1. to hold still: not to move

  • Ex: Please hold still while I adjust your tie.
  • Ex: If you don’t hold that camera still, you’ll get a blurred picture.
2. to know by sight: to recognize

This idiom is used when the person has been seen previously but is not known personally. The person must be used to separate the idiom.

  • Ex: I have never met our new neighbors; I simply know them by sight.
  • Ex: The woman said that she would know the thief by sight if she ever saw him again.
3. to be the matter: to be unsatisfactory, to be improper, to be wrong

In a question, this idiom is used with what or something. In an answer, something or nothing is usually used.


  • A: What is the matter, Betty? You look very upset.
  • B: Yes, something is the matter. I’ve lost my purse!
  • A: Is something the matter, Charles? You don’t look well.
  • B: No, nothing is the matter. I’m just a little under the weather.
4. to bring up: to rear, to raise from childhood; to mention, to raise an issue, to introduce a topic Ex: Parents should bring up their children to be responsible members of society.

  • Ex: Sarah wanted to bring the scheduling problem up at the club meeting, but finally she decided against doing so.
  • Ex: One of the students brought up an interesting point related to the subject in our textbook.
5. to get lost: to become lost; to go away in order not to bother

The second definition provides a very informal, even rude, meaning that should be used only with close friends. It is sometimes used in a joking manner.

  • Ex: While driving in Boston, we got lost and drove many miles in the wrong direction.
  • Ex: Todd kept bothering me while I was studying, so I told him to get lost.
  • Ex: Lisa joked that she wanted her sister to get lost forever.
6. to hold up: to delay, to make late; to remain high in quality

  • Ex: A big accident held up traffic on the highway for several hours.
  • Ex: Deidre is amazed at how well her car has held up over the years.
7. to run away: to leave without permission; to escape

  • Ex: The young couple ran away and got married because their parents wouldn’t permit it.
  • Ex: That cat is just like a criminal — it runs away from anyone who tries to come near!
8. to rule out: to refuse to consider, to prohibit

  • Ex: Heather ruled out applying to college in Texas because she would rather go to school in Canada.
  • Ex: I’d like to watch a good movie on TV tonight, but a ton of homework rules that out.
9. by far: by a great margin, clearly

  • Ex: Jacquie is by far the most intelligent student in our class.
  • Ex: This is by far the hottest, most humid summer we’ve had in years.
10. to see off: to say good-bye upon departure by train, airplane, bus, etc. (also: to send off)

A noun or pronoun must divide the idiom.

  • Ex: We are going to the airport to see Peter off on his trip to Europe.
    Ex: When I left for Cincinnati on a business trip, no one came to the train station to send me off.
11. to see out: to accompany a person out of a house, building, etc.

A noun or pronoun must again divide the idiom.

  • Ex: The Johnsons were certain to see their guests out as each one left the party.
  • Ex: Would you please see me out to the car? It’s very dark outside.
12. no wonder: it’s no surprise that, not surprisingly

This idiom derives form reducing it is no wonder that…

Ex: No wonder the portable heater doesn’t work. It’s not plugged into the electrical outlet!

Ex: Jack has been out of town for several weeks. No wonder we haven’t seen him recently