|美国人平时所用的许多短语，看似普通，但有的会有特別意义，究竟是俚语、口语或俗语，没有绝对的定义。其实名称不重要，最重要的是懂得意义和用法，不是吗？ 1、to have(many) irons in the fire: to have a lot of activities going on at the same time（同时有许多事，想马上全部做完，但又不知从何开始，似乎忙得不可开交）
Don't bother him because he has many irons in the fire.
Some people even like to have many irons in the fire.
2、to talk over (one's) head(s): to use large or big words so that audience will not understand exact meaning（指所谈论的内容过于专业或高深，非一般人可以理解；也指有人为了表現自己才学非凡，故意谈些高深理论或用些难字，吓唬別人）
Dr. Lee's lecture was so specialized that he almost talked over our heads.
In order to show his profound knowledge he talks over my head.
3、to put (something) back into (in) its cage: to put something under control (可以控制某件事情，多半指政治、健康等)
We are trying to put inflation back into its cage and our economy is on the mend.
iplomats and politicians need to put aggression and hostility back into its cage.
4、to keep (one's) fingers crossed: to hope something good will happen（祝福某人好运或一切顺利。把食指与中指交叉，祈求好运，是老外的迷信，但在写信或正式场合，多半是用“I wish you best (good) luck!”或“Good (best) luck to you!”）
He keeps his fingers crossed hoping his father will send him more money.
Many people have been keeping their fingers crossed that we can live in a peaceful world.
5、to stretch (one's) legs: to relax or to take a short break（久坐后，把腿舒展一下，或稍微休息一下）
Let's take ten minutes to stretch our legs.
May I take a break so that I can stretch my legs?
During the a long flight from the US to Taiwan, I normally stretch my legs every two hours.
6、to read between the lines：to interpret the hidden meaning or a hidden message; to discern the true fact（从字里行间体会隐含的意义；领会言外之意或能了解其中的真正意义）
As you look at this poem, be sure to read between the lines.
After he re-read the love letter between the lines, he realized that he was dumped by his sweetheart.
7、to let off steam：to give vent to one's anger （发泄、出气，像放掉蒸汽以减少压力似的。这与“to fly off the handle”意思相近，但比“to lose temper”委婉客气些 ）
What will you do if your wife lets off steam?
但是谈到第三者，就可不必太委婉，可用 lose temper:
What will you do if one of your staff lose temper?
Occasionally we should be given a chance to let off steam.
8、to pay through the nose: to pay too much for something or excessively expensive （花费太多，代价过高，与“ to cost an arm and a leg”意义相近）
Don't pay through the nose when you buy the furniture.
Some women paid through the noses for their jewelry.
9、to take center stage：to be in the spotlight（引人注目的中心人物；以某人为公众瞩目的对象）
Mrs. Lin always takes center stage at a party.
President Bush takes center stage wherever he goes.
His constant taking center stage could deprive him of his privacy.
10、to drag(one's)feet: to procrastinate or postpone（慢慢的拖延，行动迟缓，拖拖拉拉）
It is not a good idea to drag your feet when the work needs to be done.
No employers like for their employees to drag their feet on any project.
11、to paint(someone or oneself)into a corner:to trap oneself or someone; to be in trouble（使自己或某人陷入困境, 应该注意的是即使主语是复数形式，corner 仍然用单数）
Don't try to paint yourself into a corner. (不要让自己身陷困境，无法脱身。)
After a heated debate with his boss, Mr. Chen has painted himself into a corner. (和老板激烈的争辩之后，陈先生处境十分不妙。)
12、to ask(someone) for (one's) hand: to ask girl's parents for marriage approval（指男人请求女方家长应允将女儿嫁给他， 这里的“someone”是指女方的家长，“one”则是指要求婚的对象，hand 只能用单数形式）
Mr. Su asked me for my daughter's hand.
He has asked her parents for their daughter's hand.
13、to move onward and upward: to be promoted; from good to better situation（情况得以改善，或往更好的情況发展）
He hopes to move onward and upward with his current company.
Many young couples try to move onward and upward during their marriage.
14、to call a spade a spade: to be honest, blunt or frank（直言不讳，有啥说啥）
My wife always calls a spade a spade about her work situation.
Calling a spade a spade on foreign affairs sometimes seems difficult for diplomats.
15、to play cat and mouse: to play games with aggressive and passive attitude（玩猫戏老鼠的把戏，欲擒故纵)
In business negotiations, there are always cat-and-mouse games.
The police have played cat and mouse with the murderer.
16、to go on the dole: (of the unemployed) to live on public welfare（失业人员依靠政府救济金生活。)
Thousands of Americans are out of jobs and may go on the dole.
Some people have gone on the dole for years.
17、to be in the hot seat: to be under lots of pressure or in a difficult position（处于困境，面对很多压力）
He has resigned from his job because he has been in the hot seat for years.
When testifies before Congress, he will be in the hot seat.
18、to make waves: to make trouble（惹是生非，与“rock the boat”意思相近）
Many politicians like to make waves in order to be kept in the media.
Teenagers tend to make waves with their parents and teachers.
19、to keep (one's) nose clean: to keep away from trouble（远离是非，少惹麻烦）
The newly released inmates are trying to keep their noses clean.
A law-abiding person needs to keep his (her) nose clean.
20、to drive (someone) up the wall: to annoy or upset someone（惹人生气或者不高兴)
The boy is driving his mother up the wall because of his ill behavior.
If you ask too many questions, you may drive your boss up the wall.
21、to write(someone or something)off: to throw away or to discard(抛弃或者丢弃); to deduct a business loss（在经商失败时，也用于报销、注销或扣除损失的数额中）
After a hot argument, she wrote off her boyfriend.
He will write off the charitable contributions from his income taxes.
22、to take up with (someone): to date someone or to fall in love with someone（对某人产生兴趣，或与某人开始亲密交往）
After he met her at the bar, he took up with her.
As she is such a pretty woman, many men would like to take up with her.
24、to pave the way to (or for): to make the path or to lay a groundwork of something（为……铺平道路或为……做好准备）
A good education will pave the way to finding a decent job.
Early space exploration has paved the way for the current space station.
25、to paint the town red: to enjoy oneself; to have a good time（尽情享受）
He is going out tonight to paint the town red.
Miss Chen really painted the town red last week with her friends.