Common Idioms In English With Meaning | Studio English
Common Idioms In English With Meaning If you’re an English student, you must have been familiar with the word “idiom.” Idioms are expressions that we have developed in the English language over time. idioma in English is a vital part of your language learning that shouldn’t be neglected.
That’s why Studio English is here with a simple guide about common idioms, their meaning, and usage in a sentence. Keep reading to learn all about it.
How Many Idioms Are in English?
There are several idioms, and they are widely used in all languages. There are at least 25,000 idiomatic phrases in the English language, according to estimates. These idioms are used daily in personal conversations, newspapers, and books.
Types of Idioms
Before we start talking about idioms in English, we need to be familiar with their types. Long and short idioms in English break down into seven main categories.
They are pure idioms, binomial idioms, prepositional idioms, partial idioms, proverbs idioms, cliche idioms, and euphemisms.
Pure idioms are idioms whose original meaning has been forgotten to the point that the phrase cannot be analyzed rationally to determine its meaning. These idioms have little overlap with figures of speech like metaphors and similes.
For example, there’s no way you can trace “Wrap my head around it” to “understand it” when that’s really what it means. These types of idioms are memorized and repeated for generations that people really can’t remember where they came from.
Binomial idioms are idioms that have two components that operate together or in opposition to each other while creating an expression. Their meaning sometimes comes from the opposition itself.
When you tell your friend that you “more or less finished reading the book,” it means that you almost finished it with a few pages left. When they tell you that you seriously need to stop reading “day and night,” they’re telling you to stop reading ALL the time.
Prepositional idioms are idioms that combine prepositional verbs with an adverb or a preposition to generate meaning that is not literal. They’re more like short idioms in English. These idioms must be used in conjunction with a sentence and cannot be used alone.
Say your sister asks you to “Look after” her baby for an hour. That doesn’t mean you need to keep staring at him till your eyes are dry. It means that you need to take care of him for an hour until she comes back.
A partial idiom has a literal and a non-literal component. Partial idioms are frequently also metaphors. The literal half of the phrase derives additional descriptive meaning from the contrast to the non-literal half.
For example, “a change is as good as a holiday,” which indicates that a break from one’s normal work is as beneficial as a vacation.
Proverbs are idioms that convey universal truths or great wisdom. Many of our proverbs are derived from ancient religious or philosophical literature. They are frequently made by knowledgeable people or include morals passed down from generation to generation.
If you remember your grandmother saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” then you’ve encountered this type of English idiom before
When employed, a cliché is a word that has been so overused that it is regarded as intellectually lazy or stereotypical. So be careful the next time you use phrases like “roses are red, violets are blue…” and “time heals” in a sentence.
Euphemisms are phrases intended to soften a message in a bad situation. It’s used to ease in too harsh, rude, or politically incorrect phrases. For example, if you’re too shy to say that you want to use the toilet, you may refer to it as “powder my nose.”
If it’s too harsh to say that your friend’s grandfather died, you can say “pass away” or “kick the bucket.” if you don’t want to say “I’m afraid we have to fire you,” you can still break the person’s heart but with a more gentle expression such as “I’m afraid we have to let you go.”
Top 10 Idioms in English with Meanings
Learning to use common idioms and expressions will make you sound more like a native speaker. So, it’s a good idea to master some of these expressions. There are more than 25 thousand English idioms. So, it’s a good idea to first start with idioms commonly used in English.
So, here’s a list of idioms in English with meaning and examples that you may stumble upon:
Bite the bullet
Meaning: to accept something because it’s happening whether you like it or not.
For example, She didn’t want to go to the dentist until I told her to bite the bullet. It’s inevitable.
Break a leg!
Meaning: good luck!
For example: Go on, Charlie! Break a leg in that audition tonight!
Once in a blue moon
Meaning: it’s something that rarely or infrequently happens.
For example, I don’t go on a vacation that much, once in a blue moon.
When pigs fly
Meaning: something that will never happen.
For example, I told him to clean up his room and he replied “when pigs fly” how rude!
To cost an arm and a leg
Meaning: something that really costs a lot of money.
For example, I can’t buy this car because it costs an arm and a leg!
A piece of cake
Meaning: something is really easy
For example, I can’t believe that I was stressed about this test! It was a piece of cake!
Face the music
Meaning: to be confronted with the not favorable outcomes of one’s choices
For example, she can mess around all she wants, eventually, she’ll have to face the music.
Blow off steam
Meaning: to get rid of strong emotions
For example, I invited them to talk to blow off steam.
Rule of thumb
Meaning: Something that’s widely accepted based on practice not theory.
For example, I sent him a quick rule of thumb to help him on his first day at work.
Hit the hay
Meaning: to sleep
For example, It’s been a long day so I guess I’ll just hit the hay now.
Interesting Idioms in English
The common English idioms have lots of interesting idiomatic expressions that you can use in your daily conversations. Learning these expressions makes you look more advanced in the language and, to be honest, kind of cool!
Funny and Unusual Idioms in English
Something about the usage of animals and birds that makes the funniest English idioms. Let’s view some of these idioms that will make you giggle a little bit every time you picture them.
The actual turkey skin has something to do with the expression’s gloomy connotation. Users report feeling the horrible scenario I described when they abruptly leave an addiction, such as drugs or alcohol. As a result, the phrase “cold turkey” was coined.
Example: can you quit drinking cold turkey already?
Exactly how it looks, the idiom expresses something that flipped over like a turtle while struggling to get up.
Example: he was so drunk I was afraid he was going to turn turtle while we were walking.
Have (or get) your ducks in a row
Have ever seen little ducklings walking in a straight line behind their mama? This image appears to have the prettiest and oldest usage.
This phrase refers to having things in order before beginning an activity.
Example: I need to get my ducks in a row before the vacation.
The elephant in the room
Well, can you imagine how awkward it’d be if you’re in the same room with an elephant but no one talks about it? That’s exactly what the idiom is willing to express, a huge problem that everybody chooses to ignore.
Example: can we stop pretending and actually address the elephant in the room?
Common Business Idioms in English
Working in an English company requires having some basic business idioms that can allow you to communicate and understand your peers. Some of these idioms are:
to complete tasks as rapidly and cheaply as possible in order to save time and money, frequently at the expense of quality and bending the rules.
Example: okay, we need to get this done by Friday, and no cutting corners are allowed.
From the ground up
It’s a common idiom to describe building something from scratch.
Example: he said I need to build this project from the ground up.
Get down to business
Seriously starting to work on something.
Example: now I need you all to stop messing around and get down to business.
Bring to the table
To give some sort of advantage or negotiation. Whether you bring (an offer or negotiation) to the table or give skills or characteristics that can help the scenario or organization in some way.
Example: I impressed her when she asked me what I’ll bring to the table regarding this project.
Get someone up to speed
To keep someone up to date on the current situation. It also means providing them with all the knowledge they need to perform their work or fulfill their objective.
Example: I’m still waiting for Tom to get me up to speed about this.
Between a rock and a hard place
When there isn’t a simple way out or a viable option. Whatever you do, whatever choice you select, the outcome will be less than perfect.
For example: the management is obviously between a rock and a hard place after the recent crisis.
To learn the ropes
To learn the basics of a profession, a specific task or activity.
Example: it took me a while to learn the ropes of being an accountant but now I’m better at it.
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