below the belt

An action or remark described as below the belt is considered to be unfair or cruel.
“Politicians sometimes use personal information to hit their rivals below the belt.

tighten your belt

If you need to tighten your belt, you must spend less money or be careful how you spend it because there is less available.
“Another bill? I’ll have to tighten my belt this month!”

under your belt

If you have something under your belt, you have acquired experience or have satisfactorily achieved something.
“You’ve got to have some work experience under your belt before you can hope to get a permanent job.”

(have a) bee in one’s bonnet

Someone who has a bee in their bonnet has an idea which constantly occupies their thoughts.
“She’s got a bee in her bonnet about moving to New York.”

die with your boots on

A person who dies with their boots on dies while still leading an active life.
“He says he’ll never retire. He’d rather die with his boots on!”

too big for your boots (or britches)

To say that a person is getting too big for their boots (or britches) means that you think they are behaving as if they were more important than they really are.
“Tom is really getting too big for his boots since he got a promotion – he hardly says hello any more!”

hang up your boots

When a sports player hangs up their boots, they stop playing and retire. (This expression is often used to refer to retirement in general.)
“Dad says he’s going to hang up his boots at the end of the year.”

lick someone’s boots

To say that one person is licking another’s boots means that they are trying to please that person, often in order to obtain something.
“Sam is licking the manager’s boots in the hope of obtaining a pay rise.”

(as) tough as old boots

If something, specially meat, is (as) tough as old boots, it is hard to cut and difficult to chew. (This can also refer to a person who is strong either physically or in character.)
“I was served a steak as tough as old boots.”

buckle down (to something)

If you buckle down to something, you start to work seriously at something and give it your full attention.
“Eva willl have to buckle down (to her revision work) if she wants to pass the exam.”

cap in hand

If you do something cap in hand, you ask for something in a very respectful manner.
“They went to the teacher, cap in hand, and asked for more time to complete their project.”

if the cap fits wear it

You can say ‘if the cap fits, wear it’ to let someone know that the critical remark they have just heard applies to them.
“Are you referring to me?” “If the cap fits, wear it!”

put on your thinking cap

If you tell someone to put on their thinking cap , you ask them to find an idea or solve a problem by thinking about it.
“Now here’s this week’s quiz; it’s time to put on your thinking caps!”

a feather in one’s cap

To describe someone’s achievement as a feather in their cap means that it is something they can be proud of or something that may serve as an advantage.
“The overwhelming victory of the team was a feather in the cap for the new manager.”

pop one’s clogs

This is a euphemistic way of saying that a person is dead.
“Nobody lives in that house since old Roger popped his clogs.”

hot under the collar

If you get hot under the collar, you feel annoyed, indignant or embarrassed.
“If anyone criticizes his proposals, Joe immediately gets hot under the collar.”

off the cuff

If you speak off the cuff, you say something without any previous thought or preparation.
“He handles off-the-cuff interviews very well.”

fit like a glove

If something fits like a glove, it fits you perfectly.
“I was lucky! The first skirt I tried on fitted me like a glove!”

hand in glove

Two or more people who are in collusion, or work in close association, are said to be hand in glove.
“After the match, it was discovered that he was hand in glove with the referee.”

iron fist/hand in a velvet glove

This expression is used to describe someone who, behind an appearance of gentleness, is inflexible and determined.
“To impose the necessary reforms, the leader used persuasion followed by force – an iron fist in a velvet glove.”

handle with kid gloves

If you handle someone with kid gloves, you treat them very carefully or tactfully, either because they are very important or because they are easily upset or offended.
“He’s so determined to obtain her agreement that he is handling her with kid gloves (soft leather made from young goat skin).”

the gloves are off

The expression ‘the gloves are off’  is used when there are signs that a fight is about to start.
“The two candidates are out of their seats. The gloves are off!”

at the drop of a hat

If you do something at the drop of a hat, you do it immediately, without hesitation.
“I’ve got great friends. They’re ready to help out at the drop of a hat.”

keep under one’s hat

To keep something under one’s hat means to keep a secret.
“My boss has promised me a promotion, but it’s not official yet, so keep it under your hat.”

take one’s hat off to

This is said to express admiration for something someone has done.
“I take my hat off to the chef. The meal was wonderful.”

throw / toss one’s hat in the ring

If you throw or toss your hat in the ring, you announce that you are going to enter a competition or take up a challenge.
“He finally threw his hat in the ring and announced that he was going to stand for election.”

wear many hats

Someone who wears many hats has to do many different types of tasks or play a variety of roles.
“Our company is small so the employees need to be flexible and accept to wear many hats.”

get knickers in twist

If you get your knickers in a twist, you are anxious, nervous, or angry when faced with a difficult situation.
“Don’t get  your knickers in a twist! Everything is under control.”

off the peg

Clothes that are bought off the peg are purchased in a standard size in a shop and are not made specially for you.
“He can’t afford to have his suits made to measure, so he buys them off the peg.”

ants in one’s pants

People who have ants in their pants are very restless or excited about something.
“I wish he’d relax. He’s got ants in his pants about something today.”

caught with pants down

If you are caught with your pants down, you are caught doing something bad or forbidden.
“Our neighbours were caught fiddling with the electricity meter – caught with their pants down!”

fly by the seat of your pants

If you fly by the seat of your pants, you do something without any knowledge or experience, using only your instinct and hoping that you will succeed.
“Without any formal training, he decided to fly by the seat of his pants and try his luck in New York.”

have someone in your pocket

If you have influence or power over someone, you have them in your pocket.
“He was declared ‘not guilty’, but everyone knew that he had the jury in his pocket.”

money burns a hole in your pocket

To say that money burns a hole in somebody’s pocket means that they are eager to spend it quickly or extravagantly.
“As soon as Wendy is paid she goes shopping. Money burns a hole in her pocket!”

pocket of resistance

A small group of people you resist change or disagree with a proposal form a pocket of resistance.
“The new boss wants to introduce job-sharing, but there’s a pocket of resistance in the sales department.”

out of your own pocket

If you pay for something out of your own pocket, you cover the cost with your own money.
“”Breakfast is included but you must pay for lunch out of your own pocket.”

suit every pocket

This term refers to the amount of money you are able to spend or the price you can afford.
“The store offers a wide range of computers at prices to suit every pocket.”

deep pockets

A person or organisation who has a lot of money has deep pockets.
“Andy’s business is not doing well at the moment. He says he needs a friend with deep pockets! “

(be) a stuffed shirt

A person who is a stuffed shirt behaves in a very formal, pompous or old-fashioned way .
“I had heard he was a stuffed shirt but he actually has a good sense of humour! “

give the shirt off one’s back

This expression is used to describe a kind-hearted or generous person who would give you anything he/she owns to help you.
“Mike would give the shirt off his back to help a friend in difficulty.”

keep your shirt on

If you tell somebody to keep their shirt on, you are asking them to calm down.
Keep your shirt on Bob. Just give your version of the story!”

(the) shoe is on the other foot

When the circumstances have reversed and one person is now doing what the other did in the past, you can say that the shoe is on the other foot.
“I used to advise my children to eat healthy food. Now my daughter is a nutritionist and the shoe in on the other foot – she advises me!”

if the shoe fits, wear it

This means that if someone feels that critical remark applies to them, then it does.
“I don’t know if the boss was referring to you but if the shoe fits, wear it!

(be) in someone’s shoes

To talk about being in someone’s shoes means to imagine how you would react if you were in a similar situation.
“Tom’s sales have dropped by 30% this month. I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes!”

step into someone’s shoes

If you step into someone’s shoes, you take over a job or position held by someone else before you.
“William has been trained to step into his father’s shoes when he retires.”

where the shoe pinches

When people talk about ‘where the shoe pinches’, they are referring to an area that is often a source of problems or difficulties.
“She’s sure the public transport system works perfectly, but she’ll find out where the shoe pinches when she starts using it!”

on a shoestring

If you do something on a shoestring, you do it with very little money.
“When I was a student I lived on a shoestring.”

an ace (or a card) up one’s sleeve

If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something in reserve with which you can gain an advantage.
“Our new product is an ace up our sleeve.”

laugh up your sleeve

If you laugh up your sleeve, you are secretly amused at another person’s problems or difficulties.
“Tom felt that his demonstration was confusing and that his colleague was laughing up his sleeve.”

roll up your sleeves

When you roll up your sleeves, you get ready for hard work.
“The house was in a mess after the party so we had to roll up our sleeves and start cleaning.”

knock your socks off

If something amazes you, or impresses you greatly, it knocks your socks off.
“The magnitude of the project will knock the socks off everyone in the office.”

swishing (party)

Swishing is the name given to a recent fashion phenomenon – a party organised to swap second hand clothes. Everyone takes along clothes they no longer wear and people can then choose the ones they want.

(a) black tie event

This expression refers to a formal event at which men are required to wear a dinner jacket, or tuxedo, and a black bow tie.
“I need to know if it’s going to be a casual get-together or a black tie event

wear the trousers (or pants)

The partner in a couple who wears the trousers is the one who makes all the important decisions.
“The salesman hesitated before the couple. It was difficult to see who wore the trousers.”