Idioms In Depth: More Idioms From Numbers

numbers188149437If any unit on idioms is going to have a sequel it should be those based on numbers. After all, while there are not exactly “countless” examples of such expressions in English, there are a lot. Here are a few more of our favorite idioms from numbers:

At First Sight
As you might expect, this expression is used to describe what you think or feel immediately after you see something for the first time. “Love at first sight” is a related expression used to describe that instant connection some people seem to feel when meeting someone for the first time. In general, though, you can just remember that your initial impression about “at first sight” was probably correct!

On Second Thought
This idiom is almost the opposite of “at first sight” because it describes what happens when people change their minds about something after careful consideration. While “at first sight” is an instant (maybe even emotional) reaction, “on second thought” is based more on thoughtful reconsideration. “On second thought,” for example, “idioms might not be so hard!”

Of Two Minds
To be “of two minds” is to have mixed or uncertain feelings about a subject. If you are having difficulty making a choice between two competing options because both seem equally good – or bad! – then you are probably “of two minds” about it.

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other
Not that being “of two minds” is always a bad thing. After all, sometimes the choices you are presented with really are equal. If so then you understand the expression “six of one, half a dozen of the other” even if you have never heard it before. A little explanation will prove that this one looks harder than it really is. Because a dozen is the same as 12, half a dozen is the same as six – which means that, as you might have guessed, someone who offers you “six of one, half a dozen of the other” is really offering you the same thing!

For more about learning English, check out the Learning English section for more information on how you can improve. Want more Idioms In Depth, check out these related blog posts.


Idioms In Depth: Idioms from Numbers

dv2051009Even if mathematics is not your best subject we are certain that you will find these number-inspired idioms easy to understand – no calculator required!

In Seventh Heaven/On Cloud Nine
These two expressions are unrelated but are both used to describe a person who is extremely happy. The reason for this should be pretty obvious: someone who is “in seventh heaven” is not just in a great place but on the seventh level of it! A good way to remember this would be to remember that “People who win the lottery feel like they are on cloud nine.”

Second to None
If something is second to none is it, quite simply, the best. Think of it this way: in a two-man race the person who finishes last comes in second (to the faster person) but the first place finisher comes in second to no one – in other words, he is second to none. Try this example sentence on for size: “The food at that restaurant is second to none – it truly is the best in the city.”

Second Nature
Something that comes naturally is simple and easy to do so something that is “second nature” to you is almost as good. That is why we use this expression to describe a skill that requires little effort for someone to master. For example, “Even though Mike had never played golf before, his easy victory proves that the sport is second nature to him.”

To Put Two and Two Together
You should not need your calculator to understand why this expression means to come to a conclusion about something based on evidence. After all, we did not need to tell you that two plus two equals four for you to “figure it out” on your own and, in like manner, this expression is used to describe situations where people understand a situation without a direct explanation. “When James saw that the lights were off in the classroom,” for example, “he put two and two together and realized he would be the first to arrive.”

For more about learning English, check out the Learning English section for more information on how you can improve. Want more Idioms In Depth, check out these related blog posts.