Important idioms and phrases which start with the letter ‘F’
Face to Face
Meaning: (i) To face each other in the opposite direction.
Example: The villains stood face to face in the film.
(ii) In the presence of another or others.
People were greatly pleased to meet their favourite heroine face to face.
Example: She won’t face up to the fact that she had stolen her friend’s purse.
Meaning: Be confronted with.
Example: Faced with a tiger in the forest, the hunter thought it better to run away from the sight.
Meaning: (i) Leave quietly.
Example: The crowd faded away when the prime-minister left the venue.
(ii) Colour fade away.
The colour of the cloth will fade away if it is exposed in sunlight.
(iii) Lose one’s health or strength.
Her child is fading away due to lack of nutrition.
Fair and square
Meaning: Just, honest.
Example: The new public relations officer is fair and square. People trust her.
Meaning: A transaction that is fair for both parties.
Example: She gave her a diamond ring in exchange of gold bracelet. She thought it a fair deal.
Meaning: Just or honest dealings.
Example: When the waiter returned back the lost purse to the lady, she gave him reward for the fair play.
Meaning: One who is a friend in good times.
Example: She thought that Sangeeta would help her in dire need, but she only proved to be a fair-weather friend.
Fall a prey to
Meaning: (i) Be greatly troubled by.
Example: Mary fell a prey to her pride.
(ii) To be eaten.
A child fell a prey to a lion in the zoo.
Meaning: (i) Grow thin, lose flesh.
Example: He fell away due to dieting.
(ii) Drop away.
Roses fell away in the garden.
Leaves are falling away from the plants.
(iii) Desert, withdraw support.
Her best friend fell away from her when she came to know that she was poor.
Meaning: (i) Fail to pay a debt etc. at the stipulated time.
Example: They have fallen behind in electricity bills.
(ii) Go slower than others and far behind them.
Two of the mountaineers fell behind and lost their way before reaching the top.
Meaning: (i) Fail.
Example: Her ambition to dominate over others fell down, when everybody began to shirk her company.
(To) Fall flat
Meaning: To fail to create any interest or effect.
Example: The corrupt politicians speech fell flat on the people.
Meaning: (i) Begin to love.
Example: Tom fell for Mona as he found her extremely talented girl. Had she had not been talented, he would never have fallen for her.
(ii) Begin to like very much.
Tina fell for Cricket when she was a small child. She became a good player with continuous practice.
Fall foul of
Meaning: To quarrel with, to get into trouble with.
Example: He fell foul of me on trifles.
Meaning: Collapse (used with a building or a part of building).
Example: The lofty building fell due to poor construction.
Fall in with
Meaning: (i) Support, agree to help with.
Example: Her brother fell in for her support when he came to know that her husband was torturing her.
(ii) Meet by accident.
Gini fell in with her lost friend in a restaurant.
Example: She fell into a discussion with a woman on the train.
(ii) Enter into a state.
He fell into sleep when the hypnotist hypnotised him.
(iii) Be divided into.
The birthday cake fell into 20 pieces.
Meaning: (i) Fall from.
Example: He fell off the first floor of the building.
(ii) Become worse.
Her son’s grades have fallen off, as he has stopped paying attention to his studies.
Meaning: Take place on (a certain day).
Example: His marriage anniversary falls on the auspicious ocassion of Diwali this year.
After the death of his father, the entire responsibility of the family fell upon his shoulders.
Example: The daughter-in-law and mother-in-law mostly fall out on trifles.
Meaning: Drop off or upon, tumble over.
Example: He fell over the bushes and got hurt.
(ii) Become overturned.
The rabbit got scared and fell over.
Fall/Come short (of)
Meaning: (i) Fail to measure upto, be insufficient.
Example: They have fallen short of milk.
God never comes short of power. He has abundant power to create, operate and destroy the entire universe.
Meaning: (i) Drop through.
Example: The tube light fell through the floor, but nobody got hurt.
(ii) Fail to be completed.
His ambition to clear PCS fell through.
Meaning: (i) Begin to fight.
Example: Both the notorious criminals took their pistols and fell to.
(ii) Begin to eat.
The whole lot of children fell to before the arrival of bridegroom in the marriage party.
Fall to pieces
Example: The old monument fell to pieces.
(Be) Familiar to
Meaning: Well known to.
Example: She is familiar to Germany.
Be familiar with
Meaning: Possessing a good knowledge about.
Example: My father is familiar with Latin language.
She is familiar with famous proverbs of the world.
Far and away
Meaning: To a great extent.
Example: A man with clear conscience is far and away happier than one with guilty conscience.
Far and wide/Far and near
Meaning: In all directions.
Example: Her parents searched far and wide for a groom for her.
Meaning: (i) A long way off.
Example: Bombay is far from here.
(ii) Instead of.
Her husband far from appreciating her poetry books disliked them and threw them.
Meaning: (i) Tie or join together.
Example: Please fasten down your safety belts as the plane is going to take off.
(ii) Concentrate on.
The mother told the child to fasten on studies.
Feather one’s nest
Meaning: To make money by dishonest ways.
Example: The corrupt officer was caught by the police while feathering his nest.
Feather in one’s cap
Meaning: An honour or an achievement.
Example: The gold medal in economics is a feather in his cap.
(Be) fed up (with)
Meaning: (Be) tired of
Example: The doctor was fed up with the patients.
Meaning: Return as feedback.
Example: The mother took hours together to teach the basics of mathematics to her son, but she didn’t get any feedback.
Feel at home
Meaning: Feel comfortable.
Example: Please don’t be shy. Feel at home.
Feel at home in
Meaning: Feel at home with.
Example: Many people don’t feel at home in a foreign country.
Meaning: Feel sorry.
Example: She felt bad for having spoken rudely with her best friend.
Meaning: (i) Want to do or have.
Example: I feel like having a pastry today.
She don’t feel like doing the household work today.
(ii) Gives the sensation or impression of being.
A rabbit’s skin feel like silk.
Feel one’s way
Meaning: To move carefully as in the dark.
Example: The hunter had to feel his way in the forests during night.
Meaning: Feel equal to, be cabable of.
Example: He becomes tired after coming from office, thus he doesn’t feel upto taking tuitions for the children in the evening hours.
Meaning: Keep off.
Example: The teacher tried to fend off the mischievous students from the classroom.
Meaning: Waste time.
Example: Unemployed must not fiddle about but try to get a job.
Meaning: Waste (time, energy, etc).
Example: She fiddled away her energy in useless pursuits.
Meaning: Divided or shared equally.
Example: The property issue could be solved if it is divided fifty-fifty between the two brothers.
Meaning: Repress, resist.
Example: Sanjay and Gita fought back bravely against the criminals. Fight shy of: To avoid.
The modest girl fight shy of mischievous boys.
Meaning: (i) Expect.
Example: They did not figure on having so many woman in the kitty party.
(ii) Plan on.
We can’t figure on how much time shall it take to complete this work.
Example: Mona was not able to figure out the average cost of the Micro-computers placed in the showroom.
Example: Please figure up the debits and credits column.
Meaning: Put away in an office file.
Example: The officer directed the clerk to file away the applications of the candidates for the new post.
Meaning: Write words needed in blanks.
Example: All the aspirants for the job filled up the application forms available in the office.
Meaning: Get fatter.
Example: She was very thin before. Now she has filled out.
(To) find a mare’s nest
Meaning: To make a discovery which turns to be a hoax.
Example: The constable was searching for the dwelling place of the notorious criminal, but he could only find a mare’s nest.
Find fault with
Meaning: Find wrongs in others.
Example: We must not always find fault in others as we too commit mistakes.
Find one’s way
Meaning: Arrive at.
Example: The rumour of the superstar’s marriage with the model found its way to many people.
Meaning: (i) Make enquiries about.
Example: He tried to find out the name of his friend in the toppers list.
She found out through research that the whole universe is a spark of God’s limitless power.
Meaning: (i) Eat or drink up completely.
Example: The people finished off the sweet dish and fruit juices in the party within minutes.
(ii) Bring to an end, complete.
He finished off the application form and submitted in the office.
Meaning: Cease to have relations with.
Example: The husband and wife finished with each other.
Meaning: A group of soldiers chosen to shoot the enemy to death or to fire shots over a grave as a tribute.
Example: The dead president was honoured by a firing squad.
Meaning: Suited for, prepared for.
Example: His elder son is not fit for the business.
Meaning: (i) Find space for.
Example: The owner of the house fitted in a new remote controlled coloured TV in the drawing room.
(ii) Coincide, have the right size or shape etc.
The key fits in the door nicely.
(iii) Find a time for.
I am sorry, your appointment does not fit in his busy time schedule for today.
Fit in with
Meaning: Live in harmony.
Example: She fitted in with her group of friends very well.
Meaning: Be suitable to.
Example: This gold ring does not fit into her finger. She must buy another ring.
Meaning: (i) Accommodate.
Example: Please fix her up at a suitable post available in the office.
The engineer is fixing up the Inverter.
Fix (up) on
Meaning: (i) Focus one’s gaze or attention on.
Example: The orphan child fixed his eyes upon his adopted parents.
(ii) Fit on.
Fix on this painting on the wall.
Meaning: Become suddenly angry.
Example: The teacher flared up at the students and told them to remain quite.
Meaning: Feel assured.
Example: Some shopkeepers flatter their customers, so that they could buy their goods.
Flesh and blood
Meaning: Human nature, but when you talk of one’s own flesh and blood, it means one’s near relations or one’s children.
Example: Her own flesh and blood killed her.
(To) flog a dead horse
Meaning: To waste energy.
Example: We should not flog a dead horse by talking ill of innocent people, who don’t do any harm to us.
Fly into a rage/temper/passion
Meaning: Become very angry.
Example: Her mother flew into a rage when she told her that she was getting married to a boy of her choice.
Meaning: Bend one part of a thing back over on itself.
Example: Linda folded back the bedsheets and kept them in the cupboard.
Meaning: Make smaller by folding.
Example: She folded up her nightsuit and her husband’s shirt.
Meaning: Follow to the end.
Example: The disciple followed out all the instructions given by the master.
(To) Follow suit
Meaning: To imitate someone.
Example: She went to a temple and we followed suit.
Meaning: Carry out exactly to the end.
Example: Please follow through the instructions written by the doctor carefully.
Meaning: Waste time.
Example: Please don’t fool around. Work and earn money.
Fool around with
Meaning: Play with.
Example: If you fool around with the car without taking driving lessons, you would hurt yourself.
Meaning: A state of unreal happiness.
Example: He is living in a fool’s paradise by thinking that he could become the chairman of the company.
For a while
Meaning: For a period of time.
Example: Please stay there for a while. I shall come within a few minutes.
Meaning: Despite a few.
Example: He may commit mistakes now and then, but for all he is a good person.
For all the world
Meaning: At any cost.
Example: We must not hurt an innocent person for all the world.
For one’s life
Meaning: With all one’s might.
Example: She ran off for her life when she saw the tiger coming towards her.
For fear of
Meaning: Lest; in order to avoid or prevent.
Example: For fear of losing the job he agreed to work for twelve hours a day.
For good (and all)
Example: His disease was cured for good and all.
Meaning: (i) Permanently.
Example: My friend gave me a precious gold ring for keeps.
He loves his wife for keeps.
Meaning: (i) Free of charge.
Example: He bought food for nothing from the holy temple.
(ii) Without payment
Gary takes work from Govind for nothing.
For one thing
Meaning: For one reason.
Example: For one thing, I don’t like wealthy people. Most of the rich people are not kind.
(Be) for sale
Meaning: Be sold.
Example: The shopkeepers put the garments on sale and everybody came rushing to grab the best lot from them.
Meaning: So as to make shorter.
Example: Her full name is Govindram, but he is called Gondu for short.
For the time being
Meaning: For the present.
Example: He has done his engineering, but for the time being he is working as an executive.
For the worse
Meaning: For something that is worse or not as good with a worse result.
Example: The wealthy man bought an aeroplane, but it turned out to i be for the worse,
Example: Don’t try to repair the T.V. You would foul it up, as you don’t have technical knowledge about it.
(Be) free of
Example: Only God is free of faults.
Meaning: A person not belonging to any party or organisation.
Example: She is a freelance translator.
Meaning: Become covered with ice.
Example: The mountaineer’s dead body was freezed over.
Meaning: Absencefrom duty without applying for leave.
Example: Neeta had not come for the duty yesterday. She was on french , leave.
Meaning: Become fresh.
Example: Please let me freshen up a bit. I shall come after a few minutes.
Meaning: By fear.
Example: The criminal was frightened into obedience by the police.
From good hands
Meaning: From a reliable source.
Example: She recieved the proof against the notorious person from good hands, that she handed over to the police.
From hand to mouth
Meaning: Without providing for the future.
Example: The poor lot of the world live from hand to mouth.
From the bottom of one’s heart
Meaning: Sincerely and deeply.
Example: The lady thanked God from the bottom of her heart for blessing her with a baby boy.
From time to time
Meaning: Not regularly, sometime.
Example: The vigilance team come here time to time to scrutinize the company accounts.
Example: After writing articles for such a long period he became a full-fledged journalist.
Meaning: Provide with.
Example: The institute doesn’t furnish with the facility of Internet.
A fly in the ointment
Meaning: That which spoils the taste of everything.
Example: That talkative man was a fly in the ointment, as he kept on boasting about himself.