Popular Expressions Used in the U.S.
U / V
under lock and key: secure; safely protected.
She keeps her most important possessions under lock and key.
under one’s belt: resources and experience.
He has many years of experience working as an architect under his belt.
under one’s nose: something unnoticed in front of a person.
Heidi was looking around for her stuffed animal, and it was right under her nose.
under someone’s thumb: under another person’s control.
He’s got her under his thumb.
under the circumstances: during a time of distress; a time of difficulty.
We tried to talk to her about her deceased husband’s estate and will, but under the circumstances, it wasn’t a good time.
under the influence: drunk or high
He was under the influence of a strong narcotic when the police found him lying in the street.
under the weather: a little sick
Hubert is feeling under the weather today, so he’s not going to go to work.
up and about: able to walk and do things after a sickness.
He’s finally able to get up and about after his heart operation.
up for grabs: something is available to the first person who takes it.
This last piece of pizza is up for grabs. Who wants it?
up in the air: uncertain
A lot of things are up in the air right now for Mohammed and Fosiya. They’re still trying to decide whether or not to get married.
up to something: involved in some mischief.
What’s he up to now?
up to one’s ears: to have too much of something.
We’re up to our ears in zucchini by the middle of summer.
use it or lose it: if you have something, you should use it or else it won’t be available in the future.
A: He has great skill as a baseball player. He should play professionally.
B: Yeah, use it or lose it.
use one’s head: to think clearly; to make good decisions.
She wasn’t using her head when she got all those tattoos.
(a) vicious circle: something happens repeatedly.
She’s stuck in a vicious circle at work.
vote with one’s feet: to go to a new place; to move.
When the economy turned sour in Nevada, Alison and Chris voted with their feet and moved to Minnesota.