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shrinking violet

Meaning: typically refers to a person who is shy, timid, or reserved in social situations.

Example: Avril is such a shrinking violet at parties; she always sticks to the sidelines and rarely speaks up. Read more ➺

melting pot

Meaning: a place where different types of people and ideas live together, frequently blending to create something new.

Example: The United States has been a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds. Read more ➺

chattering classes

Meaning: refers to the people who comment on events but have no power to influence them, such as journalists, broadcasters, or public figures.

Example: The royal baby's birth was a historic event and has recently become a trendy topic among the chattering classes. Read more ➺

dig up dirt

Meaning: find and disclose destructive evidence about someone.

Example: After calling my sources at the tabloids, I dug up dirt on the actress. Read more ➺

next door

Meaning: the nearest house.

Example: Our house is next door to hers; that's why we know each other. Read more ➺

beyond the pale

Meaning: unacceptable.

Example: Nobody will want to be friends with you if you are considered beyond the pale in your social circle. Read more ➺

have designs on

Meaning: to have a plan or secret desire to get something.

Example: to have a plan or secret desire to get something. Read more ➺

off grid

Meaning: disconnected from municipal utility systems.

Example: Tony built an off-grid bunker, complete with non-perishable food, a water purification system, and solar panels. Read more ➺

make common cause

Meaning: to enter into an agreement or shared effort, especially for expedient purposes and with a party (or parties) otherwise deemed to be enemies.

Example: We have set aside our disagreements and made common cause. Read more ➺

bring someone to book

Meaning: make somebody accountable for their conduct.

Example: If Jessica continues with this behavior, I will have no choice but to bring her to book. Read more ➺