(11) “to dump (someone)”

the circumstance where you end a (usually romantic) relationship

“to be dumped (by someone)” – passive construction: the circumstance where the other person ends a (usually romantic) relationship


Juan and Lisa have been dating for the past year.  Their relationship is casual.  Because their relationship is not serious, Lisa has started seeing another man.  Lisa has fallen in love with the other man.

Therefore, she needs to…dump Juan (Lisa will end her relationship with Juan in an abrupt way).


(10) “the bottom line”

the result

the final outcome


Alex is a supervisor in a factory. Alex has been called into the manager’s office of the factory where they work.

Manager:     “Sales are down, Alex.”

Alex:             “That’s not good, boss.”

Manager:     “No it’s not.   The economy is in a recession and exports are declining.   My boss has told me that we must do something or there will be big changes.”

Alex:             “Well, what’s the bottom line?”

Manager:     “The bottom line is that we either have to increase production or layoff workers.”

(9) “to drop the ball”

-to make a mistake or fail – often because of carelessness or inattention


It is Monday morning.  Your term paper was due last Friday.  You did not hand in your term paper.  Your professor wants to see you in his office:

Professor:   “Good morning.  I see that you did not hand in your term paper.”

You:             “I know, Professor.  I forgot.

Professor:   “Is your term paper completed?

You:             “Yes, sir.  I finished it last Wednesday.”

Professor:    “What happened?”

You:              “I became distracted by my friends because they wanted to go out and party on Friday night.”

Professor:     “Is that a valid excuse?”

You:               “No, sir.  I dropped the ball.”

Professor:      “Very well then.  Give me your paper now.”

(8) “to be under the weather”

not feeling well, but not very sick

to be a little ill – with a headache, for example


Adam celebrated his birthday last night.  He went out with a few friends and they all hit the bottle.  As a result, Adam is not feeling so well this morning.  One of Adam’s friends calls him on the telephone and asks Adam how he is feeling.  Adam replies…

“I’m a little under the weather”

(7) “to keep your shirt on”

to relax or calm down

to wait more patiently

Ned is ready to go.  It is the long weekend.  Ned and Grace had decided that they wanted to leave early for their camping trip so that they would beat all the traffic on the highway.  Ned is pacing back and forth impatiently. Ned is very eager to begin their journey.  He finally calls to his wife to ask if she is ready.  Grace responds…

“Keep your shirt on, Ned.  I will be ready in a minute!”

(6) “to feel blue”

to feel sad

(e.g.,) Feeling Blue after the Holidays?

Loneliness, debt, and weight gain are some of the results that can occur during and after the Christmas Holidays.   The new year begins to look a lot less happy when you get your credit card bills in the mail and your favorite pants are suddenly too tight around your waist.   Beware. You may feel blue during this time period.

(5) “to come out of the closet”

to openly admit to being homosexual

to openly admit a previously secret or hidden point of view (sometimes used humorously)


After a two year relationship with Barbara ended, Steve was thinking about why his relationship failed.  Steve examined his inner feelings and beliefs.  He discovered that he had been hiding his true sexuality because of fear.  Steve admitted to himself that he was gay.  Steve decided that it was time to celebrate his homosexuality and… come out of the closet.

This means that Steve will tell everyone in his life that he is homosexual.

(4) “to freak out”

to become very angry, upset or excited to the point of irrational actions and behaviors 

After a two year relationship, Steve has told Barbara that he is gay.  Barbara becomes very upset and starts yelling and screaming incoherently at Steve.  She tells him to get out of their apartment and never come back.  Barbara then begins to gather up Steve’s possessions and belongings and proceeds to throw them, one by one, out the window of their apartment.  Barbara is crying.

Would you say that Barbara is freaking out?

(3) “to be bored to death”

to be extremely bored

Ned and Grace are talking in the kitchen one morning before work …

Grace:  “Ready for another day at the office, Honey?”

Ned:      “I suppose so.”

Grace:  “You don’t sound very enthusiastic.”

Ned:      “Well, I’ve been working at the same company for almost thirty years.  I’ve been doing the same job day after day after day.  I am bored to death with work.”

(2) “to get butterflies in your stomach”

-to be nervous or excited

After dating Katrina for almost three years, Joe was ready to propose.  Joe made the decision to propose to Katrina three weeks before their three year anniversary. As Joe made the arrangements for the proposal, he started to get butterflies in his stomach.  As the day of the proposal came nearer and nearer, Joe’s nervousness became greater.  He was feeling incredible butterflies in his stomach.

(1) “to be back at square one”

-to start again from the beginning

-to be back at the beginning

Susan has been using her computer to work on a big project for the last two hours when suddenly her computer turns off.   Susan had forgotten to save her work.  When Susan restarts her computer, she discovers that all her work is gone.

Susan is back at square one.

Susan needs to begin her project again from the beginning.

(English idioms:


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