Commonly Used Idioms about Law and Politics in English

Learn useful English Idioms about Law and Politics with meaning and examples.

Law Idioms

(Caught) Bang to Rights

  • Meaning: Caught in an unlawful or immoral act without any mitigating circumstances.
  • ExampleThe criminal was caught bang to rights, but thanks to a sophisticated defense team he served only a light sentence.

Above The Law

  • Meaning: Exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else.
  • ExampleMembers of the president’s party often act like they’re above they law. They violate regulations, but they are not punished.

Act Of Congress

  • Meaning: Hard to get, said of authorization
  • ExampleIt shouldn’t take an act of Congress to get the project approved.

All Rights Reserved

  • Meaning: Said of a published work; all reproduction rights are asserted by the copyright holder
  • ExampleAll rights reserved by the copyright holders of this website!

Useful Idioms about Law and Politics in English | Image 1

idioms about Law and Politics

Idioms about CRIME

Caught Red-Handed

  • Meaning: Apprehended while committing a crime
  • ExampleIt shouldn’t be hard to get a conviction – the burglars were caught red-handed.

Five-Finger Discount

  • Meaning: Shoplifting
  • ExampleWe need to install security cameras in the store. Too many shoppers are getting a five-finger discount.

Foul Play

  • Meaning: Crime, typically murder
  • ExampleThe actor was found dead in his garden, but police do not suspect foul play.

Idioms about POLICE

Throw The Book At

  • Meaning: Prosecute legally as strongly as possible
  • ExampleThe judge let me off with a warning after two speeding tickets. But the next time, she’s going to throw the book at me.

Blue Light Special 1

  • Meaning: A temporary sale at a discount store.
  • ExampleCome quick! The local discount store is having a blue light special – shirts are three for $10 until 10 p.m.

Blue Light Special 2

  • Meaning: A traffic stop by the police.
  • ExampleSorry I’m late getting home – I was speeding, and I got the blue light special

Note: Both these expressions are less common now than formerly.

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idioms about Law and Politics

Idioms about POLITICS

Stick It to the Man

  • Meaning: Do something that frustrates those in authority
  • ExamplePeople who jump subway turnstiles are really stealing, but they may feel they’re sticking it to the Man.


  • Meaning: Change political parties (said of politicians themselves)
  • ExampleThe may was promised a choice job in the national government in return for waka-jumping.

Note: Jump wakas is also used.

War Idioms

(The) Cavalry

  • Meaning: Assistance from a powerful source in a difficult situation.
  • ExampleWe’re running into serious trouble with the investigation of this crime. It’s time to call in the cavalry – I’ll contact the crime lab tomorrow.

Pin Someone Down

  • Meaning: Demand a decision or clear answer
  • ExampleMy boyfriend and I have talked vaguely about getting married, but I think it’s time to try to pin him down.

Scorched Earth (Tactics, Policy, etc.)

  • Meaning: Ruthless, extremely destructive
  • ExampleThe government’s scorched-earth tactics finally crushed the insurgency.

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