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No - Idioms and Expressions


The common negative 'no' is used in a wide variety of idioms and expressions. Listed below you will find an idiom or expression with 'no' followed by a definition and two example sentences to help your understanding through context.

all meat and no potatoes

Definition: a rude expression referring to an obese person

You're looking all meat and no potatoes. It's time to go on a diet.
I'm afraid my uncle is all meat and no potatoes.

Close, but no cigar

Definition: almost, but not successful

Sorry, you were close, but no cigar. You'll have to try again.
I almost won the lotto - I was just missing one number. Close, but no cigar.

cut no ice

Definition: have no influence with someone

Bob cuts no ice with me. I choose to ignore him.
No matter what I said she wouldn't believe me. I cut no ice with her.

feeling no pain

Definition: to be sedated, under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Bob's just had some sedatives and he's feeling no pain.
That's his second cocktail. I'm sure he's feeling no pain now.

like there was no tomorrow

Definition: do something without stop, enthusiastically

The kids are playing like there was no tomorrow.
You should live like there was no tomorrow.

Long time no see.

Definition: short phrase used when greeting someone that you haven't seen for a long period of time.

Hey Tom! Long time no see.
Long time no see. What have you been up to?

Make no mistake

Definition: phrase used before something that a person believes is absolutely true

Make no mistake. There will be consequences if you don't change your behavior.
Make no mistake. The economy will improve soon.

no bargain

Definition: phrase used to refuse to do something

I'm sorry no bargain.
Alice told him no bargain when he asked the question.

no big deal

Definition: not important

Don't worry about the test it's no big deal.

no biggie

Definition: not important

If you can't come today, no biggie.
I thought it was important, but she said it was no biggie.

no big whoop

Definition: not important, not fun

The county fair was no big whoop.
She said the party was no big whoop.

no can do

Definition: Short phrase used to emphasize that someone can not do something

I'm sorry John. No can do.
Don't waste your breath. I told you once and I'll tell you again: no can do.

no dice

Definition: not possible

His parents told him no dice when he asked if he could go to Hawaii.
I'm afraid it's no dice on the concert tickets.

no earthly reason

Definition: absolutely illogical

There's no earthly reason why she should marry Doug.
I can think of no earthly reason to leave New York.

no end of something

Definition: seemingly never stopping

There's no end of work today!
There's no end of her complaining.

No fair!

Definition: phrase used to state that something is unethical, or unfair

It's no fair that he got that job.
No fair! I want to play now.

no go

Definition: not possible, not offered

They told me it was no go at the job interview.
I'm afraid it's a no go for next weekend.

no holds barred

Definition: without any restriction

This will be a no holds barred debate. Say what you feel.
She told him her version of the truth, no holds barred.

No kidding!

Definition: response given to someone when they say something extremely obvious

It's easy. - No kidding!
The earth is round. - No kidding!

No problem

Definition: short phrase used as a response to 'thank you'

Thanks for the help. - No problem.
Thank you for the information. - No problem.

no show

Definition: someone who does not come to an appointment

I'm afraid Mr. Smith is a no show today.
The CEO was a no show at the conference.

no sweat

Definition: not difficult to do

The test was no sweat.
She said she'd come next week, no sweat.

No way!

Definition: short phrase used when someone expresses disbelief

Peter and Anna got married. - No way!
Jack got a new job. - No way!

no-win situation

Definition: a difficult situation in which all parties must sacrifice

I'm afraid we're in a no-win situation at work these days.
The choice between moving and staying was a no-win situation.

see no further than the end of your nose

Definition: unable to understand larger truths or implications to a situation, egotistical

She can see no further than the end of her nose. You can ignore what she has to say.
Don't expect a considered answer from Tom. He sees no further than the end of his nose.

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