Idioms with “At”

Fill in the missing words in the sentences below. Choose from the following:

at a loose end
at a loss
at a pinch
at a standstill

at all costs
at all hours
at best
at death’s door

at a loose end
at a loss
at a pinch
at a standstill

  1. We must catch the 7.30 train. Otherwise we won’t get to the meeting in time.
  2. It is difficult to know who’s in the matter. Perhaps we are all to blame.
  3. It’s late. I think you’d better go to bed now, darling. Remember, you’ve got to get up tomorrow.
  4. Since it’s his first offence he’ll probably get off with a warning – a small fine.
  5. If you’re ___ this weekend, Joan, why not come over for a meal? It’ll give us a chance to catch up on some gossip.
  6. I may be getting on a bit, but I’m certainly not ___ yet! I hope to live for at least another ten to fifteen years!
  7. When her daughter didn’t come home on the last bus with the other girls, Mrs Jenkins was ___, terrified that something dreadful had happened to her.
  8. Like you, I’m ___ to explain the sudden fall in share prices. I’ve absolutely no idea what can have caused it.
  9. When Richard Burton saw Elizabeth Taylor it was a classic case of love ___.
  10. Traffic was ___ this morning because of an accident on the A21.
  11. I’m afraid everything’s ___ this week. Both the secretaries are ill and no one knows where anything is.
  12. The hotel wasn’t that modern, but ___ it was cheap and reasonably clean.
  13. I’ve got room in the car for three – four people ___.
  14. Mrs Smith’s daughter is terrible, isn’t she? Out about town ___ and never a kind word to anyone.
  15. You should be able to sell your stereo equipment for $300 – ___ $350.
  16. If you don’t get out ___ then I shall have you thrown out.
  17. Pamela and David are always ___. I really can’t imagine why they got married in the first place. They are absolutely nothing in common.
  18. A chameleon is a remarkable creature – it is able to change the colour of its skin ___.
  19. You can’t expect me to work overtime ___ such ___! I need to be told at least two days in advance.
  20. I was in a hurry for my train, so I chose a book ___.

Vocabulary

Get off with sth: Lenient punishment (ES: zafarse)

Gossip: Informal talk (ES:  chisme)

Catch up: Compensate for time lost (ES: ponerse al día)

Keys

(01) At all costs: It must be done or avoided whatever happens, at any cost.
A toda costa
02. at fault (It is difficult to know who is to blame)
(03) At the crack of dawn: Very early
Muy temprano
04. at most (The worst or most severe punishment will be a small fine)
(05) At loose ends: when you have nothing to do.
No tener nada que hacer
06. at death’s door (Seriously ill; about to die)
07. at wits’ end (She was in such a state of anxiety that she didn’t know what to do)
08. at a loss (Unable to explain the sudden fall in share prices)
09. at fist sight (It was love from the first moment they saw each other)
10. at a standstill (The traffic was not moving)
11. at sixes and sevens (Everything is very confused and muddled)
12. at least (If nothing else)
(13) At a pinch: If necessary. (Four if necessary, but with some difficulty)
En caso de necesidad, si no hay más remedio
14. at all hours (She is out all the time)
(15) At best: Taking the most optimistic view ($350 would be the best price the person could get)
En el mejor de los casos
16. at once (Immediately)
17. at loggerheads (They are always quarrelling)
18. at will (It can change the colour of its skin whenever it wants to)
19. at (such) short notice (With such little advance warning)
20. at random (Without choosing carefully or deliberately)

At a loss: Estar perdido (situación)
At a standstill: estar en un atasco
At all hours: A todas horas
At death’s door: Con un pie en la tumba
At fault: Tener la culpa
At first sight: A primera vista
At least: Al menos
At loggerheads: Discutir todo el día
At most: Como mucho
At once: En seguida
At one’s wits’ end : Estar muy nervioso
At random: Al azar
At short notice: Avisar con poco tiempo
At sixes and sevens: Patas arriba
At the crack of dawn: Muy pronto, muy de madrugada
At will: Por propia voluntad