Popular Expressions Used in the U.S.
made for each other: two people are perfect, romantic companions–as if destiny had a role to play in the match.
After 50 years of marriage, it’s obvious that Fred and Beatrice were made for each other.
made to order: something is custom made by hand or manufactured according to a customer’s requirements; customized manufacturing.
The caterers provided appetizers made to order for our party.
make a clean sweep: to win; to gain a decisive victory.
The Union army made a clean sweep of the Confederate soldiers during the battle.
make a comeback: to experience loss and then regain a high position.
They hope their company will make a comeback in the next quarter.
make a fool of someone: to cause someone to look foolish.
He made a fool of his brother on April Fool’s Day when he played a trick on him.
make a killing: to make a lot of money.
Charles made a killing selling real estate before the housing market tanked.
make a long story short: to shorten a story so that it’s not too long.
To make a long story short, Brian got involved with drugs and started hanging out with the wrong people, and then he wound up in jail because he stole a car.
make an appearance: to go to an event, usually for a short time, as an obligation.
If Ted doesn’t make an appearance at his boss’s party this weekend, his boss will probably be mad at him on Monday.
make a fool of oneself: to do something that is kind of stupid.
Jorge made a fool of himself at the party by drinking too much and falling down drunk.
make a good impression: to do well and be noticed by other people.
Graciela made such a good impression on her boss, she was promoted to a better position after just two months.
make a mountain out of a molehill: to cause trouble over a small problem; to make a big deal out of something that isn’t very important.
The people complaining about their neighbors’ fence are making a mountain out of a molehill.
make a pig of oneself: to eat or consume too much.
Try not to make a pig of yourself when the pizza arrives. We need to save some for people who are coming to the party later.
make a run for it: run away from or run to something.
If Harry makes a run for it, he’ll be able to catch his flight.
make a statement: do something or wear something that expresses a person’s thoughts and ideas, sometimes politically.
Joe felt he was making a statment when he got his tatoo fifteen years ago, but now he wishes he could just get rid of it.
Is a tatoo a good way to make a statement?
make conversation: to talk and socialize; talk for the sake of talking.
Brenda was just trying to make conversation when she mentioned Ingrid’s hat, but Ingrid took it the wrong way and got mad.
make ends meet: make enough money to pay basic expenses such as rent, food, phone, utilities, etc.
Christine is working an extra job on the weekends to help make ends meet.
make fun of someone: to laugh at someone; to say mean things that hurt another person’s feelings.
When Glen arrived at the party wearing a tuxedo and hat, everyone made fun of him.
make one’s hair stand on end: to cause fear;
The fear of the devil makes his hair stand on end.
make one’s mouth water: to cause a person to salivate when thinking about food; water collects in the mouth due to hunger or thirst.
The smell of fried chicken and french fries made my mouth water.
make peace with (someone): reconcile; to form an agreement that ends a dispute.
After years of fighting, the two countries made peace with each other.
make the best of it: to try to turn a bad situation into something good.
The company that her husband works for transferred him to a small town in the midwest. She’s not happy with the move, but she’s trying to make the best of it.
make up for lost time: to spend time with family and friends after a long absence.
After two years in Iraq, he’s trying to make up for lost time with his daughters.
make up one’s mind: decide; to make a decision.
Christine is trying to make up her mind about what she should major in in college.
(the) man in the street: the average person (it can be a man or a woman, but the expression uses the word "man").
Ask the man in the street what he thinks about the economy and he might tell you that it keeps him awake at night.
march to a different beat: to do something that is different from what other people are doing; to be unique.
Everyone accepts the fact that Luis marches to a different beat, so they’re not too surprised by his eccentric behavior.
(a) matter of life and death: a situation is so serious that a person’s life may depend on the outcome.
911 calls are answered immediately because sometimes they involve a matter of live and death.
meat and potatoes: a person’s main source of income; the most important part of something.
Helping customers find things in the store is the meat and potatoes of this position.
(the) meter is running: payment is expected for time spent doing something.
I hesitate to call my lawyer sometimes because the meter is running as soon as he picks up the phone and says "hello."
(a) method to one’s madness: a reason why a person looks crazy or behaves in an unusual manner.
Curt looks like a weirdo, but there’s a method to his madness. No one ever bothers him when he travels through dangerous neighborhoods.
mind one’s own business: don’t worry about what other people do; pay attention to your own life–not the lives of others.
Many of the neighbors want to know why a beautiful woman like her hasn’t gotten married yet, but they should just mind their own business.
misery loves company: an unhappy person wants to share that unhappiness with someone who is experiencing the same problem.
Harold had hoped that someone would be in the office this afternoon to help him take care of all this work, but everyone left. Misery loves company.
money is no object: it doesn’t matter how much something costs.
Walter told his kids that money was no object when they were on vacation.
more bang for the buck: to get more for your money; your money buys more of a particular thing.
You can get more bang for the buck if you wait to place your order during happy hour.
happy hour: a time at restaurants and bars when food and drink specials are available–usually in the late afternoon.
more fun than a barrel full of monkeys: something is a lot of fun (sometimes this expression is used with sarcasm).
Watching a room full of four-year-old children is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.
more power to you: here’s to your success; I hope you get what you want.
A: I’m hoping to be a professional DJ some day.
B: Really? That’s great. More power to you.
more than one way to skin a cat: there’s more than one way to do something; there’s more than one solution to a problem.
The Johnsons tried to improve their home’s energy efficiency by adding insullation to the attic, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
(the) more the merrier: the larger the group, the greater the possibility for having a good time.
A: Do you mind if I join your group?
B: No, of course not. The more the merrier.
much ado about nothing: to
Warnings on TV about a big blizzard and three feet of snow turned out to be much ado about nothing.