Yuhang He's Blog

Some birds are not meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright.

English Idioms

One way to gauge your nativeness of English is, to some extent, the frequency as well as the accuracy you use idiom in your written English. That’s why I decide to record all idioms I came across here.

  • rub elbows with or rub shoulder with to meet or be with someone socially. e.g. Spending eight years in the White House make Hillary a part of the Democratic firmament, a celebrity who rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful.
  • come to the fore to become preominent or important. e.g. However, as robots operate for longer periods of time in real-world environments, the problem of changing environmental conditions has come to the fore.
  • nothing could be further from the truth: it emphasizes the importance of truth, as its literal meaning. But it is often used for emphasizing that something is not true at all. e.g. Although nothing could be further from the truth, freight railroads have been accused of impeding the nation’s shift from oil to coal by charging exorbitant fees to transport coal.
  • no so much A as B: not A but rather B. e.g. The sale of Alaska was not so much an American coup as a matter of expediency for an imperial Russia that was short of cash and unable to defend its own continental coastline.
  • fly in the face of: To be or act in clear opposition to something else. e.g. Extraordinary creative activity has been characterized as revolutionary, flying in the face of what is established and producing not what is acceptable but what will become accepted.
  • exact a toll: force to pay the price, also implictly means the price is figurative. e.g. The setting in which the concert took place exacted a toll: the group’s performance was elegant and polished, but the sound, which seeped across the cold, unresonant high school auditorium, was oddly tepid, given the energy the players seemed to be putting into it.
  • run of the mill: being average and ordinary. e.g. The name of Sloane Matthew Library has long been misleading; even longtime city residents assume it is a run-of-the-mill library, never suspecting what art treasures it contains.
  • goofing off: a slang term in the United States for engaging in receation or an idle pastime while obligations of work or societ are neglected. e.g. You may be struggling to fit in a 30-minute workout but find that you easily spend that time either goofing off or doing tasks that you could easily rearrange.