SLANG, IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS
(I periodically add terms.)


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I deliberately have included some rude words, but avoided vulgar terms. These should not be used. Terms with (pronoun) or (noun) indicate that alternate words can be used within the ( ).

Term
Definition
"O"
Of one accord In agreement (Everyone is of one accord.)
Off base 1. Inaccurate (I consider the reporter's comments to be off base.)
2. Not on a military base (Some soldiers prefer to live off base.)
Off (her) back 1. From (someone's) body (I would give you the clothes off my back.)
2. Do not bother (someone) (Get off my back!)
Off (his) rocker Crazy (You're off your rocker if you think I'll do that!)
Off the beam Expression of certainty; (He) is crazy!
Off the hook Not responsible (Sam is off the hook now.)
Off the rack Taken from existing stock (Barbara buys clothes off the rack.)
Oh, brother Mild expression of annoyance and surprise
Oh, dear Mild expression of annoyance and surprise
Oh, me Mild expression of annoyance and surprise
Oh me oh my Mild expression of annoyance and surprise
OK; okay That is correct
Old bat An old, obnoxious woman (Stay away from that old bat!)
Old coot Cantankerous old man (No one enjoys being around that old coot.)
Old fart Old man [rude, but also is used jokingly with a close friend]
(That old fart doesn't like children in his yard.)
Old goat Cantankerous old man (We try to avoid meeting the old goat.)
Old hat Familiar (That's old hat to us.)
Old salt Seasoned sailor (I want to hire an old salt for my cargo ship.)
On a pedestal To revere (In the past, men put women on a pedestal.)
On an upward keel Positive direction (Things at work are going on an upward keel.)
On fire 1. To burn (Local fire fighters could not save an old house that was on fire.)
2. Very excited (Everyone thought the guitarist was on fire last night.)
On last legs Very tired (Mother was on her last legs.)
On (my) back To criticize someone (Father was on Jim's back about bad grades.)
On own Without anyone's assistance (Dan wants to live on his own.)
On pins and needles To be excited (Jane is on pins and needles because Ralph is dating her.)
On the back burner An issue of minor concern (Let us keep this on the back burner.)
On the ball 1. Do something correctly (Natalie is always on the ball at work.)
2. Have current, comprehensive understanding (Joe is on the ball when it comes to procedures.)
On the blink Broken; not functional (The stove in on the blink today.)
On the button 1. On the chin (Dave hit Steve right on the button.)
2. To be alert (Keep your finger on the button.)
On the chin To accept responsibility (You should just take it on the chin.)
On the fritz Broken; not functional (Our refrigerator is on the fritz.)
On the go Without stopping (We decided to eat on the go.)
On the job To be attentive (Don't worry, I'm on the job.)
On the jump Quickly (Get over here on the jump!)
On the level Honest (You can trust him. He's on the level.)
On the lookout for To search for (Be on the lookout for a better job.)
On the make Attempt to move up (Jill doesn't love him. She's just on the make.)
On the nose To be exact (That's $100 right on the nose.)
On the rocks Ruined (Their marriage is on the rocks.)
On the ropes To lose; desperate (My business is on the ropes.)
On the take Accept bribes (I think our representative is on the take.)
On toes To be alert (Bank guards should be on their toes.)
On top To win (Max came out on top again.)
On top of To be above (You can find a pen on top of that table.)
On top of it To be in control (Don't worry. I'm on top of it now.)
On top of the world To feel wonderful (William is on top of the world today.)
Once in a blue moon Never (Bill will tell the truth once in a blue moon.)
Once-over Quick examination (Troops gave the place a once-over before continuing on.)
One foot in Almost (The old man has one foot in the grave.)
One for the books Unusual (No, I don't think it's one for the books.)
One for the record Unusual (Wow! That's one for the record.)
One for the road A drink before departure (Joel said he needed one for the road.)
One-horse town Small town (I've got to move away from this one-horse town!)
One-track mind Concentrate on a single issue (Billy has a one-track mind--only baseball.)
Oops Mild expression of surprise or embarrassment
Open shop Business that does not accept workers from a labor union
Opportunity knocks To have an opportunity to succeed
Out for To seek (Emily is out for a fun experience.)
Out in the open Fully revealed (Everything about the story is out in the open.)
Out of bread No money (Can you help? I'm out of bread again.)
Out of commission Cannot use (Our television set is out of commission.)
Out of it Unconscious; unaware (Lucy seems out of it this morning.)
Out of luck To be unfortunate (Jimmy is out of luck. The company stopped hiring people.)
Out of sight 1. Expensive (The final cost is out of sight.)
2. Excellent (Your new car is out of sight.)
Out of stock Do not have anymore (Too bad the item is out of stock now.)
Out of the pan and into the fire Espression that means going from a small difficulty to one that is worse
Out of the way Not on a direct route (Rachel enjoys visiting out of the way places.)
Out of the woods Not in trouble (It's a relief; we're out of the woods now.)
Out of whack Abnormal (Something is out of whack here.)
Out of (your) gourd Crazy (Dave is out of his gourd.)
Outfox To trick; be more clever (Luke is proud that he can outfox everyone.)
Outrider An accomplice (The chief thug arrived with a few outriders.)
Outside chance Unlikely; slight chance (Roger has an outside chance to pass the test.)
Outskirts Area at the edge of a town (I'm building a new house on the outskirts.)
Over a barrel To be compromised; have no choice (He's got us over a barrel.)
Over (her) To forget about (something/someone) (Bob was over Suzie now.)
Over (my) dead body To resist fully (Jim warned it can be taken only over his dead body.)
Over (my) head Too difficult to understand (This computer program is over her head.)
Over the hill Too old (Grandfather really is over the hill.)
Over the shoulder To hover (I don't like anyone standing over my shoulder.)
Over the shoulder boulder holder Brassiere (Bra)
Over yonder Not far away (Ralph wanted to visit a friend over yonder.)
Overhear To listen without intent (I was walking by and overheard the girls talking.)
Overload Too much (Too many users can overload the electrical grid.)
Overshoot the mark To miss (Danny overshot the mark with his recent proposal.)
Owie A hurt [Child's term] (Come here Markie and let me fix your owie.)

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