Food Idioms 9
Idioms Activation Pack
Make these 10 food idioms and 144 words part of your active vocabulary.
- Red herring
- Look to laurels
- A different kettle of fish
- Chicken and egg
- Jam down throat
- Too many cooks
- Drive bananas
- Easy meat
- Spill the beans
We use a red herring to divert attention from the real issue at hand by introducing a misleading clue or erroneous piece of information.
- Agatha Christie was famous for introducing red herrings in her whodunnit novels to throw the reader off the scent and increase the suspense.
- Politicians of all parties have been using fake news as red herrings to distract voters from difficult issues.
A smoked, or red, herring is a little whiffy and could easily throw hounds off the scent were it to be dragged across the trail during a hunt with dogs.
Look to laurels
Faced with competition, and in danger of losing your place at the top, you need to look to your laurels.
- As lead violinist, Dmitry had to constantly look to his laurels as there were many rising stars in the string section ready to take his place.
- Whenever we have an influx of new designers, the old ones are forced to look to their laurels rather than resting on them.
A different kettle of fish
A different kettle of fish is something which is completely different to that which you were talking about or considering.
- His first wife was a cold, loveless, and selfish woman, but his new wife is quite a different kettle of fish.
- Mass produced English ‘cider’ is quite disgusting, but our traditionally-produced scrumpy is a different kettle of fish altogether.
A variant of this idiom is, another kettle of fish.
Chicken and egg
When we are unable to say which event preceded another event, or which came first, we say it’s a chicken and egg situation.
- A homeless man cannot get a job because he doesn’t have a home, but he can’t get a home because it doesn’t have a job. It’s a classic chicken and egg situation.
- We were faced with a chicken and egg situation in that we didn’t know whether the software had damaged the hardware, or the hardware had caused a software failure.
Whether the chicken or the egg came first is a philosophical question that has kept philosophers busy for thousands of years.
Jam down throat
To oblige someone to accept something, agree with something, or endure something, is to jam it down their throat.
- If you continue to try to jam your religious nonsense down our throats, I’m going home.
- I know that the government is keen to get the legislation passed, but I don’t think they need to jam it down our throats on every news broadcast and in every newspaper, do they?
A variant of this idiom is, ram down someone’s throat.
Too many cooks
When we bemoan the fact that too many cooks spoil the broth, we are saying that there are too many people involved in a particular project and that is it being spoiled as a result.
- I know you’d like the heads of every department being involved in the planning stages, but I’m putting John solely in charge. Too many cooks!
- Things which are designed by a committee rarely work well because too many cooks spoil the broth.
Broth is a thick and wholesome soup.
If you annoy someone or irritate someone greatly, you drive them bananas.
- I can’t wait for the kids to go back to school, because they’ve been driving me bananas all summer.
- I’ve got some really noisy neighbours and they are driving me bananas.
A person who is an easy target, especially for criticism, for deception, or persuasion, is easy meat.
- Of course, she took the blame. She was easy meat considering she was the only woman in the room.
- If you think he’s easy meat, you should think again. He wasn’t born yesterday, and he’s been in this business longer than the rest of you put together.
Spill the beans
To disclose secret information, reveal the truth about something, or to ruin a surprise by announcing it prematurely, is to spill the beans.
- If I find out who spilled the beans about the redundancies, I will have their head on a plate.
- Getting the suspects to spill the beans about who was driving was impossible, so they were all charged with the offence.
Spill has the meaning of disclose or reveal.
Something which has not been well thought out or is doomed to failure is half-baked.
- She’s always approaching me with these half-baked ideas of hers.
- The idea of electrically powered passenger jets seems a little half-baked to me, but if we look at the recent advances made in drone technology, it might just work.
Food which is only baked for half the required time in the oven would not be edible.
The Idioms Activator has a bank of questions about the vocabulary in this Idioms Activation Pack.
Reading the vocabulary is passive learning.
Making the words and idioms part of your active vocabulary requires active learning, which is why I created the Idioms Activator.
Each time you do the Idioms Activator, you will be asked a series of random questions from a large bank of questions.
By actively engaging in the learning process and by receiving instant feedback on your performance, the vocabulary in this pack will quickly become part of your active vocabulary.
There is a good chance that some of the words used in this Activation Pack will be new to you.
To help you out, I have compiled an extensive dictionary of the vocabulary used in this Activation Pack.
The dictionary gives you the meanings of all the words used in this Activation Pack.
You can download the dictionary as a PDF document from the resources link at the top left of the Activation Pack.
In addition to the Idioms Activator, I have included a Vocabulary Activator which will test your knowledge of all of the words in the dictionary.
You will be given random definitions of words each time you do the Vocabulary Activator.
This will also give you the opportunity to hear how each word is correctly pronounced in British English.
Add these words to your active vocabulary and make them your own.
Idiom Activation Packs
These Idiom Activation Packs are designed to help you activate your English skills.
I have been helping students learn, remember, and use the all-important idiomatic expressions for many years and now I want to reach many more students by using the latest technology.
I have designed these Idiom Activation Packs to make learning British English idioms as easy and enjoyable as possible.
You can Pay What You Want for each pack or you can get unlimited access to my growing library of Activation Packs with a membership subscription.
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