The English We Speak

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio

Every week, we look at a different everyday English phrase or piece of slang in this fun three-minute programme. From BBC World Service

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Like riding a bike

May 14th, 2019

2:47

Learn an English expression about skills we never forget.

On fire

May 7th, 2019

2:59

Can you be on fire without any flames?

Out of order

April 30th, 2019

2:58

Learn an expression for offensive behaviour.

Dead

April 23rd, 2019

3:08

If something is 'dead good' is that a positive or negative thing?

Give someone the runaround

April 16th, 2019

2:39

A phrase about being unhelpful.

Laughing all the way to the bank

April 9th, 2019

2:34

When can going to the bank be funny? We've got a phrase that will leave you laughing.

The joke is on you

April 2nd, 2019

3:13

Find out more about a seriously funny English phrase.

Keep a lid on it

March 26th, 2019

2:55

Learn the right English phrase about having to put a stop to something.

To pull the wool over someone's eyes

March 19th, 2019

2:52

Here's a phrase about preventing someone from discovering something.

Take the rough with the smooth

March 12th, 2019

2:37

Learn an expression about experiencing bad things to enable you to enjoy good things.

Hard-nosed

March 5th, 2019

2:23

What is a hard-nosed person like? Find out in this episode of The English We Speak.

To have a soft spot

February 26th, 2019

2:54

How do you feel if you really like something or someone? This phrase might help you.

To make a song and dance (about something)

February 19th, 2019

2:59

If things don't go your way, how can singing and dancing help?

Giant killer

February 12th, 2019

3:04

Here's a phrase to describe the success of a small team.

A shock to the system

February 5th, 2019

2:34

A sudden and unpleasant change can come as a shock. Learn a phrase to describe this.

From pillar to post

January 29th, 2019

2:41

Moving from place to place can be chaotic. Learn a phrase to describe the situation

Small talk

January 22nd, 2019

2:41

Here's a phrase that describes making informal conversation about not much.

A bright spark

January 15th, 2019

2:49

Here's a clever expression that can describe someone doing something stupid.

To be all downhill

January 8th, 2019

2:35

Rob's done all his work! Find out here if it's all downhill until the weekend for him.

Fireworks

January 1st, 2019

2:40

Learn a New Year-related expression

To have all your Christmases come at once

December 28th, 2018

2:50

An expression for when you have good fortune

It's the thought that counts

December 18th, 2018

2:54

Learn a polite thing to say when you receive a bad present.

Digital detox

December 11th, 2018

3:01

Learn this very modern expression.

It leaves a bad taste in your mouth

December 4th, 2018

2:45

How can a tasty meal leave a bad taste?

Pea-souper

November 27th, 2018

2:19

Is it a meal or a type of weather?

Throw in the towel

November 20th, 2018

2:38

Learn a phrase about giving up.

A walk in the park

November 13th, 2018

2:40

Is walking in the park easy? It can be if you learn this phrase!

Dumbphone

November 6th, 2018

2:32

Learn a new name for old tech

No fear

October 30th, 2018

2:12

Are you ready for Halloween?

Something to chew on

October 23rd, 2018

2:33

Feifei gives Neil something to chew on

Waffle on

October 16th, 2018

2:55

Not all waffling is good!

Skew-whiff

October 9th, 2018

3:07

Describe something that isn't straight.

Play a blinder

October 2nd, 2018

3:56

Doing something amazing.

Miffed

September 25th, 2018

3:31

Has someone annoyed you? Use this word.

Humblebrag

September 18th, 2018

3:59

Brag if you must - just don’t humblebrag! Find out what that means with Rob and Feifei.

Out of your depth

September 11th, 2018

3:20

A phrase for when you're struggling to do something.

Mardy

September 4th, 2018

3:01

A word for a bad mood.

Curry favour

August 28th, 2018

2:33

Learn a spicy expression.

Take the biscuit

August 21st, 2018

2:48

A sweet phrase for irritating behaviour.

Step on it

August 14th, 2018

2:32

Do you need someone to go faster? Use this informal phrase.

Ping

August 7th, 2018

2:39

When does the word 'ping' not make a sound? Find out in this programme.

Crunch time

July 31st, 2018

2:52

When the time comes to make an important decision, what do you say?

Have a pop

July 24th, 2018

2:30

Learn a phrase about having a go at something

A necessary evil

July 17th, 2018

2:34

Can you accept something you don't like?

If the cap fits

July 10th, 2018

2:27

Learn an expression about accepting criticism

My bad

July 3rd, 2018

2:40

Learn a phrase about accepting blame

To have a good nose (for something)

June 26th, 2018

2:54

Rob and Feifei sniff out a new phrase to learn

Friends in High Places

June 19th, 2018

2:42

Learn a phrase about important people

Catch-22

June 12th, 2018

2:48

Learn an expression for a no-win situation.

Let the dust settle

June 5th, 2018

2:20

Learn a phrase about allowing a situation to become calm again

Nothing to shout about

May 29th, 2018

2:23

Learn a phrase about not saying much

Let sleeping dogs lie

May 22nd, 2018

3:00

Learn about a trouble-free phrase

Bleed someone dry

May 15th, 2018

2:45

An expression for a financial injury

Small change

May 8th, 2018

2:26

A phrase for trivial things

That'll teach you

May 1st, 2018

2:52

Learn from what you've done

An old hand

April 24th, 2018

2:34

Someone who's skilled and experienced

Out of the loop

April 17th, 2018

2:42

Learn a phrase about missing out.

Rub it in

April 10th, 2018

2:18

Learn an expression about enjoying someone's misfortunes.

Smombie

April 3rd, 2018

2:16

Are you a smartphone zombie?

Freegan

March 27th, 2018

2:54

Are you someone who only eats food that has been wasted or thrown away? Learn a word that describes what you are

Barking up the wrong tree

March 20th, 2018

2:48

Have you ever made the wrong assumption? Here's a dog-related phrase to describe your actions

Cloud cuckoo land

March 13th, 2018

2:32

Can you make the impossible possible? This phrase implies you can't but what's it got to do with a cuckoo?

Happy-go-lucky

February 27th, 2018

2:59

Relaxed about the future? Here's a phrase that might describe your character

Whizz-kid

February 20th, 2018

2:16

Young, clever and successful: find out a phrase that describes someone like this

The best of both worlds

February 13th, 2018

2:43

Can you enjoy the advantages of two different situations at the same time? You can if you use this phrase

Bone idle

February 6th, 2018

2:52

Are you taking it easy or just being lazy? Here's a phrase to describe your condition

To cut a long story short

January 30th, 2018

3:03

Have you got a story to tell? Here's a phrase about just telling the important bits

A thing

January 29th, 2018

2:21

Beards have been 'a thing' for a while. Is it now time to shave them off?

Just the ticket

January 23rd, 2018

3:00

Rob and Feifei help teach a phrase to describe something you really want or need

Do a runner

January 9th, 2018

2:17

Is it time to go? Here's a phrase about avoiding a tricky situation

All that jazz

December 26th, 2017

2:28

We love slang, idioms, phrases and all that jazz! Learn a new phrase with us

Not gonna lie

December 18th, 2017

2:45

A phrase to use when you're being brutally honest

Up your game

December 12th, 2017

2:38

Don't know which one to use? You need to up your emoji game

To shout it from the rooftops

December 5th, 2017

2:15

Have you heard the good news? This programme has something to shout about!

To blow the cobwebs away

November 28th, 2017

2:23

No spiders involved. It's time to get lively and learn a new English phrase

A knees-up

November 21st, 2017

2:21

Want to go to a party? This phrase might help you get an invitation

To put someone on the map

November 14th, 2017

2:36

Need directions to learn a new English phrase? Here's one about a map and being famous

Down in the dumps

November 7th, 2017

2:11

Feeling unhappy? Here's a phrase to describe your mood but don't take it too literally!

Excuse me!

October 31st, 2017

2:40

Rob keeps saying 'excuse me' but what does he really mean? You and Feifei are about to find out the many uses of this phrase

A sting in the tail

October 24th, 2017

2:48

Rob's become a bee keeper but there's something more unpleasant to this hobby than being stung. Find out how a sting in the tail doesn't just come from bees!

So done with

October 17th, 2017

1:51

Are you doing something very boring? We have just the phrase for you!

lolz

October 10th, 2017

2:23

You might know the slang expression ‘LOL’, but do you know about ‘lolz’?

Have a go

October 3rd, 2017

1:59

Poor Neil gets a lot of criticism in the programme. Of course, it’s all to help you learn English!

About

September 26th, 2017

1:55

You know what ‘about’ means, right? But maybe not this extra meaning! Take another look with us

Wing it

September 19th, 2017

2:10

Learn an informal expression for when you have to improvise

Pot luck

September 12th, 2017

2:33

Not sure what to expect? Learn a phrase about hoping your choice will turn out ok

It beats me

September 5th, 2017

2:10

Why does Feifei keep hitting Rob? There could be some confusion about the meaning of today's authentic English phrase. Find out what Rob really means …

Jiggery-pokery

August 29th, 2017

1:46

Tricks and dishonesty: Learn this phrase before it fools you!

Left, right, and centre

August 22nd, 2017

2:11

If you do something left, right, and centre does that mean you do it everywhere? Rob's being doing just that but what's he been doing it with?

Donkey's years

August 15th, 2017

2:29

Why has Rob got a donkey in the studio?! It's probably got something with today's authentic English phrase which is about not doing something for a long time

Give us a bell

August 8th, 2017

2:36

What's that ringing sound? Is it someone giving you a bell? Find out what it all means

Echo chamber

August 1st, 2017

2:11

Echo echo echo echo…

Snowflake

July 25th, 2017

2:08

Do you melt too easily?

The heat is on

July 18th, 2017

1:58

Learn an expression which you can use to say you're under pressure

Wet weekend

July 11th, 2017

2:16

When can a wet weekend be dry? Find out with another authentic English expression

No picnic

July 4th, 2017

2:02

Some things in life are hard work. Discover a phrase that describes these situations

A busman's holiday

June 27th, 2017

2:18

Going on holiday to do your job? What's it got to do with driving a bus?

Fuddy-duddy

June 20th, 2017

2:10

Old-fashioned and set in your ways? Could you be one of these people?

No great shakes

June 13th, 2017

2:27

Not impressed by something? Here's an expression that describes what you think

Not a sausage

June 6th, 2017

2:05

Nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing at all… Not even one little sausage!

Long

May 30th, 2017

1:46

Not everything in this life is fun. Learn a phrase to describe boring jobs!

Not half

May 23rd, 2017

2:07

Love pizza? Feifei and Neil bring you a phrase to show how much you enjoy something

All over the shop

May 16th, 2017

3:04

Looked everywhere? Learn a phrase about shops that isn’t about shops!

It comes with the territory

May 9th, 2017

2:04

Some things have to be expected. Learn a phrase to describe this situation

It won't wash

May 2nd, 2017

2:27

Heard something unconvincing? Maybe it's time to get out the washing powder!

Jack-of-all-trades

April 25th, 2017

2:24

Can you do lots of different things? This could be the phrase to describe you

The coast is clear

April 18th, 2017

2:28

Doing something you shouldn't? Here's a phrase about not being caught

Pull a fast one

April 11th, 2017

2:16

Make the English you speak sound more natural

Suck it and see

April 4th, 2017

1:50

Learn a phrase about having new experiences

To cut your teeth

March 28th, 2017

2:04

Starting out in a new profession? Here's an expression about gaining experience

Shrinkflation

March 21st, 2017

2:28

Getting less for your money? Could you be the victim of 'shrinkflation'?

La-la land

March 14th, 2017

2:11

Is someone making unreasonable requests? Here's where they live

A different kettle of fish

March 7th, 2017

2:17

Fishing for a phrase? This could be the one for you

At the drop of a hat

February 28th, 2017

2:09

What would Rob do at the drop of a hat? Find out more about this expression

Brass neck

February 21st, 2017

2:56

What does being confident but rude have to do with your neck? Learn an expression that should not be taken literally

Reinvent the wheel

February 14th, 2017

2:23

Wasting time doing something that's been done before? There's a phrase to explain this

Frenemy

February 7th, 2017

2:23

Do you have a false friend? In The English We Speak we get to hear how one of Feifei's best friends isn't a friend at all and discover that there's a great word to describe them

To be fair

January 31st, 2017

2:18

Give both sides of the argument with this phrase

On the box

January 24th, 2017

2:00

Watching a ‘box’ can’t be very enjoyable, can it?

Duck

January 17th, 2017

2:26

Learn a phrase you can use that features our feathered friend

Bottle

January 10th, 2017

1:53

Use this phrase involving bottles when you’re too afraid to do something

Got your number

January 3rd, 2017

2:08

Understanding someone's true intentions

Clickbait

December 20th, 2016

2:36

Learn a word that describes tempting online links

Mash-up

December 13th, 2016

2:11

Dan and Feifei are in the studio and Dan has been working on a new music track. Will it be good? Let's find out

Air kiss

December 6th, 2016

2:15

How do you kiss someone without kissing them? Neil and Feifei explain a word which describes a popular way of greeting and saying goodbye to friends

Mansplaining

November 29th, 2016

2:10

A word for when a man explains to a woman something in a way which suggests she's stupid.

Rolling in it

November 22nd, 2016

2:12

Neil is rolling on the floor to teach a phrase connected to wealth. Feifei explains

Photobomb

November 15th, 2016

2:36

Feifei and Sian discuss a word to use when something unexpectedly appears in your photo.

Cyberchondriac

November 8th, 2016

2:52

Do you look up every symptom on the internet and then imagine you have a serious illness? Here's an expression to describe what you're doing

To wash your dirty linen in public

November 1st, 2016

2:22

Are you discussing your private life in public? Here's an expression to describe what you're doing

Cat got your tongue?

October 25th, 2016

2:20

There's a cat about and Feifei's not talking. Learn an expression that questions her quietness

It takes two to tango

October 18th, 2016

2:26

Neil's doing a partner dance on his own in the studio to help you learn English. Learn an expression which means two people need to accept the blame for a bad situation

Knee-jerk reaction

October 11th, 2016

2:08

Feifei kicks Neil in the face after he hits her knee with a hammer. It's all to teach you a useful English expression

To have an axe to grind

October 4th, 2016

2:39

An expression with three related but slightly different meanings connected to strong opinions

Close, but no cigar

September 27th, 2016

2:03

Why is Neil trying to smoke a cigar in the studio? Learn an English expression about almost succeeding

Get somebody's goat

September 20th, 2016

2:06

Neil's goat Fred is a bit smelly but useful for teaching an English expression. Feifei's not happy

Bust a gut

September 13th, 2016

2:10

Neil's wearing a vest in the studio to teach an expression about effort. Feifei's concerned he'll injure himself

Old-school

September 6th, 2016

2:19

Feifei has written a letter to her family. Find out why Sian finds this old-school

Shedloads

August 30th, 2016

2:13

Sian has received lots of emails! Learn another way to say 'lots'

Hangry

August 23rd, 2016

2:14

Sian is irritable today because she skipped breakfast! Learn an adjective to describe people who feel angry when they get hungry

To pull something out of the hat

August 16th, 2016

2:34

What can you pull out of a hat? Learn an expression that describes doing something that saves the day

Off the hook

August 4th, 2016

1:52

Are you obliged to do something you can't or don't want to? We teach you what to say

Barefaced

July 26th, 2016

2:26

Is someone telling an outrageous lie? Here's an expression we can use

To make a mountain out of a molehill

July 19th, 2016

2:25

Someone making a big fuss about something small? Here's a phrase to describe what they're doing

The last straw/final straw

July 12th, 2016

2:23

When friendship is under test, something tiny and as light as a straw could cause a huge problem

The university of life

July 5th, 2016

2:31

Want to learn about life? Here's a place most of us have studied at

White collar worker / blue-collar worker

June 28th, 2016

2:39

What does the colour of your clothes say about your job?

Drama queen

June 21st, 2016

2:29

No need to be in the theatre to find a drama queen. We teach you where to find them…

It's on the cards

June 14th, 2016

2:07

An expression for when something is likely to happen. What's on the cards for you?

Until you're blue in the face

June 7th, 2016

2:44

Is nobody listening to you? Learn a colourful phrase to explain the situation

Clean up your act

May 31st, 2016

2:47

Someone behaving badly? Here's a phrase that tells them what to do

You're pulling my leg!

May 24th, 2016

2:39

Want to trick someone? Here is a phrase that involves pulling a part of your body!

One good turn deserves another

May 17th, 2016

2:43

A helpful phrase for doing something good

To fall at the first hurdle

May 10th, 2016

2:45

Got an idea that's never going to work? Here is a phrase to describe the situation

Pain in the neck

May 3rd, 2016

1:57

Learn the phrase Helen needs to describe the headache her mobile phone company is causing her

Burn a hole in your pocket

April 26th, 2016

2:29

When you are in the habit of spending all your money as soon as it comes in, you can use this phrase to express yourself

To turn something upside down

April 19th, 2016

2:01

How to describe doing a thorough search for something in a very messy way

Going forward

April 12th, 2016

2:19

How do you ask someone to change the way they do things in the future? Learn this phrase connected to motion

A recipe for disaster

April 5th, 2016

2:53

When things go wrong and the outcome isn't good, what kind of recipe are you following? Learn a phrase that has nothing to do with cooking

Crash course

March 29th, 2016

2:13

When you need to learn something very quickly, it’s worth considering a super fast learning programme, but it’s not for everyone

You've sold it to me

March 22nd, 2016

2:14

When you are in total agreement with ideas or suggestions from others, try a new phrase to express yourself

Full of the joys of spring

March 15th, 2016

2:36

What time of the year describes a good mood? Learn this lively and cheerful phrase

Six of one, half a dozen of the other

March 1st, 2016

2:17

Is this expression related to numbers? If half a dozen is six, what does this expression mean? Listen to the programme

Test the water

February 23rd, 2016

2:12

How can you make sure a new project is going to be a successful? Here's a piece of good advice

To lie through your teeth

February 16th, 2016

2:33

Not telling the truth is not a good thing to do. Learn a phrase to describe your actions

To make a monkey out of me

February 9th, 2016

2:53

Rob's been asked to dress up like a monkey but it seems like someone is literally making a monkey out of him!

There's method to my madness

January 26th, 2016

2:32

Although other people may think you are behaving rather strangely, you know what you are doing. There's a reason and a phrase to describe your behaviour

In good nick

January 19th, 2016

2:04

Learn a phrase to describe something in top condition

Cheap and cheerful

January 12th, 2016

2:05

Most people like a present that is cheap and cheerful. But no one likes something that is cheap and nasty

A bitter pill to swallow

January 5th, 2016

2:58

When a situation is hard to accept, what do you say? This phrase could be for you

Potty

December 31st, 2015

2:00

When we see people going crazy about something, here is an alternative expression

I'm game

December 22nd, 2015

1:59

Neil is dying for a game of squash but Li is not game. Find out why...

That'll put hairs on your chest!

December 15th, 2015

2:38

Learn a humorous expression that is used when someone is going to have a strong alcoholic drink

Down the pan

December 1st, 2015

2:18

When things are not going as planned, we can say they've gone ‘down the pan’, but which pan is it?

Sweet tooth

November 17th, 2015

2:27

Do you have a sweet tooth? Is it something that you are born with or do you develop it?

Bumper-to-bumper

November 10th, 2015

2:23

When a car bumper is almost touch another car bumper, you know the situation on the road is bad

Eye candy

November 3rd, 2015

2:24

How can you describe someone good looking but not interesting?

Thingy

October 27th, 2015

2:11

Oh no, you've forgotten the word for something! Don't worry, this expression might help

Across the pond

October 20th, 2015

2:30

Are London and New York separated by a pond? Learn this expression people say on both sides of the Atlantic

People person

October 13th, 2015

2:23

Are you good at working with other people? This expression might describe you

It's a steal!

October 6th, 2015

2:38

Have you paid very little money for something normally expensive? Learn an expression for when you find a bargain

Bull and bear market

September 29th, 2015

2:57

Learn what you say when share prices rise and when they fall. We help you to understand financial terms

Social media words

September 22nd, 2015

2:33

'Trolls' and 'haters' are the people who want to annoy you. The names are part of the new vocabulary of social media

Don't give up the day job

September 15th, 2015

2:31

If you don't think someone is very good at doing something what should you say? Here's a phrase to help you

A barrel of laughs

September 8th, 2015

2:55

What object is full of laughs? This is a phrase that describes someone who is fun

To know something like the back of your hand

September 1st, 2015

2:19

Do you know a place very well? Are you able to find your way in a place without looking at any maps? Here is a way of saying it with help from your hand

Give me credit

August 18th, 2015

2:42

Learn a phrase that's full of praise. You won't need a credit card to use this one

To keep the wolf from the door

August 11th, 2015

2:44

Who's that knocking at the door? Someone's here to tell you you're in financial trouble

Red tape

July 14th, 2015

2:32

Fed up with rules and regulations? You must learn this expression

To drink someone under the table

June 30th, 2015

2:24

Drink to celebrate the good things in life, drink to forget the bad. Here's an expression for people who like an alcoholic drink

Cyberbullying

June 16th, 2015

2:31

Is there someone tormenting you online? Here's an expression for when people hide behind a computer to attack others

A close shave

May 19th, 2015

2:11

What's a razor got to do with Rob's bike ride to work? Here's an expression for when you've had a narrow escape.

My mind's gone blank

May 12th, 2015

2:07

Why did Rob ask Feifei to meet him in the studio? Here's an expression for when you've forgotten something.

To sleep on it

May 5th, 2015

2:39

Find out how 'sleeping on it' doesn't just mean lying on a bed!

All over the place

April 28th, 2015

2:05

Neil can't find his script. His pen's gone missing. He's feeling a bit confused. What's wrong with him? Find out in the programme.

To go around the houses

April 21st, 2015

2:45

Feifei wants to borrow Rob's car but she takes a long time getting to the point. Find out why Rob tells her not to go around the houses. And why doesn't Rob want her to drive his car?

Done and dusted

April 14th, 2015

2:22

When someone says the phrase 'done and dusted', do they mean doing some proper cleaning?

Chill pill

April 7th, 2015

2:43

It's hard to swallow but maybe it's time for a chill pill!

Put a sock in it!

March 31st, 2015

3:14

Why has Helen put a sock in the toaster and how is that going to keep her quiet?

A wild card

March 31st, 2015

2:12

Who's the wild card in the office? Rob and Feifei use a phrase to describe an unpredictable colleague.

To take a shot / stab in the dark

March 17th, 2015

2:49

Feifei thinks someone's been killed but then discovers taking a stab in the dark doesn't involve using knives!

To keep a lid on it

March 10th, 2015

2:42

Li and Neil go for a coffee, but why do they have to keep a lid on it?

To be on the ball

March 3rd, 2015

1:40

Learn a phrase to describe the ability to react quickly to things.

Mind-blowing

February 24th, 2015

3:16

Feifei and Harry use an expression for things that amaze and astound.

Out for the count

February 17th, 2015

2:31

Neil and Li talk about how a boxing expression can be used in everyday life.

Game changer

February 10th, 2015

3:00

Feifei and Harry use an expression for people and ideas that change the way we do things.

Wow factor

February 3rd, 2015

2:58

Harry and Feifei look at an expression for when things surprise and impress you.

Full on

January 27th, 2015

2:49

Harry and Feifei talk about a common colloquial expression for when things are intense.

Stab in the back

January 20th, 2015

2:40

Harry and Feifei talk about an expression that is not as violent as it sounds.

To downsize

January 13th, 2015

2:23

Neil and Feifei talk about a word made popular by the economic downturn

At the movies

January 6th, 2015

2:40

Sci-fi, romcom, whodunnit – What kind of movies do you like?

Killing time

December 30th, 2014

2:33

Neil tells Helen to kill time but she smashes up a clock. Find out why and learn a useful expression.

Like turkeys voting for Christmas

December 23rd, 2014

2:38

Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you like eating turkey? Do you think turkeys like Christmas? Learn this humorous idiom

Face the music

December 16th, 2014

2:00

There's something Neil's forgotten to do and now he has to face the music. Listen to the programme to find out why.

Internet speak

December 9th, 2014

3:17

'Snail mail', 'post' and 'hard copy' – learn expressions connected with computers

Viral

December 2nd, 2014

2:57

Li's cat video has gone viral. Will she be happy about it? Learn an expression from the internet age

Give the cold shoulder

November 25th, 2014

2:34

Is Feifei's designer shawl a solution to her problems with Lisa? Listen to the programme to find out

Phishing

November 18th, 2014

2:27

Rob is deleting some emails. He won't take the bait sent in by criminals!

Take to the cleaners

November 11th, 2014

3:02

Rob's very expensive shirt is ruined! Who will pay for it? Listen to the programme to find out

Eat humble pie

November 4th, 2014

3:07

Is Rob hungry enough to win a pie-eating competition? Listen to the programme

Water off a duck's back

October 28th, 2014

3:03

Feifei has a thing or two to learn from the ducks in the park. So do you. Listen to the programme.

Take for a ride

October 21st, 2014

3:16

Li wants to invest in a car moved by air. Is she going to lose her money?

Baby phrase

October 14th, 2014

3:32

Is Feifei giving up her job to take care of babies? Learn an amusing idiom: 'Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater'.

Joe Bloggs

October 7th, 2014

3:23

Do you know Joe Bloggs? He might be just beside you.

Butter up

September 29th, 2014

2:58

Is this butter for a cake, for toast or... to put on a person? Finn and Feifei explain

Hair of the dog

September 22nd, 2014

3:48

Rob had too much to drink. Is this the cure for his hangover?

Splash Out

September 15th, 2014

4:15

Finn is spending a lot of money. But can he afford it?

Cheesed off

September 8th, 2014

2:46

Finn is angry, so Li offers him some tasty cheese. Will it calm him down?

Frogmarch

September 1st, 2014

3:01

A style of walking that is hard to do on your own.

Proof is in the pudding

August 22nd, 2014

3:12

What does Rob mean when he says 'the proof is in the pudding'?

Dinosaur

August 18th, 2014

2:43

What’s the link between dinosaurs and mobile phones?

Look like the back end of a bus

August 11th, 2014

2:43

If someone says you look like 'the back end of a bus', is it a good thing?

Interjections

August 4th, 2014

3:59

Wow! Ouch! Yippee! The useful little sounds which mean a lot.

Blah blah blah

July 28th, 2014

3:55

Having a repetitive and boring conversation? This expression is for you.

Have a lot on my plate

July 21st, 2014

3:18

When is a meal not so tasty? This expression will give you the answer

Bells and whistles

July 14th, 2014

3:20

Will bells and whistles add to the value of your gadget? Listen to the programme

Everything but the kitchen sink

July 7th, 2014

3:28

Neil and Li are going on a camping trip. But are they packing too much?

Beat the drum

June 30th, 2014

2:51

Neil and Li want to help protect baby turtles. But do they need a drum?

Until the cows come home

June 23rd, 2014

3:05

Neil and Li are keen to go home. How long will they have to wait for the bus?

Smell a rat

June 16th, 2014

3:47

Li is told she won the lottery. But is it true? Neil has bad news for her.

Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar

June 9th, 2014

2:49

When does 'funny' have nothing to do with laughter?

Corporate speak

June 2nd, 2014

3:22

Blue-sky thinking? Pushing the envelope? Learn what these business terms mean

Take it with a pinch of salt

May 26th, 2014

2:44

Helen takes Neil out for tea but why does she put salt in his cup? Find out more

Cold feet

May 19th, 2014

3:12

Rob wants a pay rise. But why do his 'cold feet' stop him asking for one?

Not enough room to swing a cat

May 12th, 2014

2:51

It's hard to find the right place to live. Here's an expression about space.

Off the back of a lorry

May 5th, 2014

3:07

Buying something really good but super cheap? This expression will make you think twice.

Wrong 'un

April 28th, 2014

2:54

Li and Finn are looking on an online dating website. Li thinks she's found Mr Right. But Finn thinks he might be a wrong 'un. Learn more about this phrase in the programme.

Pie in the sky

April 21st, 2014

2:41

Finn and Li are in the woods. Can they see more than birds flying in the sky?

On the tip of my tongue

April 14th, 2014

3:05

Can't quite remember what to say? We have a phrase that might help you.

Under your belt

April 7th, 2014

2:45

What does it mean if you say an actor has lots of awards under his belt?

To brush over

March 31st, 2014

2:58

When you are decorating, there are some things you can't brush over

Go the extra mile

March 24th, 2014

3:04

How can Feifei save money for a new car? Will she go the extra mile?

Beat around the bush

March 17th, 2014

3:21

Rob and Li go camping but they are not alone. Join them to learn a phrase

The boot's on the other foot

March 10th, 2014

2:51

How are boots connected to a changing situation?

Pull the plug

March 3rd, 2014

2:36

Rob is having serious problems with a project. Li wants to help him. But how? Listen to the programme to find out.

In the doghouse

February 24th, 2014

2:59

Behave or you might end up in the kennel with your dog. Learn a new phrase.

Chew the fat

February 17th, 2014

3:10

Rob and Feifei share a hearty meal and a new phrase. Join them to learn more.

Treading on eggshells

February 10th, 2014

3:04

What are you treading on if you're trying not to offend someone? We can explain.

Take a rain check

February 3rd, 2014

3:01

What does 'taking a rain check' mean? Do we need an umbrella?

Use your loaf

January 27th, 2014

2:51

What's the connection between bread and common sense? You might need this expression.

Stumped

January 20th, 2014

3:08

Playing cricket is not the only place where you could get stumped. Find out what it means when it happens to you.

Skeleton in the closet

January 13th, 2014

3:24

Finn and Li go to his late uncle's house. What is Li afraid of? We hope this expression won't frighten you.

To have words

January 6th, 2014

2:58

Why is Finn cross with Li? Here's a good expression for when you're out of patience.

Crystal clear

December 30th, 2013

3:11

If something is crystal clear, how clear is it? Rob and Feifei find out when they build a wardrobe.

Ginormous

December 23rd, 2013

3:06

The glass and steel buildings of modern Shanghai are ginormous. What does this mean?

Take the mickey

December 16th, 2013

3:29

Who is laughing at Rob? Is it Li or is it Mickey Mouse? Here's an expression with a twist

Fishing for compliments

December 9th, 2013

3:39

What are you hoping to catch when you're fishing for compliments?

Go round in circles

December 2nd, 2013

3:08

Which way are you going if you're not making any progress? Discover a phrase to use when you keep coming back to the same problem.

Bottomless

November 25th, 2013

2:57

Li starts to get worried when her colleagues talk about going for a 'bottomless' meal. What does it mean? Find out more by listening to this …

Full of beans

November 18th, 2013

3:17

Are you feeling tired today? Or are you full of beans? Learn more about this phrase in this programme.

To go with a bang

November 11th, 2013

3:08

You don't need fireworks to say a party is going really well.

Other half

November 4th, 2013

2:41

Do you always consult with your other half before you make important decisions?

Bits and bobs

October 28th, 2013

3:04

Neil says he has a lot of 'bits and bobs' to sort out. What does he mean?

Nosh

October 21st, 2013

2:57

Feifei spots a celebrity in the lift who says he's going to get some nosh. Rob has to explain exactly what he's going to get.

Ace

October 14th, 2013

3:04

Do you like playing cards? Are you ace at playing cards? Join us for an 'ace' programme.

Beef

October 7th, 2013

3:52

Beef is meat that comes from a cow, right? Yes, but there is another meaning... Find out more here.

Out of the picture

September 30th, 2013

3:29

Finn has got his camera. Who does Feifei want to see in the picture?

Cut to the chase

September 23rd, 2013

2:41

Who's chasing Finn and Feifei? Here's a good expression for when you're running out of patience

Have a ball

September 16th, 2013

3:00

Feifei has just returned to the office after a really relaxing holiday. So why does Finn ask her if she had a ball? Find out in the programme.

Don't make a scene!

September 9th, 2013

3:13

Neil and Feifei are about to watch a play but there is a lot of drama outside the theatre. What is going on?

Phone slang

September 2nd, 2013

4:56

When is a bell not a bell, and a dog not a dog? Find out in our programme about phone slang.

Can of worms

August 26th, 2013

3:51

In this series you can learn authentic English words and phrases. This week's programme looks at the phrase 'a can of worms'.

What's his face?

August 19th, 2013

2:29

What do you say in English if you can't remember someone's name? Listen to this programme to learn lots of different phrases you can use.

Straight from the horse's mouth

August 12th, 2013

3:13

Learn English with horses. In fact, learn it 'straight from the horse's mouth' in this programme.

After

August 5th, 2013

3:13

Join Li and Finn for a drink in the bar and learn a new way to ask someone what they want.

Weather idioms

July 29th, 2013

3:19

Using weather idioms: is Jen chasing rainbows, or is it a storm in a teacup?

Legend

July 23rd, 2013

3:25

Legends are stories about people who lived long ago, right? Well, there's more to it than that.

It's doing my head in!

July 15th, 2013

3:01

Annoyed? Frustrated? Angry? Maybe it's doing your head in!

The bee's knees

July 8th, 2013

3:00

Finn wants to share some special food with Li. But they receive some uninvited guests who also want to eat their delicious picnic snacks.

To put all your eggs in one basket

July 1st, 2013

3:41

How many eggs should you put in one basket? And what has that got to do with taking risks?

Don't make me laugh!

June 24th, 2013

2:50

It's laughable. How to say that you think something will never happen.

A leopard can't change its spots

June 17th, 2013

3:00

Can someone change their personality? A leopard can't change its spots.

To see red

June 10th, 2013

3:51

Seeing red: what is making Jen and Feifei so angry on their day trip?

Haven't slept a wink

June 3rd, 2013

3:30

Zzzz... Neil had a crying child in his room and Feifei had a mosquito in hers. That's why neither of them has slept a wink.

Freak

May 27th, 2013

2:41

Are you obsessed by a hobby or sport? Feifei is but Jen's not impressed!

I wasn't born yesterday

May 20th, 2013

3:17

Were you born yesterday? Probably not, but this is a useful expression if someone's trying to fool you.

Six-pack

May 13th, 2013

3:21

Do you have a six-pack or a one-pack? Maybe it's time to do more exercise! Find out why in The English We Speak.

To cook the books

May 6th, 2013

3:14

Neil is cooking an unusual meal in the BBC Learning English kitchen. Would you like to eat a book?

On the up

April 29th, 2013

2:25

Things are 'on the up' for Jennifer and Jean at work. Find out why in The English We Speak.

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