Learn Common Expressions and Idioms about Politics, Crime, Police and War with Meaning, ESL Picture and Example Sentences.
Useful list of legal idioms in English.
Expressions & Idioms about Politics, Crime, Police and War
Phrases & Idioms about CRIME
List of crime idioms in English.
- Meaning: Apprehended while committing a crime
- Example: It shouldn’t be hard to get a conviction – the burglars were caught red-handed.
- Meaning: Shoplifting
- Example: We need to install security cameras in the store. Too many shoppers are getting a five-finger discount.
- Meaning: Crime, typically murder
- Example: The actor was found dead in his garden, but police do not suspect foul play.
Sayings & Idioms about POLICE
List of police idioms & sayings in English.
Throw The Book At
- Meaning: Prosecute legally as strongly as possible
- Example: The 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.
- Example: Come 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.
- Example: Sorry 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.
Expressions and Idioms about POLITICS
List of phrases and idioms about politics.
Stick It to the Man
- Meaning: Do something that frustrates those in authority
- Example: People 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)
- Example: The may was promised a choice job in the national government in return for waka-jumping.
Note: Jump wakas is also used.
Sayings and Idioms about WAR
Phrases and idioms about war in English.
- Meaning: Assistance from a powerful source in a difficult situation.
- Example: We’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
- Example: My 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
- Example: The government’s scorched-earth tactics finally crushed the insurgency.
Shot Across the Bow
- Meaning: A warning of more serious actions to come
- Example: The CEO’s letter was a shot across the bow, and legal staff are already working on a patent infringement lawsuit.
Note: The idiom comes from naval combat; the bow (rhymes with cow) is the front part of a ship, so a shot fired across the bow is a warning not to continue farther.
Up in Arms
- Meaning: Angry, protesting (usually said of a group)
- Example: The workers are up in arms about the shortened lunch hour. I think we should lengthen it again.
- Meaning: Someone who has an office job but enjoys contact sports on weekends; a member of a military reserve force (whose exercises are typically on weekends)
- Example: Richard is very formal at work, but he’s a weekend warrior – he enjoys playing football with friends on weekends.