An idiom is a phrase or expression that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase; but some phrases become figurative idioms while retaining the literal meaning of the phrase.
Here are the list of idioms starting with S.
Idioms Starting with S
1. Sacred cow
Meaning: Something that is a sacred cow is held in such respect that it cannot be criticized or attacked.
2. Safe and sound
Meaning: If you arrive safe and sound, then nothing has harmed you on your way.
3. Safe as houses
Meaning: Something that is as safe as houses is very secure or certain.
4. Safe bet
Meaning: A proposition that is a safe bet doesn’t have any risks attached.
5. Safe pair of hands
Meaning: A person who can be trusted to do something without causing any trouble is a safe pair of hands.
6. Safety in numbers
Meaning: If a lot of people do something risky at the same time, the risk is reduced because there is safety in numbers.
7. Saigon moment
Meaning: A Saigon moment is when people realize that something has gone wrong and that they will lose or fail.
8. Sail close to the wind
Meaning: If you sail close to the wind, you take risks to do something, going close to the limit of what is allowed or acceptable.
9. Sail under false colors
Meaning: Someone who sails under false colors (colors) is hypocritical or pretends to be something they aren’t in order to deceive people.
10. Salad days
Meaning: Your salad days are an especially happy period of your life.
11. Salt in a wound
Meaning: If you rub salt in a wound, you make someone feel bad about something that is already a painful experience. ‘Pour salt on a wound’ is an alternative form of the idiom.
12. Salt of the earth
Meaning: People who are salt of the earth are decent, dependable and unpretentious.
13. Salty dog
Meaning: A salty dog is an experienced sailor.
14. Same old, same old
Meaning: When nothing changes, it’s the same old, same old.
15. Save face
Meaning: If someone saves face, they manage to protect their reputation.
16. Save someone’s bacon
Meaning: If something saves your bacon, it saves your life or rescues you from a desperate situation. People can also save your bacon.
17. Save your skin
Meaning: If someone saves their skin, they manage to avoid getting into serious trouble.
18. Saved by the bell
Meaning: If you are saved by the bell, you are rescued from a danger or a tricky situation just in time.
19. Saving grace
Meaning: If someone has some character defects, but has a characteristic that compensate for their failings and shortcomings, this is their saving grace.
20. Say uncle
Meaning: If you say uncle, you admit defeat. (‘Cry uncle’ is an alternative form.)
21. Say when
Meaning: People say this when pouring a drink as a way of telling you to tell them when there’s enough in your glass.
Meaning: If you do something on someone else’s say-so, you do it on the authority, advice or recommendation.
23. Saying is one thing; doing is another
Meaning: It’s harder to do something than it is to say that you will do it.
24. Scales fall from your eyes
Meaning: When the scales fall from your eyes, you suddenly realize the truth about something.
25. Scare the daylights out of someone
Meaning: If you scare the daylights out of someone, you terrify them. (This can be made even stronger by saying ‘the living daylights’.)
26. Scarlet woman
Meaning: This idiom is used as a pejorative term for a sexually promiscuous woman, especially an adulteress.
27. Scattered to the four winds
Meaning: If something’s scattered to the four winds, it goes out in all directions.
28. Scent blood
Meaning: If you can scent blood, you feel that a rival is having difficulties and you are going to beat them.
29. Schoolyard pick
Meaning: When people take it in turns to choose a member of a team, it is a schoolyard pick.
30. Scot free
Meaning: If someone escapes scot free, they avoid payment or punishment. ‘Scot’ is an old word for a tax, so it originally referred to avoiding taxes, though now has a wider sense of not being punished for someone that you have done.
31. Scotch Mist
Meaning: The phrase ‘Scotch mist’ is used humorously to refer to something that is hard to find or doesn’t exist – something imagined.
32. Scraping the barrel
Meaning: When all the best people, things or ideas and so on are used up and people try to make do with what they have left, they are scraping the barrel.
33. Scream blue murder
Meaning: If someone shouts very loudly in anger, or fear, they scream blue murder.
34. Screw loose
Meaning: If someone has a screw loose, they are crazy.
35. Screwed if you do, screwed if you don’t
Meaning: This means that no matter what you decide or do in a situation, there will be negative consequences.
36. Sea legs
Meaning: If you are getting your sea legs, it takes you a while to get used to something new.
37. Seamy side
Meaning: The seamy side of something is the unpleasant or sordid aspect it has.
38. Searching question
Meaning: A searching question goes straight to the heart of the subject matter, possibly requiring an answer with a degree of honesty that the other person finds uncomfortable.
39. Second thoughts
Meaning: If some has second thoughts, they start to think that an idea, etc, is not as good as it sounded at first and are starting to have doubts.
40. Second wind
Meaning: If you overcome tiredness and find new energy and enthusiasm, you have second wind.
41. See eye to eye
Meaning: If people see eye to eye, they agree about everything.
42. See red
Meaning: If someone sees red, they become very angry about something.
43. See the elephant
Meaning: If you see the elephant, you experience much more than you wish to; it is often used when a soldier goes into a warzone for the first time.
44. See the light
Meaning: When someone sees the light, they realize the truth.
45. See which way the cat jumps
Meaning: If you see which way the cat jumps, you postpone making a decision or acting until you have seen how things are developing.
46. See you anon
Meaning: If somebody says this when leaving, they expect to see you again soon.
47. See you later
Meaning: A casual way of saying to friends I’ll see you again, sometime, (without a definite date or time having been set) – this is often abbreviated to ‘Later’ or ‘Laters’ as an alternative way of saying goodbye.
48. See you on the big drum
Meaning: A good night phrase to children.
49. Seed money
Meaning: Seed money is money that is used to start a small business.
50. Seeing is believing
Meaning: This idiom means that people can only really believe what they experience personally.
51. Seen better days
Meaning: If something’s seen better days, it has aged badly and visibly compared to when it was new. The phrase can also be used to describe people.
52. Sell down the river
Meaning: If you sell someone down the river, you betray their trust.
53. Sell like hot cakes
Meaning: If a product is selling very well, it is selling like hot cakes.
54. Sell like hotcakes
Meaning: If something is selling like hotcakes, it is very popular and selling very well.
55. Sell your birthright for a mess of pottage
Meaning: If a person sells their birthright for a mess of pottage, they accept some trivial financial or other gain, but lose something much more important. ‘Sell your soul for a mess of pottage’ is an alternative form.
56. Sell your soul
Meaning: If someone sells their soul, their betray the most precious beliefs.
57. Send someone packing
Meaning: If you send someone packing, you send them away, normally when they want something from you.
58. Send someone to Coventry
Meaning: If you send someone to Coventry, you refuse to talk to them or cooperate with them.
59. Separate the sheep from the goats
Meaning: If you separate the sheep from the goats, you sort out the good from the bad.
60. Separate the wheat from the chaff
Meaning: When you separate the wheat from the chaff, you select what is useful or valuable and reject what is useless or worthless.
61. Serve time
Meaning: When someone is serving time, they are in prison.
62. Serve your country
Meaning: When someone is serving their country, they have enrolled in the military.
63. Set in stone
Meaning: If something is set in stone, it cannot be changed or altered.
64. Set the Thames on fire
Meaning: If you do something remarkable, you set the Thames on fire, though this expression is used in the negative; someone who is dull or undistinguished will never set the Thames on fire.
65. Set the wheels in motion
Meaning: When you set the wheels in motion, you get something started.
66. Set your sights on
Meaning: If you set your sights on someone or something, it is your ambition to beat them or to achieve that goal.
67. Seven sheets to the wind
Meaning: If someone is seven sheets to the wind, they are very drunk.
68. Seventh heaven
Meaning: If you are in seventh heaven, you are extremely happy.
69. Shades of meaning
Meaning: Shades of meaning is a phrase used to describe the small, subtle differences in meaning between similar words or phrases; ‘kid’ and ‘youth’ both refer to young people, but carry differing views and ideas about young people.
70. Shaggy dog story
Meaning: A shaggy dog story is a joke which is a long story with a silly end.
71. Shake a leg
Meaning: If you shake a leg, you are out of bed and active. It can be used to tell someone to hurry up.
72. Shanks’s pony
Meaning: If you go somewhere by Shanks’s pony, you walk there.
73. Shape up or ship out
Meaning: If someone has to shape up or ship out, they have to improve or leave their job, organization, etc.
74. Sharp as a tack
Meaning: If someone is as sharp as a tack, they are very clever indeed.
75. Sharp cookie
Meaning: Someone who isn’t easily deceived or fooled is a sharp cookie.
76. Sharpen your pencil
Meaning: If someone says this when negotiating, they want the other person to make a better offer, a lower price.
77. She’ll be apples
Meaning: A very popular old Australian saying meaning everything will be all right, often used when there is some doubt.
78. Shed light
Meaning: If you shed light on something, you make it clearer and easier to understand.
79. Shifting sands
Meaning: If the sands are shifting, circumstances are changing.
Meaning: If people shilly-shally, they can’t make up their minds about something and put off the decision.
81. Ship came in
Meaning: If your ship has come in, something very good has happened to you.
82. Shipshape and Bristol fashion
Meaning: If things are shipshape and Bristol fashion, they are in perfect working order.
83. Shoe is on the other foot
Meaning: If the shoe is on the other foot, someone is experiencing what they used to make others experience, normally negative things.
Meaning: If you do something on a shoestring, you try to spend the absolute minimum amount of money possible on it.
85. Shoot down in flames
Meaning: If someone demolishes your argument, it (and you) have been shot down in flames.
86. Shoot from the hip
Meaning: Someone who shoots from the hip talks very directly or insensitively without thinking beforehand.
87. Shoot the breeze
Meaning: When you shoot the breeze, you chat in a relaxed way.
88. Shoot your wad
Meaning: When you have shot your wad, you have expended everything and have no more to say or do about a matter.
89. Shoot yourself in the foot
Meaning: If you shoot yourself in the foot, you do something that damages your ambition, career, etc.
90. Shooting fish in a barrel
Meaning: If something is like shooting fish in a barrel, it is so easy that success is guaranteed.
91. Shop floor
Meaning: ‘Shop floor’ refers to the part of an organization where the work is actually performed rather than just managed.
92. Short end of the stick
Meaning: If someone gets the short end of the stick, they are unfairly treated or don’t get what they deserve.
93. Short horse soon curried
Meaning: A convenient and superficial explanation that is normally unconvincing is a short horse soon curried.
94. Short shrift
Meaning: If somebody gives you short shrift, they treat you rudely and brusquely, showing no interest or sympathy.
Meaning: If you are short-changed, someone cheats you of money or doesn’t give you full value for something.
96. Shot across the bow
Meaning: A shot across the bow is a warning to tell someone to stop doing something or face very serious consequences.
97. Shot in the dark
Meaning: If you have a shot in the dark at something, you try something where you have little hope of success.
98. Shotgun marriage
Meaning: A shotgun marriage, or shotgun wedding, is one that is forced because of pregnancy. It is also used idiomatically for a compromise, agreement or arrangement that is forced upon groups or people by necessity.
99. Show me the money
Meaning: When people say this, they either want to know how much they will be paid for something or want to see evidence that something is valuable or worth paying for.
100. Show someone a clean pair of heels
Meaning: If you show someone a clean pair of heels, you run faster than them when they are chasing you.
101. Show someone the ropes
Meaning: If you show someone the ropes, you explain to someone new how things work and how to do a job.
102. Show your true colors
Meaning: To show your true colors is to reveal yourself as you really are.
103. Shrinking violet
Meaning: A shrinking violet is a shy person who doesn’t express their views and opinions.
104. Sick and tired
Meaning: If you are sick and tired of something, it has been going on for a long time and you can no longer tolerate it.
105. Sick as a dog
Meaning: If somebody’s as sick as a dog, they throw up (=vomit) violently.
106. Sick as a parrot
Meaning: If someone’s sick as a parrot about something, they are unhappy, disappointed or depressed about it.
107. Sick to death
Meaning: If you are sick to death of something, you have been exposed to so much of it that you cannot take any more.
108. Sight for sore eyes
Meaning: Someone or something that is a sight for sore eyes is a pleasure to see.
109. Sight to behold
Meaning: If something is a sight to behold, it means that seeing it is in some way special, either spectacularly beautiful or, equally, incredibly ugly or revolting, etc.
110. Signed, sealed and delivered
Meaning: If something’s signed, sealed and delivered, it has been done correctly, following all the necessary procedures.
111. Silence is golden
Meaning: It is often better to say nothing than to talk, so silence is golden.
112. Silly season
Meaning: The silly season is midsummer when Parliament is closed and nothing much is happening that is newsworthy, which reduces the press to reporting trivial and stupid stories.
113. Silver bullet
Meaning: A silver bullet is a complete solution to a large problem, a solution that seems magical.
114. Silver screen
Meaning: The silver screen is the cinema.
115. Silver surfer
Meaning: A silver surfer is an elderly person who uses the internet.
116. Since time immemorial
Meaning: If something has happened since time immemorial, it’s been going on for such a long time that nobody can remember a time without it.
117. Sing for your supper
Meaning: If you have to sing for your supper, you have to work to get the pay or reward you need or want.
118. Sing from the same hymn sheet
Meaning: If people are singing from the same hymn sheet, they are expressing the same opinions in public.
119. Sing like a canary
Meaning: If someone sings like a canary, they tell everything they know about a crime or wrongdoing to the police or authorities.
120. Sink or swim
Meaning: Of you are left to sink or swim, no one gives you any help and it’s up to you whether you fail or succeed.
121. Sit on the fence
Meaning: If someone sits on the fence, they try not to support either side in a dispute.
122. Sit pretty
Meaning: Someone who’s sitting pretty is in a very advantageous situation.
123. Sit well with
Meaning: If something doesn’t sit well with you, it doesn’t please you or is not acceptable to you.
124. Sitting duck
Meaning: A sitting duck is something or someone that is easy to criticize or target.
125. Six feet under
Meaning: If someone is six feet under, they are dead.
126. Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other
Meaning: This is an idiom used when there is little or no difference between two options.
127. Sixes and sevens
Meaning: If something is all at sixes and sevens, then there is a lot of disagreement and confusion about what should be done.
Meaning: The sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question is the most important question that can be asked about something.
129. Skate on thin ice
Meaning: If someone is skating on thin ice, they are taking a big risk.
130. Skeleton in the closet
Meaning: If someone has a skeleton in the closet, they have a dark, shameful secret in their past that they want to remain secret.
131. Skin and bones
Meaning: If someone is skin and bones, they are very underweight and look bad.
132. Skin in the game
Meaning: A person who has skin in the game has invested in the company they are running.
133. Skin someone alive
Meaning: If someone skins you alive, they admonish and punish you hard.
Meaning: An unauthorised, or hidden program or activity, often research-oriented, and out of the bureaucratic chain of command is known as a ‘skunkworks’.
135. Sky is the limit
Meaning: When people say that the sky is the limit, they think that there are no limits to the possibilities something could have.
136. Slap leather
Meaning: This is used as an instruction to tell people when to draw their guns.
137. Slap on the wrist
Meaning: If someone gets a slap on the wrist, they get a very minor punishment when they could have been punished more severely.
138. Sleep like a baby
Meaning: If you sleep very well, you sleep like a baby.
139. Sleep like a log
Meaning: If you sleep like a log, you sleep very soundly.
140. Sleep well- don’t let the bedbugs bite
Meaning: This is a way of wishing someone a good night’s sleep.
141. Sleight of hand
Meaning: Sleight of hand is the ability to use your hands in a clever way, like a magician performing tricks you can’t see.
142. Slim chance
Meaning: A slim chance is a very small chance.
143. Sling your hook
Meaning: This is used as a way of telling someone to leave or go away.
144. Slip of the tongue
Meaning: If you say something accidentally, it is a slip of the tongue.
145. Slip through one’s fingers
Meaning: If something slips through one’s fingers it escapes or is lost through carelessness.
146. Slippery customer
Meaning: A person from whom it is difficult to get anything definite or fixed is a slippery customer.
147. Slippery slope
Meaning: A slippery slope is where a measure would lead to further worse measures.
148. Slough of despond
Meaning: If someone is very depressed or in despair, they’re in a slough of despond.
149. Slow and steady wins the race
Meaning: This expression means that consistency, although progress may be slow, will eventually be more beneficial than being hasty or careless just to get something done.
150. Slow boat to China
Meaning: This idiom is used to describe something that is very slow and takes a long time.
151. Slow but sure
Meaning: If something or someone is slow but sure, they may take their time to do something, but they are reliable.
152. Slower than molasses going uphill in January
Meaning: To move extremely slowly. Molasses drips slowly anyway but add January cold and gravity, dripping uphill would be an impossibility, thereby making the molasses move very slowly indeed!
153. Slowly, slowly catchy monkey
Meaning: This means that eventually you will achieve your goal.
154. Sly as a fox
Meaning: Someone who is as sly as a fox is cunning and experienced and can get what they want, often in an underhand way.
155. Smack in the face
Meaning: If something is a smack in the face, it is a shock, usually one that impedes progress.
156. Small beer
Meaning: If something is small beer, it’s unimportant.
157. Small dog, tall weeds
Meaning: This idiom is used to describe someone the speaker does not believe has the ability or resources to handle a task or job.
158. Small fry
Meaning: If someone is small fry, they are unimportant. The term is often used when the police arrest the less important criminals, but are unable to catch the leaders and masterminds.
Meaning: If a person or a thing is called ‘small-time’ it means they’re inconsequential, not worth much, don’t play in the ‘big leagues’, as in ‘a small-time operator’.
160. Smart Alec
Meaning: A smart Alec is a conceited person who likes to show off how clever and knowledgeable they are.
161. Smart as a whip
Meaning: A person who is smart as a whip is very clever.
162. Smarty pants
Meaning: A smarty pants is someone who displays the intelligence in an annoying way.
163. Smell a rat
Meaning: If you smell a rat, you know instinctively that something is wrong or that someone is lying to you.
164. Smoke and mirrors
Meaning: An attempt to conceal something is smoke and mirrors.
165. Smoke like a chimney
Meaning: Someone who smokes very heavily smokes like a chimney.
166. Smoke the peace pipe
Meaning: If people smoke the peace pipe, they stop arguing and fighting.
167. Smokestack industry
Meaning: Heavy industries like iron and steel production, especially if they produce a lot of pollution, are smokestack industries.
168. Smoking gun
Meaning: A smoking gun is definitive proof of someone’s guilt.
169. Smooth as a baby’s bottom
Meaning: If something is smooth as a baby’s bottom, it has a regular, flat surface.
170. Smooth sailing
Meaning: If something is smooth sailing, then you can progress without difficulty. (‘Plain sailing’ is an also used.)
171. Snake in the grass
Meaning: Someone who is a snake in the grass betrays you even though you have trusted them.
172. Snake oil
Meaning: Advice or medicine which is of no use.
173. Snake oil salesperson
Meaning: A person who promotes something that doesn’t work, is selling snake oil.
174. Snug as a bug in a rug
Meaning: If you’re as snug as a bug in a rug, you are feeling very comfortable indeed.
175. So it goes
Meaning: This idiom is used to be fatalistic and accepting when something goes wrong.
176. So on and so forth
Meaning: And so on and so forth mean the same as etcetera (etc.).
177. Sod’s law
Meaning: Sod’s law states that if something can go wrong then it will.
178. Soft soap someone
Meaning: If you soft soap someone, you flatter them.
179. Some other time
Meaning: If somebody says they’ll do something some other time, they mean at some indefinite time in the future, possibly never, but they certainly don’t want to feel obliged to fix a specific time or date.
180. Something nasty in the woodshed
Meaning: Something nasty in the woodshed means that someone as a dark secret or an unpleasant experience in their past.
181. Sound as a bell
Meaning: If something or someone is as sound as a bell, they are very healthy or in very good condition.
182. Sound as a pound
Meaning: If something is as sound as a pound, it is very good or reliable.
183. Sour grapes
Meaning: When someone says something critical or negative because they are jealous, it is a case of sour grapes.
184. Sow the seeds
Meaning: When people sow the seeds, they start something that will have a much greater impact in the future.
185. Sow your wild oats
Meaning: If a young man sows his wild oats, he has a period of his life when he does a lot of exciting things and has a lot of sexual relationships. for e.g. He’d spent his twenties sowing his wild oats but felt that it was time to settle down.
186. Spanish practices
Meaning: Unauthorized working methods that benefit those who follow them are Spanish practices.
187. Spanner in the works
Meaning: If someone puts or throws a spanner in the works, they ruin a plan. In American English, ‘wrench’ is used instead of ‘spanner’.
188. Spare the rod and spoil the child
Meaning: This means that if you don’t discipline children, they will become spoilt.
189. Speak of the devil!
Meaning: If you are talking about someone and they happen to walk in, you can use this idiom as a way of letting them know you were talking about them.
190. Speak to the organ grinder not the monkey
Meaning: Talk to the boss not the subordinate
191. Speak volumes
Meaning: If something speaks volumes, it tells us a lot about the real nature of something or someone,even though it may only be a small detail.
192. Speak with a forked tongue
Meaning: To say one thing and mean another, to lie, to be two-faced
193. Spend a penny
Meaning: This is a euphemistic idiom meaning to go to the toilet.
194. Spend like a sailor
Meaning: Someone who spends their money wildly spends like a sailor.
195. Spice of life
Meaning: The spice of life is something that makes it feel worth living.
196. Spick and span
Meaning: If a room is spick and span, it is very clean and tidy.
197. Spill the beans
Meaning: If you spill the beans, you reveal a secret or confess to something.
198. Spin a yarn
Meaning: If someone spins a yarn, they tell a story, usually a long or fanciful one.
199. Spinning a line
Meaning: When someone spins you a line, they are trying to deceive you by lying.
200. Spinning a yarn
Meaning: When someone spins you a yarn, they are trying to deceive you by lying.
201. Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak
Meaning: If the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, someone lacks the willpower to change things they do because they derive too much pleasure from them.
202. Spirit of the law
Meaning: The spirit of the law is the idea or ideas that the people who made the law wanted to have effect.
203. Spit blood
Meaning: If someone is spitting blood, they are absolutely furious.
204. Spit it out
Meaning: People say this when someone has something to say but is too embarrassed, shy, etc, to say it.
205. Spit the dummy
Meaning: Reference to an infant spitting out their dummy (or pacifier) in order to cry. ‘To spit the dummy’ is to give up.
206. Spitting image
Meaning: If a person is the spitting image of somebody, they look exactly alike.(‘Spit and image’ is also used and some suggest it is a hasty pronunciation of “spirit & image”, to suggest that someone completely resembles someone else. Example: He’s the spirit & image of his grandfather.)
207. Split hairs
Meaning: If people split hairs, they concentrate on tiny and unimportant details to find fault with something.
208. Split the blanket
Meaning: If people split the blanket, it means they get a divorce or end their relationship.
209. Spoil the ship for a ha’pworth of tar
Meaning: If someone spoils the ship for a ha’pworth (halfpenny’s worth) of tar, they spoil something completely by trying to make a small economy.
210. Spot on
Meaning: If something is spot on, it is exactly right.
211. Sprat to catch a mackerel
Meaning: If you use a sprat to catch a mackerel, you make a small expenditure or take a small risk in the hope of a much greater gain.
212. Spring to mind
Meaning: If something springs to mind, it appears suddenly and unexpectedly in your thoughts.
213. Spur of the moment
Meaning: If you do something on the spur of the moment, you do it because you felt like it at that time, without any planning or preparation.
214. Sputnik moment
Meaning: A Sputnik moment is a point where people realize that they are threatened of challenged and have to redouble their efforts to catch up. It comes from the time when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, the Sputnik 1, and beat the USA into space.
215. Square meal
Meaning: A square meal is a substantial or filling meal.
216. Square Mile
Meaning: The Square Mile is the City, the financial area of London.
217. Square peg in a round hole
Meaning: If somebody’s in a situation, organization, etc, where they don’t fit in and feel out of place, they are a square peg in a round hole.
218. Square the circle
Meaning: When someone is squaring the circle, they are trying to do something impossible.
219. Squared away
Meaning: Being prepared or ready for business or tasks at hand. Having the proper knowledge, skill and equipment to handle your assignment or station. ‘He is a great addition to the squad; he is squared away.’
220. Squeaky clean
Meaning: If something is squeaky clean, it is very clean indeed- spotless. If a person is squeaky clean, they have no criminal record and are not suspected of illegal or immoral activities.
221. Squeaky wheel gets the grease
Meaning: When people say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, they mean that the person who complains or protests the loudest attracts attention and service.
222. Squeeze blood out of a turnip
Meaning: When people say that you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, it means that you cannot get something from a person, especially money, that they don’t have.
223. Stalking horse
Meaning: A stalking horse is a strategy or something used to conceal your intentions. It is often used where someone put themselves forwards as a candidate to divide opponents or to hide the real candidate.
224. Stand in good stead
Meaning: If something will stand you in good stead, it will probably be advantageous in the future.
225. Stars and stripes
Meaning: The stars and stripes is the American flag.
226. Stars in your eyes
Meaning: Someone who dreams of being famous has stars in their eyes.
227. Start from scratch
Meaning: When you start something from scratch, you start at the very beginning.
228. State of the art
Meaning: If something is state of the art, it is the most up-to-date model incorporating the latest and best technology.
229. Status quo
Meaning: Someone who wants to preserve the status quo wants a particular situation to remain unchanged.
230. Steal a march
Meaning: This expression indicates the stealthiness of a person over another to gain advantage of the situation. For instance, if two persons are offered some jobs which are vacant, they resolve to go together next day at an agreed time, but one of them, without telling the other, goes earlier than the other and secures the better of the two jobs, he is said to steal a march on the other person.
231. Steal someone’s thunder
Meaning: If someone steals your thunder, they take the credit and praise for something you did.
232. Steer clear of
Meaning: If you steer clear of something, you avoid it.
233. Stem the tide
Meaning: If people try to stem the tide, they are trying to stop something unpleasant from getting worse, usually when they don’t succeed.
234. Step on it
Meaning: This idiom is a way of telling someone to hurry up or to go faster.
235. Step on someone’s toes
Meaning: If you step on someone’s toes, you upset them, especially if you do something that they should be in charge of.
236. Step up to the plate
Meaning: If someone steps up to the plate, they take on or accept a challenge or a responsibility.
237. Stew in your own juices
Meaning: If you leave someone to stew in their own juices, you leave them to worry about the consequences of what they have done wrong or badly.
238. Stick in your craw
Meaning: If someone or something really annoys you, it is said to stick in your craw.
239. Stick out like a sore thumb
Meaning: If something sticks or stands out like a sore thumb, it is clearly and obviously different from the things that are around it.
240. Stick to your guns
Meaning: If you stick to your guns, you keep your position even though people attack or criticize you.
241. Stick your neck out
Meaning: If you stick you neck out, you take a risk because you believe in something.
Meaning: A stick-in-the-mud is someone who doesn’t like change and wants things to stay the same.
243. Sticking point
Meaning: A sticking point is a controversial issue that blocks progress in negotiations, etc, where compromise is unlikely or impossible.
244. Sticky end
Meaning: If someone comes to a sticky end, they die in an unpleasant way. (‘Meet a sticky end’ is also used.)
245. Sticky fingers
Meaning: The tendency to keep (or steal) an object you touch. Also, to steal something quickly without anyone noticing. (ex: ‘You stole that guy’s wallet? You have some sticky fingers, my friend.’)
246. Sticky wicket
Meaning: If you are on a sticky wicket, you are in a difficult situation.
247. Stiff as a poker
Meaning: Something or someone that is stiff as a poker is inflexible. (‘Stiff as a board’ is also used.)
248. Stiff upper lip
Meaning: If you keep your emotions to yourself and don’t let others know how you feel when something bad happens, you keep a stiff upper lip.
Meaning: A stiff-necked person is rather formal and finds it hard to relax in company.
250. Still in the game
Meaning: If someone is still in the game, they may be having troubles competing, but they are not yet finished and may come back.
251. Still waters run deep
Meaning: People use this idiom to imply that people who are quiet and don’t try to attract attention are often more interesting than people who do try to get attention.
252. Stir the blood
Meaning: If something stirs your blood, it arouses feelings or passions,.
253. Stitch in time saves nine
Meaning: A stitch in time saves nine means that if a job needs doing it is better to do it now, because it will only get worse, like a hole in clothes that requires stitching.
254. Stone dead
Meaning: This idiom is a way of emphasizing that there were absolutely no signs of life or movement.
255. Stone deaf
Meaning: Someone who is stone deaf is completely deaf.
256. Stone’s throw
Meaning: If a place is a stone’s throw from where you are, it is a very short distance away.
257. Stool pigeon
Meaning: A stool pigeon is a police informer.
258. Stop cold
Meaning: To stop suddenly out of surprise.
259. Storm in a teacup
Meaning: If someone exaggerates a problem or makes a small problem seem far greater than it really is, then they are making a storm in a teacup.
260. Straight face
Meaning: If someone keeps a straight face, they remain serious and do not show emotion or amusement.
261. Straight from the shoulder
Meaning: If someone talks straight from the shoulder, they talk honestly and plainly.
262. Strain every nerve
Meaning: If you strain every nerve, you make a great effort to achieve something.
263. Strange at the best of times
Meaning: To describe someone or something as really weird or unpleasant in a mild way.
264. Straw man
Meaning: A straw man is a weak argument that is easily defeated. It can also be a person who is used as to give an illegal or inappropriate activity an appearance of respectability.
265. Straw poll
Meaning: A straw poll is a small unofficial survey or ballot to find out what people think about an issue.
266. Straw that broke the camel’s back
Meaning: The straw that broke the camel’s back is the problem that made you lose your temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something.
267. Streets ahead
Meaning: If people are streets ahead of their rivals, they are a long way in front.
268. Strike a chord
Meaning: If strikes a chord, it is familiar to you, reminds you of something or is connected to you somehow.
269. Strike while the iron is hot
Meaning: If you strike while the iron is hot you do something when things are going well for you and you have a good chance to succeed.
270. Stroll down memory lane
Meaning: If you take a stroll down memory lane, you talk about the past or revisit places that were important to you in the past. (You can also ‘take a trip down memory lane’.)
271. Strong as an ox
Meaning: Someone who’s exceedingly strong physically is said to be as strong as an ox.
272. Stubborn as a mule
Meaning: Someone who will not listen to other people’s advice and won’t change their way of doing things is as stubborn as a mule.
273. Stuffed to the gills
Meaning:If someone is stuffed to the gills, they have eaten a lot and are very full.
274. Succeed in the clutch
Meaning: If you succeed in the clutch, you perform at a crucial time; it is particularly used in sports for the decisive moments of the game. The opposite is ‘fail in the clutch.’
275. Suck hind teat
Meaning: A person who sucks hind teat is at a disadvantage or considered worse or less important that others.
276. Sunday driver
Meaning: A Sunday driver drives very slowly and makes unexpected manoeuvres.
277. Sure as eggs is eggs
Meaning: These means absolutely certain, and we do say ‘is’ even though it is grammatically wrong.
Meaning: If something is sure-fire, it is certain to succeed. (‘Surefire’ is also used.)
Meaning: A person’s swansong is their final achievement or public appearance.
280. Swear like a sailor
Meaning: Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a sailor.
281. Swear like a trooper
Meaning: Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a trooper.
282. Sweat blood
Meaning: If you sweat blood, you make an extraordinary effort to achieve something.
283. Sweat like a pig
Meaning: If someone is sweating like a pig, they are perspiring (sweating) a lot.
284. Sweep off your feet
Meaning: If you are swept off your feet, you lose control emotionally when you fall in love or are really impressed.
285. Sweep things under the carpet
Meaning: If people try to ignore unpleasant things and forget about them, they sweep them under the carpet.
286. Sweet as a gumdrop
Meaning: This means that something or someone is very nice or pretty.
287. Sweet tooth
Meaning: If you have a sweet tooth, you like eating food with sugar in it.
288. Swim against the tide
Meaning: If you swim against the tide, you try to do something that is very difficult because there is a lot of opposition to you. (‘Go against the tide’ is an alternative form.)
289. Swim with the fishes
Meaning: If someone is swimming with the fishes, they are dead, especially if they have been murdered. ‘Sleep with the fishes’ is an alternative form.
290. Swim with the tide
Meaning: If you swim with the tide, you do the same as people around you and accept the general consensus. (‘Go with the tide’ is an alternative form.)
Meaning: If things are going swimmingly, they are going very well.
292. Swing the lead
Meaning: If you swing the lead, you pretend to be ill or do not do your share of the work.
293. Swinging door
Meaning: This idiom refers to something or someone that can go in two conflicting or opposite directions.
294. Swings and roundabouts
Meaning: If something’s swings and roundabouts, it has about as many disadvantages as it has advantages.
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