rack/wrack (your) brain

meaning: to try and remember something; to think deeply on a subject

1. “I know I have seen him before, but I have been racking my brain all morning and still don’t know where.”

2. “I’ll rack my brain and see if I can think of something to do for her birthday.”
rain on (your) parade

meaning: to do something that ruins someone else’s fun or good idea

1. Phil punched Dave in the face on Anna’s birthday, which sort of rained on her parade a bit.

2. “I don’t want to rain on your parade, but do you really think opening a restaurant is a good idea? I mean, you don’t know anything about the business.”
the rat race

meaning: the stress of working a city job, 9 to 5, with millions of other people

1. The best thing Dave ever did was to escape the rat race. He now has a very enjoyable life running a small restaurant in the countryside.
read between the lines

meaning: to understand the real meaning of what is being said, not just what the words say

1. Dave told Anne that he was looking for a new challenge. She could read between the lines, however, that this meant he was leaving her.

2. The company statement came out, and most of it is positive. However, if you read between the lines of some of the numbers, you can see there are problems coming.
the real deal

meaning: the real thing; not a fake

1. City started the season well, but many thought they weren’t the real deal. Now, however, nobody is doubting them.

2. “Is this a real diamond, or a fake?”
“It’s the real deal, of course.”
recharge (your) batteries

meaning: relax and rest so you can come back refreshed and with energy

1. “I feel OK now. I think the holiday helped me a lot: I just needed some time to recharge my batteries.”
a recipe for disaster

meaning: a situation or combination that can only fail

1. Everyone said that marrying her was a recipe for disaster, but Philip did it anyway.

2. “Dave is managing this project? But he’s an idiot! It’s a recipe for disaster.”
roll out the red carpet

meaning: to make grand preparations for the arrival of somebody important

1. “I see you have repainted the building, tidied away the files, and have everyone wearing suits. You’re really rolling out the red carpet for these people arriving, aren’t you?”
a red herring

meaning: something put in that distracts people from the real issue

1. All through the movie the sister looked like she was the murderer; she was, however, just a red herring. It was the mother who did it!

2. “Don’t listen to him. Everything he says is a red herring. You should just look at the facts.”
(the) red mist

meaning: a sense of anger that arrives, either slowly, or very suddenly

1. Dave is a good boss, and usually very kind. However, when the red mist descends, the staff know to stay out of his way.

2. “He’s a good player, but is quite violent. You never know when the red mist is going to descend and he is going to get sent off.” [
red tape

meaning: annoying bureaucracy

1. There is a lot of red tape involved in starting a business in this country.

2. “I don’t want us to spend weeks caught in red tape; just get it started.”
rest on your laurels

meaning: to become lazy or stop trying because you think you have achieved everything you need

1. The people were getting annoyed with a government that seemed to rest on its laurels. It was not surprising, then, that at the election they voted for a new President.

2. “We did well, but I don’t want any of us resting on our laurels. This next year is going to be even more important.”
ride roughshod over (somebody)

meaning: to do whatever you want, ignoring the wants, rules or feelings of others

1. “I wish you wouldn’t just ride roughshod over me: I told you I didn’t want you to do that, but you went and did it anyway.”
right as rain

meaning: everything is perfect and going well; everything is healthy and good

1. He was sick for quite a long time last year., but he is right as rain now.
right out of the blocks

meaning: immediatley act from the very starting moment

1. City knew they had to win, and right out of the blocks they started to attack.

2. “I need you to show them who the boss is right out of the blocks; don’t let them think they are in charge. I know they are kids, but they also know how to cause a lot of trouble.”
right up (your) alley

meaning: perfectly suited to you; something you will definitely like

1. Dave is good at sports, and interested in travel, so a job teaching kids football in Africa seemed right up his alley.

2. “I think you’ll like this gift; it is right up your alley.”
ring a bell

meaning: to remember or half-remember that you have heard something before

1. “Gary Hobbes? That name rings a bell. I think I used to work with someone called Gary Hobbes.”
ringside seat

meaning: a clear view, close to the action

1. “I just had a ringside seat to one of the biggest fights I have ever seen: Dave and his girlfriend just went crazy on each other, and all I could do was watch.”
rock the boat

meaning: cause trouble; upset a previously calm situation

1. For years the team has been fine, but then they brought in some new people and that really rocked the boat. Now they make more money, but nobody feels happy or secure.

2. “I don’t want to rock the boat, but I think we need to think about making some changes here.”
rocky road

meaning: a difficult path to achieve something

1. “It is going to be a rocky road, but don’t give up, and one day you’ll achieve your dreams.”
roll the dice

meaning: to gamble; to take a chance

1. “If we don’t take a chance, we’ll never know if we can do it. I say, roll the dice and let’s see what happens.”
roll with the punches

meaning: be flexible when the situation changes or slight problems arrive

1. ‘It is a difficult relationship, but I have learnt to just roll with the punches because I love her.”
roll your eyes

meaning: to show (by moving your eyes) that you either don’t believe or find something ridiculous

1. “I asked her if she wanted to join us on our trip to the toy shop, but she just rolled her eyes and said she was busy. I think she thinks we are very childish.”
rolling in money

meaning: to have a very large amount of money

1. Ever since he set up his own software company he has been rolling in money.
rose-tinted glasses

meaning: to look at things with a positive bias; to remember things as better than they really were because you want to believe it

1. Dave was telling me how great his school days were, but I think he was looking at it through rose-tinted glasses: I don’t remember him being happy when he was young.
rough and ready

meaning: not neat nor well-prepared, but useable

1. He gave her the storage room to use as her first office. It was a bit rough and ready, but it did the job.
rough around the edges

meaning: a promising project, but needs a bit of practice or fixing

1. “I think he will be a very good player. At the moment he is a little rough around the edges, but he is quick, intelligent and understands the game, all of which are going to help him.”

2. “I like your design. There are still a few rough edges, but the idea is good.”
(a) rough patch

meaning: a time of difficulties (often relationships)

1. Their marriage is going through a rough patch right now, but hopefully some time away will help them solve the problems.
rub shoulders (with some people)

meaning: to spend time with famous, important or interesting people

1. Anna loves her new job because not only does it pay well, but it also lets her rub shoulders with some of the brightest people in the city.
rub (someone) up the wrong way

meaning: to do something that really annoys somebody

1. Dave has a bad habit of roughing people up the wrong way, which means most of the people he meets at work don’t like him.
rue the day

meaning: regret a time you did something

1. Dave still rues the day he split up with Anna.

2. “Listen to me! You’re making a mistake! You’ll rue the day you fired me!”
ruffle a few feathers

meaning: annoy a group of people, especially by saying something or making changes

1. The boss’s decision to not offer a bonus this year certainly ruffled a few feathers.

2. “I want you to go there and ruffle a few feathers; they are being far too lazy, so go wake them up.”
rule of thumb

meaning: the general rule to guide us

1. As a rule of thumb Anna didn’t date guys from work, but Dave was just too cute and funny.
run a mile

meaning: run far away from something; get far away from something

1. At first Dave liked Anna, but when she told him about her weird family Dave ran a mile.

2. “Usually I run a mile from sports, but if she is going, then sure I’ll go!”
run amok

meaning: to run wild and out of control, possibly causing lots of damage

1. The substitute teacher could not control the class; the kids completely ran amok for the whole class. [
run off (your) feet

meaning: extremely busy so have no time to stop or rest

1. “I need a holiday; work is running me off my feet, and I feel tired every morning.”
run out of gas

meaning: to run out of energy and come to a stop

1. He started the marathon well, but quickly ran out of gas. By mile 10 he was walking, panting, and wanting to die.

2. At the beginning the movie shooting was going well, but it soon began to run out of gas. Scenes took longer, actors were late, and the studio refused to put any more money in. In the end, the movie was cancelled.
run (something) into the ground

meaning: to run or manage something so badly it is eventually destroyed

1. The company used to be successful, but the new boss has run it into the ground. Next month it will close.

2. The manager likes to run his interns into the ground: they have to make the coffee, do his shopping, and do the cleaning.
run (your) mouth

meaning: to ‘trash talk’; to talk a lot, giving a lot of opinions and annoying others

1. “I really don’t like that kid: he’s only ten, but he’s really arrogant, always running his mouth about people.

meaning: average; normal and not that interesting

1. “I don’t see why you are so interested in that bicycle; it just looks like a run-of-the-mill bike to me.”
running on empty/fumes

meaning: to have no energy left, but still be trying to go

1. “I’ve been working on this thing for 15 hours now. I’m running on fumes, to be honest, but I have to get it finished.”
runs in the family

meaning: something that happens, or can be seen, in more than one person in a family

1. The doctor asked Dave if heart disease ran in the family. Dave said it did not.

2. “Dave is an idiot, and his sister isn’t bright either. I guess stupidity runs in the family.”
(hit) rock bottom

meaning: to reach the lowest point; things can get no worse

1. After his wife left him, Dave hit rock bottom. Alone in a foreign country, and out of work, he thought life was never going to get any better.

2. “Well, everyone, I think we have hit rock bottom. At least things can’t get any worse…”