B Idioms

This B idioms list has idiomatic expressions with words beginning with the letter B. "In brief," I've provided numerous important idioms starting with the letter "b" with lots of examples to help you learn more easily. So "breathe easier" and let's get started!

This list will be frequently updated with new definitions and examples, quizzes and other information to help you learn and remember these expressions.

Note: Each idiomatic expression does not always start with the letter “b.” This list is organized to include idioms whose main subject or action word starts with the letter “b.”

List of B Idioms


back away from (something / someone):   to move away from something or stop supporting something. Example:  Our supervisor wanted us to start working on Sundays but...read more

back down (from something / someone):  to not continue with a threat to do something.  Example:   The workers backed down from their plan to go on strike...read more

back off:  to not do something you planned on doing.  Example:  I worked really hard on the project for the past two weeks but my boss told me to back off it until the client... read more

back on one’s feet:  to be healthy again after sickness.  Example:  I couldn’t do anything for two weeks while I had the flu but now I’m back on my feet... read more

back out (of something):  to not completely finish something one promised to do. Example:  My friend and I were supposed to go on holiday together but she backed out at the...read more

back to back:  one thing immediately happening after another thing.  Example:  On Wednesdays, I’m really busy because I have four classes back to back... read more

back to square one:  to be back at the starting point of something. Example:  I picked up all the leaves and branches from my lawn yesterday but there was a storm last night and...read more

behind one’s back:  something happening when someone is not present.  Example:  My colleague is really nice to me but I don’t trust him because I know he talks negatively about me...read more

stab someone in the back:  to cause someone harm or do something negatively to someone.  Example:  I cannot believe my friend stabbed me in the back by telling my teacher...read more

watch your back:  to be careful to notice what’s happening around you.  Example:  I have to watch my back at this office because people are unfriendly and competitive... read more


not (half) bad:  good enough or reasonably good.  Example:  Let's eat in the university cafeteria. The food is not half bad  and the price is great... read more

bad blood (between people):  bad or unfriendly relationships between people or groups of people.  Example:  There’s been bad blood between two of my best friends since...read more

bad hair day:  a day when everything isn’t going well (such as when it’s hard to groom your hair the way you want it to be).  Example:  Sorry I can't go out—I’m having a bad hair day...read more

bad mouth (someone):  to say bad things about someone.  Example:  I heard you were bad mouthing me  so if you have a problem tell me right now... read more


have bag’s under one’s eyes:  to have dark puffy circles under the eyes. Example:  I have bags under my eyes because I was watching the football game last night and only slept...read more

pack someone’s bags:  to permanently leave or go away from a place. Example:  If your roommates never clean up, eat all your food and make a lot of noise, maybe it...read more


ball in someone’s court:  the moment when someone needs to take the next action, move or get an answer from someone else. Example:  I filled out the application and provided...read more

drop the ball:  to stop working on something before a goal or project is completed. Example:  We lost the contract when I went on vacation because my coworkers dropped the ball... read more

start / get the ball rolling:  to begin or start something. Example:  I want to have a nice garden this summer so I started the ball rolling by planting some seeds in little pots near the... read more

have a ball:  to have a fun or enjoyable time. Example:  I used to hate exercise but I started taking dance lessons and now I’m exercising and having a ball at the same time... read more

on the ball:  to be alert, focused and able to react to something quickly.  Example:  The students in my advanced placement classes are really on the ball so I have to be careful...read more


bang for the buck:  to have good value for money spent. (note: in English the word "buck" is slang for a dollar).  Example:  I recommend you buy this television because it has the.... read more

bang one’s head against the wall:  to feel frustrated trying to do something that’s not possible.  Example:  I try to suggest new projects each week at the staff meeting... read more


bank on something:  to depend on or trust something.  Example:  When your baby is born you can bank on  me for advice and babysitting help... read on

break the bank:  to be too costly or expensive.  Example:  These days you can easily buy a smart phone without breaking the bank... read on


drive a hard bargain:  to be good at negotiating a beneficial arrangement.  Example:  I was able to drive a hard bargain and get a higher salary and an extra week of vacation... read on

more than someone/something bargained for:  to get something in addition to what was expected.  Example:  I tried to have a baby for three years but when I got pregnant... read on


bark is worse than one’s bite:  someone is not as bad or as difficult as they seem to be.  Example:  My girlfriend told me her father’s bark is worse than his bite and not to worry... read on

bark up the wrong tree:  trying to achieve something but doing it in the wrong way or believing an explanation for something that isn’t true.  Example:  My sister wanted a loan from... read on


off base:  wrong, not correct.  Example:  You're way off base if you think you can graduate from college without studying.  Example:  Unfortunately, the financial projections were... read on

touch base (with someone):  to contact someone. Example: When you return from holiday let’s touch base  so we can set up our next appointment... read on


(don't) put all your eggs in one basket:  having all of your resources or efforts in just one possibility is very risky.  Example:  You need to get a financial adviser who can help... read more


recharge one's battery:  to rest or relax in order to get energy back to do things again.  Example:  We just returned from our cabin in the woods—no smart phones, television... read more


be-all and end-all:  something really important or good.  Example:  Getting accepted into an Ivy League university is the be-all and end-all for me... read on

be game:  to be ready to participate in something. Example:  I’m game for whatever you want to do this weekend... read on

be into something / someone:  to be really interested or active in something or someone.  Example:  My boyfriend is really into shopping and fashion but I hate it... read on

be off:  to depart, leave, or go away.  Example:  Are you leaving so soon? Yes, I’m off to the grocery store before it closes... read on

be over:  to be finished.  Example:  I’m so glad final exams are over and summer is here... read on


spill the beans:  to tell someone a secret or tell someone information before you were supposed to.  Example: My colleague spilled the beans that I had found a new position... read more


bear (hold) a grudge (against someone):  to continue to be angry and not forgive someone.  Example:  I apologized many times for calling my sister fat when... read on

bear fruit:  to produce a result.  Example:  I started to eat yogurt instead of donuts for breakfast and after three months my new diet is bearing fruit — I’ve lost five pounds already... read on

bear (something) in mind:  to consider or think about something.  Example:  Before you book your vacation bear in mind that many flights get delayed during the winter due... read on

bear out something / bear something out:  to prove or confirm that something is true.  Example:  My own experience bears out  research that shows drinking diet soft... read on


beauty is only skin deep:  a person's inner beauty (not their outer appearance) is the most important factor.  Example:  I really believe that beauty is only skin deepmy wife may be average in looks but she's kind, gentle and super smart.

  • Although beauty is only skin deep, Queen Rania is gorgeous on both the inside and outside.
  • My brother says beauty is only skin deep  but then he only dates fashion models.
  • My parents always tell me that I'm wonderful and beauty is only skin deep  but the guys at school only like the pretty girls.

* Click here for a lesson on this idiom.


Tighten one's belt:  to spend less than usual in order to save money.  Example:  We had to tighten our belts after my wife left her job but it's worth it to have her home with our baby... read on


a little bird told me:  this is used to say that you got information from someone but you are not going to say who that person is.  Example:  A little bird told me that that we are having a pop quiz today in Mrs. Green's class...read more


blind as a bat:  not able to see or to not see well.  Example:  I keep an set of emergency eye gasses in my desk drawer because sometimes I misplace my regular eyeglasses in the house and can't find them because I'm blind as a bat... read on

blind date:  a date (social meeting) where two people have never met before.  Example:  I did not want to go on a blind date that my mother arranged but I'm really glad I did because... read on


bore the pants off:  to be extremely boring or uninteresting to someone else.  Example:  This story is really boring the pants off me — Can you please get to the point?...read more


box in:  Feeling restricted or stuck due to one's limited options.  Example:  We decided to rent for a year until we got to know the city so we wouldn't be boxed in to living in a neighborhood we don't like... read more

think outside the box:  to think creatively to find new ways of doing things or solving problems.  Example:  Sometimes drawing a picture of something can help you think outside the box and solve a problem since it uses the more creative right-brain processes... read more


best thing since sliced bread:  this describes a new person or thing that's really great or amazing.  Example:  The new iPhone is the best thing since sliced bread—I absolutely have... read more


breathe easy / easier:  to become more calm or relaxed.  Example:  You'll breathe easier after your mid-term exams are over... read more


in brief:  something that is said with very few words or details.  Example:  In brief, he didn't get the job and doesn't want to talk about it... read more


a drop in the bucket:  a very small or unimportant amount when compared to something else. Example:  The bake sale raised only a drop in the bucket of what's needed to buy...read more

More B idioms will be added in the future so check back again soon or better yet, sign-up for my free newsletter so you can automatically know when there are new updates to my website.

› "B" Idioms

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.