What is Idiomatic Expression (Idioms)?
An idiom is a phrase or an expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms, occurring frequently in all languages. - Wikipedia
Commonly Used Idiomatic Expressions (Idioms)
1. ‘The best of both worlds’ – means you can enjoy two different opportunities at the same time.
“By working part-time and looking after her kids two days a week she managed to get the best of both worlds.”
2. ‘Speak of the devil’ – this means that the person you’re just talking about actually turns up at that moment.
“Hi Tom, speak of the devil, I was just telling Sara about your new car.”
3. ‘See eye to eye’ – this means agreeing with someone.
“They finally saw eye to eye on the business deal.”
4. ‘Once in a blue moon’ – an event that happens infrequently.
“I only go to the cinema once in a blue moon.”
5. ‘When pigs fly’ – something that will never happen.
“When pigs fly she’ll tidy up her room.”
6. ‘To cost an arm and a leg’– something is very expensive.
“Fuel these days costs an arm and a leg.”
7. ‘A piece of cake’– something is very easy.
“The English test was a piece of cake.”
8. ‘Let the cat out of the bag’ – to accidentally reveal a secret.
“I let the cat out of the bag about their wedding plans.”
9. ‘To feel under the weather’ – to not feel well.
“I’m really feeling under the weather today; I have a terrible cold.”
10. ‘To kill two birds with one stone’ – to solve two problems at once.
“By taking my dad on holiday, I killed two birds with one stone. I got to go away but also spend time with him.”
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11. ‘To cut corners’ – to do something badly or cheaply.
“They really cut corners when they built this bathroom; the shower is leaking.”
12. ‘To add insult to injury’ – to make a situation worse.
“To add insult to injury the car drove off without stopping after knocking me off my bike.”
13. ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ – to not judge someone or something based solely on appearance.
“I thought this no-brand bread would be horrible; turns out you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
14. ‘Break a leg’ – means ‘good luck’ (often said to actors before they go on stage).
“Break a leg Sam, I’m sure your performance will be great.”
15. ‘To hit the nail on the head’ – to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.
“He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more HR support.”
- A hot potato - Speak of an issue (mostly current) which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed
- A penny for your thoughts - A way of asking what someone is thinking
- Actions speak louder than words - People's intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say.
- Add insult to injury - To further a loss with mockery or indignity; to worsen an unfavorable situation.
- At the drop of a hat - Meaning: without any hesitation; instantly.
- Back to the drawing board - When an attempt fails and it's time to start all over.
- Ball is in your court - It is up to you to make the next decision or step
- Barking up the wrong tree - Looking in the wrong place. Accusing the wrong person
- Be glad to see the back of - Be happy when a person leaves.
- Beat around the bush - Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.
- Best of both worlds - Meaning: All the advantages.
- Best thing since sliced bread - A good invention or innovation. A good idea or plan.
- Bite off more than you can chew - To take on a task that is way to big.
- Blessing in disguise - Something good that isn't recognized at first.
- Burn the midnight oil - To work late into the night, alluding to the time before electric lighting.
- Can't judge a book by its cover - Cannot judge something primarily on appearance.
- Caught between two stools - When someone finds it difficult to choose between two alternatives.
- Costs an arm and a leg - This idiom is used when something is very expensive.
- Cross that bridge when you come to it - Deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.
- Cry over spilled milk - When you complain about a loss from the past.
- Curiosity killed the cat - Being Inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation.
- Cut corners - When something is done badly to save money.
- Cut the mustard [possibly derived from "cut the muster"] - To succeed; to come up to expectations; adequate enough to compete or participate
- Devil's Advocate - To present a counter argument
- Don't count your chickens before the eggs have hatched - This idiom is used to express "Don't make plans for something that might not happen".
- Don't give up the day job - You are not very good at something. You could definitely not do it professionally.
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket - Do not put all your resources in one possibility.
- Drastic times call for drastic measures - When you are extremely desperate you need to take drastic actions.
- Elvis has left the building - The show has come to an end. It's all over.
- Every cloud has a silver lining - Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.
- Far cry from - Very different from.
- Feel a bit under the weather - Meaning: Feeling slightly ill.
- Give the benefit of the doubt - Believe someone's statement, without proof.
- Hear it on the grapevine - This idiom means 'to hear rumors' about something or someone.
- Hit the nail on the head - Do or say something exactly right
- Hit the sack / sheets / hay - To go to bed.
- In the heat of the moment - Overwhelmed by what is happening at the moment.
- It takes two to tango - Actions or communications need more than one person
- Jump on the bandwagon - Join a popular trend or activity.
- Keep something at bay - Keep something away.
- Kill two birds with one stone - This idiom means, to accomplish two different things at the same time.
- Last straw - The final problem in a series of problems.
- Let sleeping dogs lie - do not disturb a situation as it is - since it would result in trouble or complications.
- Let the cat out of the bag - To share information that was previously concealed
- Make a long story short - Come to the point - leave out details
- Method to my madness - An assertion that, despite one's approach seeming random, there actually is structure to it.
- Miss the boat - This idiom is used to say that someone missed his or her chance
- Not a spark of decency - Meaning: No manners
- Not playing with a full deck - Someone who lacks intelligence.
- Off one's rocker - Crazy, demented, out of one's mind, in a confused or befuddled state of mind, senile.
- On the ball - When someone understands the situation well.
- Once in a blue moon - Meaning: Happens very rarely.
- Picture paints a thousand words - A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.
- Piece of cake - A job, task or other activity that is easy or simple.
- Put wool over other people's eyes - This means to deceive someone into thinking well of them.
- See eye to eye - This idiom is used to say that two (or more people) agree on something.
- Sit on the fence - This is used when someone does not want to choose or make a decision.
- Speak of the devil! - This expression is used when the person you have just been talking about arrives.
- Steal someone's thunder - To take the credit for something someone else did.
- Take with a grain of salt - This means not to take what someone says too seriously.
- Taste of your own medicine -Means that something happens to you, or is done to you, that you have done to someone else
- To hear something straight from the horse's mouth - To hear something from the authoritative source.
- Whole nine yards - Everything. All of it.
- Wouldn't be caught dead - Would never like to do something
- Your guess is as good as mine - To have no idea, do not know the answer to a question