Browse Cliches:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Cliches starting with N

naked as a jaybirdTo be naked as a jaybird means to be complete nude or naked, or without any type of clothing on. The origin of this phrase meaning to be naked is somewhat unclear since jaybirds typically are blue jays who have a brilliant blue plumage and raucous call; rather than being naked in the sense that they dont have feathers or plumage. However, it is said that jaybird is simply the type of bird name that flows best with the phrase.
name that tuneName that tune began as an older game in which people would name songs they hear a part of and eventually became several different game shows all of which followed the same premise. One of these game shows was even called name that tune and came out in the 1980s. Nowadays, the phrase name that tune is used as a cliche for getting together with your friends and singing parts of a song and having the other friends guess what song it is. You may also hear this on various radio shows, typically morning talk shows.
name your poisonName your poison is a phrase used when you want to ask what type of alcoholic drink someone would like. Name your poison is usually spoken in a bar by the bartender or another place where there is a variety of alcoholic drinks to choose from. Poison is the slang term for alcohol in many different circles, including bars to drink at. Name your poison is sometimes used for other types of drinks or even food or drugs, but is usually reserved for drinking alcoholic beverages.
nary a word was spokenNary a word was spoken is the phrase used for when not one word was spoken. While it is not used commonly anymore, nary was once referred to as the word being used for none, not any, or nothing in old English. Nowadays this is hardly ever used, but occasionally you will hear it or read it in various dialogues such as in stage productions, novels or even on television shows which take place in the last century.
near and dear to my heartWhen someone is near and dear to your heart is means that it is very important to you, often someone who is close to like a close friend or family member, or an item close to your heart due to its sentimental value. Something near and dear to your heart can be anything from an item, to a person, form of media like a movie or song, or even a place or memory like the memory of your wedding which is an important memory to have.
neat as a pinThe phrase neat as a pin refers to something or someone that is very tidy and clean. A pin, primarily a new pin, is very neat and tidy and clean in the way that they shine when they are new and remain very tidy and straightforward. A person can be neat as a pin in the way they dress and carry themselves, as well as other types of items or even a home which is clean and tidy and well organized.
necessity is the mother of inventionTo say necessity is the mother of invention means to say that difficult situations often inspire ingenious solutions. What this means in laments terms is that when you go through difficult situations or you try very hard in order to achieve something, this is when you often come up with your best solutions. Going through trials and tribulations in life can often be more helpful to you than you would imagine.
needless to sayNeedless to say is a common idiom which is another way of saying that obviously this thing can happen or be true. When someone said needless to say, they mean to tell you obviously, or for sure this has to be right. This may be in reference to bringing up a resolution to a problem you are going through, or in response to what someone tells you and when you mean to say it can definitely or obviously be true, you can say needless to say.
neither a borrower not a lender beNeither a borrower not a lender be is a quote by Polonius in the Shakespeare play Hamlet during Act 1, scene 3 and lines 75-77. What the line means is that lending money to friends can be very risky since hitching debt onto personal relationships can cause a lot of resentment and if they dont pay you back in time or in full when you expect it, where the lender, the money and the friend lose the mutual friendship.
neither fish nor fowlNeither fish nor fowl when used in a conversation refers to not any recognizable thing. By saying not fish or fowl, this person is saying that nothing is recognizable, not necessarily in relation to these types of animal creatures. It can be used literally in some instances where the person is speaking of not seafood or poultry, but it is most commonly used as an old saying for no recognizable thing is seen or available.
neither here nor thereNeither here nor there is an expression used for when there is no consequence or meaning, as well as something that is irrelevant and unimportant. This idiom is commonly used in reference to someone speaking about something being unimportant and therefore should not be made a huge deal of. If someone is speaking about an issue in a seemingly relevant way, you can say it is neither here nor there because it has no meaning.
nervous as a cat on a hot tin roofIf someone is as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof they are in a state of extreme nervous or worry, are very excitable in a negative way and are practically sitting on the edge of their seat with anxiety. Cats who are on a hot tin roof wont be able to stand still even for a second due to being worried about the heat and of falling off the roof; this is why the idiom is so fitting for someone in severe nervous or worry.
never hurts to tryNever hurts to try is an idiom used for something being worth the effort, even if it doesnt work out. What this saying means is that when you think something wont work out so you dont bother trying, it will for sure not work out. However if you try and fail, at least you will know that you tried and you never know what time the effort will be worth it. You mine as well try because it cant possibly hurt you to put forth the effort.
never put off until tomorrow what you can do todayNever put off until tomorrow what you can do today is a saying which emphasizes the fact that you should not delay doing something if you can get it done immediately. If there is something you can do today, you mine as well do it because it can be done now and by tomorrow you wont have to worry about it. Constantly putting off things causes more stress and anxiety and these things will soon add up until you cant keep up with them.
never say neverNever say never is a common catch phrase which says that nothing is impossible and anything can happen. The phrase originally comes from Charles Dickenss Pickwick Papers from 1837 in which he recorded Mary said Tom would never call her again, but I told her,
nice day for a picnicNice day for a picnic is the phrase often used when someone wants to talk about it being a good time, day or even opportunity for relaxing and spending time with others. The phrase which usually goes like Its a nice day for a picnic is usually in the form of a more literal term where they really mean it is a nice day for a picnic or another similar activity. It is also sometimes used figuratively in which they mean there is a good opportunity for a fun and relaxing time.
nice guys finish lastNice guys finish last is a common catch phrase spoken about the fact that you will never be able to get what you want by being kind and considerate. This expression is somewhat disagreed upon depending on who you talk to, but generally people who think nice guys finish last, dont think that being a nice, polite and considerate person or someone who thinks of others before themselves, is going to make it very far in life.
nice play, ShakespeareNice play, Shakespeare is the catch phrase used when someone wants to say something they just witnessed was stupid or not very good at all. The phrase Nice play, Shakespeare is actually spoken in an ironic or sarcastic way which is to say it was not a nice play at all, nowhere near a good Shakespeare style play. By speaking of Shakespeare, they are being sarcastic by using a playwright who is as far from being bad as possible.
nice work if you can get itIf someone says it is nice work if you can get it they mean to say that it is something you can earn money with fairly easily and fits your current skill set, and is something you would do if you had the opportunity. It is nice work if you can get it is typically spoken by the person who wants this type of work and wants to make a point that the work is hard to find but if you can, it is good work for the money.
nip it in the budTo nip it in the bud means to put a stop to something while it is still in early development. The phrase refers to a bud as in a flower bud such as from a rose which is still in its early stages of development. This idiom is used figuratively in relation to a situation which has potential risks or problems that could arise; by stopping it in the early development stages you have the ability to prevent these potential issues.
no accounting for tasteNo accounting for taste is an idiom used for when there is no explanation for peoples preferences, whether these are personal or professional preferences. No accounting to taste is often spoken to someone in response to something they like, their opinions or their preferences which other people often dont understand or cant relate to. No accounting for taste will say this as a way to show they dont understand their preference and there is no explanation for it.
no guts, no gloryNo guts, no glory is another way of saying that the current situation is all about being brave and honest. This is best with regards to standing up for the things you believe in and going for your physical achievements. No guts, no glory can be used both in a physical and situational manner whereas you stand up for things you believe in for various situations or you have physical achievements where you show you are brave and honest as well as hardworking toward your goals.
no love lostThe idiom no love lost means that there is no love lost between two people because they have a strong enmity towards each other or hate each other and make no type of effort to conceal this dislike of each other. No love lost in the case of two people which publicly despise each other is typically easy for others to notice based on the way they act while they are around each other.
no one here but us chickensNo one here but us chickens is an older phrase which is actually somewhat of a joke told to people for some good and easy humor. The joke has a crook coming to the chicken coop wanting to steal some chickens and when the farmer heard a noise inside the chicken coop he asked who was in there, to which the crook replied No one here but us chickens! While it comes from a common joke, the phrase is often used as a way to humor someone who is asking if anyone is there.
no pain, no gainNo pain, no gain is the catch phrase used for explaining that you must be willing to endure some kind of discomfort or inconvenience in order to achieve goals which will be worthwhile and beneficial to you. This can be in relation to a physical goal such as losing weight, improving your fitness or achieving an athletics goal, or be related to another goal or type of work you are trying to accomplish. No pain, no gain can be quite literal in that you feel physical pain from working out but gain muscle in the process.
no skin off my backNo skin off my back is an idiom which means that you dont care about something because it wont affect you at all. This is typically in response to someone apologizing for something that was done or said to you or about you. Because it does not bother you or is something which doesnt affect you personally, you will say no skin off my back as a way to prove how you dont care about it.
no use crying over spilled milkNo use crying over spilled milk is an English language idiom used most often about not being upset over small mistakes. The phrase means to say that you should not be upset over a mistake that has already been done and there is nothing you can do about it and cannot change what occurred. By speaking of spilled milk, the phrase is commonly used with very small mistakes one shouldnt be angry over, but is sometimes used for larger mistakes with the same meaning.
no way, JoseNo way, Jose is a common catch phrase which is used to say that you will never do or say something, or to say absolutely not about something. This idiom can be used in reference to telling a person no to an idea or thought they had, about a situation you refuse to ever do, a job or project you will never take on, or even a place you never intend to go to. No way, Jose is very commonly used as a response to someone pitching you an idea which you absolutely refuse.
none too pleasedIf you are none too pleased it means that you are not very happy about a situation or possibly even angry or irritated by it. None too pleased is simply another way to say you are not pleased about something that has just occurred or possibly what someone has said they have done or about to do. This statement can also be used for more severe emotions than being not happy such as being irate, angry or very upset with somebody.
nose to the grindstoneNose to the grindstone is a phrase used when describing the process of continuing to work very hard without stopping. With your nose to the grindstone you are not only committing yourself to your work and refuse to give up until the job is complete, but you are working very hard, as hard as you possibly can, and will continue to work this hard continuously until it is complete. This can be physical labor or other types of work such as studying until you have finished.
not by the hair of my chinny chin chinNot by the hair of my chinny chin chin is a cliche which was originally started in the nursery rhyne The Three Little Pigs. In the story, the pigs say not by the hair of my chinny chin chin as a way to say not ever, not now, no way. It is another way of telling someone no in a blunt and straightforward manner, and in this case; a way which is appropriate for a childrens story and enticing to small children but still makes sense to others.
not enough room to swing a catIf there is not enough room to swing a cat, that means you are in an awkwardly small and confined space which is very uncomfortable to be in, especially if you are stuck in this small space with another person. The idiom used for a small space which is uncomfortably awkward is somewhat of a colorful phrase and not too appropriate, since you are speaking of swinging a cat but it sends a message to how small the room or space really is.
not even!Not even! Is a slang expression often used as a state of denial where you are strongly denying something which has just been said to you. Often times, it is a comment or observation that someone has made about you or someone you know very well and because you very much disagree with their assessment, you will say not even! It is typically spoken by adolescents but been known to be uttered by adults who choose to use slang in their vocabulary.
not for all the tea in ChinaNot for all the tea in China is a common catch phrase used when you want to say not for any price. This idiom is most commonly used as a response to an offer someone gives you for something which usually something very precious or valuable and you are not willing to give it up for any price. Because it is widely known there is a lot of tea in China because it is their sole beverage, this example works very well in the phrase.
not for nothing, but...Not for nothing, but... is something you say when you want to soften the blow of something that may be offensive or come on too strong, and said before you say something offensive, insulting or judgmental. This is typically in reference or response to something someone else has done or said and when you disagree with it or your opinion might be slightly offensive, you would say its not for nothing, but
not in my back yardNot in my back yard, which is often said in its abbreviated form, NIMBY, is someone who opposes anything built where they live or in the same area. This is often used for neighborhoods where large corporations choose to put new businesses, parks, shopping malls or other types of places within their neighborhood. A NIMBY, or Not in my backyard type of person, opposes all of this because it ruins their idea of a good neighborhood.
not just another pretty faceNot just another pretty face is the catch phrase used for someone who is attractive but also intelligent. This is a way to describe a person who is not only pretty and pleasing to look at on the outside, but the person has more to them than looks such as intelligence, wit or special talents and skills. Just another pretty face is often used for women in particular that are pretty but dont have much substance. This phrase insists the person is quite the opposite.
not my cup of teaNot my cup of tea is another way of saying you dont like something very much, but more of your own opinion not necessarily that you hate the concept of it or are judging others for liking it. Something not being your cup of tea can be referring to anything you dont favor such as an item, a personal fashion sense or style, a type of haircut, a food or drink item, an activity, or even a type of person that just doesnt interest you.
not playing with a full deckNot playing with a full deck is a common idiom referring to people who are lacking intelligence and know-how. The phrase originated from a deck of cards where when they dont have a full deck, the deck isnt all there. Being not all there is commonly used as a way to describe someone who seems to be missing some parts of their brain which hold their common sense, intellect and the ability to understand simple things.
not rowing with both oarsNot rowing with both oars is another way of saying that someone seems to be lacking some sort of intelligence or common sense. While it can be used for anyone who seems a little bit stupid or lacking education, it is primarily used for people who go about life with the attitude and mannerisms that they are just not all there. This may be due to lack of common sense, lack of education, or simply not having the intelligence most people have at the age they are.
not the brightest bulbNot the brightest bulb is another way of saying someone isnt very smart or intelligent. This is one of the more common phrases for speaking about someone who seems to not be very smart whether you are talking about being brain smart, street smart or having no common sense. To say someone is not the brightest bulb, it is usually referring to their intelligence or lack thereof rather than not having any common sense.
not the sharpest knife in the cabinetNot the sharpest knife in the cabinet is one of many catch phrases used in the English language which refers to someone who is not very intelligent. Many of these phrases can have a variety of meanings in regards to someone not being intelligent whether it means they are simply not smart, not educated properly, or might be somewhat intelligent but lack the common sense that most individuals their age should have.
not worth a hill of beansNot worth a hill of beans is an idiom which means to have very little or have no value. If someone says something is not worth a hill of beans, this is a somewhat old fashioned way of saying that what you are talking about is not worth very much at all, not even if you had a hill of beans would it be worth it. This something you speak of whether it is an idea, thought or even a person has no value whatsoever.
NOT!NOT! Is a grammatical construction used in the English language as a slang term that became a popular sarcastic catch phrase in the 1990s in North America. During its most popular time in the 1990s, mostly teenagers and young adults used this phrase. It is not commonly used today, but its meaning refers to someone not agreeing with what has been said to them, as a way to deny what is being said in a sarcastic way.
nothing to fear but fear itselfNothing to fear but fear itself is a common idiom which was first spoken by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his inaugural address. What the saying means and how it is used today is a way to reassure people they shouldnt be afraid of anything, no matter what their fear is, except fear itself. Having fear is what keeps you from doing what you want to do and achieving your goals, so it is the only thing to fear.
nothing to sneeze atNothing to sneeze at is the idiom used for something that deserves some serious attention. This can be in reference to a variety of situations in which you want to make it a point that deserves your undivided attention and is no casual matter. When it is about something serious, saying it is nothing to sneeze at is simply another way of proving how serious this particular situation or dilemma really is.
nothing ventured, nothing gainedNothing ventured, nothing gained is a very common idiom which you more than likely recognize or have heard at least once in your life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained means that if you do not take risks, you will never accomplish anything. It is a way to give motivation for trying new things, adventurous things, even risky things in order to accomplish various goals and to get somewhere in life, rather than standing back and watching others succeed.
nows as good a time as anyNows as good a time as any is a phrase which is referring to the fact that this is a good occasion to do this particular thing which is being spoken about and that no harm will come from doing this thing right now. When someone says nows a good time as any, it is usually in response to being asked if you should do something now, no matter what this something happens to be. It is another way of saying you should do things now while you have the opportunity.
nows your chanceNows your chance is an idiom which means to do something now while you have the opportunity to do it. Many people like to put things off and procrastinate, assuming you will get another chance to do it. But many times this isnt the case so whenever you have the chance to do something, you should do it now and as quickly as possible before you miss your chance and it never comes back.
number one fanNumber one fan is the catch phrase used as a literal term for someone that is literally a number one fan. This can be a fan of any type of political figure, musical artist or band, actor or actress, sports team or athlete, or even simply a person who has some sort of power, leadership or standing in their company. You can also be a number one fan of any other person, such as an artist or even someone you know personally.