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Idioms and Sayings About Clothes


Idiom/Saying Explanation

An anorak

For example:

"He's got hundreds of old Japanese robots that he insists on showing to anyone who visits. He's such an anorak."

Used to describe a dull person or an individual with a boring hobby who insists on talking about it.
To hit someone below the belt.

For example:

"I think it was a bit below the belt when he lied to her."
To do something in an unfair or cowardly way.

To have something under your belt.

For example:

"Hermine has years of English practice under her belt. One day it will really help her."

If you have something under your belt, you have completed something successfully, and it may be useful to you in the future.

Get dressed in your best bib and tucker.

For example:

"Alex wore his best bib and tucker when he got married."

To dress in your best clothes.

To have a bee in your bonnet.

For example:-

She's got a real bee in her bonnet about that new advertising campaign, she's even phoned the ACA!

To be obsessed about something.

Birthday suit. (See below)

For example:-

"He won't wear pyjamas, he sleeps in his birthday suit."

To be in the nude.
Buckle down.

For example:

"He realised before the exam that it was time to buckle down to some real work."
To put in a lot of effort into doing something.
If the cap fits, wear it. (Often shortened to "If the cap fits."

For example:

"He complained about being blamed for everything, but I told him, if the cap fits."
Said to someone who is guilty of something bad, that they should accept criticism.
To put on your thinking cap.

For example:

"The economy is in a mess, it's time for everyone to put their thinking caps on."
To start to think seriously about how to solve a problem.
Wolf in sheep's clothing.

For example:

"I don't trust him, I think he's a wolf in sheep's clothing."
To pretend to be harmless when your really dangerous.

Hot under the collar.

For example:-

"She got very hot under the collar when I told her someone had scratched her car."

To be very angry.
Off-the-cuff.

For example:

"He made a stupid off-the-cuff remark."
Without preparation.
To dress someone down.

For example:

"He was given a real dressing down for making such a stupid mistake."
To tell someone off for doing something bad.
Mutton dressed as lamb.

For example:

"In her mini skirt and short tank top, she looked like mutton dressed as lamb."
To be dressed too young for your age.
Dressed to kill.

For example:

"She had bought a new outfit and was dressed to kill."
To make yourself look really good by wearing your best clothes.
Dressed up like a dog's dinner.

For example:

"She was dressed up like a dog's dinner."
To be overdressed
Fit like a glove.

For example:

"The dress fitted her like a glove."
Fits very well.
To be hand in glove.

For example:

"They make a great team. They work hand in glove."
To have an extremely close relationship, especially at work.

To take the gloves off.

For example:

They took the gloves off and suspended trading.

To argue or compete without controlling your actions or feelings.

To treat someone with kid gloves.

For example:

After the disappointment of not getting into her preferred university, the teachers treated her with kid gloves.

To deal with someone very gently or carefully.
At the drop of a hat.

For example:

"If he asked me out I would go at the drop of a hat."
To make a decision or do something very quickly without thinking about it.
Old hat

For example:

"I've been doing this job for so long it's all old hat now."
Not new or different.
Take one's hat off to someone.

For example:

"He always works so hard on his English, you have to take your hat off too him."
To admire or respect someone.
Keep something under your hat.

For example:

"You can trust me, I'll keep anything you tell me under my hat."
To keep something you are told or know in strictest confidence.
To talk / speak through your hat.

For example:

"He kept telling everyone what to do, but he was speaking through his hat, as he didn't have a clue and things just kept getting worse."
To talk nonsense; especially on a subject that one professes to be knowledgeable about but in fact is ignorant of.
Knickers in a twist.

For example:

"Dame Kiri Te Kanawa really got her knickers in a twist after being compared to Susan Boyle from the TV reality show."
To get upset.
To air one's dirty linen in public.

For example:

"The president was embarrassed to have his dirty linen aired in public."
To have your private or personal problems discussed in public.
Have ants in your pants.

For example:

"She never sits still, it's as though she's got ants in her pants."
To be restless or incapable of sitting still.
Burn a hole in one's pocket.

For example:

"He was never able to save any money, it always burned a hole in his pocket."
To have money that you just want to spend.

To be in your glad rags.

For example:-

"She must be going to a party, she was in her glad rags."

To be dressed up in your party clothes.

Bursting at the seams.

For example:

"The airport was so busy it was bursting at the seams."
To be very busy or overcrowded.
Keep your shirt on.

For example:

"Stop shouting, keep your shirt on!"
Don't lose your temper.
Lose one's shirt.

For example:

"He went to the races and lost his shirt."
To lose all your money (usually in a business venture or by gambling).
Someone who will give you the shirt off their back.

For example:

"He's so generous, he would give you the shirt off his back."
Used to describe someone who is very generous.
Stuffed shirt.

For example:

"He never has a laugh or a joke, he's a real stuffed shirt."
To be to rigid or formal.
In someone else's shoes.

For example:

"I hear he is very ill, I would hate to be in his shoes."
To be in someone else's place or position.
On a shoestring budget.

For example:

"When I went to university I had to live on a shoestring budget."
To have a very small amount of money for something.
Card up your sleeve.

For example:

"When he grinned like that I knew he had a card up his sleeve.
To have something in reserve in case it is needed.
Roll up your sleeves.

For example:

"We'll get the job finished if we all roll up our sleeves."
Prepare to work hard.

Put a sock in it.

For example:

"He wouldn't stop complaining, so I told him to put a sock in it."

Used to tell someone to shut up.
To be in your birthday suit. (See below).

For example:

"When I walked into the bathroom she was just standing their in her birthday suit!"
To be completely naked.
Wear the trousers.

For example:

"His wife is always telling him what to do. You can tell who wears the trousers in their house."
To be the boss of a family or household.
Keep it zipped.

For example:

"He was warned to keep it zipped, or else."
To keep quiet about something. (Usually with an implied threat.)
English Idioms