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Idioms using numbers

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11 number idioms

Take a look at these idioms; they all use numbers. Read through the 11 idioms ranging from 1 to 11 and then try the quiz:

One-horse town

This idiom is used to describe a town or village that is very small; it has a small population. The image is that nothing ever happens in the town; it is boring and quiet.

'I grew up in a one-horse town. I moved away at the first chance I had.'

Two left feet

To have two left feet means that you have terrible coordination in your movements and terrible balance. You would be a bad dancer or footballer.

'Don't ask me to dance, I have two left feet!'

Two's company; three's a crowd

This idiom is used to mean that two is the best amount of people to go somewhere - three people is too many. It is usually used when a boyfriend and girlfriend want to do something together without anyone else.

'I don't think I'll come to the cinema with you and your new girlfriend because two's company and three's a crowd.'

On all fours

When you are on all fours you are crawling on your hands and knees like a baby.

'I got down on all fours trying to find the coin I had dropped.'

Take five

When we take five we take a short break. The five refers to five minutes, so we're taking a 5 minute break.

'I'm tired of walking, let's take five.'

At sixes and sevens

We use this British English expression when are confused or in a state of disorder.

'The government were at sixes and sevens over what to do about the unemployment rate.'

Seventh heaven

To be in seventh heaven means to be  very, very happy about something

'She was in seventh heaven when she watched her favourite band play live.'

Pieces of eight

This phrase is used to describe money. Pieces of eight were old Spanish coins. The coin was worth eight reales. You might hear this expression in historical pirate movies.

"In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End the Pirate Lords must meet together by presenting the 'Nine Pieces of Eight'."

On cloud nine

Like seventh heaven, this expression is used when someone feels very happy because of something great that has happened to them.

'She's been on cloud nine since since her boyfriend proposed to her.'

Perfect ten

A perfect ten is used to describe something that couldn't get any better - it is already perfect.

'Have you heard the new Madonna record? I love it. I think it's a perfect ten!'

At the eleventh-hour

This idiom is used when something happens at the last possible moment just before the deadline or end.

'The prisoner was saved from execution at the eleventh-hour by the state governor.'

Link: Body Idioms

  • I was on cloud ___ when I heard that my wife was pregnant.

  • Don't go there, it's a real ___ horse town.

  • My team scored the winning goal in the ___ hour. The game was just about to finish.

  • I took dancing lessons because I have ___ left feet.

  • He was in ___ heaven when he found out that he had been promoted.

  • That's enough work for now. Everyone take ___.