Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Idioms: bag

Type: Article

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag, as Tim Bowen shows once again he’s got bags of potential when it comes to idioms.

‘With his speech at this year’s conference, he has let the cat out of the bag about the true intentions of this government’. If you let the cat out of the bag, you tell someone something that was intended to be secret.

If something is in the bag, it is certain to be obtained or achieved, as in ‘It was a good interview, and, at the time, I really thought the job was in the bag’ or ‘City are so far ahead that the title is in the bag’.

A mixed bag is a combination of many different people or things, as in ‘The speech was a bit of a mixed bag, with promises of tax cuts on the one hand and price rises on the other’.

If something isn’t your bag, it is not something that you enjoy or are interested in, as in ‘I’d love to come round this evening but I’m afraid card games aren’t really my bag’.

A person with bags under their eyes has loose dark areas of skin under their eyes, often as a result of lack of sleep or a hangover, as in ‘Look at the bags under my eyes. I look like I haven’t slept for days’. If someone is described as a bag of bones, they are extremely thin, as in ‘He’s lost so much weight recently that he’s just a bag of bones’.

Bags of something means a lot of it, as in ‘He’s a young player with bags of potential’ or ‘There’s no need to hurry. We’ve got bags of time before our train leaves’.

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