waiting in the wings
waiting nearby, ready to take over or act if needed; waiting nearby to take over or act if the opportunity arises

– examples

They don’t need to worry too much: even if the boss leaves, they have Dave waiting in the wings, ready to take over.


wake up call
an event that makes a person realise they have been completely wrong about something

– examples

I used to think everything in this city was perfect, but the walk through the ghetto was a real wake-up call.


walk a fine line
to have to be very careful in how one acts so as to not annoy or anger people

– examples

“At the moment she is happy, but I am walking a fine line with her husband: I think he is getting more annoyed with how much time she is spending at the office.”


a walk in the park
something that is very easy

– examples

The physics test was difficult, but the chemistry one was a walk in the park.


walk on eggshells
have to act very carefully, because someone may get angry

– examples

Every day I am around her I feel I am walking on eggshells; I feel she will kill me whenever I even make a suggestion.


walking encyclopedia
a person who seems to know everything

– examples

They won the pub quiz mostly thanks to Phil, who is a walking encyclopedia on all things trivia.


walking on air
to be so happy it feels like you are floating

– examples

When Dave came back from his date with Anna, he was walking on air, with a big stupid smile on his face and singing an annoying tune.


war of words
a major argument (often lasting for some time)

– examples

The film star and the journalist have been involved in a war of words since the bad review: first the journalist was ‘a talentless hack’, and then the actor a ‘wooden plank’. Now the journalist has been called ‘a leech’.


on the warpath
someone is very angry and very active in telling people what to do

– examples:

“Watch out, Mr. Jones is on the warpath. I’d stay away from the office for a while.”


(get) (your) wires crossed
to misunderstand what you have been told, especially when confusing what someone says for quite the opposite.

– examples

Dave turned up for a meeting, only to find nobody else was there. Somewhere in all the emails he had got his wires crossed.

“I’m sorry, it seems I’ve got my wires crossed. I thought when you said you were going you were quitting the company, not getting promoted.”