E Idioms

Idioms Index | A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

each and every

- every (used for emphasis)

I would like each and every one of you to bring your textbooks tomorrow.

eager beaver

- person who is always eager to work or do extra work

He is a real eager beaver and is always available to work when we need him.


- scolding, a lot of information (often critical)

He really gave his daughter an earful when she came home late.

early bird catches the worm

- a person who gets up early in the morning has the best chance of success

He always goes to work before his colleagues because he knows that the early bird catches the worm.

(keep/have one's) ear to the ground

- pay attention to the way things are going or the way people feel and think

He always has his ear to the ground and knows everything that is going on in our company.

ease off

- reduce in severity or pressure, relax

The president was asked to ease off on his efforts to save money in the company.

easy come, easy go

- something that you get easily can be lost easily

He doesn't care if he loses his job or not. For him everything is easy come, easy go.

easy does it

- do something without sudden movements or too fast

"Easy does it" he said as he helped to move the large piano.


- tolerant and relaxed

He has a very easy-going management style.

eat away

- rot, erode, destroy

The mildew has been eating away at the window frame all summer.

eat crow

- admit one is mistaken or defeated

He was forced to eat crow when the figures that he gave us at the meeting were all wrong.

eat dirt

- accept another's insult or bad treatment, act humble

He made the senior manager eat dirt as revenge for his bad treatment in the past.

eat one's heart out

- suffer greatly from longing

You can eat your heart out. I'm going to Hawaii for three weeks!

eat humble pie

- admit one's error and apologize

He had to eat humble pie in front of his friends when they discovered his mistake.

(be) eating someone

- bothering or worrying someone

I don't know what is eating her but she doesn't seem to be in a good mood today.

eat like a bird

- eat very little

He eats like a bird. That's why he can't put on enough weight to join the football team.

eat like a horse

- eat a lot

He eats like a horse but he never puts on any weight.

eat one's cake and have it too

- use or spend something and still keep it

He always wants to eat his cake and have it too and is never prepared to sacrifice anything.

eat one's words

- admit being wrong in something one has said, retract one's statement

He was forced to eat his words after his boss proved that he was wrong.

eat out

- eat in a restaurant

He eats out three or four times a week.

egg (someone) on

- urge or push someone to do something

He is always egging his friend on when he is angry which makes him even angrier.

eke out

- earn with difficulty

He was unable to eke out a living on the farm so he sold it.

elbow grease

- effort and strength to clean something

We'll have to use a lot of elbow grease to get the kitchen cleaned.

elbow room

- space (enough to be comfortable)

They moved to the country in order to have a little more elbow room.

end in itself

- a purpose or goal one wants for itself alone and not as a way to something else

For some people travelling is an end in itself and the destination is not important.

(at the) end of one's rope

- the last of one's ability or ideas about how to proceed or do something

He is at the end of his rope regarding what to do about his job.

end up

- finish, finally do something

We ended up going to the restaurant after the movie last night.

even so

- nevertheless, however

He always works hard but even so he has no money saved.

every dog has his day

- everyone will have his chance or turn, everyone will get what he deserves

You should be patient and wait until you get a chance. Remember every dog has his day.

every other

- alternate, every second one

She has to work every other Saturday evening.

every so often

- occasionally

You should walk around every so often when you are on a long plane trip.

every Tom, Dick and Harry

- the average person

He said he is not the same as every Tom, Dick and Harry.

eyes are bigger than one's stomach

- one wants more food than one can eat

His eyes are bigger than his stomach. He will never finish all of the food that he took.

eyes in the back of one's head

- ability to know what is happening behind one's back

He has eyes in the back of his head and you can never borrow anything without him knowing about it.

eyes pop out

- much surprised

Her eyes popped out when she saw her name in the newspaper.