|ring a bell||If something rings a bell, it sounds familiar, but you don’t remember the exact details.|
John Bentley? The name rings a bell but I don’t remember him.
|chime in||If you chime in, you interrupt or join a conversation, especially to repeat or agree with something.|
While I was explaining to the bus driver what had happened, the other passengers chimed in and gave their version.
|drum (sthg) into someone’s head||If you teach something to someone through constant repetition, you drum it into their head.|
When we were kids at school, multiplication tables were drummed into our heads.
|as fit as a fiddle||A person who is as fit as a fiddle is in an excellent state of health or physical condition.|
My grandfather is nearly ninety but he’s as fit as a fiddle.
|play second fiddle||If you play second fiddle to someone, you accept to be second in importance to that person, or have a lower position.|
When Charles became chairman of the family business, his brother declared that he would rather leave than play second fiddle to him.
|fiddling while Rome burns||If you say that someone is fiddling while Rome burns, you mean that they are doing unimportant things while there are serious matters to be dealt with.|
His visit to the trade fair was “fiddling while Rome burns” according to the strikers.
|jazz something up||If you jazz something up, you add something to try to improve it or make it more stylish.|
The dress needs a scarf or a necklace to jazz it up.
|all that jazz||This expression means ‘all that stuff’, ‘other siimilar things’, or ‘everything of that kind’.|
Let’s get out the tinsel, the fairy lights and all that jazz to decorate the Christmas tree.
|music to one’s ears||To say that something is music to your ears means that the information you recieve makes you feel very happy.|
His compliments were music to my ear.
|face the music||When a person has to face the music, they have to accept the unpleasant consequences of their actions.|
He was caught stealing. Now he has to face the music.
|strike a false note||If you strike a false note, you do something wrong or inappropriate.|
He struck a wrong note when he arrived at the cocktail party wearing old jeans.
|strike (or hit) the rightnote||If you strike (or hit) the right note, you do something suitable or appropriate.|
He struck the right note with his future mother-in-low when he brought her a book on gardening – her favourite hobby!
|(sound) like a brokenrecord||Someone who says the same thing again and again sounds like a broken record.|
Dad! Stop telling me to be careful when I drive. You sound like a broken record!
|go for a song||If something goes for a song, it is sold at an unexpectedly low price.|
|tickle the ivories||This is a humorous way of talking about playing the piano.|
My grandfather loves playing the piano. He tickles the ivories whenever he gets the chance.
|call the tune||The person who calls the tune makes all the important decisions and is in control of the situation.|
He shows a lot of authority but in fact it’s his wife who calls the tune.
|sing a different tune||If someone sings a different tune, they change their opinion about something or their attitude towards something.|
He had no consideration for people out of work until he lost his own job; now he’s singing a different tune.
|fine tuning||Small changes to something to improve it or make it work better are called fine-tuning.|
We are still fine tuning our new website and appreciate your patience.
|blow the whistle||If you report an illegal or socially-harmful activity to the authorities, and give information about those responsible for it, you blow the whistle, or you are a whistle-blower.|
He refused to blow the whistle on his boss for fear of losing his job.
|clean as a whistle||Something as clean as a whistle is extremely clean.|
This can also mean that a person’s criminal record is clean.
Bob spent the afternoon washing and shining his car until it was as clean as a whistle.