Idioms beginning with C

  • Call a Spade a Spade

    Meaning: To speak frankly and directly about a problem

  • Call It a Day

    Meaning: Decide that one has worked enough on something for the day

  • Call It a Night

    Meaning: End an evening’s activities and go home

  • Call the Shots

    Meaning: Make the important decisions in an organization

  • Call the Tune

    Meaning: Making important decisions and controlling a situation.

  • Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

    Meaning: Is unable to maintain a wider perspective

  • Can’t Swing A Dead Cat In (Place)

    Meaning: Without Hitting A (Thing) There are many examples of [thing] in this [place].

  • Carrot-and-Stick (Approach)

    Meaning: A tactic in which rewards are offered, but there is also the threat of punishment

  • Carry a Torch (for)

    Meaning: To continue to be in love with someone even after a relationship has ended

  • Carry Coals To Newcastle

    Meaning: Supply something that is unneeded; engage in useless labor

  • Carry the Can

    Meaning: To take the blame for something one did not do

  • Cash In One’s Chips

    Meaning: A. To take advantage of a quick profit B. To die

  • Cash-Strapped

    Meaning: In need of money

  • Cast the First Stone

    Meaning: To be the first to criticize or attack someone

  • Castle in the Air

    Meaning: An impractical plan

  • Cat Fight

    Meaning: A fight between two women

  • Cat Got Your Tongue?

    Meaning: Don’t you have anything to say?

  • Cat on a hot tin roof

    Meaning: Be extremely nervous

  • Cat-and-Mouse (adj.)

    Meaning: In a toying way; playful in an unpleasant way

  • Catch One’s Death of Cold

    Meaning: To become very ill (with a cold/flu etc.)

  • Catch Some Rays

    Meaning: To sit or lie outside in the sun

  • Catch Someone’s Eye

    Meaning: Attract someone’s attention

  • Catch-22

    Meaning: A difficult situation from which there is no escape because options for avoiding it involve contradictions

  • Cat’s Paw

    Meaning: A person being used by someone else, a tool

  • Caught Red-Handed

    Meaning: Apprehended while committing a crime

  • Circle the Wagons

    Meaning: To prepare as a group to defend against attack, adopt a defensive posture

  • Claim to Fame

    Meaning: Unusual feature or offering

  • Clean Up Nicely

    Meaning: Look good when one is dressed up. Usually said of women

  • Clear the Air

    Meaning: Defuse tension, be honest about conflict so as to reduce it

  • Clip Someone’s Wings

    Meaning: Reduce someone’s privileges or freedom

  • Close, But No Cigar

    Meaning: You are very close but not quite correct.

  • Cock and Bull Story

    Meaning: A far-fetched story, probably untrue

  • Cock-A-Hoop

    Meaning: Elated, excited

  • Cold Day in Hell

    Meaning: A condition for something that would be extremely unlikely to occur

  • Come By Something Honestly

    Meaning: Acquire something honestly, or inherit it

  • Come Clean

    Meaning: To confess; to admit to wrongdoing

  • Come Hell or High Water

    Meaning: No matter what happens

  • Come Out in the Wash

    Meaning: To be resolved with no lasting negative effect

  • Come Out of the Closet

    Meaning: Reveal a secret about oneself, usually that one is gay (homosexual)

  • Come Out Swinging

    Meaning: Respond to something very aggressively

  • Come Rain and Shine

    Meaning: Do regularly, whatever the circumstances

  • Come to Grips With

    Meaning: To acknowledge a problem as a prelude to dealing with it

  • Come to Terms With (Something)

    Meaning: Feel acceptance toward something bad that has happened

  • Coming Down the Pike

    Meaning: Likely to occur in the near future

  • Cook Someone’s Goose

    Meaning: To insure someone’s defeat, to frustrate someone’s plans

  • Cook Up a Storm

    Meaning: Cook a great deal of food

  • Cooking Up a Storm

    Meaning: Cooking a great deal of food

  • Cool as A Cucumber

    Meaning: Calm and composed even in difficult or frustrating situations; self-possessed

  • Cool Cat

    Meaning: Someone who has the respect of their peers in a young, casual way.

  • Cool Your Heels

    Meaning: Wait

  • Couch Potato

    Meaning: A lazy person who watches a great deal of television

  • Crash a Party

    Meaning: To attend a party without being invited

  • Crickets

    Meaning: Silence

  • Cross to Bear

    Meaning: A problem one must deal with over a long time, a heavy burden

  • Crunch Time

    Meaning: A period of high pressure when one has to work hard to finish something

  • Crunch the Numbers

    Meaning: Do calculations before making a decision or prediction

  • Cry Over Spilt

    Meaning: Milk To waste energy moaning about something that has already happened

  • Cry Wolf (verb)

    Meaning: To issue a false alarm, to ask for help when none is needed

  • Cry Your Eyes Out

    Meaning: Cry hard for a very long time

  • Curiosity Killed The Cat

    Meaning: Stop asking questions, don’t be too curious

  • Cut (Someone) To the Quick

    Meaning: To deeply hurt someone emotionally

  • Cut Corners

    Meaning: Economize by reducing quality; take shortcuts

  • Cut It Fine

    Meaning: To do something at the last moment

  • Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

    Meaning: To act in a proud way that ultimately damages your own cause

  • Cut Someone Some Slack

    Meaning: Avoid treating someone strictly or severely

  • Cut to the Chase

    Meaning: Get to the point; explain the most important part of something quickly; skip the preliminaries

  • Cut the Gordian Knot

    Meaning: To solve a complex problem in a simple way

  • Cut the Mustard

    Meaning: Do something adequately

  • Cut Your Teeth on Something

    Meaning: To learn basic skills in a field

  • Cutting-Edge

    Meaning: Very novel, innovative

  • Champagne taste on a beer budget

    Meaning: Expensive or extravagant tastes or preferences that are beyond one’s economic means.

  • Change Horses in Midstream

    Meaning: Change plans or leaders in the middle of a process

  • Change of Heart

    Meaning: A change in one’s opinion or outlook

  • Change One’s Tune

    Meaning: To alter one’s opinion about something.

  • Changing of the Guard

    Meaning: A change in leadership at an organization

  • Chase Rainbows

    Meaning: To pursue unrealistic goals

  • Cheap Shot

    Meaning: An unfair attack; a statement that unfairly attacks someone’s weakness

  • Cherry-Pick

    Meaning: To present evidence selectively to one’s own advantage

  • Cherry-Pick

    Meaning: To select the best or most desirable

  • Chew the Fat

    Meaning: Chat for a considerable length of time

  • Chickens Come Home To Roost

    Meaning: The negative consequences of previous actions reveal themselves

  • Child’s Play

    Meaning: A very easy task

  • Chill Out

    Meaning: Do something that helps them to calm down and relax for a while.

  • Chin Music

    Meaning: Meaningless talk

  • Chin Up/ Keep Your Chin Up

    Meaning: Cheer up; try to be cheerful and strong

  • Chip off the Old Block

    Meaning: Someone who resembles a direct ancestor, usually the father

  • Chomp (Champ) at the Bit

    Meaning: Be eager to do something

  • Chomp at the Bit

    Meaning: To be eager to do something

  • Chop Chop

    Meaning: Quickly, without delay

  • Chop Shop

    Meaning: A shop where stolen cars are disassembled for parts

  • Chuck a Wobbly

    Meaning: To act in an emotional way