If you are under the thumb, you are completely controlled by someone else. This control is easily recognised by others but not necessarily by you. His girlfriend won’t let him go to watch any football matches on Saturdays. He’s totally under the thumb.
If you are all thumbs, you are very clumsy and you keep dropping things. Your hands fail to do their job properly. You might be suffering from nerves or fear or you might just be very tired. I was all thumbs when I was paying for my shopping and I dropped my money everywhere.
A rule of thumb is a general rule or principle that is based on experience rather than on scientific evidence. As a rule of thumb, I check the oil levels in my car on the first Saturday in every month. This means that I try to check the levels of oil in my car once […]
When we tweak something, we change tiny details until it is perfect or as we want it. Once she had written her letter of complaint, she spent an extra hour tweaking it so that there would be no misunderstanding.
Sometimes we start doing something and realise that what we have done is not up to standard. It is possible to alter what you have done but often it is preferable to start again from the beginning – this is starting from scratch.
If you are in deep water, you are in trouble or in a dangerous situation. Your current situation is beyond your abilities. Peter hasn’t finished his assignment yet so he’s going to be in deep water at work.
If you are in hot water, people are angry with you. You might be punished in some way. When he broke the window with his football, Billy knew he would be in hot water with his mother.
If something doesn’t hold water, it can be disproved or shown to be wrong. This expression usually refers to opinions or statements. His reasons for sacking his secretary don’t hold water. She has done nothing wrong.
Someone who is uncomfortable in their present situation or wrong for it is like a fish out of water. He returned to his old village after 20 years away. He had changed a lot. He felt like a fish out of water.
If you are out of your depth, you don’t have enough knowledge or experience to do what you are supposed to be doing. Imagine that you are not a very good swimmer and you are suddenly in water that is too deep for you and you feel out of control. You are out of your […]