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Your English: Idioms: jump

Type: Article

Jump the queue and improve your English with this set of idioms from Tim Bowen.

‘The situation in the company seems to be getting worse and some of the senior management have started to jump ship.’ If you jump ship, you leave a difficult situation when you should stay and help deal with it. 

If you jump the gun, you do or say something too soon, before you know that it is suitable or correct. The expression, which has its origins in the firing of the starting pistol in athletics, is often used in the phrase ‘Don’t jump the gun’, when you are asking someone to be patient and wait before jumping to conclusions (making a decision quickly without knowing all the facts). 

Given the traditional fondness of the British for the practice of queueing, it is little surprise that they get annoyed when people try to jump the queue (move in front of people who have been waiting longer than they have) and they may even react by jumping down the throat of the unfortunate queue-jumper (speaking very angrily to them in a way that seems unfair). 

If something jumps off the page at you, you notice it immediately, as in ‘The thing that really jumped off the page at me was the eye-catching headline’. 

If you are one jump ahead of someone, you do something before them or more successfully than them, as in ‘He always seems to be one jump ahead of me when it comes to knowing what’s going on’. 

Finally, the expression ‘Take a running jump’ is used to tell someone very rudely to go away, as in ‘Why don’t you go and take a running jump’.

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