Crime Idioms

Vocabulary and discussion activity

A) Study the following idiomatic expressions related to crime.

A steal
Something that costs much less than it is really worth.

Bandit territory
An area or profession where rules and laws are ignored.

Be caught red-handed
To be caught in the act of doing something wrong

Behind bars
In prison.

Get away with murder
To do something bad and don't get caught or punished.

Highway robbery
Something that is ridiculously expensive, especially when you have no choice but to pay.

Honor among thieves
A sense of integrity or loyalty that even corrupt or bad people sometimes have with each other.
Make out like a bandit
To be extremely successful in a venture.

New sheriff in town
To be the new authority figure or someone takig charge.

Partner in crime
Someone who helps make a secret plan to do something wrong or dishonest.

Poacher turned gamekeeper
Someone who gets a legitimate job after an illegal or dishonest one.

Rob someone blind
To overcharge someone.

Rob the cradle
To marry or date someone who is much younger than oneself.

Steal the spotlight / steal the show
To get all the attention and praise at an event or performance

Stool pigeon
A stool pigeon is a police informer.

Take no prisoners
To do things in a very aggressive way, without considering any harm that could be caused.

Thick as thieves
Very close friends who have no secrets from each other.

B) Complete the following sentences with one, two or more words related to the idioms above:

1.      My friend made sure nobody was looking as I hid a colleague’s shoes. He is always my ....

2.      All the dancers were good, but 6-year-old Carlie stole .....

3.      Michelle and Jenny have been ....... since they met. They do everything together.

4.      Nobody gets ...... for passing a green light. It’s not a serious crime.

5.      The hacker was hired to advise banks on security. Another case of  a ....

6.      I didn’t pay much for this blouse and it's a designer brand. It was a real ...

7.      When my mother gets really angry, she takes .....

8.      When the gang discovered Lee was a ...., things did not end up well for him.

9.      My sister never does her homework and she's always late for class. Teachers let her.....! They never punish her.

10. Drinks in the theater were really expensive. It was .....!

11. Criminals do not commit crimes against each other, there is .....

12. My cousin is making...., selling real estate on the coast. He must be rich by now.

13. After Mr Kim resigned, everybody is expecting to see who’s the ......

14. Those 24-hour auto repair shops can .....  if you don't watch out.

15. A famous Hollywood producer in his seventies married a thirty-year-old woman. That is really robbing....

16. When I was a kid I used to “steal” cookies from my grandmother’s jar and she always caught me....

C) Conversation : Discuss the questions below with a partner or in small groups.

  • Have you ever seen anyone being caught red-handed?
  • Is there anything that you consider “a steal”  or  “highway robbery”?
  • What is your opinion of the phrase "there's honor among thieves"?
  • Do you think criminals spend enough time behind bars? Why (not)?
  • Have you heard of anyone famous “robbing the craddle”?
  • Who, how and when in your opinion “gets away with murder”?  

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