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Idioms (S)

safe and sound

meaning: safe and out of danger

1. Last Monday the children disappeared. The parents were relieved when, on Tuesday morning, they were found safe and sound, hiding in an old cottage.

2. “Don’t worry about the money, it’s locked safe and sound at the office.”
safe pair of hands

meaning: a reliable person who won’t allow something to fail

1. After the disaster of the last management team, everyone was relieved to see that the new manager brought a safe pair of hands and a cool head.

2. “Don’t worry, your children are in safe hands. You’ll see them in an hour.”
safety in numbers

meaning: a big group is safer than doing something by yourself

1. “We’ll travel together, OK? There is safety in numbers; I don’t think any tigers will try to attack all of us if we stay together.”
salt in the wound

meaning: to do something to make a painful or bad situation feel even worse; ‘add insult to injury’

1. “It was bad enough when Anna said she was leaving me and taking the kids, but her taking the dog too was just rubbing salt in the wound.”
salt of the earth

meaning: a person who is ‘down to earth’, dependable, kind, not pretentious, and understands common workers

1. “I like Dave: he is a good, honest, salt of the earth type of guy. Tells you the truth, and always tries to help you out.”
same old, same old

meaning: the same as always (spoken)

1. There is a new boss, but in terms of losing money it is just the same old, same old.

2. “How’s it going?”
Same old, same old.”
save face

meaning: to do something to keep a person’s reputation; to try not to embarrass yourself (or someone)

1. “This whole weekend has been a disaster. I think the best I can do now is just try to save face and hope they forget who I am.”
save (someone's) bacon

meaning: to save someone from a bad situation; save someone’s life

1. “Thanks for telling my wife I was with you last night; you really saved my bacon there.”
saved by the bell

meaning: to be saved from a difficult situation because time finishes, or something else needs done

1. “I thought they were going to beat me up, but then one of their phones rang and they all had to leave. Talk about being saved by the bell.”
saving grace

meaning: the good quallity that counters all the bad qualities

1. Dave is an idiot at weddings. He talks too much, drinks too much, and tries to flirt with the bridesmaids. His only saving grace is that people tend to find him funny. [/
(you) scratch (my) back, and (I'll) scratch (yours)

meaning: if you help me, I’ll help you

1. “I know you want me to help you, but I don’t work for free. Let’s just say, if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours: I need someone to look after the children this Saturday.”
a steal

meaning: a bargain; bought for a lot less money than one might expect

1. Davis has been a steal: bought for only £1 million, he has scored in every game for them this season.

2. At only $500, this car is a steal.
a straw poll

meaning: take a quick check of who thinks what; take an on-the-spot count of who wants to do something (the results are for suggestion, not a final decision)

1. The newspaper said that a straw poll of voters believe that the President got the issue wrong, but we will have to wait until election night to see how wrong.

2. “Can I just take a quick straw poll of who here thinks we should go ahead with this plan?”
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