10 election idioms to learn ahead of Hong Kong’s chief executive vote

  • While most of us cannot choose who becomes our city’s new leader, it is a good chance to learn phrases related to politics and elections
  • Vote with your feet and make sure you’re not just full of hot air!
Yanni Chow |

Latest Articles

‘Break-ups suck’: New Zealand campaign comforts brokenhearted youth

Kowloon Tong private school to close, citing emigration wave for demise

Scientists make ‘disturbing’ find on remote Brazil island: plastic rocks

Controversial experiment in Indonesia sees school starting at dawn

Say the magic words: 10 phrases inspired by wizarding world of Harry Potter

StellaLou to make her dance debut with Hong Kong Ballet at Disneyland

Check out these idioms about elections before Sunday’s vote for chief executive. Photo: Shutterstock

The 2022 Hong Kong chief executive election is coming up this Sunday. With John Lee Ka-chiu as the sole candidate in the race, there isn’t much debate about who will become the city’s new leader.

Even though most Hongkongers cannot vote for chief executive, it is still a good time to learn about idioms and phrases related to elections.

7 English idioms about the environment that set alarm bells ringing

Hot air

Meaning: Empty talk that is intended to impress.

Example: This candidate is so full of himself; his campaign promises are nothing but hot air.

One-horse race

Meaning: A contest in which one candidate or competitor is clearly superior to all the others and seems certain to win.

Example: In many eyes, this year’s election for mayor is a one-horse race.

Sadly, there’s rarely an actual horse involved in political races. Photo: Shutterstock

To throw one’s hat into the ring

Meaning: Express willingness to take up a challenge.

Example: I sincerely hope that he throws his hat into the ring. If he does, I will support him.

To vote with your feet

Meaning: To show your opinion by leaving a place or organisation, or refusing to support it.

Example: As our pay falls, staff are voting with their feet and finding other jobs.

A clean sweep

Meaning: An overwhelming victory or success; winning all prizes or contests in a competition.

Example: The recent US election was a clean sweep for Democratic candidates.

20 English idioms about success to raise the bar

Put one’s foot in one’s mouth

Meaning: To say or do something tactless or embarrassing.

Example: He is afraid of putting his foot in his mouth and saying something embarrassing on tonight’s televised debate.

Election fever

Meaning: The media frenzy that happens whenever a general election is announced.

Example: The media is suffering from election fever; you can’t switch on the TV without being bombarded by political news segments.

Throw in the towel

Meaning: Abandon a struggle; admit defeat.

Example: We’re not going to throw in the towel just because we lost one game.

Sometimes it’s OK to give up. Photo: Shutterstock

Press the flesh

Meaning: (for a celebrity or politician) to greet people by shaking hands.

Example: The young legislator spent his day pressing the flesh and meeting as many people as he could before election day.

Get on your soapbox

Meaning: To speak up or write about something you have strong feelings about.

Example: Our group decided to get on its soapbox to push forward the issues we care about.

Sign up for the YP Teachers Newsletter
Get updates for teachers sent directly to your inbox
By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy