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come within an ace of something be within an ace of something

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come within an ace of something be within an ace of something

If you say that someone comes within an ace of



something, you mean that they very nearly succeed in doing it. You can also say that they are within an ace of something. [BRITISH] 0 The defendant was intent on murder and he came within an ace of succeeding. 0 She had just watched her hero come within an ace of a place in the quarter finals, only to lose his grip on the game. 0 Above all, however, your solar chart now signifies that you are within an ace of solving a joint financial or business problem

inotbi In this expression, 'ace^ refers to a score of one on a dice, rather than a playing card.

have an ace in the hole

If you have an ace in the hole, you have something which you can use to gain an advantage when you need it. 0 He doesn 't usually risk that much unless he thinks he has an ace in the hole. H Luckily, we had one beautiful ace in the hole. What made our computer different and will continue to make it different from any of our competitors is that we own our own systems software technology. Nobody else does. I NOTE] In 'stud' poker, you have an ace in the hole when you have an ace as your 'hole' card: see 'hole card' at hole.

play your ace

If someone plays their ace, they do something clever and unexpected which gives them an advantage over other people. 0 She went on to say that he was also a very important criminal lawyer who had defended men on heavy charges. And then she played her ace. He also had a number of clients who were involved in the gold business. D With all this meddle, muddle and money wasted, who could be surprised if the union plays the aces?


aces

hold all the aces

If you say that someone holds all the aces, you

mean that they are in a very strong position

because they have more advantages and more

power than anyone else.


I NOTE I In many card games, the ace is the card

with the highest score.

acid 0 the acid test

If you refer to something as the acid test, you

mean that it will show or prove how effective or useful something is. You can also say that something is an acid test.
9- The acid test for the vaccine will be its performance in African countries where malaria is raging more fiercely than in Colombia.

الاختبار الحقيقي للقاح سيكون عند تجربته في البلدان الأفريقية حيث تنتشر الملاريا على نطاق أوسع وأشد مما هي عليه في كولومبيا.


10- So far, I don't feel too bad but I'm waiting for my first really stressful day when things go wrong. That will be the real acid test.

حتى الآن، لست في وضع سيء لكني أنتظر يومي الأول الذي سيكون مشحوناً وموتراً حيث ستسير الأمور على غير ما يرام. عندها سيكون الاختبار الحقيقي لي.


If you say that someone has a hidden agenda,

you suspect that they are secretly trying to achieve a particular thing while they appear to be doing something else.



11- The unions fear these tactics are part of a hidden agenda to reduce pay and conditions throughout the company.

يخشى الاتحاد أن تكون هذه التكتيكات جزءاً من مخطط خفي يهدف تقليل الأجور والحط من ظروف العمل في الشركة.

.
12 The hidden agenda of the Government's prison privatisation policy seems to have been exposed.


انكشفت النوايا الخفية للحكومة حيث كانت تسعى لخصخصة السجون.

If an important decision or plan is up in the air, it

has not been decided or settled yet.

13- At the moment, the fate of the Hungarian people

is still up in the air.

ما زال مصير الشعب المجري إلى هذه اللحظة معلقاً.

14- This project is very much up in the air.

ما زال المشروع معلقاً.


If someone goes ape or goes ape crazy, they start

to behave in an uncontrolled or irrational way, for

example because they are very excited or very

angry about something. [INFORMAL]



15 The crowd went ape جن جنون الحشد
.
the apple of your eye

If you say that someone is the apple of your eye, you mean that you are very fond of them.


16- I was the apple of my father's eye. كنت مقلة عين والدي.
break your back

If you say that you are breaking your back to do something, you are emphasizing that you are working extremely hard to try to do it.
17- When you're breaking your back to make an enterprise work, it's going to cut into your time with family.

حين تفني نفسك لإنجاح الشركة، عليك أن تدرك أن ذلك سيكون على حساب وقتك مع أسرتك.


A stab in the back is an action which hurts and

betrays someone.



18- The Labour MP described the minister's comments, last Thursday, as 'disgraceful' and demanded he apologise. It's a stab in the back for all the people who have been fighting to remove racism from school books and the classroom.

وصف النائب عن حزب العمال في البرلمان تعليقات الوزير الخميس الماضي أنها شائنة، وطالبه بتقديم الاعتذار قائلاً إن ما قاله طعنة في ظهر كل من ناضل من أجل إزالة النزعة العنصرية من الكتب والصفوف المدرسية .



.

I NOTE I Nitric acid can be used to test whether a metal is pure gold because it corrodes most metals but does not affect gold.

acquaintance

a passing acquaintance (1) a nodding acquaintance

If you have a passing acquaintance or a nodding acquaintance with someone, you know them slightly.



0 And of course, he can now claim - after his first summit as head of government-more than a nodding acquaintance with his fellow leaders. You can also say that someone is a passing acquaintance or a nodding acquaintance. 0 After a while a man came in who was evidently a passing acquaintance of the family and stopped at their table to chat.

a passing acquaintance (2) a nodding acquaintance

If you have a passing acquaintance or a



nodding acquaintance with something, you

know a little about it but not very much.



- We chatted for a little about poetry, with which

he showed considerably more than a nodding

acquaintance.

act

[ NOTE | The metaphors in these expressions relate to performers entertaining audiences.

0 a balancing act

If you say that someone is performing a balancing act, you mean that they are trying to please two or more people or groups or to follow two or more sets of ideals that are in opposition to each other.



The symbol 0 shows key idioms

action

O Mr Ali is performing a delicate balancing act. He talks of reform, but clings to old certainties.
يسعى السيد علي إلى الموازنة بين الأمور، فهو يتحدث عن الإصلاح، لكنه يتمسك بالمسلمات القديمة.
0 It's been a difficult balancing act for the Japanese government, under pressure both at home and abroad.

واجهت الحكومة اليابانية صعوبة في الحفاظ على التوازن بين الضغوط المفروضة عليها من الداخل والخارج.


0 Vice-Mayor Simitian called it a classic balancing act between individual rights and community rights.

قال نائب العمدة سيميتيان إنها تشكل توازناً تقليدياً بين حقوق الأفراد وحقوق المجتمع.
0 catch someone in the act

If you are caught in the act, someone sees you

doing something secret or wrong.

0 The men were caught in the act of digging up

buried explosives. 0 The local authority has set

aside £500 to spend on security cameras, hoping

the residents will be able to catch vandals in the act

on film.

I NOTE I In this expression, 'act' refers to the act of

doing something.



0 a class act

If you say that someone, for example a sports player or a performer, is a class act, you mean that they are very good at what they do


. 0


Koeman is a class act. He's got great control and can hit passes from one side of the pitch to the other with amazing accuracy.

H I have been tracking Neil for a year, he is a class act and I've got a lot of respect for his ability. 0 Hiatt's songs have been recorded by class acts like Bob Dylan, Rosanne Cash, The Everly Brothers and Willie Nelson.


0 clean up your act

If a person or organization cleans up their act, they stop behaving badly or irresponsibly, and begin to act in a more socially acceptable way. H The Minister warned the press two years ago that privacy laws would be implemented unless newspapers cleaned up their act. H There is enormous corruption in the game, but the game does not want to clean up its act. 0 In the last couple of years I've cleaned up my act a bit. I just drink wine and beer mostly, hardly any spirits.

0 get in on the act be in on the act

If you get in on the act, you start doing something which was first done by someone else, usually so that you can have the same success as them, or get some advantage for yourself. You can also say that you are in on the act, or use other verbs instead of 'get'.



0 Its reputation has reached the United States and American investors have been trying to get in on the act. H It is rather like the Greens in Britain in the eighties: everyone wants to get in on the act. H It's not enough to read the books, I want to be in on the act. H Even the lifeguards have been brought in on the act, policing the beach for reckless sunbathers.

0 get your act together

If you say that someone needs to get their act together, you mean that they need to take control of themselves and to organize their affairs more effectively so that they can deal successfully with things and can avoid failure. 0 Basically they're a bunch of bums and they ought to get their act together. 0 We're going to be 22 points down by Monday, and we've got to get our act together. D The State Opposition is beginning to get its act together after a long period of muddling through.


0 a hard act to follow

If you say that someone is a hard act to follow,



you mean that they are so impressive or so effective that it will be difficult for anyone else to be as good or as successful. Adjectives such as 'tough' and 'difficult' can be used instead of 'hard'. 0 Prince Charles has known his destiny since childhood. He knows too that his mother will be a hard act to follow. 0 He had a hard act to follow. His predecessor was a brilliant intellectual who also drew, as Chancellor, on long practical experience as an observer of the economic scene. 0 There's no doubt Ford's vision and hard work has played a major role in the museum's success. He 'II be a tough act to follow.

action

0 a piece of the action a slice of the action

If someone wants a piece of the action or a slice


of the action, they want to get involved in an activity which seems exciting and likely to be very successful or profitable. 'A slice of the action' is used mainly in British English. 0 Essentially, the information industry wants a piece of the action, the right to distribute parts of the Library's collection itself. 0 Within five years, every car manufacturer was at it. The hatchback explosion had begun and everyone wanted a piece of the action. 0 As the British rap scene grows in strength, the Americans are becoming keener to grab a slice of the action.


actions

actions speak louder than words

If you say that actions speak louder than words,

you mean that people show what they really think and feel by what they do, rather than by what they say. People sometimes use this expression when they want to criticize someone who says one thing but does something else.
0 Tom, who's a shy chap at heart, firmly believes that actions speak louder than words and has, therefore, been demonstrating his love and passion for jean in the only way he knows how: through taking her dog to the vet, through lovingly washing her car each week, through decorating each room in her house.

توم شاب خجول يؤمن أن الأفعال خير من الأقوال، لذا فإنه يعبر عن حبه لجين بالطريقة الوحيدة التي يعرفها فهو يصطحب كلبها إلى البيطري، ويغسل سيارتها أسبوعياً، ويزيّن غرف بيتها.


0 Things are still likely to get worse before they get better. If governments would like to prevent that, they had better understand that actions speak louder than words.

Adam

not know someone from Adam

If you say that you don't know someone from Adam, you mean that you do not know them at all, and would not recognize them If you saw them.



O We'll have one contact, who is simply a voice on the phone to us. I don't know him from Adam. 0 / knew nobody. I took with me two names and telephone numbers. One was an Anglo-Argentine couple: friends of a friend, who didn 't know me from Adam.

The symbol 0 shows key idioms

^^^.s^S^,

air

jNOTEl According to the Bible, Adam was the first human being.


ado

much ado about nothing

If you say that people are making much ado about nothing, you mean that they are making a lot of fuss about something which is not as important or significant as they think it is. [JOURNALISM]



H French newspapers described the international row as 'Much Ado About Nothing'

وصفت الصحف الفرنسية الضجة الدولية بزوبعة فنجان.
. H After one year, I dropped out of the course because it was much ado about nothing really. It was all about style, not about content.

• This expression is often varied.



H Lately there's been much ado about the ducks

belonging to my poultry-farming neighbour.

I NOTE I 'Much Ado About Nothing' is the title of a

play by Shakespeare.


Without much ado, I now give the floor to Mr. Hansen.

لن أطيل في كلامي وأنقل المايكروفون إلى السيد هانسن.



agenda

0 a hidden agenda

If you say that someone has a hidden agenda,

you suspect that they are secretly trying to achieve a particular thing while they appear to be doing something else.

0 The unions fear these tactics are part of a hidden agenda to reduce pay and conditions throughout the company. 0 The hidden agenda of the Government's prison privatisation policy seems to have been exposed, ft It was typical of his forthright determination that, while others debated wide issues and hidden agendas, he saw a wrong and sought to right it.

I NOTE I An agenda is a list of things that need to be dealt with, for example at a meeting.

air

0 be left hanging in the air hang in the air

If you say that a question or remark is left hanging in the air, you mean that people avoid discussing it because they do not want to deal with it or the issues involved.


0 Asked how many arrest orders she had received so far from her colleague in Spain she walked away and left the question hanging in the air. 0 The presenter made intelligent points but never challenged anybody, so we were left with a lot of questions hanging in the air. 0 He looked at neither of them but left his remark hanging in the air.

• You can also say that a question or remark



hangs in the air. [LITERARY]

D 'We are losing our sense of the eternal. I think it's

a loss that has done a great deal of damage to

modern art.' His words hung enigmatically in the

air.

0 clear the air

If you do something to clear the air, you deal openly with misunderstandings, problems, or jealousy, and try to get rid of them. 0 / get angry and frustrated with Hannah's spirited temperament, but I'm a great believer in expressing my feelings to clear the air. 0 Some groups in our



community seem to suffer from discrimination. An independent inquiry could clear the air and sort out the problem.

• You can also say that the air clears, or talk about air-clearing.


0 After that the air cleared and we were fine, I really enjoyed working with him. 0 An extended air-clearing between George and Martha reveals the sham and drudgery of their lives.

Journalists sometimes talk about clear-the-air meetings or clear-the-air talks. 0 He is determined to have a clear-the-air meeting with Murray this weekend and snapped yesterday:


/! have to get to the bottom of this mess.'

Q hot air

If you describe what someone says or writes as hot air, you are criticizing it for being full of false claims and promises.



H In a sense, all the rhetoric about heightened co­operation can be seen as just so much hot air. There are still endless disputes. 0 Parliament is often full of hot air, mock insults and fake hostility. D Now that the value of art, along with everything else, has tumbled, we are better placed to ignore the hot air and evaluate works for what they are.

0 in the air

If something such as a change, idea, or feeling is in the air, people are aware of it or think it is going to happen even though it is not talked about directly.



0 / might never have said 'Yes', if it hadn't been for the sense that political change was in the air, and that the arts community should have its ideas prepared. 0 Great excitement was in the air that week in London. 0 As the band plays, and with romance in the air, Mr. Li recalls how he came to Panzhihua.

0 into thin air

If someone or something vanishes into thin air,

they disappear completely and nobody knows where they have gone. Compare out of thin air.

0 Her husband snatched their two children and disappeared into thin air for years. C"5 Needless worry can vanish into thin air once you accept the things you cannot change.

0 out of thin air from thin air

If something appears out of thin air, it appears suddenly and unexpectedly. You can also say that it appears from thin air. Compare into thin air.


0 A crisis had materialised out of thin air. H Auster spins stories out of thin air. D Thirteen years ago, with her children almost grown up, she found herself having to conjure a career from thin air.

pull something out of the air pluck something from the air

If you say that a suggestion or an amount is pulled out of the air or is plucked from the air, you

mean that it has not been considered carefully or using correct information. Other verbs are sometimes used instead of 'pull' or 'pluck'. H She pulled a figure out of the air, an amount she thought would cover several months' rent on an office. 0 So few buildings are coming to market that accurate valuations are becoming almost impossible to make. Numbers are simply being


The symbol 0 shows key idioms

^-SS^l^'-^^'-^---^ .^^•^••^^J -fe-.'^^'^ i-^^-^^.^gi^^^^^^-; AAr^^^^^^'^^^^^.^^&^^^feS^^^

airs

plucked out of the air. H I never felt tempted to pick figures out of the air.

• This expression is often varied. For example, you can talk about 'thin air' instead of 'air'.



0 / don't like pulling decisions out of thin air and getting them wrong.

0 up in the air

If an important decision or plan is up in the air, it

has not been decided or settled yet.

0 At the moment, the fate of the Hungarian people

is still up in the air. H This project is very much up

in the air. 0 In terms of a steady line-up and future

plans, things are pretty much up in the air for the


band.

walk on air float on air

If you say that you are walking on air or are floating on air, you mean that you feel very happy or excited because of something nice that has happened to you.



D As soon as I know I'm in the team it's like walking on air. H I can't believe that I've won. I'm floating on air,




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