let (someone) know
- tell, informLet me know when you are ready to go to the movie.
- discharge (a gun), explodeThe children let off many firecrackers during the festival.
let off steam
- get rid of your extra energy or strong feelings by doing some activityHe was very angry at first but he has let off a lot of steam and has calmed down now.
let (someone) off the hook
- excuse someone from a penalty or promiseHe let me off the hook and I didn't have to stay after work and help clean the office.
- reveal, informPlease don't let on that you saw me at the movie last night.
- try to make people believe something, pretendHe tried to let on that he didn't want the job but actually he does.
- allow to go out or escapeI let out our dog this morning and he hasn't come home yet.
- allow to be known, tellThey let out the details of the restructuring plan late last night so we haven't had time to talk about them yet.
- make longer or looser (clothes), allow a rope to slip out little by littleI had to go to the tailors to have them let out my sports jacket.
- dismiss or be dismissed (from class or practice etc.)Everyone was let out from class early yesterday because of the bad weather.
let (something) ride
- continue without changing a situationWe should forget about his recent problems at work and just let the whole matter ride.
let sleeping dogs lie
- don't make trouble if you don't have toYou should let sleeping dogs lie and not worry about what she said to you last summer.
let the cat out of the bag
- reveal a secretDon't let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party for the boss.
let the chips fall where they may
- don't worry about the results of your actionsI am not going to worry about whether or not the company will go broke or not. I will let the chips fall where they may.
- become less or weaker, become slower or stopThe rain finally let up around noon so we were able to go back outside.
- do less or go slower or stop, stop working too hardHe was told by his doctor to let up on his work schedule or he will become sick in the future.
lie in state
- after death a famous person lies in a state of honor (in an open coffin) so the public can see their bodyThe President lay in state for three days after his death.
lie in wait
- watch from hiding in order to attack or surprise someoneThe police decided to lie in wait for the bank robbers to appear at the bank.
- stay quietly out of sight, try not to attract attentionHe is very angry at you so I think that you should lie low for a few days until he calms down.
life of Riley
- a soft easy life, pleasant way of livingHe has been living the life of Riley since he retired from his job last year.
lift a finger (hand)
- do something, do one's share, helpAlthough he is a nice person he will never lift a finger to help anyone else.
- suddenly look pleased and happyAs soon as I told him about our summer holiday plans his face lit up and he started smiling.
like father, like son
- a son usually acts like his fatherLike father, like son the man said as he watched the boy playing baseball exactly like his father.
like a ton of bricks
- strongly or forcefullyThe news of his retirement hit me like a ton of bricks.
- very fast, with great energyThey were running like crazy but still they couldn't catch up with their friend.
- with much effort and energy, not so, untrueI had to run like hell this morning in order to catch the bus for work.
- very fast, with great energyI worked like mad but I was unable to finish the project by noon as I had hoped.
like water off a duck's back
- without effect, without changing one's feelings or opinionHe always criticizes his friend who always ignores it so it falls away like water off a duck's back.
- take places in line or formation, stand one behind anotherWe were forced to line up in front of the movie theater for over one hour.
- adjust correctlyFirst he lined up the two pieces of wood before he nailed them together.
- arrange, make ready for actionWe were unable to line up a speaker for Sunday evening so we will cancel the meeting.
- support shown by words only and not by actionThey paid lip service to the proposal but I don't think that they really support it.
little by little
- graduallyHe broke his leg while skiing but little by little it is getting better.
little frog in a big pond
- an unimportant person in a large group or organizationHe transferred to the headquarters branch but he is a little frog in a big pond and nobody knows him now.
little pitchers have big ears
- little children often overhear things that they are not supposed to hearLittle pitchers have big ears she said when she saw her daughter standing at the door listening to her talking to her husband.
- remove blame or distrust by good conduct, cause to be forgiven by not repeating somethingHe is trying to live down his reputation of being a hard person to work for.
live from hand to mouth
- live on little moneyHer brother is an artist and has to live from hand to mouth because he has no money.
live high off the hog
- live very luxuriously or comfortablyHe has been living high off the hog since he won the money in the lottery.
live it up
- have a good timeHe likes to live it up every weekend when he gets paid.
live out of a suitcase
- stay away from your home with only the belongings in your suitcaseI dislike this job because I am often on a business trip and must live out of my suitcase.
live up to
- come up to, agree with, act according toHe is trying very hard to live up to his reputation as a smart busnessman.
- great, fantastic, the ultimateShe said that her new boyfriend was the living end.
- have lots of moneyHis new boss is really loaded.
lock the barn door after the horse is stolen
- be careful or try to make something safe when it is too lateIf you try and prevent a flood after the rains have started it is like locking the barn door after the horse is stolen.
- to be assured of successThe candidate has already locked up the nomination to be a candidate for president in the next election.
- a sad look, a disappointed lookHe had a long face when he came into work this morning. What is the matter with him?
- a long distance or tripHe is a long-haul trucker and is always out of town working.
- a long period of time during which work continues or something is doneHe has decided to stay here for the long haul and will not return to his home country for awhile.
- a bet or other risk taken though not likely to succeedIt was a long shot that he would get the job so he was very happy when he did get it.
look after someone
- take care or attend to someoneShe has been looking after her mother since her recent illness.
look a gift horse in the mouth
- complain if a gift is not perfectEven if you don't like the present from the company you shouldn't complain. Remember don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
look at the world through rose-colored glasses
- see only the good things about something, be too optimisticI told him not to be so naive and always look at the world through rose-colored glasses.
look down one's nose at someone or something
- show your dislike of someone or somethingHe always looks down his nose at the other members of his class.
look down on someone
- regard with contempt or a feeling of superiorityShe looks down on the activities and life of most small towns.
- think likely, expectThey are looking for John to become the next sales director of the company.
- try to find, search for, huntShe has been looking for her credit card all morning but she can't find it.
look forward to something
- anticipate with pleasureHe's been looking forward to the concert for a long time.
look in on
- go to see, make a short visit with, make a call onCould you please look in on the baby and see if she is sleeping.
- investigate or check somethingThey have been looking into the cause of the accident for many months.
look like a million dollars
- look well and prosperous, appear healthy and happyHe was looking like a million dollars when I saw him at the party last weekend.
look like the cat that ate (swallowed) the canary
- seem very self-satisified like you have just had some kind of successHe looked like the cat that ate the canary when he came in with a smile on his face.
- be a spectatorThere were over a hundred people who gathered to look on after the accident.
- take care, be careful, be on guardLook out! There is a large truck coming down the highway.
- be alert or watchful, keep looking for somethingCould you please look out for any old Elvis Presley records that you may find.
- provide protection and carePlease look out for my sister when she stays with you this summer.
look over something
- inspect, survey or examinePlease take some time to look over these documents before you sign them.
- attend to, get ready for, take care ofShe is a wonderful nurse and spends a great deal of time looking to the needs of her patients.
- go for help to, depend onHe always looks to his mother for help when he has a problem.
look (something) up
- search for something in a dictionary or other bookI'll look up their name in the telephone book.
look (someone) up
- seek and findWhen I was in New York I looked up my friend from university.
look up to
- think of someone as a good example to copy, respect someoneI always look up to the president of our company as someone I would like to be like.
- without something definite to doHe has been at loose ends since he lost his job.
lord it over
- act as the superior and master of someone, be bossy over someoneShe likes to lord it over the other members of the staff since she became a supervisor.
- be embarrassed or ashamed by an error or failure, lose dignityHe lost face when his employees decided not to support him during the meeting.
- go backward, become weaker, not improveThe government has been losing ground in their fight against inflation.
- become discouragedShe has begun to lose heart in her studies to learn the piano.
lose one's marbles
- go crazy or act irrationallyHe seems to have lost his marbles and doesn't make any sense at all.
lose one's shirt
- lose a lot of moneyI think he is going to lose his shirt on that new business venture.
lose one's way
- become lostThe first time she went to New York City she lost her way.
lose one's temper
- become angryHe lost his temper when the child broke the dish.
- fail to win, miss first place in a contestHe lost out on a chance to go to Mexico City because he was too busy with other things.
lose sight of
- forget, fail to seeDon't lose sight of the main reason that you are planning to go on the business trip.
lose touch with
- fail to keep in contact or communication with someoneI lost touch with everyone who I worked with at my summer job.
lose track of
- lose contact with someone (or something)I've lost track of many of my friends from high school.
- a noisy, boastful or foolish talkerHe is a loudmouth and nobody at work likes him.
- throw into confusion, make a mess of, spoilShe loused up her job interview and has no chance at all now to get the job.
- a hidden road or walkway where lovers walk or park in the eveningAfter the movie they drove to the local lover's lane.
- the inside facts of a matter, the total truthI met with him after the presentation and he gave me the lowdown on the new computer equipment.
- suddenly get lucky when it looks like you won't succeedHe lucked out with the concert tickets and was able to get four of them.
- a certain star or planet which is thought to bring a person good luck and success in lifeYou should thank your lucky star that you don't have to go to work on a rainy day like today.