eat your words
to admit that something you said was wrong (usually after someone proves your prediction wrong)

– examples

His boss thought he was an idiot who would fail, but Dave made him eat his words: he is now the top sales rep.

People didn’t believe that their marriage would last, but they’ve made the doubters eat their words as next year will be their 30th together.

“All credit to him, he made me eat my words. I didn’t think he would do it, but he did.”


elbow grease
hard physical work, generally repetitive and using one’s hands, that is needed to achieve something
(note: the elbow is a part of the arm, so often used for effort that involves using arms)

– examples

He didn’t think he could do it in time, but with a little elbow grease he managed to get the house ready before the party.

It took 6 months, a patient wife, and a great deal of elbow grease, but he finally finished building his boat last weekend.

“My shirt is stained.”
“Don’t worry. A little soap, water and elbow grease and that should clean right up.”


every man for himself
each person has to look out for himself; save/protect yourself and don’t worry or help others

– examples

At first, as Dave’s boat began to sink, everyone was very calm. But as it went further down people began to panic, and soon it was every man for himself.

In this job, it is every man for himself. Don’t worry about others. Being greedy is a positive quality in this business.

“It’s every man for himself when getting a taxi in the rain.”


explore all avenues
look into every possible way to achieve something

– examples

Even after they explored all the avenues, checking all the options they could think of, the consultants still could not see how to turn the company around.

“Don’t worry, the officers are exploring all avenues and I’m sure they will find something. We’ll find out who stole your cat.”

The film needs funding, so the crew are exploring all avenues to find somebody who will back the project.


eye candy
someone/something that has no purpose except to look nice to others (often used to describe girlfriends or TV presenters/film stars whose only talent is looking attractive)

– examples

Paul felt depressed. He knew he was a good guy, but it seemed none of the girls agreed. What was wrong with him? Even the fat businessmen with the bad moustaches had their eye candy.

She isn’t the smartest person on television, but she is good eye candy.

“I see Dave has found himself a new piece of eye candy; Gemma, I think her name is.”


an eye opener
an event that makes one realise a truth that they hadn’t seen/known before

– examples

Working with the charity proved to be a real eye-opener: she hadn’t known there was so much poverty in this city.

The riots were a real eye-opener for the government. It had no idea the people were so unhappy until they started destroying the cities.

Dave thought Vicky and Paul’s relationship was going well, but when he heard Vicky crying on the phone it was a real eye-opener.