a cut above
far superior to others in this subject/field

– examples

Quite simply, he is a cut above the rest. There isn’t anyone who can do what he is doing.

When it comes to flower arranging, Dave is a cut above.

The special effects in Spielberg’s films are always a cut above the norm.


cut from a different cloth
1 – naturally and always superior (compared to something else)
2- totally different

– examples

Whereas Kate enjoys life, Susan is bitter, envious, and sometimes quite cruel. Although they are sisters, it is like they are cut from different cloth.

In life there are people who, sadly, are simply cut from a different cloth. They’re smarter, better looking, and seem to stroll to success. I wish I was one of those people.

“How about Vicky? I like her.”
“Dave, when it comes to choosing women we’re cut from a different cloth.”


the cat is out of the bag
the secret is out and no longer a secret

– examples

For six months he didn’t tell them anything, quietly practicing twice a week. One Monday, however, Vicky saw him coming home from the dance school and the cat was out of the bag.

“I’m afraid the cat is out of the bag on your little secret: we all know you have been dating Dave’s girlfriend. You should be careful.”


(set/throw/put) a cat amongst the pigeons
a thing or action that disturbs the normal routine. This change can be good or bad (e.g. stops people being lazy, or disrupts a comfortable environment)

– examples

“The employees have been getting a bit over-confident recently. They don’t seem to want to do anything, and don’t listen to my instructions.”
“I tell you what: start a rumour that somebody is getting fired on Friday. That should set a cat amongst the pigeons.”

“Everything was working fine until you turned up. We have no need for a cat amongst the pigeons, to be honest.”

The study into the role of gender on performance has thrown a cat amongst the pigeons, with liberals and conservatives both surprised by the findings and now desperately trying to justify their opinions.

Rovers’s form this year has put a cat amongst the pigeons: instead of the big 4 deciding the trophies amongst themselves and all qualifying for the Champions League, now there is a surprise 5th team and the possibility a big club will miss out on Europe.


champing at the bit
(also ‘chomping at the bit’)
Really eager to start an activity

– examples

I’m champing at the bit to get started on the project.

Investors are champing at the bit to put their money into this website. Next Wednesday’s IPO will be a feeding frenzy.


(your) call
“you decide”

– examples

The weather was getting worse. Anna told Dave that it was his call whether they continued or not.

“What do you want to do? Head out, or shall we order in some pizza?”
“I don’t mind. It’s your call.”


(it) costs an arm and a leg
to cost a lot of money; to be very expensive

– examples

“I’d like to go home for Christmas, but the tickets cost an arm and a leg. Maybe I’d be smarter to wait until January.”

The return on this machine has been disappointing. It cost an arm and a leg to buy and install it, and so far there have been less than one hundred orders.


(it) costs the earth
to cost a lot of money; to be insanely expensive

– examples

He is looking for a wedding present that doesn’t cost the earth.

Property prices in the city have been out of control for the past two decades; whereas once it was possible for a one-salary family to buy a multi-room property, now it costs the earth to merely rent a room on the outskirts.