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American Expressions UV

under lock and key: secure; safely protected.

She keeps her most important possessions under lock and key.

girl holding a 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?

Hmmmm! Pizza.

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.



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