Idioms (T)

turn the tables

meaning: to reverse the fortunes of two things or people

1. Traditionally United have been the stronger team in the city, but recently City have turned the tables.

2. “For years you made me make your coffee, clean up your office, and do all your dirty work. But now the tables have turned, haven’t they: you do what I say, or you’re fired!”
tackle (a problem)

meaning: to solve a problem, or at least try to fix it

1. “If we can’t tackle the high staff turnover, I’m afraid we are always going to be losing money.”
take a hike

meaning: tell someone to go away; “get lost”

1. “Take a hike Dave. We don’t need you here wasting our time.”
take a rain check

meaning: decline a social offer, but might do it next time

1. “Do you want to come out for a drink?”
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to take a rain check tonight – got a big test tomorrow. But I’ll see you next week, right?”
taken aback

meaning: to be surprised by how events are happening

1. “I always thought Phil a bit of a mummy’s boy, so when I saw him beat Dave up I was quite taken aback.”
take by storm

meaning: to be an overwhelming success; to be a huge success that interests a lot of people

1. His new play, ‘Frog Genocide’, took both London and New York by storm.

2. This year he has taken the league by storm, putting in many game-winning performances.
take by the scruff of the neck

meaning: to proactively take complete control when the situation is in danger of getting out of control; to take complete control when others are wasting time or dithering

1. The boss was pleased with Dave’s performance, especially how he took the last project by the scruff of the neck when others in his team were losing interest.
take (something) for granted

meaning: to not appreciate something because you think it will always be there

1. It was only after his wife left him that Dave realised how he had taken her for granted.

2. “You can’t take it for granted that this year will be as good as last year; you have to keep working hard.”
a ticking time bomb

meaning: a person who is very likely to explode; a person who will definitely get very angry when something goes wrong

1. He is a good player, but is also a ticking time-bomb; if the opponents can annoy him enough, he will probably explode.
(you're) toast

meaning: you’re finished; it’s all over; (threat) you’re dead

1. “Oh god, I crashed the car. When Dad finds out, I’m toast.”

2. “If you break anything, you’re toast.”