Common Idioms about Politics in English | Politics Idioms

Common idioms about Politics in English with meaning and examples.

List of Idioms about Politics in English.

Idioms about CRIME

Caught Red-Handed

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

Five-Finger Discount

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

Foul Play

  • Meaning: Crime, typically murder
  • Example: The 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
  • 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.

Useful idioms about  Politics in English

Common Idioms about Politics in English | Politics Idioms

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.

Idioms about WAR

(The) Cavalry

  • 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.

Weekend Warrior

  • 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

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