Common Idiomatic Expressions

A hidden agenda

When somebody has a hidden agenda, they have a secret motive for doing something.

  • It would be foolish of us to believe everything that she says. I really suspect that she has a hidden agenda.


If something is half-baked, it hasn’t been properly thought out or planned.

  • It was a half-baked plan, so nobody was surprised when it failed.

Hang in there / hang on in there

This is usually said to encourage people who are in a difficulty situation.

  • Hang in there. Things should get better soon.

Hard to come by

If something is hard to come by, it is difficult to find.

  • Writers of his caliber are hard to come by.

Hot under the collar

If you are hot under the collar, you are angry or annoyed about something.

  • She was hot under the collar when she heard that they had lost that contract.

Bored to death

When you are bored to death you are so bored.

  • I’ve nothing to do. I’m bored to death.
  • That film bored me to death.

You’ve got to be kidding = you must be joking

  • ‘Mom, can I wear this short skirt to the party?’ ‘You’ve got to be kidding baby. You’re a 15 year old girl. You shouldn’t wear clothes of that kind.’

Sick and Tired

When you are sick and tired of something, you no longer find it interesting or exciting.

  • I’m sick and tired of eating the same thing for dinner every day.