Idioms And Phrases - 1

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Above all (more than anything else)
He is above all an honest worker.

Above board (open, beyond suspicion)
His dealings are always fair and above board.

To add fuel to the fire (to make matters worse)
My father was angry with me about my result. 
My request for pocket money added fuel to the fire of his anger.

To be after (to want, to try, to get something)
What are you after now?


After all (whatever else may be said against him)
You must help him, after all he is your friend.

All but (nearly, almost)
He had all but won the race when he slipped and fell down.

To drop or cast anchor (to make secure to stop)
After a stormy voyage the ship cast anchor at Mumbai.

To weigh anchor, (to start, to sail)
The ship weighed anchor for Kolkata at 6 a.m.

At best (at the most generous estimate)
Our new servant is at best a poor substitute for your earlier one.

At a stretch (continuously)
He cannot work for four hours at a stretch.

At bay (on the defensive)
Our dog kept the thieves at bay till we got up.

At all costs or at any cost (no matter what the cost)
The rich lady was determined to have the diamond necklace at all costs.

At all events (whatever may happen)
I must reach my destination at all events.

At a loss (unable to understand)
I am at a loss why my brother has not come as yet.

At arm’s length (at a distance)
We must keep dishonest people at arm’s length.

At daggers drawn (at enmity)
Russia and China are now-a-days at daggers drawn with each other.

At death’s door (at the point of death, close to death)
When the patient was at death’s door, his near relatives began to cry.

At heart (in his true self)
He speaks bluntly, but is at heart a very sympathetic person.

At home (comfortable, welcome)
I felt quite at home in my new surroundings.

At one’s best (showing one’s best)
He is at his best only among his admirers.

At large (free, not confined)
The robbers are still at large.

At random (without any aim or order)
The robbers fired several shots at random, and escaped.

At stake (in serious danger)
My honour was at stake; so I resigned.

At length, (in detail)
He explained the case to me at length.

At sea (confused)
He is quite at sea; he does not know what to do next.

To have no backbone (to lack strength of character)
Many of our leaders have no backbone; they do not enjoy the trust and confidence of the people.