nip (something) in the bud

If you nip a problem or an unacceptable situation in the bud, you stop it at an early stage, before it develops or becomes worse.
“He wanted to be a clown, but his parents soon nipped that idea in the bud.”

beat around the bush

The expression beat around the bush is used to tell someone to say what they have to say, clearly and directly, even if it is unpleasant.
“Stop beating around the bush. Just tell me what has been decided!”

old chestnut

A story, joke or an idea that has been repeated so often that it has lost its novelty is referred to as an ‘old chestnut’.
“The story about his boat capsizing has become an old chestnut!”

(as) fresh as a daisy

Someone who is (as) fresh as a daisy is lively and attractive, in a clean and fresh way.
“I met Molly the other day. She looked as fresh as a daisy.”

pushing up the daisies

To say that someone is pushing up the daisies means that they are dead.
“Old Johnny Barnes? He’s been pushing up the daisies for over 10 years!”

lead up the garden path

If someone leads you up the garden path, they deceive you by making you believe something which is not true.
“I still haven’t got the promotion I was promised. I think my boss is leading me up the garden path!”

hit the hay

When you hit the hay (or hit the sack), you go to bed.
“The boys were so exhausted that they hit the hay as soon as they reached the campsite.”

make hay while the sun shines

This expression is used as an encouragement to take advantage of a good situation which may not last.
“Successful athletes are advised to make hay while the sun shines.”

grass roots

The term grass roots refers to the ordinary people who form the main body of an organisation.
“Politicians need to keep in touch with the grass roots of our society.”

(not) let the grass grow under feet

If someone does not let the grass grow under their feet, they do not delay in getting something done.
“As soon as he received the permit, he started to build. He never lets the grass grow under his feet!”

green fingers

To have green fingers means to be good at gardening.
“My dad was born with green fingers. He’s great with plants.”

shake like a leaf

If you shake like a leaf, you tremble with fear or nervousness.
“At the beginning of the interview the candidate was shaking like a leaf.”

turn over a new leaf

If a person turns over a new leaf, they decide to change their behaviour and lead a better life.
“When Ted left prison, he was determined to turn over a new leaf.”

root and branch

If an action is performed thoroughly or completely, it is done ‘root and branch’.
“The causes of the disease must be eliminated root and branch.”

come up roses

If things come up roses, the end result is successful or positive, even if there were difficult times.
“After several disappointments, everything seems to be coming up roses for the tennis player this year.”

sow seeds of suspicion

If someone’s behaviour, or something they say, sows the seeds of suspicion, it leads people to suspect that they are guilty.
“The fact that the boy spent a lot of money after the burglary sowed the seeds of suspicion in the neigbours’ minds.”

sow wild oats

A person, usually a man, who sows their wild oats goes through a period of carefree pleasure-seeking while they are young.
“He was advised to sow his wild oats before he got married.”

grasp at straws

If you are in a desperate situation and you grasp at straws, you try any method, even if it has little chance of success, in an attempt to find a solution.
“In his search for a cure, he turned to a faith healer, knowing that he was grasping at straws.”

thorn in your side

If you say that someone is a thorn in your side, you mean that they continually irritate or annoy you.
“Jane finds her mother-in-law very irritating, a real thorn in her side!”

barking up the wrong tree

A person who is barking up the wrong tree is doing the wrong thing, because their beliefs or ideas are incorrect or mistaken.
“The police are barking up the wrong tree if they think Joey stole the car – he can’t drive!”

can’t see the wood for the trees

If someone can’t see the wood for the trees, they are so concentrated on the details that they can’t see the situation as a whole.
“The new manager found the situation so complicated that he couldn’t see the wood for the trees.”

shrinking violet

A person referred to as a shrinking violet is a timid or shy person.
“The witness was a shrinking violet who had difficulty expressing herself. “

small dog, tall weeds

This expression is used to refer to someone who does not have the ability or the resources necessary to perform a task.
“It may be too difficult for the trainee – small dog, tall weeds!”