American Idioms and Expressions

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This 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. .

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Jump on the bandwagon
What does "Jump on the bandwagon" mean?
Do what everybody else is doing, whatever is popular. When the Chicago Bears are winning, I will jump on the bandwagon and be a fan.

Old time political campaigns would attempt to gain supporters with what amounted to a small parade including a band for a candidate with sufficient support. Jumping on the bandwagon was akin to providing your support for this popular candidate.
jump all over someone
What does "jump all over someone" mean?
severely criticize / find fault with someone.A: "What's wrong with Joe?"B: "He's feeling bad because his boss jumped all over him thismorning."

jump the gun
What does "jump the gun" mean?
do something before it's time to do it.A: "How did Marsha know about the party? It wassupposed to be a surprise."

jump to conclusions
What does "jump to conclusions" mean?
decide something too quickly and without thinking about it or
considering all the facts.
A: "Angela just doesn't like me. She won't even sayhello."B: "You're jumping to conclusions. Actually, she's very shy."

junk mail
What does "junk mail" mean?
unsolicited mail (usually advertisements for something you're not interested in)."I didn't have any letters today--only junkmail."

jack up (something)
What does "jack up (something)" mean?
raise prices, raise something with a lifting deviceThe gas station jacked up their prices during the snow storm.

jam on the brakes
What does "jam on the brakes " mean?
quickly put the brakes on in a car to stopHe jammed on the brakes and was able to avoid hitting the child.

jam-packed
What does "jam-packed" mean?
crowded, fullThe train that we took this morning was jam-packed with people.

Jekyll and Hyde
What does "Jekyll and Hyde" mean?
someone with both an evil and a good personalityMy co-worker is like Jekyll and Hyde. One minute he is very friendly but the next minute he is angry.

jockey for position
What does "jockey for position" mean?
try to push one's way into an advantageous positionSeveral of the salesmen began to jockey for position when they learned that the director of sales was leaving.

jog (someone's) memory
What does "jog (someone's) memory" mean?
stimulate someone's memory to recall somethingThe questions that the police officer asked helped to jog the man's memory.

John Doe
What does "John Doe" mean?
a name used for an unknown/average personThe application forms use the name "John Doe" as the name of a person who is applying for something.

John Henry/John Hancock
What does "John Henry/John Hancock" mean?
one's signature"Please sign your John Henry here and we will process your order right away."

Johnny-come-lately
What does "Johnny-come-lately" mean?
a new-comerHe`s a Johnny-come-lately and doesn`t really know what he is talking about.

Johnny-on-the-spot
What does "Johnny-on-the-spot" mean?
someone who is at the right place when needed or is right on timeHe is always Johnny-on-the-spot. Just when we need him he arrives.

join forces (with someone)
What does "join forces (with someone)" mean?
unite/join with someoneThe two high schools joined forces to try and raise money for the city library expansion.

join hands
What does "join hands" mean?
hold hands with other peopleEverybody in the group joined hands at the end of the meeting.

Join the club!
What does "Join the club!" mean?
an expression used when the other person is in the same situation (usually bad) as the speaker"Join the club. None of us have enough money to go on a holiday."

join the fray
What does "join the fray" mean?
join a fight or argumentI did not want to join the fray and argue with the other members of the group.

jolt to a stop
What does "jolt to a stop" mean?
stop moving suddenly which causes a joltThe train jolted to a stop when the engineer put the brakes on.

judge (someone or something) on its own merits
What does "judge (someone or something) on its own merits" mean?
judge or evaluate someone or something on its own good points and achievementsOur company always judges each employee on his or her own merits.

judging by (something)
What does "judging by (something)" mean?
considering somethingJudging by the weather, I don't think that we will be able to go to the festival today.

jump all over (someone)
What does "jump all over (someone)" mean?
criticize/scold/blame someoneAs soon as I began to talk about my plans for the summer my boss jumped all over me.

jump at (something)
What does "jump at (something)" mean?
seize the opportunity to do somethingHe jumped at the chance to go to France on company business.

jump bail
What does "jump bail" mean?
run away and fail to come to trial and therefore give up the money that you have already paid to the courtThe man jumped bail and went to live in a foreign country.

jump down (someone`s) throat
What does "jump down (someone`s) throat" mean?
criticize or become angry with someoneAs soon as I reached the office my boss jumped down my throat over the missing file.

jump on (someone)
What does "jump on (someone)" mean?
scold/criticize/blame someoneEverybody jumped on the supervisor because they were angry about the new schedules.

jump/climb/get on the bandwagon
What does "jump/climb/get on the bandwagon" mean?
join a popular activity/campaignEverybody jumped on the bandwagon to try and stop smoking in the workplace.

jump out of one`s skin
What does "jump out of one`s skin" mean?
be badly frightenedI nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the man at the window.

jump the gun
What does "jump the gun" mean?
start before you shouldHe jumped the gun and started selling the tickets before he should have.

jump the track
What does "jump the track" mean?
jump off the rails, change suddenly from one thing to anotherThe train jumped the track near the edge of the town.

jump through a hoop
What does "jump through a hoop" mean?
do whatever one is told to do, obey any orderHe is always ready to jump through a hoop for his boss so he is not very popular with the other employees.

jump to conclusions
What does "jump to conclusions" mean?
make a quick conclusion without thinking about it"Please don`t jump to conclusions over who broke the computer."

jumping-off place/point
What does "jumping-off place/point" mean?
the starting place of a long trip, start of somethingWe gathered early in the morning at the jumping-off place for our hike to the mountains.

just about
What does "just about" mean?
nearly, almostI waited just about one hour before the concert started.

just in case (something happens)
What does "just in case (something happens)" mean?
if something happensI plan to take my umbrella just in case it rains today.

just now
What does "just now" mean?
this very moment, almost at this momentThe accident happened just now. The police haven`t even arrived yet.

just one of those things
What does "just one of those things" mean?
something that you really can't do anything aboutThe fact that I failed the driver's test was just one of those things and there is nothing that I can do about it.

just so
What does "just so" mean?
done with great care, done very carefullyShe always makes sure that her hair is just so before she goes out.

just the same
What does "just the same" mean?
neverthelessI told her not to come early but just the same she came early anyway.

join hands
What does "join hands" mean?
to hold hands so that one person is holding the hands of another personAll of the children joined hands as they crossed the road.

joined at the hip
What does "joined at the hip" mean?
two people spend all their time togetherThe two boys are joined at the hip and never spend any time apart.

jump down (someone`s) throat
What does "jump down (someone`s) throat" mean?
suddenly become very angry at someoneThe man's wife jumped down his throat when he came home late for the third day in a row.

jump out of one`s skin
What does "jump out of one`s skin" mean?
be badly frightened, be very surprisedI almost jumped out of my skin when I saw my boyfriend at the movie theater with another girl.

jack up the price of (something)
What does "jack up the price of (something)" mean?
to make a price higherThe steel company decided to jack up the price of steel at the beginning of the year.

judge (someone or something) on its/their own merit(s)
What does "judge (someone or something) on its/their own merit(s)" mean?
judge or evaluate someone or something on their own achievements and virtuesWe judged the man on his own merits and not by what other people were saying about him.

jump to conclusions
What does "jump to conclusions" mean?
judge or decide something without having all the factsThe manager had jumped to conclusions when she accused the employee of stealing from the company.

JP
What does "JP" mean?
Justice of the Peace Justice of the PeaceThey went to a JP when they decided to get married.

jump bail
What does "jump bail" mean?
fail to appear in court and therefore give up the money that you paid for bailThe criminal jumped bail and went to another city to hide.

just what the doctor ordered
What does "just what the doctor ordered" mean?
exactly what is needed or wantedA nice hot bath was just what the doctor ordered after the long day at work.

jack up (the price)
What does "jack up (the price)" mean?
to raise the price of somethingThe store jacked up the prices of their summer stock at the beginning of the summer.

jockey for position
What does "jockey for position" mean?
try to put yourself in a better position at the expense of others (as a jockey would do in a horse race) try to put yourself in a better position at the expense of others (as a jockey would do in a horse race)The salesmen started to jockey for position as soon as they learned that the sales manager was leaving the company.

jump the gun
What does "jump the gun" mean?
start before the starting signal or before you should start (as in a race) start before the starting signal or before you should start (as in a race)My friend jumped the gun and applied for the job before applications were being accepted.

jump out of the frying pan and into the fire
What does "jump out of the frying pan and into the fire" mean?
to leave one dangerous or bad situation for a situation that is worseMy friend jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. He changed jobs and had more problems in his new job than in his old one.

just what the doctor ordered
What does "just what the doctor ordered" mean?
something that is good for someone to have or to doThe holiday was just what the doctor ordered and the employee returned to work energetic and refreshed.

jack
What does "jack" mean?
Jack Daniel's whiskey. Give me a glass of jack, straight.

jack
What does "jack" mean?
steal a car with a driver or passenger in it. My car got jacked but at least I'm all right.

jack around
What does "jack around" mean?
mess around; do little or nothing; waste time

jack off
What does "jack off" mean?
waste time or energy; do little or nothing

jack off
What does "jack off" mean?
masturbate (men only)

jack off
What does "jack off" mean?
masturbate (said of men)

jack up
What does "jack up" mean?
motivate or stimulate somebody or something

jack up
What does "jack up" mean?
raise the price of something

jacked
What does "jacked" mean?
damaged; injured; harmed; messed up

jacked up
What does "jacked up" mean?
aroused, excited

jacked up
What does "jacked up" mean?
upset; distressed

jacknife
What does "jacknife" mean?
fold in; fold in half (said of a tractor-trailer that forms a "V" shape after a collision)

jackshit
What does "jackshit" mean?
nothing; nothing at all

Jag
What does "Jag" mean?
Jaguar car

jam
What does "jam" mean?
problem; difficulty

jam
What does "jam" mean?
play musical instruments together in an improvisational style

jammed up
What does "jammed up" mean?
in difficulty; in trouble

jammed up
What does "jammed up" mean?
stuffed with food; constipated

jamming
What does "jamming" mean?
very good; excellent; outstanding

jaw
What does "jaw" mean?
chat; talk nonsense

jay
What does "jay" mean?
marijuana cigarette

jazz up
What does "jazz up" mean?
make somebody or something more interesting or sexually appealing

jazzed
What does "jazzed" mean?
excited; in a good frame of mind

jazzed up
What does "jazzed up" mean?
excited; in a good frame of mind

jazzy
What does "jazzy" mean?
appealing; enticing

jerk
What does "jerk" mean?
dumb, unappealing person

jerk around
What does "jerk around" mean?
harass or waste somebody's time

jerk off
What does "jerk off" mean?
waste time or energy; do little or nothing

jerk off
What does "jerk off" mean?
masturbate (men only)

jerk off
What does "jerk off" mean?
masturbate (said of men)

jerry-rigged
What does "jerry-rigged" mean?
temporary and inefficient (solution to a problem)

jive
What does "jive" mean?
inaccurate; deceptive; flashy but meaningless

jive
What does "jive" mean?
lie; lies, nonsense

jive
What does "jive" mean?
retort; back talk

jive
What does "jive" mean?
drugs

jive talk
What does "jive talk" mean?
slang; currently popular words and phrases

jive turkey
What does "jive turkey" mean?
dumb personYou're such a jive turkey, John. You couldn't have messed up more!

jive-ass
What does "jive-ass" mean?
nonsensical

jock
What does "jock" mean?
athlete; athletic supporter (clothing)

Joe Six-Pack
What does "Joe Six-Pack" mean?
ordinary man (typically one who sits in front of the television and drinks beer)

joggers
What does "joggers" mean?
jogging shoes; running shoes; sneakers

john
What does "john" mean?
customer of a prostitute

john
What does "john" mean?
toilet; bathroom; restroom

John Wayne
What does "John Wayne" mean?
try to be a hero; be heroic; ham it up for the media

joint
What does "joint" mean?
prison; jail

joint
What does "joint" mean?
marijuana cigarette

joint
What does "joint" mean?
bar; tavern; grill

joint
What does "joint" mean?
low-quality place for food or drink

jonesing
What does "jonesing" mean?
need for drugs; need for anything in particular. He was jonesing for some smack.

juice
What does "juice" mean?
electricity; power

juice
What does "juice" mean?
interest paid to organized crime on a loan

jump
What does "jump" mean?
physically attack or assault somebody

jump
What does "jump" mean?
have sex with somebody

jump in a lake
What does "jump in a lake" mean?
idiom. leave; get out; go away

jump start
What does "jump start" mean?
starting one car by using power (via jumper cables) from another car

jump street
What does "jump street" mean?
start; beginning; outset (of something)

junk
What does "junk" mean?
drugs (heroin in particular)

junk it
What does "junk it" mean?
discard it; get rid of it

junkie
What does "junkie" mean?
addict

junkie
What does "junkie" mean?
drug user; drug addict

just off the boat
What does "just off the boat" mean?
newly arrived (usually from another country)

Jam on your face
What does "Jam on your face" mean?
If you say that someone has jam on their face, they appear to be caught, embarrassed or found guilty.

Jam tomorrow
What does "Jam tomorrow" mean?
(UK) This idiom is used when people promise good things for the future that will never come.

Jet-black
What does "Jet-black" mean?
To emphasise just how black something is, such as someone's hair, we can call it jet-black.

Jet set
What does "Jet set" mean?
Very wealthy people who travel around the world to attend parties or functions are the jet set.

Jog my memory
What does "Jog my memory" mean?
If you jog someone's memory, you say words that will help someone trying to remember a thought, event, word, phrase, experience, etc.

Jump through hoops
What does "Jump through hoops" mean?
If you are prepared to jump through hoops for someone, you are prepared to make great efforts and sacrifices for them.

Just around the corner
What does "Just around the corner" mean?
If something is just around the corner, then it is expected to happen very soon.

Just coming up to
What does "Just coming up to" mean?
If the time is just coming up to nine o'clock, it means that it will be nine o'clock in a very few seconds. You'll hear them say it on the radio in the morning.

Just for the heck of it
What does "Just for the heck of it" mean?
When someone does something just for the heck of it, they do it without a good reason.

Just for the record
What does "Just for the record" mean?
If something is said to be just for the record, the person is saying it so that people know but does not necessarily agree with or support it.

Jack Frost
What does "Jack Frost" mean?
If everything has frozen in winter, then Jack Frost has visited.

Jane Doe
What does "Jane Doe" mean?
Jane Doe is a name given to an unidentified female who may be party to legal proceedings, or to an unidentified person in hospital, or dead. John Doe is the male equivalent.

Job's comforter
What does "Job's comforter" mean?
Someone who says they want to comfort, but actually discomforts people is a Job's comforter. (Job's is pronounced 'jobes', not 'jobs')

John Q Public
What does "John Q Public" mean?
John Q Public is the typical, average person.

Johnny on the spot
What does "Johnny on the spot" mean?
A person who is always available; ready, willing, and able to do what needs to be done.('Johnny-on-the-spot' is also used.)

Jumping Judas!
What does "Jumping Judas!" mean?
An expression of surprise or shock.

Jump down someone's throat
What does "Jump down someone's throat" mean?
If you jump down someone's throat, you criticise or chastise them severely.

Juggle frogs
What does "Juggle frogs" mean?
If you are juggling frogs, you are trying to do something very difficult.

Jump the shark
What does "Jump the shark" mean?
Said of a salient point in a television show or other activity at which the popularity thereof begins to wane: The Flintstones jumped the shark when a man from outer space came to visit them. The expression derives from an episode of the television sitcom 'Happy Days' in which Fonzie, clad in leather jacket and on water skis, jumps over a shark. That episode was widely seen as the beginning of the end for the formerly popular series.

Jersey justice
What does "Jersey justice" mean?
(UK) Jersey justice is very severe justice.

Judge, jury and executioner
What does "Judge, jury and executioner" mean?
If someone is said to be the judge, jury, and executioner, it means they are in charge of every decision made, and they have the power to be rid of whomever they choose.

Jury's out
What does "Jury's out" mean?
If the jury's out on an issue, then there is no general agreement or consensus on it.

Jungle out there
What does "Jungle out there" mean?
If someone says that it is a jungle out there, they mean that the situation is dangerous and there are no rules.

Just in the nick of time
What does "Just in the nick of time" mean?
If you do something in the nick of time, you just manage to do it just in time, with seconds to spare.

Jobs for the boys
What does "Jobs for the boys" mean?
Where people give jobs, contracts, etc, to their friends and associates, these are jobs for the boys.

join hands
What does "join hands" mean?
to hold hands so that one person is holding the hand of another person The children joined hands as they crossed the road.


joined at the hip
What does "joined at the hip" mean?
two people spending all their time together The two boys are joined at the hip and never spend any time apart.


jump down (someone`s) throat
What does "jump down (someone`s) throat" mean?
to suddenly become very angry at someone The man's wife jumped down his throat when he came home late.


jump out of one`s skin
What does "jump out of one`s skin" mean?
to be badly frightened, to be very surprised I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw my boyfriend at the movie theater with another girl.


jack up the price of (something)
What does "jack up the price of (something)" mean?
to make a price higher The steel company will jack up the price of steel at the beginning of the year.


jump off the shelves
What does "jump off the shelves" mean?
to sell very well The new children's toy is jumping off the shelves.


joker in the pack
What does "joker in the pack" mean?
someone or something that is likely to change a situation in an unexpected way (the joker is one of the cards in a deck of cards that can be used as any card that you want in some games) The small company was almost bankrupt. However, their new product was the joker in the pack that could save their business.


judge (someone) on his or her own merit
What does "judge (someone) on his or her own merit" mean?
to judge or evaluate someone on his or her own achievements and virtues We judged the man on his own merit and not by what people were saying about him.


judge (something) on its own merit
What does "judge (something) on its own merit" mean?
to judge or evaluate something on its own value We judged the business proposal on its own merit.


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