Expressions and idioms with “One”


Іdioms and phrases with “one”

Let’s examine some common phrases and meanings with the word “one” [wʌn] in English. Expressions with “one” can have various meanings and uses in English. Let’s look at some examples:

  • One can be a pronoun meaning “a single person” or “anyone.” For example: One should always be polite. (One should always be polite.) One of my friends is a doctor. (One of my friends is a doctor.)
  • One can be a number meaning “single” or “first.” For example: I have one apple. (I have one apple.) She is the one who helped me. (She is the one who helped me.)
  • One can be part of compound numbers like twenty-one, thirty-one, forty-one, and so on. For example: He is twenty-one years old. (He is twenty-one years old.)
  • One can be part of idioms that have special figurative meanings. For example: one of these days (one of these days), one by one (one by one), one and only (one and only), and so on.

As you can see, “one” in English can be used as an adjective or adverb to emphasize the idea of uniqueness or limitedness of something. For example: She is the only one who knows the truth. (She is the only one who knows the truth.) He only works on weekends. (He only works on weekends.)

There are many idiomatic expressions and phrases that can be formed with “one” in English. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones.

List of the best Expressions and idioms with “One”

  1. One for the road:

    • Explanation: This expression is often used when someone is preparing to leave a gathering or event and decides to have one last drink before departing. It indicates a farewell gesture or one final indulgence before moving on to something else.
    • Example: “Alright, I think it’s time to head home. But just one for the road,” he said, raising his glass.
  2. One of a kind:

    • Explanation: When something is described as “one of a kind”, it means it is unique or unparalleled. This phrase emphasizes the exceptional nature of a person, object or situation by highlighting its singularly distinct qualities.
    • Example: “Her talent is truly remarkable; she’s a one of a kind artist,” remarked the gallery curator.
  3. One-hit wonder:

    • Explanation: In music, a “one-hit wonder” refers to a performer or band who only achieves mainstream success with one popular song. Despite their brief moment in the spotlight, they fail to replicate the same level of success with subsequent releases.
    • Example: “Their debut song was a massive hit, but unfortunately, they became a one-hit wonder,” commented the music critic.
  4. One size fits all:

    • Explanation: This phrase is often used in product descriptions to indicate that a particular item is meant to be suitable for everyone, regardless of size or shape. It can also be used metaphorically for universal solutions or approaches.
    • Example: “This hat is perfect for outdoor activities; it’s one size fits all,” explained the salesperson.
  5. One’s own flesh and blood:

    • Explanation: This phrase refers to relatives or family members, emphasizing the close biological connection they share in common. It highlights the bond formed through blood ties and affirms a sense of allegiance and kinship.
    • Example: “No matter what happens, family always comes first; they’re your own flesh and blood,” reminded the grandmother.
  6. One-track mind:

    • Explanation: When someone is said to have a “one-track mind”, it means they are overly focused on a single topic or idea, often excluding other considerations. This term is usually used lightly or with a joking undertone.
    • Example: “He’s so obsessed with his work; it’s like he has a one-track mind,” joked his colleague.
  7. One in a million:

    • Explanation: Describing someone or something as “one in a million” emphasizes their exceptionally rare or extraordinary qualities. It indicates that out of a vast number of similar beings, only one stands out as truly remarkable.
    • Example: “Her kindness and generosity make her truly one in a million,” remarked her grateful friend.
  8. One step at a time:

    • Explanation: This phrase advises taking a gradual, methodical approach to achieving goals or solving problems. It emphasizes the importance of patience, perseverance, and staying focused on tackling managerial tasks sequentially.
    • Example: “Don’t worry about the big picture; just focus on one step at a time,” advised the mentor.
  9. For one thing:

    • Explanation: This expression is used to introduce one reason or aspect of a situation, often hinting that there are other factors to consider as well.
    • Example: “For one thing, the weather forecast doesn’t look promising for our outdoor event.”
  10. Do a number one:

    • Explanation: This informal phrase refers to urination, often used in a joking or childish context.
    • Example: “I need to find a restroom; I have to do a number one.”
  11. From day one:

    • Explanation: This phrase emphasizes something that has been true or present since the very start of a situation or period of time.
    • Example: “I knew from day one that this project would be challenging.”
  12. All-in-one:

    • Explanation: This term describes something that combines several functions or features into one device, offering convenience and efficiency.
    • Example: “This smartphone is an all-in-one device; it functions as a phone, camera, and computer.”
  13. Good one!

    • Explanation: This exclamation is used to express approval or appreciation for something clever or amusing that someone has said or done.
    • Example: “You really cracked me up with that joke! Good one!”
  14. Have one foot in the grave:

    • Explanation: This phrase figuratively describes someone who is very old or in very poor health, hinting they are close to death.
    • Example: “At 95 years old, Grandma feels like she has one foot in the grave.”
  15. Go one step further:

    • Explanation: This phrase means to take additional or more extreme actions beyond what has already been done or considered.
    • Example: “To stand out in the market, we need to go one step further and offer personalized customer service.”
  16. The Evil One:

    • Explanation: This term is an poetic or archaic way to refer to Satan or the devil, often used in religious or literary contexts.
    • Example: “Beware the temptations of the Evil One.”
  17. Get to know one another:

    • Explanation: This phrase means to improve one’s familiarity with someone, usually used in social or professional situations.
    • Example: “Let’s grab coffee and get to know one another better.”
  18. All for one:

    • Explanation: This phrase expresses a sense of unity, solidarity, or teamwork, often used to emphasize collective efforts toward a shared goal.
    • Example: “We’re in this together, all for one and one for all!”
  19. Another one:

    • Explanation: This simple phrase is used to refer to an additional or different thing of the same kind.
    • Example: “The cookies were so delicious; can I have another one?”
  20. Be a hard one:

    • Explanation: This phrase describes someone who is difficult to deal with or understand.
    • Example: “Be prepared; negotiating with him can be a hard one.”
  21. One of those things:

    • Explanation: Said about something unpleasant but necessary to accept.
    • Example: Losing your keys is frustrating, but it’s just one of those things.
  22. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure:

    • Explanation: What is useless to one person may be valuable to another.
    • Example: She found an old painting at the flea market; one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
  23. One that got away:

    • Explanation: A missed opportunity or unique experience.
    • Example: He regrets not investing in that startup; it was the one that got away.
  24. One-trick pony:

    • Explanation: A person or thing with one notable feature, skill, or talent.
    • Example: He’s a good comedian, but some people think he’s just a one-trick pony.
  25. One up on:

    • Explanation: Said about having an advantage over someone else.
    • Example: She always feels like her sister is one up on her in everything they do.
  26. One way or another:

    • Explanation: By some method or means.
    • Example: We’ll figure it out one way or another; we have to.
  27. Square one:

    • Explanation: The initial starting point in developing something or solving a problem (often used in the phrase “back to square one”).
    • Example: After the setback, we had to start from square one with our project.
  28. The one and only:

    • Explanation: Said about something unique.
    • Example: She’s the one and only, there’s no one else like her.
  29. There is more than one way to skin a cat:

    • Explanation: There are many ways to accomplish something.
    • Example: If the first method doesn’t work, don’t worry; there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
  30. One man’s meat is another man’s poison:

    • Explanation: What appeals to one person may not suit another.
    • Example: I love spicy food, but I know it’s not for everyone—one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
  31. One-night stand:

    • Explanation: An encounter or affair that lasts only one night.
    • Example: After the party, they had a one-night stand, but it didn’t lead to anything more.
  32. One-note:

    • Explanation: Said about something that lacks variety.
    • Example: His speeches are always so one-note; he only talks about taxes.
  33. One of the boys:

    • Explanation: A person who is accepted or part of a group.
    • Example: She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty; she’s one of the boys.
  34. One of these days:

    • Explanation: Said about an expected event that will happen someday or soon; also sometimes expressed as a threat, with unstated but implied consequences.
    • Example: One of these days, I’ll learn how to play the guitar.
  35. If it’s not one thing:

    • Explanation: Part of an expression used when someone is weary from the latest in a series of inconveniences.
    • Example: If it’s not one thing, it’s another; my car broke down this morning, and now it’s raining.
  36. In one ear and out the other:

    • Explanation: Said about advice or information that is not heeded or remembered.
    • Example: I’ve tried to teach him how to fix the dishwasher, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other.
  37. In one fell swoop:

    • Explanation: All at once or in a short period.
    • Example: The new policy changed everything in one fell swoop.
  38. It’s been one of those days:

    • Explanation: Said when many things have gone wrong in succession.
    • Example: My computer crashed, I missed my train, and now it’s raining—it’s been one of those days.
  39. Not one iota:

    • Explanation: Even the smallest bit.
    • Example: Despite the evidence presented, she didn’t change her opinion not one iota.
  40. Number one:

    • Explanation: First in rank, importance, or influence.
    • Example: Number one, they’re very efficient.
  41. On the one hand:

    • Explanation: From one point of view (sometimes paired with “on the other hand”).
    • Example: On the one hand, it’s a great opportunity, but on the other hand, it’s a significant commitment.
  42. One and all:

    • Explanation: Everyone.
    • Example: The performance received standing ovations from one and all.
  43. One for the (record) books:

    • Explanation: Said about a significant achievement.
    • Example: Winning the championship was truly one for the record books.
  44. One good turn deserves another:

    • Explanation: Expression about the importance of mutual help.
    • Example: Thanks for helping me move last weekend; one good turn deserves another, so I’ll help you with your project.
  45. All in one breath:

    • Explanation: Something said excitedly without pausing.
    • Example: She listed all her achievements in one breath.
  46. All in one piece:

    • Explanation: Safely, undamaged.
    • Example: Despite the accident, everyone arrived at their destination all in one piece.
  47. All rolled up in one:

    • Explanation: Combined.
    • Example: She’s smart, funny, and kind, all rolled up in one.
  48. As one:

    • Explanation: As if a group was one whole entity.
    • Example: The team moved forward as one, unified in their goal.
  49. At one with:

    • Explanation: In harmony or solidarity with another person.
    • Example: She felt at one with nature as she hiked through the mountains.
  50. Do (someone) one better:

    • Explanation: To do something better than someone else.
    • Example: If you think that’s impressive, watch me do one better!
  51. For one:

    • Explanation: To express that someone is an example.
    • Example: I, for one, believe we should take action immediately.
  52. Hole in one:

    • Explanation: Significant accomplishment, indicating achieving a goal in golf with one stroke.
    • Example: His performance in the tournament was outstanding; he even scored a hole in one!

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