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
achieved fairly and by following the rules; not achieved by cheating (usually used in past tense if the loser complains a contest 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 officiating had been better.


a 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

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

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. However, she believed that even though she was the youngest she could manage the project.


fall on your sword
(taken from the Japanese samurai act of hara-kiri) to resign or leave because you made a mistake and must take responsibility for it, allowing someone else to take over (often leaving before you get fired or when the complaints become too great)

– 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: 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 incapable of running his department and saying Paul should take over. Eventually Dave decided to fall on his sword.


a far cry from (something)
very different from (usually used to describe things now being very different from the past, or how a result is very different from expectations)

– examples

They just bought a beautiful new house in the suburbs. It’s a far cry from the days when they had to live over the shop with 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 and/or 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, but is a horrible man. He talks about dating Gemma last year as if it were a feather in his cap, and not a relationship with an actual other person.


few and far between
very rare or unusual, and therefore difficult to find

– examples

Paul knew he had to do well on this project: opportunities as big as this were few and far between.

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


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

– examples

I wasn’t sure if I had it right, so I got Dave in to offer 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.”

“I’ve heard she’s going to bring up the pay problem at the meeting today.”
“Really? I told her to wait a week. But what do I care? It’s her funeral.”


have (your) fill (of something)
had enough of something

– examples:

After her latest relationship 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.”

Last year he was the hottest celebrity in the country, but it seems the country has had its fill of him and his stupid songs. I think his 15 minutes of fame is up.