Stephen Wade Thomson
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a curated selection of
What personal anecdotes you think of when you read these phrases? Is there a spanish equivalent for the phrase? Make notes of any questions you have regarding these phrases.
A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P

to the best of your ability = as well as you can
above board = honest, legal
more by accident than by design = done without deliberate intention (? ex)
accidentally-on-purpose = apparently accidental but really intentional.
fait accompli = literally, an accomplished fact, done, irreversible fact
of your own accord = of your own free will = por tu propia voluntad
There’s no accounting for taste = sobre gustos no hay nada escrito
to ace an exam = to get the highest score possible
to have an ace up your sleeve = you have an advantage that you’re reserving for later. - un as en la manga
to hold all the aces = to have the most advantages, to be in a powerful position
Achilles heel = talón de Aquiles = weak point in an otherwise strong situation
the acid test = a conclusive test of the success or value of something. = prueba de fuego
an acquired taste = a preference or liking of something only after trying it several times.
act of God = an act of nature (an environmental event that causes damage to human infrastructure, like an earthquake) - used in insurance language.
get your act together = espabilarse? to get organized, to stop being sloppy or lazy
adding fuel to the fire = echando leña al fuego
much ado about nothing = (Shakespearian title, but used before) - making a big deal over something small and insignificant.
afraid of your own shadow = too timid, easily frightened, nervous
after the fact = after something has already happened
against his better judgement = contra su mejor juicio
against the clock = competiendo con el reloj, con muy poco tiempo
ahead of the pack = doing better than the others, exceling, exceptional
just along for the ride = joining an activity but not playing an active part

all along = from the beginning
all the better = even better, much better
all brawn and no brain = physicall strong but not very intelligent
all clear = all right, ready to initiate
all ears = ready to listen
all hands on deck = everyone must help, urgently.
It's all in your head = you’re imagining it; it’s not real.
all hell breaks loose = something explosive or catasrophic happens
all that jazz = all that stuff
of all people = to single out someone. “You, of all people, should know!”
all systems go = Everything is ready for immediate action (originated with NASA and space flight)
all things being equal = if nothing else changed (except this one thing)
all the rage = trendy, popular right now
that’s all she wrote = that’s it, finished
all the world’s a stage = (shakespeare) life is like a play.

all sizzle and no steak
all talk and no trousers
all hat and no cattle

up your alley = of interest to you particularly
alter ego = “other self” = another version of oneself, slightly different
to answer for something = to be accountable (implying justice or retribution)
answer the call of nature = to go to the bathroom
to have ants in your pants = to be nervous, excited, inquieto
(“getting antsy”)
it’s anyone’s guess = no se sabe que va a pasar
any port in a storm = a solution you accept, given difficult times
apple of my eye = someone for whom I have great respect and fondness
I’d give my right arm = I’d do anything to get something.
Cost an arm and a leg = costar un ojo
up in arms = upset, protesting loudly
to keep someone at arm’s length = to keep a distance between yourself and someone
asking for it = behaving stupidly, inviting a punch in the face
asking for trouble = behaving stupidly, inviting problems
asleep at the wheel = inattentive in a crucial moment
asleep at the switch = (maybe not as crucial?)
at all costs = however possible, a todo costo
at stake = at risk, potentially lost
on automatic pilot = doing something from regular experience easily and without thinking
of no avail = not useful or helpful
a rude awakening = a harsh truth you weren’t ready for
away with the fairies = not in touch with reality, a little crazy
to have an axe to grind = un rencor, una razon por venganza
anything goes = no rules
around the corner = soon
As a matter of fact = in fact = de hecho
as far as I know = to my knowledge = que yo sepa
when your ass is on the line = you are responsible if things go bad
at first glance = at first sight