against one’s better judgement

If you do something even though you think it is not a sensible thing to do, you do it against your better judgement.
“Bob persuaded her to go by car, against her better judgement, and she regretted it as soon as she saw the heavy traffic.”

at the back of your mind

Something at the back of your mind is something that you are not thinking about right now but is in your thoughts.
At the back of my mind is the fear of failing the exam.”

change your mind

If you change your mind you change your original opinion, plan or decision.
“At first I intended to rent a car, but then I changed my mind and decided to use public transport.”

(have) a mind of your own

If you have a mind of your own, you are capable of forming an opinion and making decisions without being influenced by others.
“The boy doesn’t need any advice; he’s got a mind of his own.”

(have) something in mind

If you have someone or something in mind, you have a plan or intention concerning them.
“The boss has Julie in mind for the job. He thinks she’s got the right qualifications.”

(have) something on your mind

If you have someone or something on your mind, you think a lot about it, to the point of being troubled or preoccupied.
“You look worried. Have you got something on your mind?”

by no stretch of the imagination

The expression ‘by no stretch of the imagination’ means ‘however hard you may try to believe or imagine it’.
By no stretch of the imagination could he be called handsome.”

(have a) bee in one’s bonnet

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

(live/be in) cloud cuckoo land

‘Cloud cuckoo land’ refers to an imaginary unrealistic place where everything is perfect and impossible things can happen.
“Anyone who thinks these measures are going to solve the crisis is living in cloud cuckoocland!”

(a) figment of one’s imagination

A figment of one’s imagination is an appearance, event or incident that is not considered to be real but only imaginary.
“Other people saw the car, so it’s not a figment of my imagination!”

(a) flight of fancy

To refer to an idea or plan as a flight of fancy means that it is very imaginative but not at all practical or sensible.
“Jimmy often has good ideas but his latest proposal is just a flight of fancy!”

(be) all in your head

If something is all in your head, it is not real. It is in your imagination.
“Don’t be silly. Nobody is trying to harm you. It’s all in your head!”

(a) harebrained idea

A harebrained idea is an idea or suggestion that is considered to be silly, foolish or totally impractical.
“We’ll never make any progress if you have nothing but harebrained ideas to offer!”

toy with the idea

If you consider something without giving it serious thought, you toy with the idea.
“Sally has often toyed with the idea of moving abroad, but she’s still here!”

(have a) light bulb moment

A light bulb moment is when you have a sudden moment of inspiration, comprehension or realisation.
“Harry had a light-bulb moment when he finally realised what was blocking the mechanism.”

lose your train of thought

If you forget what you were saying, for example after a disturbance or interruption, you lose your train of thought.
“Now where was I? I’m afraid I’ve lost my train of thought.”

bear/keep in mind

If you bear or keep something in mind, you remember it.
Bear in mind that no food will be served on board.”

bring to mind

If a place, person or object brings (something) to mind, it causes you to think of someone or something, or it evokes a memory.
“This place brings to mind the small town where I grew up.”

broadens the mind

Something that broadens the mind helps you understand more about different subjects, people, ideas and places.
“It is often said that travel broadens the mind.”

change your mind

If you change your mind you change your decision.
“I was going to go sailing but I changed my mind when I saw the weather.”

cross your mind

If an idea or thought crosses your mind, you suddenly think of it.
“It has just crossed my mind that the shops are closed today.”

mind over matter

The mental power to influence one’s body and overcome physical difficulties is said to be a question of mind over matter.
“He know he could not be cured, but he managed to live until the baby was born – a case of mind over matter.”

a mind of your own

If you have a mind of your own, you are capable of forming an opinion and making decisions without being influenced by others.
“The boy doesn’t need any advice; he’s got a mind of his own.”

your mind goes blank

If your mind goes blank, you forget everything momentarily or you are unable to think clearly.
“I was so nervous during the test that my mind went blank!”

one-track mind

Someone who has a one-track mind, has a tendency to think about only one subject.
“The boy has a one-track mind; all he thinks about is football!”

take your mind off (something)

If an activity takes your mind off something that is worrying you, it helps you to stop thinking about it for a while.
“Sarah was worrying about the result of the test so Tom took her to the cinema to take her mind off it.”

set great store by (something)

When you think that something is very important or valuable, you set great store by it.
“The company sets great store by its after-sales service.”

think again

If you tell someone to think again, you advise them to reconsider the situation and perhaps change their decision.
“Your apartment is very well located; you should think again before selling it.”

think better of it

If you think better of something, you decide not to do something that you intended to do.
“I wanted to go shopping, but when I saw the crowded car park I thought better of it.”

think on your feet

A person who thinks on their feet is capable of adjusting rapidly to new developments and making quick decisions.
“Good lawyers need to be able to think on their feet when pleading a case.”

think outside the box

People who think outside the box try to find innovative ideas or solutions.
“Our competitors are more creative than us – they really think outside the box!”

think the sun rises and sets on someone

If you consider someone to be the most wonderful person in the world, you think the sun rises and sets on them.
“Mary adores her husband – she thinks the sun rises and sets on him!”

think the world of (someone)

If you think the world of someone, you like or admire them very much.
“She’s a wonderful grandmother – the children think the world of her.”

(a) penny for your thoughts

This expression is used to ask someone what they are thinking about.
“You look pensive. A penny for your thoughts.”

perish the thought

The expression ‘perish the thought’ is used when the speaker really hopes that something will not happen.
“If I lost my job, perish the thought, I don’t know how we’d survive.”

(a) shot in the dark

To refer to a question or statement as a shot in the dark means that it is a complete guess, but at the same time it might be close to the truth.
“He didn’t know which players had been selected, so mentioning Carter’s name was just a shot in the dark..”

(a) train of thought

A sequence of connected ideas is called a train of thought.
“I was considering the different options when the noise outside broke my train of thought.”

out of sight, out of mind

The expression ‘out of sight, out of mind’ means to forget someone you don’t see frequently.
“As soon as Jimmy retired he was forgotten by his colleagues. Out of sight, out of mind!”

(a) voice in the wilderness

If you are the only person to express a warning or an opinion on a matter which is ignored by most others, you are a voice in the wilderness.
“For many years she was a voice in the wilderness protesting against child labour.”


A person who is wool-gathering is daydreaming and not concentrating on what his happening; their thoughts are elsewhere.
“Justin spent the whole afternoon wool-gathering. He must be in love!”

in a world of your own

If you are in a world of your own, you are so concentrated on your own concerns that you are unaware of what is happening around you.
“Dad’s out there in the garden in a world of how own.”