database is a comprehensive collection of all the American idioms and slang available.
American Idioms are many and varied. We hope you enjoy our collection. We are adding more all the time.
|Can't hold a candle to|
What does Can't hold a candle to mean?
|To be far less competent or have far less skills than
someone else.||When it comes to performance, Corvette can't hold a candle to Porsche.|
Before electric lights, someone performing a task in the dark needed a helper to hold a candle to provide light while the task was performed. Much as a helper might hold a flashlight today.
Holding the candle is of course the less challenging role. Someone who is not even qualified to hold the candle is much less competent than the person performing the actual task.
Some Random Idioms
|know where (someone) stands on (something)|
What does "know where (someone) stands on (something)" mean?
| know what someone thinks or feels about someone or something||I do not know where the mayor stands on the issue of the new parking fees.|
|take off one's hat to (someone)|
What does "take off one's hat to (someone)" mean?
| to offer praise for someone's good accomplishments||You have to take off your hat to the person who organized the sporting event.|
|one and only|
What does "one and only" mean?
| the only person that one loves|| the only person that one lovesShe was his one and only and he felt lost when the relationship ended. |
What does "vote down" mean?
| defeat in a vote||The proposal to extend the opening hours of nightclubs was voted down in the election.|
|hang (someone) in effigy|
What does "hang (someone) in effigy" mean?
| hang a dummy of a hated person||The demonstrators hung the dishonest politician in effigy.|
|neck and neck|
What does "neck and neck" mean?
| exactly even in a race or contest||The two horses were running neck and neck at the end of the race.|
What does "kind of" mean?
| moderately, somewhat, more or less||I was kind of tired when I arrived home last night.|
|have an eye for (something)|
What does "have an eye for (something)" mean?
| have good taste in something, be able to judge correctly||She has an eye for nice furniture and her apartment is absolutely beautiful.|
|do (someone's) bidding|
What does "do (someone's) bidding" mean?
| to do what someone else wants||The principal was able to get the head teacher to do his bidding with the other teachers. |
|Down to the wire|
What does "Down to the wire" mean?
|Undecided until the end, at the last minute||We almost missed our flight, it came right down to the wire. The traffic on the way to the airport was horrible and we had to run to our gate.|
This phrase refers to races where the winner is determined by whoever crosses the finish line first. Think of horse racing and foot races. A string is stretched across the finish to help the judges see clearly who crosses first in a close race. That string is called the wire or tape, the winner is the one who breaks the wire first.
The "wire" is actually string, tape, or paper and not a metal wire at all. No need to be concerned about those horses tripping and getting themselves caught in the wire.
What does "days running" mean?
| several days in a row||There were concerts at the auditorium for six days running.|
|have the Midas touch|
What does "have the Midas touch" mean?
| have the ability to make money easily||My uncle has the Midas touch and he makes money at whatever he does.|