For donkey’s years

donkey's years

This British expression jokingly alludes to the considerable length of years the animal works with nothing to show for it. If you have done something for donkey’s years, then you have done it for an awfully long time.

Example: I’ve been a plumber for donkey’s years. It’s time for a change.

Fall off the back of a lorry

fall off the back of a lorry.jpg

This is the British humorous way of saying you acquired something that was probably stolen, or you are trying to sell something that’s stolen or illegitimate. The American equivalent of the phrase is: “off the back of a truck.”

Example: I don’t know where you get these elctronic devices. I suspect they fell off the back of a lorry.

Bob’s your uncle

bob's your uncle

This idiom is a catch phrase used when ‘everything is alright’ and means that something will be done, sorted or successful. It’s the British equivalent of “…and that’s that,” or “there you go!” How it is used is often quite funny.

Example: “You want to know how to use the application? Well, just open the app, go to the help section, and Bob’s your uncle– you have all the info”!

Suit yourself!/Suit yourselves!

suit yourself

An expression used either humorously or angrily to mean “do what you want to do”. It can be used in the singlar or plural.

“I don’t think I’ll come to the party tonight.”         “All right, suit yourself! But it’s going to be fun.”

“I don’t think we’ll come to the party tonight.”        “Well, suit yourselves! But you don’t know what you’ll be missing.”

to be quits (with someone)


If you are quits, you do not owe money to someone or to each other now. A similar expression is “call it even”.

Eg: I paid for the tickets and you bought dinner so we’re quits, I reckon. (OR …we’ll call it even…)
       Am I quits with you now? (OR Are we even now?)


to be in a pickle/to get (oneself) into a pickle


If you are in a pickle, you are in a situation that is awkward and/or difficult to solve. In more formal language we say “to be in a predicament“. Pickles are literally vegetables preserved in brine or vinegar (such as gherkins, onions, etc)

Eg: Last night I was in a pickle. After having a dinner at a  restaurant, I found I had neither enough money nor a credit card.

John has got (himself) into a pickle. He has two dates for the party.


have (get) the knack


A knack is a particularly clever or skillful way of doing something successfully, especially something which most people find difficult. To know how to do something.

Eg. My grandma has the knack of knitting without looking at what she’s doing.

      He’s got the knack of getting people to listen.

     My brother has a special knack for getting into trouble

“I’m hopeless at making cakes”       “Keep practising – you’ll soon get the knack (of it).”

spill the beans


This expression means to divulge something, usually meant to be a sceret.

Eg. How did that news become public? Did some reporter spill the beans?

      We’re having a surprise party for Heidi on Wednesday. Please don’t spill the beans.