Reuniting, Catching Up, and Updating in English

English Idioms in Context

Women greeting one another with a warm embrace
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In this dialogue, two friends meet again at their 20th high school reunion. Try reading the dialogue one time to understand the gist without using the idiom definitions. On your second reading, use the definitions to help you understand the text while learning new idioms.

It's important to learn and use idioms in context. Of course, idioms are not always easy to understand. Idiom and expression resources can help with definitions, but reading them in short stories can also provide context that make them feel more alive. 

Catching Up at a Reunion

Doug and Alan are old friends, but haven't seen much of each other since graduating from high school. It's been twenty years since they've seen each other. At their reunion, they use many colloquialisms, sayings, and proverbs to fill one another in on what they've been doing, and how their lives have changed.

Doug: Alan! It's so good to see you again! How long has it been? Twenty years!

Alan: Long time no see, buddy. I'm so glad I came to the reunion. I had a feeling you would be here.

Doug: I wouldn't miss it for the world. Wow, you're dressed to kill.

Alan: It's not every day that we have our twentieth reunion.

Doug: You've got a point there. Why don't we have a seat and catch up? I'm sure you've got plenty of stories.

Alan: I'm sure you do, too. Let's booze it up a little and exchange stories.

Doug: Still drinking, huh? 

Alan: What's that's supposed to mean?

Doug: I'm just yanking your chain. Of course, celebrating. I'm sure I'll be three sheets to the wind by the end of the night.

Alan: That's my buddy. What are you drinking?

Doug: Whisky sour, you?

Alan: I'm just working on a beer.

Doug: So what do you do to bring home the bacon?

Alan: Oh, that's a long story. It's not been so easy, but we're getting by.

Doug: Really? I'm sorry to hear that.

Alan: Yeah, well, I, unfortunately, flunked out of college, so I had to take what I could get.

Doug: I'm sorry to hear that. What happened? 

Alan: I just didn't think it was worth the time, so I let my studies slide. Now, I really regret it.

Doug: But you look pretty good! I'm sure you're doing OK.

Alan: Well, I had to find a new goal. I got into sales, and have done quite well.

Doug: I'm glad to hear everything has worked out for the best.

Alan: It hasn't been the best case scenario, but not the worst case scenario either.

Doug: It's funny how things go.

Alan: Yes, sometimes it's best to face the music and make the best of it. 

Doug: Yes.

Alan: So, enough about me. What about you? Are you among the movers and shakers?

Doug: Well, I have to admit, I've done well. 

Alan: I'm not surprised. You always had a good head for figures. You went into business, right?

Doug: Yes, it was that obvious, wasn't it?

Alan: You were kind of a nerd.

Doug: Hey, I was not. I was also good in tennis.

Alan: I know. I'm just pushing your buttons. You were always worried about being called a nerd.

Doug: It's been great seeing you again.

Alan: You, too Doug. I wish you all the best. 

Idioms Used in the Dialogue

  • wouldn't miss it for the world: nothing could prevent my involvement
  • have a whale of a time: to enjoy yourself, have fun
  • catch up: to see an old friend and discuss life
  • three sheets to the wind: very drunk
  • just what the doctor ordered: exactly what someone needs to do
  • dressed to kill: wearing very nice clothing
  • booze it up: to drink a lot of alcohol 
  • yank someone's chain: to joke around with someone, kid someone
  • push someone's buttons: to talk about something that you know upsets someone
  • movers and shakers: successful and important people, the elite
  • bring home the bacon: to make money for the family
  • flunk out: to fail classes and have to leave school or college
  • long time no see: we haven't seen each other in a long time
  • best/worst case scenario: the best/worst possible outcome for a situation
  • face the music: to accept responsibility for something
  • have a good head for figures: to be good at math, accounting, money and/or business
  • you've got a point: I agree, that's true
  • that's a long story: it's complicated
  • working on (food or beverage): eating or drinking