face the music
to have to face a difficult situation / truth one doesn’t want to face but knows is coming

– examples

My wife is angry at me after I forgot her birthday. I don’t want to go home, but I guess I have to face the music sooner or later.

It had been a pleasure working with them, but it was time to face the music: Dave knew they didn’t need him and would have to leave.


fair and square
done, or won, correctly and following the rules; not done by cheating (usually used in past tense if somebody complains the game was not fair)

– examples

Paul is angry, but the truth is that Dave won that game fair and square.

The referee was an idiot, but I still think City would have won that game fair and square if the referee had been better.


fair crack of the whip
getting a fair opportunity to try and succeed; getting as much opportunity to succeed as other people (often used to describe the amount of time someone is given to prove themselves)

– examples

All Vicky asked for was a fair crack of the whip; if she couldn’t get it done, she said, then she could not complain, but she believed that even though she was the youngest she could manage the project.

The boss came to apologise to Paul, saying he was sorry because he didn’t think he had given him a fair crack of the whip. Next time, he promised, he would give him more time.


fall on your sword
to resign or leave because you know you have made a mistake and must take responsibility for it, allowing someone else to take over (usually used to describe leaving before you get fired or in bigger trouble)
taken from the Japanese samurai act of hara-kiri

– examples

The Prime Minister dealt with the disaster very poorly, making some believe he was getting too old and was too indecisive. The newspapers began to question his leadership, and the pressure was growing. Finally he decided to fall on his sword and leave his position.

The players aren’t happy, and they’re bottom of the league, and have lost 7 in a row. The supporters are asking that the manager fall on his sword before the board fires him.

The management had been getting more and more angry with Dave, believing him not capable of running his department and saying Paul could. Eventually Dave decided to fall on his sword.


a far cry from (something)
very different from (usually used to describe how different things are now from in the past)

– examples

They just bought a beautiful new house in the suburbs. It’s a far cry from the days they had to live over the shop, 3 in a room.

The team are now top of the table. It’s a far cry from the days of the last manager, when they lost 7 in a row.

Their marriage is in a terrible state: all they do is argue. It’s a far cry from the happy couple everyone knew at the wedding.


a feather in (your) cap
an achievement of which you should be proud, aor will help you later

– examples

There were a lot of people applying for the position, but Dave felt he had a chance. He had plenty of experience, and the success of Project X was a real feather in his cap.

“You’ve done very well Paul. This is a feather in your cap, and I’m sure the management will remember when it is time to promote someone.”

He’s very good at meeting women, and dating Gemma last year is a feather in his hat: all the guys he knows are envious.


few and far between
very rare or unusual

– examples

Paul knew he had to do well on this project: opportunities such as this were few and far between for people in his position.

Vicky’s new boyfriend is a good, honest guy. From her experience such men are few and far between.


a fresh pair of eyes
a person brought from outside to give a different opinion or look at something differently

– examples

I wasn’t sure if I had it right, so I got Dave in to be a fresh pair of eyes. He told me what I feared: I was completely wrong.

The company decided to bring in a fresh pair of eyes on the project, so hired a consultant.


it's (your) funeral
(usually spoken) you can do it, but it will cause you a lot of problems; you can do it, but I seriously don’t recommend it

– examples

“I’m going to get her name tattooed on my back.”
“Ha, go ahead, but I’m telling you, it’s your funeral.”


(have) (your) fill
had enough of something

– examples:

After her latest disaster, Anne has had her fill of lousy men.

“It was a great drive: we stopped at a little roadside cafe, had our fill of food and drink, and then carried on to the cottage.”