Advanced English: 10 Non-Literal Idioms with THROW

Learn English Idioms - Throw

These idioms are a little more advanced

throw a wrench in the works

To do something that stops an event or activity from being successful. Origin of this idiom: a wrench is a type of tool, and if a wrench accidentally gets caught in machinery, the machine will stop working. Note: The British English form of this idiom is “put a spanner in the works.”

  • “I’m trying to plan a birthday party for my husband, but his busy schedule is throwing a wrench in the works. It’s nearly impossible to find a night when he’s free.”

throw (someone) off / throw (someone) for a loop

To distract, confuse, or surprise someone, especially when they are in the middle of doing something that requires concentration. To “throw someone for a loop” is similar and emphasizes the sudden, intense surprise.

  • “I think I answered all the questions in the job interview pretty well – except for the random one about my personal life. I wasn’t expecting it, so it threw me off.”
  • “My father’s had a beard for as long as I can remember, so it really threw me for a loop when he shaved it off!”

throw in the towel

To give up, to admit failure.

  • “After fifteen unsuccessful attempts to start a business, John finally threw in the towel.”

throw (someone) under the bus

To sacrifice someone who you had previously supported or agreed with.

  • “I thought she was my friend, until she threw me under the bus and told our manager that the project’s failure was my fault.”

throw oneself at

Someone who is really desperate to be romantically involved with another person may¬†“throw himself/herself” at that person – it means to do things that make your romantic/sexual interest extremely obvious. This is generally used with a negative connotation – it’s not considered something admirable to do.

  • “Abigail can’t stand being single – she’s been throwing herself at every guy she meets ever since Brad broke up with her.”

a stone’s throw from

Very close, not far away.

  • “Our hotel was just a stone’s throw from the beach – we could walk there in less than 5 minutes.”

throw caution to the wind

To become very careless and take a dangerous risk.

  • “I told him not to invest all his money in a single stock, but he threw caution to the wind and did it anyway.”

throw together

To create something in a rush.

  • “We only had a half hour for lunch, so we just threw together a salad.”

throw a tantrum

To have a sudden explosion of angry, childish behavior. This phrase is often used with kids, but can be applied to adults when you want to emphasize that the behavior is immature.

  • “My 6-year-old threw a tantrum when I said he couldn’t have dessert until he’d finished his broccoli.”

I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him

This means that you don’t trust somebody at all.

  • “I don’t trust used car salesmen as far as I could throw them.”

Quiz: Advanced English Idioms: THROW

Choose the best idiom to complete each sentence. Good luck!
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