Learn Useful Idioms using Numbers in English with meaning and examples.
You can jump to any section of this lesson:
- 1 (Do Something) By the Numbers; By the Book
- 2 A million and one
- 3 All in one piece
- 4 And Counting
- 5 At sixes and sevens
- 6 At the eleventh hour
- 7 Back to square one
- 8 Be in seventh heaven
- 9 Be in two minds (about something)
- 10 Cast the first stone
- 11 Dressed up to the nines
- 12 Eighty-Six (v.) (1)
- 13 Eighty-Six (v.) (2)
- 14 Feel like a million dollars
- 15 Get the third degree
- 16 Have one over the eight
- 17 Have one too many
- 18 It takes two to tango
- 19 Kill two birds with one stone.
- 20 Never in a million years
- 21 Nine times out of ten
- 22 Nine-to-five job
- 23 On all fours
- 24 On cloud nine
- 25 One for the road
- 26 Put in one’s two cents
- 27 Six feet under
- 28 Square the Circle
- 29 Stand on one’s own two feet
- 30 Take five
- 31 Ten to one
- 32 Two peas in a pod
- 33 Zero In On
(Do Something) By the Numbers; By the Book
- Meaning: To follow instructions exactly
- Example: You don’t have to do this totally by the book; if you see small changes that are needed, go ahead and change the procedure.
A million and one
- Meaning: Very many
- Example: I have a million and one ideas.
All in one piece
- Meaning: Safely
- Example: He got home from the party all in one piece.
- Meaning: And the number just mentioned is increasing (or decreasing)
- Example: How many dumplings have you made? – We’ve got two hundred and counting.
At sixes and sevens
- Meaning: Someone is in a state of confusion or not very well organized.
- Example: I’m at sixes and sevens now that the whole schedule has been rearranged.
At the eleventh hour
- Meaning: It happens when it is almost too late.
- Example: I was shocked that they reached an agreement at the eleventh hour after weeks of squabbling.
Back to square one
- Meaning: Back to the start
- Example: The project failed, we’re back to square one.
Be in seventh heaven
- Meaning: Extremely happy
- Example: I’ve been in seventh heaven ever since I got engaged!
Be in two minds (about something)
- Meaning: To not be certain about something, or to have difficulty in making a decision
- Example: I’m in two minds about accepting the job.
Cast the first stone
- Meaning: To be the first to criticize or attack someone
- Example: OK,fine, I’ll cast the first stone—that movie was awful!
Dressed up to the nines
- Meaning: Someone is wearing very smart or glamorous clothes
- Example: I have to be dressed to the nines at this gala tonight — a lot of important people will be there.
Eighty-Six (v.) (1)
- Meaning: Discard, eliminate.
- Example: Our boss approved raises for next year, but the district manager eighty-sixed them.
Eighty-Six (v.) (2)
- Meaning: Throw someone out of a bar or store.
- Example: That guy has had too much to drink, and he’s causing trouble. Eighty-six him.
Feel like a million dollars
- Meaning: To feel great, to feel well and healthy.
- Example: You look like a million dollars in that dress, honey!
Get the third degree
- Meaning: To be questioned in great detail about something
- Example: My boyfriend isso controlling that I always get the third degree if I goanywhere or see anyone without him.
Have one over the eight
- Meaning: A person is slightly drunk.
- Example: From the way he was walking it was obvious he’d had one over the eight.
Useful Idioms using Numbers in English
Have one too many
- Meaning: Drink too much alcohol
- Example: I can’t drive, I had one too many.
It takes two to tango
- Meaning: You say this when you think that a difficult situation or argument cannot be the fault of one person alone.
- Example: Your son blames mine for their fight at school, but it generally takes two to tango.
Kill two birds with one stone.
- Meaning: Solve two problems with one move
- Example: I’ll drop you off on the way to work, we’ll kill two birds with one stone.
Never in a million years
- Meaning: Absolutely never
- Example: Never in a million years did I think that I would actually win the lottery!
Nine times out of ten
- Meaning: Almost always
- Example: Nine times out of ten your first choice turns out to be the right one.
- Meaning: A routine job in an office that involves standard office hours
- Example: I wouldn’t want a nine-to-five job.
On all fours
- Meaning: You are down on your hands and knees.
- Example: I got down on all fours trying to find my ring in the sand.
On cloud nine
- Meaning: Very happy
- Example: When my mom bought me a computer, I was on cloud nine.
One for the road
- Meaning: Have a drink before leaving
- Example: Let’s have one for the road!
Put in one’s two cents
- Meaning: Say your opinion
- Example: I put in my two cents at the meeting.
Six feet under
- Meaning: Dead and buried
- Example: I’m going to be six feet under by 2100.
Square the Circle
- Meaning: Attempt an impossible task
- Example: Matthew is trying to solve the puzzle, but it’s squaring the circle – there is no solution.
Stand on one’s own two feet
- Meaning: To be independent and self-sufficient
- Example: He never left home after high school, so he never learned to stand on his own two feet.
- Meaning: To take one brief (about five minutes) rest period .To take a short break, about five minutes.
- Example: I’ve been painting all morning, can I please take five?
Ten to one
- Meaning: Something very likely
- Example: Ten to one I’m going to win.
Two peas in a pod
- Meaning: Two people who are very similar in appearance
- Example: They’re like two peas in a pod, of course they’re married!
Zero In On
- Meaning: Focus closely on something; take aim at something
- Example: We’ve had consultants in the factory for two weeks, and they’re zeroing in on our production problems.