Introduction    General Proverbs    Idioms at School    Idioms at Work    Idioms at Play    American Culture

Gossip at a Pajama Party    Chat at a Gym    Chat before a Trip    Chat among Old Friends    Dialogue on Business


Lesson Two -- Idioms at School 

Definition    Conversation    Test 


  Hit the books


  Wet blanket

 someone or something that dampens enthusiasm or ¡§spoils the party¡¨

  Burn the midnight oil

 study or work late into the night

  Pull someone¡¦s leg

 try to fool someone

  For the birds

 not worth anything; worthless

  Horse around

 play around, playing

  Foaming at the mouth

 very angry (a reference to being a mad person)

  Boggles the mind

 to shock or surprise one

  Screw loose

 to be crazy

  Top of the class

 literally, the best in the class (school, merchandise¡Xa car can be the top of its class, and so on)

  Beat it into someone¡¦s  head

 learn something through repetitive memorization

  Drive someone up a wall

 annoy someone greatly

  By the skin of one¡¦s teeth

 just barely (the skin have no teeth, so see the ¡§joke¡¨?)

  Cat got your tongue?

 are you unable to speak?  Will you not speak?

  On the tip of one¡¦s tongue

 I¡¦m trying to remember something, and it¡¦s coming, but it¡¦s not there yet.  I can¡¦t get it out.  It can also mean I decide not to say something at the last minute: It was on the tip of her tongue to tell her mother the truth, but then she decided that least said, soonest mended.

  Small talk

 general conversation of little importance.  Used to pass the time.

  Get one¡¦s feet wet

 to get started

  Play it by ear

 to see what happens and make a decision as things go on.

  Get off someone¡¦s back

 to stop bothering or pressuring someone

  Keep your fingers crossed

 wishing someone or hoping for good luck

  Blow a gasket

 explosively lose one¡¦s temper, like a car¡¦s engine blowing

  Toe the line

 do what one is supposed to do.  Conform to a rule or standard.





   Albin               Samantha          Matt

Matt: Hey, Albin, Samantha and I were going to go to the movies after school?  Want to come?

Albin: Are you crazy, dude?  I have to hit the books!

Samantha: Don¡¦t be a wet blanket.  You can go to the movies with us and then burn the midnight oil later.

Matt:  Samantha, he¡¦s pulling our legs.  He¡¦s not really going to study!  That¡¦s for the birds!

Albin: No, really, dude,  I don¡¦t have time to horse around.  When my dad saw my biology and math grades, he was foaming at the mouth!

Samantha:  They were that bad?

Albin: Believe me, I¡¦m so bad at them, it boggles the mind.

Matt:  What?  Do you have a screw loose?  How can your grades be bad?  You were at the top of the class last year.

Albin:  I don¡¦t know what happened, dude.  This year, I try to beat it into my head, but nothing happens.  It¡¦s driving me up a wall.

Matt:  If it were me, I could understand.  I¡¦m always getting through math by the skin of my teeth.

Samantha: Hm, I bet I know what your problem is, Albin, but I¡¦m not saying!

Matt: Why? A cat got your tongue?

Samantha: No, but a girl knows these things!

Albin:  What?  I could use all the help I can get!

Samantha:  I suspect it¡¦s a new interest you¡¦ve developed.

Albin: What?  I haven¡¦t started any new hobbies.

Samantha:  Matt, you know what I mean.  Or should I say, who, I mean, don¡¦t you?

Matt:  Oh, yeah!  Wait, wait, what¡¦s her name?  It¡¦s on the tip of my tongue.

Albin: (blushing) I don¡¦t know what you¡¦re talking about.  And I don¡¦t have time for this small talk.  I have to get my feet wet when it comes to good study habits.

Matt:  Well, think about coming to the movies with us.  You can play it by ear.  We¡¦re not leaving till 4:00.

Albin: I don¡¦t know, dude.  I¡¦ve really got to get my parents off my back.

 Samantha:  I understand.  My folks blow a gasket if I don¡¦t toe the line at school.  But I¡¦ll keep my fingers crossed.  Maybe you¡¦ll come.

 Matt: Whatever, dude.  See you later.

 Samantha: Bye!

 Albin:  See you!