Some idioms related to Science


All-singing, all-dancing

If something’s all-singing, all-dancing, it is the latest version with the most up-to-date features.

Bells and whistles Bells and whistles are attractive features that things like computer programs have, though often a bit unnecessary.

Blow a fuse If you blow a fuse, you become uncontrollably angry.

Cog in the machine A person who does an unimportant job in a large company or organisation is a cog in the machine.

Cutting edge Something that is cutting edge is at the forefront of progress in its area.

Don’t push my buttons! This can be said to someone who is starting to annoy you.

Driven by a motor This is used to describe people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when they talk excessively: ‘they act as if driven by a motor.’

Fire on all cylinders If something is firing on all cylinders, it is going as well as it could.

Garbage in, garbage out If a computer system or database is built badly, then the results will be bad.

Get your wires crossed If people get their wires cross, they misunderstand each other, especially when making arrangements. (‘Get your lines crossed’ is also used.)

Hear something on the jungle telegraph (UK) If you hear something on the jungle telegraph, you pick up some information or informal gossip from someone who shares some common interest. (‘Bush telegraph’ is also used.)

Hit the airwaves If someone hits the airwaves, they go on radio and TV to promote something or to tell their side of a story.

Hold the wire If you ask someone on the telephone to hold the wire, you want them to wait and not hang up.

Leading edge If something is on the leading edge, it is using the most advanced technology available.

Light years ahead If you are light years ahead of others, you are a long way in front of them in terms of development, success, etc.

On the same wavelength If people are on the same wavelength, they have the same ideas and opinions about something.

Push the panic button If someone pushes the panic button, they respond to a situation by becoming very frightened or excited.

Rocket science If something is not rocket science, it is not very complicated or difficult to understand. This idiom is normally used in the negative.

Silver surfer A silver surfer is an elderly person who uses the internet.

Sputnik moment A Sputnik moment is a point where people realise that they are threatened of challenged and have to redouble their efforts to catch up. It comes from the time when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, the Sputnik 1, and beat the USA into space.

Well-oiled machine Something that functions very well is a well-oiled machine.