The word ‘make’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to create by combining things or cause something to happen.
- I made blanket out of some old socks. (create)
- The hurricane made the roof break. (cause)
Make is an irregular verb. The past tense is made and the past participle is made.
idioms list with ‘make’
- absence makes the heart grow fonder – being away from someone you love makes you appreciate them more
e.g. Stevie is going away for five weeks, we’ll see if absence makes the heart grow fonder.
- can’t make head nor tail of something – can’t understand/make sense of something
e.g. We can’t make head nor tail of our neighbours. One minute they’re friendly, the next, they ignore us.
- doesn’t make much odds – it doesn’t matter, it makes no difference
e.g. It doesn’t make muck odds where we go. All 3 bars have nice cocktails.
- kiss and make up – reconcile after a fight/argument etc.
e.g. We’ve kissed and made up; the wedding is back on.
- make a beeline for someone/something – go directly towards someone/something
e.g. I made a beeline for the free bar as soon as it opened.
- make a fashion statement – wear bold fashionable clothes
e.g. Maureen looks stupid in those boots. She definitely isn’t making a fashion statement.
- make a killing – make lots of money
e.g. I converted an old barn into lots of flats, I made a killing.
- make a monkey out of someone – someone does something to make another person look stupid
e.g. The non-league team made a monkey out of the premiership side by beating them 3-0.
- make a mountain out of a molehill – exaggerate a minor issue
e.g. Andy is such a drama queen, he is always making mountains out of molehills.
- make a night of it – spend the whole evening doing something enjoyable
e.g. We can make a night of it and go for some food after the film.
- make a quick buck – earn money quickly (often dishonestly)
e.g. Dog breeders don’t care about animals. All they care about is making a quick buck.
- make a rod for one’s own back – do something now that will cause problems in the future
e.g. He’s making a rod for his own back by letting his kids play on the tablet all night.
- make a song and dance about something – be excessive/unnecessary and exaggerate/dramatise things
e.g. My kids always make a song and dance when I make them eat vegetables.
- make do with – manage with limited or inadequate resources
e.g. I forgot to buy carrots, we’ll have to make do with peas and broccoli.
- make ends meet – earn enough money to survive
e.g. I need another job so I can make ends meet.
- make eyes at – make suggestive eye contact with someone, flirt
e.g. I made eyes at her all night, but she left with another guy.
- make hay while the sun shines – make the most of an opportunity while you have the chance
e.g. I’ll make hay while the sun shines and listen to all my favourite cheesy songs. My husband won’t be back until the evening.
- make mincemeat out of someone/something – thoroughly defeat
e.g. Jeffreys made mincemeat out of Saunders in the ring.
- make one’s bed and lie in it – face the consequences of one’s actions
e.g. I told you not to use those cheap plumbers, you made your bed.
- make one’s blood boil – makes you very angry
e.g. It makes our blood boil to think he was living under our roof and stealing from us.
- make one’s mouth water – your mouth is full of saliva because of the smell/taste of food
e.g. The smell of my Grandma’s cooking always made my mouth water.
- make oneself at home – enter a place and behave as if you live there
e.g. You can stay at mine as long as you like, just make yourself at home.
- make someone’s day – make an ordinary day better/more memorable/more pleasurable
e.g. Pop in and see grandad on his birthday. You’ll really make his day.
- make the grade – reach the desired standard
e.g. I wish him all the luck in the world, but I don’t think he’ll make the grade.
- make time for – reserve time to do something
e.g. I’m glad you made time for your grandma before she died.
- make up for lost time – spend more time doing something/work faster to catch up
e.g. The machines were down for an hour, we need to make up for lost time.
- make waves – cause trouble or make an impression
e.g. The boss told me not to make any more waves or I’ll be fired.
- make/earn a living – earn money to support yourself and/or your family
I’m quitting school to start earning a living. I need to support my family.
- one swallow doesn’t make a summer – one good result doesn’t mean a good overall situation
e.g. Sales were up 5% on last month, but one swallow doesn’t make a summer.
- that makes two of us – you agree with or are in the same position as the speaker
e.g. You hate David’s brother? That makes two of us.
- you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs – you can’t achieve something without having bad effects
e.g. Everyone hates me now I’m the boss. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.
Hey, did you know the verb ‘make’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.
Am I right?
I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘make’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.