Furniture Idioms

Furniture Idioms

“It’s pointless to have a nice clean desk, because it means you’re not doing anything.”

Michio Kaku, American physicist

This post is for all idiom lovers out there. Read on, learn and practice.

  • armchair expert – someone who knows a lot about a subject by reading or hearing about it but has no practical experience or first-hand knowledge: There are lots of armchair experts talking about all kinds of things on YouTube and similar platforms.
  • armchair critic – someone who criticizes others but doesn’t have proper experience of the activity the others are doing: You shouldn’t get upset over what armchair critics are saying. Just do what you love and keep growing.

As you have probably noticed, an armchair expert, critic, etc. are people who lack first-hand knowledge or who just pretend to know a lot. So, it makes sense that an armchair traveller doesn’t do much traveling but might know a lot about it by watching TV. An armchair fan is someone who watches a sport on TV and knows quite a lot about it, but who doesn’t really practice it. Another common idiom is armchair doctor. That is a person who behaves like they are an authority on medicine but has no medical background or training whatsoever.

  • part of the furniture (humorous) – something or someone so familiar that you no longer notice it, him, or her: That vase has been there forever. It’s already part of the furniture.
  • couch potato (disapproving) – a person who takes little or no exercise and watches a lot of television: Don’t turn into a couch potato. You might miss out on a lot of good stuff.
  • couch surfing = sofa surfing – the practice of traveling around and staying with people you don’t know, who advertise their homes on the Internet: Couch-surfers sometimes find themselves in very awkward situations.
  • to bring (something) to the table – to provide something that will be a benefit: If you hire me, I’ll bring some very useful skills to the table.
  • on the table (of a plan, idea, suggestion) – available for people to hear, read or discuss: Our offer remains on the table but we expect your decision soon. The opposite is off the table: We considered the plan, but it’s off the table now because it wasn’t supported by most of us.
  • to turn the tables (on someone) – to change a situation so that you now have an advantage over someone who previously had an advantage over you: The politician turned the tables on his opponent with some shocking facts.
  • under the table (especially of making a payment) – secretly or covertly: He was fired when the authorities found out he had been paid under the table.
  • to put your cards on the table – to be honest and open with others and reveal one’s plans, thoughts, etc.: Let me put my cards on the table. I have been looking for a different job and I’ve even got a few offers already.
  • to nearly fall off your chair – to be extremely surprised: When he put his cards not he table, I nearly fell off my chair. (Related: “Idioms for Basic Emotions: Disgust, Surprise & Anger”)
  • on the edge of your chair / seat – very excited, and giving all your attention to something because you want to know what is going to happen: The movie kept me on the edge of my seat.
  • to come out of the closet – to publicly announce a belief or preference that one has kept hidden, especially one’s sexual preference: One of these days, I’m going to come out of the closet because I’m tired of hiding who I really am. The opposite is to be in the closet: Haven’t I been in the closet long enough? It’s time to come out.
  • skeleton in the closet ( / cupboard – British English) –  an embarrassing or unpleasant secret about something that happened to you in the past: This family has a skeleton in the closet. (Related: “English Vocabulary: Secrets”)
  • to put (something) to bed – to successfully deal with something or solve a problem: Why are we talking about this again? I thought we’d put the issue to bed.
  • a bed of roses – a situation or activity that is comfortable or easy: Teaching is no bed of roses. The opposite is a bed of nails: This job is a bed of nails. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
  • to get out of bed on the wrong side – to start the day in a bad mood, which continues all day long: Kate must have got out of bed on the wrong side today. You’d better stay away from her.
  • you have made your bed, you must lie in it = since you have chosen to do a particular thing, you must now accept the unpleasant results of your action: Moving to this town was your decision. I’m sorry you hate it. But you have made your bed and now you must lie in it.
  • to fly off the shelves (of a product) – to sell very quickly: These devices are very popular. They fly off the shelves. (= People take these devices off the shelves.)
  • on the shelf – not used or wanted: After I lost my job, I was afraid I would be left not he shelf.
  • off-the-shelf (of a product) – available immediately, not custom-made: We don’t recommend you buy off-the-shelf software if you have complex needs.
  • like an oven – very hot: Open the window. It’s like an oven in here.
  • mirror image (of someone) – a person or thing that closely resembles another: That website is a mirror image of one very popular one.

Practice

Click the link here and choose the right word to complete the sentences.

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