Useful Idioms about Building and Technology in English

Idioms are phrases where the whole phrase means something different from the meaning of the individual words. Below is a list of commonly used idioms about Building and Technology that are illustrated with pictures and examples.

List of Idioms about Building and Technology in English.

Idioms about Building

Back Office

  • Meaning: Support services for a business
  • ExampleCompanies like to have their main offices in prestigious locations, but the back office can really be anywhere.

Castle in the Air

  • Meaning: An impractical plan
  • ExampleTen years ago, people thought the waterfront park was a castle in the air, but the mayor backed it persistently, and now it’s a reality.

Darken Someone’s Door(step)

  • Meaning: Make an unwanted visit to someone’s home
  • Example: I’ve already given you too much help, and you’ve wasted it all. Don’t darken my door again.

Note: This expression has a melodramatic flavor, and it’s less common in the USA but certainly understood.

Useful Idioms about Building and Technology in English | Image 1

Idioms about Building and Technology

Idioms about Car

3-On-The-Tree

  • Meaning: On an automobile (especially those produced from 1939 through the mid-1970s), a three-speed manual transmission whose gearshift lever is mounted on the  steering column
  • Example: Three-on-the-tree was a common way of mounting the gearshift lever on old pickup trucks.

Note: Rare nowadays, largely because few three-speed transmissions are being produced.

All Roads Lead to Rome

  • Meaning: There is more than one effective way to do something; many different methods will produce the same result
  • ExampleIt doesn’t really matter which part of the project you start with – all roads lead to Rome.

Note: A colloquial U.S. equivalent is “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Amber Gambler

  • Meaning: Someone who accelerates to try to cross an intersection before a traffic light turns red
  • Example: I don’t like riding in a car with Susan – she’s an amber gambler.

Note: This idiom is British.

Construction Idioms

Furniture and Household Items Idioms

(No) Strings Attached

  • Meaning: Without additional obligations, without conditions
  • ExampleI’m giving you the money. Pay me back if you can, but don’t worry about it. There are no strings attached.

(Searching for) A Needle in a Haystack

  • Meaning: Trying to find something that is mixed in with many similar items
  • ExampleThere must be 300 bags on this carousel. We’ll be searching for a needle in a haystack.

(With a) Fine-Toothed Comb

  • Meaning: Very closely scrutinized. Generally used with a verb like “examine.”
  • Example: I’d like to thank Patricia for going over my presentation with a fine-toothed comb. She really made it better.

Machinery Idioms | Idioms about Building and Technology

Run into a Buzz Saw

  • Meaning: Encounter severe and unexpected problems
  • Example: The bill ran into a buzz saw of opposition from labor groups after it was introduced, and it finally died in committee.

Idioms about Science

Acid Test

  • Meaning: A crucial event that determines the worth of something
  • Example: The upcoming corruption trial will be the acid test of the country’s judicial system.

Note: Usually “the acid test,” not “an acid test.”

Idioms about Technology

Transport Idioms

(Did Not) Come to Town on a Turnip Truck

  • Meaning: Is not naive
  • ExampleYou can’t fool me. I didn’t come to town on a turnip truck, you know.

(Not) rock the boat

  • Meaning: To do or say something that might endanger astable situation or upset the status quo
  • ExampleNone of my family members are fighting with each other right now, so please don’t rock the boat by bringing up politics or any other controversial topics.

(That) Train Has Left the Station

  • Meaning: The process is already underway; the time for discussion is over.
  • ExampleI know you don’t like it that we’re spending money on renovations, but that train has left the station – construction crews are already here.

Weapon Idioms

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