Idiom List:
Idioms starting with the letter "F"

This idiom list contains definitions and examples of idioms that start with the letter "f" (the main word starts with an "f"). If you want to learn idioms beginning with other letters, click here to go to the main idioms page

An idiom is a group of words whose meaning is different from the individual words if you looked them up separately in the dictionary. Let's "face facts."  Idioms are important. So don't "drag your feet"  any longer. There are many examples in this idiom list and you also get the chance to practice by leaving your own sample sentences in the comments.

Idiom list starting with the letter "F"

Idiom list with "FACE"

blow up in one's face:  your plans fail completely, suddenly and cause more problems.

  • My plan to surprise my wife for our anniversary blew up in my face  when she found the gift and thought I bought it for another woman.
  • Borrowing an office computer without asking the director really blew up in my face  when I was accused of stealing it.

face to face (with something):  being directly in front of and facing someone or something.

  • My boyfriend broke-up with me over the phone because he was too afraid to do it face to face.
  • For six months I had only spoken to that girl by email so I was really nervous when we finally decided to meet face to face.

in someone's face:  rudely bothering someone.

  • My older sister is always in my face  about doing my chores and homework.
  • The next time that boy gets in your face,  scream for the teacher to come but don't hit him.

(let's) face it:  the need to look at the real solution and accept it.

  • Let's face itmy test scores are not good enough to get a scholarship to college.
  • After trying to get Sarah to notice me all semester I had to finally face itshe's just not interested in me.

(let's) face facts:

  it's necessary to look at the real situation and accept it.

  • It's time to face facts—this marriage is over and I'm leaving.
  • Let's face facts—it's raining hard and it isn't going to stop so we'll have to cancel the picnic scheduled for this afternoon.

lose face:  to lose the respect of others.

  • You're going to lose face  with your boss if you keep pretending to be sick.
  • We lost face  with our gymnastics coach after he discovered us smoking behind the school.

from / off the face of the earth:  completely gone or disappeared.

  • I tried to find my favorite earrings but they disappeared from the face of the earth.
  • After my daughter's ex-boyfriend posted a nude photo of her on the internet, we called the police and it was removed off the face of the earth.

put on a brave face:  to pretend or act brave or confident in a situation where one doesn't feel that way.

  • Our company is doing so badly I think everyone will lose their jobs but I'm putting on a brave face  for my team.
  • My children are putting on a brave face  while I'm being treated for cancer but I know they are very worried.

save face:  to keep the respect of others.

  • Telling the truth to your parents about your failing grades will help you save face.
  • He tried to save face  by apologizing but everyone was too angry with him to care.
  • I wanted to save face  with my colleagues by explaining why I've been late for every day but I need to wait until three months of my pregnancy have passed.

stare someone in the face:  to be obvious and clear.

  • You wouldn't believe the truth if it was staring you in the face.
  • The answer is staring you in the face!  It's your kids who are stealing money from your purse.

stuff one's face:  to eat a lot of food.

  • You're going to gain a lot of weight if you keep stuffing your face  late at night.
  • I stuffed my face  on pizza and beer and now I feel awful.

to tell someone (something) to their face:  directly to someone (especially in person).

  • I wish my girlfriend could tell me what the problem is to my face  but she only talks to her girlfriends or mother.
  • The supervisor was grateful his employee told him to his face  that he was having problems with a co-worker so they could address the situation together.

(until someone is) blue in the face:  to talk or argue for a very long time.

  • I could've argued with my parents until I was blue in the face  but they'd still never let me go to the party.
  • I was blue in the face  trying to explain my position but the director simply wouldn't listen to other ideas.

written all over someone's face:  when one's expression shows their real feelings.

  • When I arrived at the hospital I asked to see my dad but his death was written all over my mother's face.
  • I tried to hide my disappointment when I wasn't selected for the cheer-leading squad but the disappointment was written all over my face.

keep a straight face:  to keep one's face expressionless and not smile or laugh.

  • When the speaker kept criticizing my professor it was hard for us to keep a straight face.
  • I had to keep a straight face  while my six year-old sister told me about breaking up with her "boyfriend" but I laughed about it with our mom afterwards.

take something at face value:  to accept something the way that it appears or looks.

  • This guy seems very sweet but be careful of taking people at face value.
  • Believe me, you can take this special offer at face value  there's no extra costs or fees.

Idiom list with: FAIL(S)

without fail:  something that is certain, it always happens.

  • My husband is amazing—he takes me out to dinner twice a month without fail.
  • Don't worry, the mailman comes every day by 2:00 PM without fail.

if all else fails:  if nothing else succeeds or occurs.

  • I want to be an actor but if all else fails  I'll join the Army.
  • If all else fails  we can stay home and watch the game on the TV.


fair and square:  honestly

  • This time I won my match fair and square  but no one believed me because I often cheat.
  • We handle promotions in a process that's fair and square,  according to merit.

Idiom list with "FALL"

fall apart:  everything goes wrong and completely fails or stops working.

  • This sweater is so cheap—the first time I washed it it started to fall apart.
  • After she got fired from her job the rest of her life quickly fell apart  as well.

fall back on (something):  something else to support someone after problem, failure, etc.

  • Life insurance gives your family something to fall back on  if something happens to you.
  • I packed some extra food so you'll have something to fall back on  if the stores are closed when you arrive.

fall flat on one's face:  to fail completely.

  • I didn't practice my dance moves at all during the summer so I fell flat on my face  at tryouts.
  • If you don't study for your exam you're going to fall flat on your face.

fall for someone:  to fall in love with someone.

  • Ugh, my little sister falls for a new guy  every month and we have to listen to her talk about him for hours.
  • Try not to fall for a girl  just because she's beautiful—a relationship is more than just about physical attraction

fall for something:  to believe something that isn't really true.

  • When you shop for a new car don't fall for those "no money down" offers—they are a total scam.
  • I fell for a credit card scam  by giving my account information to someone who called me and pretended to be from my bank.

fall through:  to not occur as planned.

  • Our babysitter fell through  so I stayed home with the kids while my wife went to the concert.
  • The new product launch fell through  so I've got to organize it all over again.

take the fall for (someone/something):  to take responsibility for something that happened.

  • My boss didn't finish the report and then wanted me to take the fall for it.
  • I took the fall for playing with matches because I didn't want my little brother to get punished.

Idiom list with "FAMILY"

run in the family:  something (e.g., quality, behavior) that is common in the family.

  • Good looks run in that family, at least among the girls.
  • The doctor ordered some tests because breast cancer runs in my family.

Idiom list with "FAR"

as far as:  to the degree or extent that.

  • As far as  I can see it looks like it's a great day for a picnic.
  • As far as  I know the director will return to the office at 2:00 PM.

by far:  a large degree.

  • My brother is my father's favorite child by far.
  • He's the best player on the team by far.
  • This is by far  the worst birthday I've ever had.

far and wide:  to a great extent or area.

  • I looked far and wide  for new apartment in the city but everything was too expensive.
  • Our friends are coming from far and wide  to our wedding so we reserved a block of hotel rooms.

far from it:  far from the real situation; about the opposite of something (used especially to respond to something you think isn't true).

  • This is the best band I've ever heard. Oh my God, far from it!
  • If you think you're going out tonight—far from it!

so far:  at/until this time.

  • I just started working here two days ago but so far  everything's been great.
  • So far  the medicine hasn't helped, but the doctor said it may take several weeks before it works.

so far, so good:  at (until) this point the situation is alright/satisfactory.

  • "How's your new car running?' "So far, so good."
  • "Do you like being a lawyer?" "It's a lot of work but so far, so good."
  • It's been so far, so good with the babysitter and I hope it stays that way.


bet the farm:  to risk everything one has on something.

  • I've got investments with two companies because I'm afraid of betting the farm  with one broker.
  • Don't bet the farm  when you go to Las Vegas! It's better to take what you're willing to lose in cash.

Idiom list with "FATE"

seal someone's/something's fate:  something that makes a decision (usually for an unwanted outcome) for someone or something.

  • My terrible grades have sealed my fate—I'll have to join the military.
  • Eating poorly and drinking heavily sealed my dad's fate  and he died at age 50.

Tempt fate:  to take a risk because of a foolish idea or belief.

  • Luckily, I passed the test without studying but I'm not going to tempt fate  next time.
  • Don't you think you're tempting fate  by using Facebook at work?

Idiom list with "FAULT"

to a fault:  more than is necessary (used to describe a person's good qualities).

  • My mom is helpful to a fault  and everyone takes advantage of her.
  • I'm generous to a fault  and that's why I have no savings.


ruffle someone's feathers:  to make someone upset or bothered.

  • When I go to a party and talk to other guys it always ruffles my boyfriend's feathers.
  • Don't laugh and giggle really loudly around my dad or you'll ruffle his feathers.

Idiom list with "FED"

fed up (with someone/something):  to be bothered and angry by someone/something.

  • My assistant was so fed up with driving through rush-hour traffic  to the office she quit.
  • I'm fed up with my children's antisocial behavior.

Idiom list with "FEEL"

a / the feel for something:  to know how or have the ability to do something.

  • Don't worry—after a few months you'll get the feel for driving.
  • I tried to play the guitar for six months but I never got a feel for it.

feel for someone:  to feel sympathy or empathy for someone.

  • My sister has been trying to get pregnant for seven years and I really feel for her.
  • My father also died when I was a child so I feel for you.

feel free to do something:  to have permission to do something.

  • I'm putting the keys to my car here—feel free to drive  it whenever you want.
  • Please make sure the kids are asleep by 9 PM and then feel free to watch TV  until we get back.

(not) feel like oneself:  to feel (not feel) as happy and healthy as usual.

  • Ever since I got pregnant, I haven't felt like myself.
  • I didn't start feeling like myself  again until I took an antidepressant.

Idiom list with "FEELINGS"

no hard feelings:  to not be angry about something.

  • We decided to use a different supplier and I hope there will be no hard feelings.
  • When my husband and I divorced it was very easy because there were not hard feelings between us.

Idiom list with "FEET"

drag one's feet:  to procrastinate or do something very slowly (or not complete it) because you don't want to do it.

  • I've asked my boss to give me a raise but he keeps dragging his feet.
  • Why do you always drag your feet  with the monthly report?

one's / both feet on the ground:  to have a clear, realistic understanding of one's situation.

  • My daughter's boyfriend is in a rock band but surprisingly he's got both feet on the ground.
  • Many young athletes throw away millions of dollars because they don't have their feet on the ground.

find one's feet:  to become used to or familiar with a new situation or place.

  • It can take months to find your feet  in a big city like New York.
  • We're really pleased the new accountant found his feet  in just two weeks.

get one's feet wet:  to try it or experience something different or risky (especially for the first time).

  • I finally decided to get my feet wet  and registered for acting classes.
  • The hardest part of sky diving was getting my feet wet—after that I was addicted to it.

jump in with both feet:  to start something quickly and enthusiastically.

  • The wedding will be in two months so everyone has to jump in with both feet  and help plan everything.
  • Our new intern is fantastic. She just jumped in with both feet  and immediately started helping customers.

knock someone off their feet:  to make someone very happy or surprised.

  • When I first met Jennifer she completely knocked me off my feet.
  • The results of the new sales campaign are going to knock you off your feet.

land on one's feet:

  to survive a difficult situation in good condition.

  • I'm so glad I was able to land on my feet  after losing my job.
  • She's had six months of physical therapy after the accident but still hasn't landed on her feet.

put one's feet up:  to relax and not do anything.

  • I'm exhausted but when I go to the beach this week I'm going to put my feet up.
  • Why don't you stop cleaning and put your feet up?  You cooked dinner so I'm happy to finish doing the dishes.

six feet under:  dead and buried. 

  • When I worked for John I was on the receiving end  of his cruel criticism too many times.
  • It's sad—everyone had already started fighting over my father-in-law's money before he was even six feet under.

stand on one's own (two) feet:  be able to take care of and provide for oneself.

  • If you don't want to do chores, move out and stand on your own two feet.
  • I never thought my wife could stand on her own two feet  but she went out and got a job after I was hospitalized.

sweep someone off their feet:  to make someone fall quickly and completely in love with him.

  • My brother has perfected the art of sweeping girls off their feet—and then dumping them a few months later.
  • My husband swept me off my feet  when I met him while on holiday in Belize.

think on one's feet:

to be able to think and handle a situation quickly.

  • Lawyers need to be able to think on their feet  when they're in the courtroom.
  • Luckily my neighbor was thinking on his feet  and called security when he saw people moving things from my apartment—they were actually robbers not movers.


drink like a fish:  to drink too much alcohol at one time.

  • Drinking like a fish  is bad for your health and bad for your wallet.
  • The first—and last—time I drank like a fish  was at my sister's wedding when I was just 15 years old and I made a complete fool of myself.

More examples of idioms starting with the letter "F" will be added in the future so make sure to sign-up for my free newsletter so you can know when there are new updates.

You can also find many idiom definitions with the different online learner's dictionaries.

Your turn: Pick an expression from this idiom list and practice

The hardest part of learning a language is "getting your feet wet," but you can do it. Just "jump in with both feet." If you make a mistake, I will help correct your sentence. It's that easy. Please write an example or two by picking any expression from the idiom list.

› "F" Idioms

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