Accidentally On Purpose

Meaning of Idiom ‘Accidentally On Purpose’ Something that is done accidentally on purpose seems to be an accident but is actually done intentionally; pretending something is an accident that one actually does deliberately. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary]. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,3McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge … Read more

Accidents Will Happen

Meaning of Idiom ‘Accidents Will Happen’ Accidents will happen means that no matter how careful you are it is impossible to prevent things from going wrong; you cannot prepare for everything and unexpected events will occur. 1Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008. ,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford … Read more

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Meaning of Idiom ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ Actions speak louder than words means that a persons intention or character can be better judged by what they do than what they say; what one does is more important than what they say; it is better to do things than talk about doing things.  Usage “The … Read more

Act Up

Meaning of Idiom ‘Act Up’ (phrasal verb) 1. To act up, usually in regards to children, means to behave badly or cause trouble. 2. In regards to machinery or electronics, to malfunction or to not operate abnormally. 3. In regards to medical conditions and their symptoms, to act up means to become active. Often used in regards to … Read more

Act of God, an

Also: act of nature Meaning of Idiom ‘An Act of God’ An act of God is an unexpected, powerful, and uncontrollable event that is not caused by humans, such as a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, wildfire, etc. 1Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995. Usage This idiom is most often, though not always, … Read more

Acid Test

Also: Litmus test. Used as an idiom since the 1900s. Meaning of Acid Test Idiom An acid test, when used as an idiom, is a situation or event that provides definitive proof of whether something is true or false, right or wrong, good or bad, effective or ineffective. This does not have to be an actual … Read more

Achilles Heel

Many modern English idioms come from the time of the ancient Greeks or Romans. Achilles heel is one of them. Meaning of Idiom ‘Achilles Heel’ An Achilles heel is a person’s (organization, country, etc.) weakness or vulnerability. Although it can refer to a physical weakness or limitation, this idiom can refer to any perceived weakness. … Read more

Ace Up Your Sleeve, an

Sometimes also used as “card up your sleeve.” To have an ace up your sleeve is a familiar idiomatic expression which has been in use since at least the early 1900’s. 1Cresswell, Julia. Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. Meaning To have an ace up your sleeve or for someone else to … Read more