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must know English idioms and their meanings

September 24, 2023

An idiom is an expression that cannot be taken literally. In other words, when you use an idiom, you are not saying what you mean literally. Instead, you are using a figure of speech to create a more interesting, creative, or meaningful statement. Figuring out the meaning of idioms can be tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it's a lot of fun!

Importance of idioms in communication

You may be wondering why idioms are important for english language learners? Here are three important reasons to learn idioms in English.

  • English idioms are important because they are used so frequently in everyday conversation. If you don't know them, you will likely miss the meaning of what someone is saying.
  • Learning English idioms can help you improve your communication skills and better understand native speakers. It can also be a fun way to expand your vocabulary.
  • Using English idioms can add color to your speech and make you sound more like a native speaker.

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Idioms in English with meaning

There are many different English idioms, and new ones are created all the time.

Here are some of the most common English idioms and their meanings.

  • "To have your head in the clouds" means to be dreamy or impractical.
  • "To be under the weather" means to be sick.
  • "To kill two birds with one stone" means to accomplish two tasks at once.
  • "To beat around the bush" means to avoid the main topic.
  • "To jump the gun" means to start something too early.
  • "To let the cat out of the bag" means to reveal a secret.
  • "To put your foot in your mouth" means to say something you shouldn't have.
  • "To see eye to eye" means to agree.
  • "To be a piece of cake" means to be easy.
  • "Fair game" means a legitimate target.
  • "Feather your nest" means to save money for the future.
  • "Few and far between" means rare.
  • "Get a kick out of" means to enjoy.
  • "Get down to brass tacks" means to discuss the important details.
  • "Get the ball rolling" means to start something.
  • "Get the show on the road" means to start something.
  • "Give someone the cold shoulder" means  to ignore someone.
  • "Go for broke" means to risk everything.
  • "Go the extra mile" means to do more than what is required.
  • "Goody two-shoes" means a person who is always good.
  • "Greased lightning" means very fast.
  • "Hang in there" means to persevere.
  • "Have an axe to grind" means to have a personal reason to be involved in something.
  • "Hit the hay" means to go to bed
  • "Hit the nail on the head" means to be right on target.
  • "In a pickle" means in a difficult situation.
  • "In the black" means profitable.
  • "In the nick of time" means just in time.
  • "In the red" means unprofitable.
  • "It takes two to tango" means it takes two people to have a disagreement or argument.

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  • "It's not brain surgery" means it's not difficult.
  • "Kill two birds with one stone" means to accomplish two things with one action.
  • "Let the cat out of the bag" means to reveal a secret.
  • "Living on borrowed time" means to be very lucky.
  • "Look before you leap" means to think before you act.
  • "Make a beeline for" means to go straight to.
  • "Make ends meet" means to have enough money to pay all of your bills.
  • "Miss the boat" means to miss an opportunity.
  • "On cloud nine" means very happy.
  • "On thin ice" means in a risky situation.
  • "Once in a blue moon" means very rare.
  • "Out of the frying pan and into the fire" means from a bad situation to a worse one.
  • "Over the top" means excessive.
  • "Pull someone's leg" means to play a joke on someone.
  • "Pull your own weight" means to do your share.
  • "Put all your eggs in one basket" means to risk everything on one chance.
  • "Put it in a nutshell" means to express something in a few words.
  • "Rain on someone's parade" means to spoil someone's plans.
  • "Raining cats and dogs" means raining very hard.
  • "Read between the lines" means to understand what is not being said.
  • "Right as rain" means perfect.
  • "Rob Peter to pay Paul" means to take money from one place to pay for something else.
  • "Rule of thumb" means a general guideline.
  • "Sail through" means to succeed easily.
  • "Sell like hotcakes" means to sell very quickly.
  • "Shoot for the moon" means to try for something that is very difficult to achieve.
  • "So far, so good" means everything is going well.
  • "Son of a gun" means an expression of surprise.
  • "Stick to your guns" means to stand up for what you believe in.


Idioms examples sentences:

Here are some sentences that contain idioms:

After I caught my breath, I told him, "You had me going there for a minute!"

I was so angry, I could have just screamed!

I'm so excited for the party tonight, I can't wait to let my hair down!


Idioms in English quiz

Welcome to your English Idioms quiz

"I'm sorry, I can't make it to the party tonight. I'm feeling under the weather." This idiom means that the speaker is:

"She always speaks her mind, even if it means stepping on someone's toes." In this idiom, "stepping on someone's toes" means

"He's a real bookworm; you'll always find him buried in a book." The idiom "bookworm" refers to someone who:

"The new supervisor seems to have a chip on his shoulder." In this idiom, "a chip on his shoulder" means that the supervisor:

"She finally spilled the beans about the surprise party." In this idiom, "spilled the beans" means that she:

Sarah is feeling nervous about her upcoming job interview. Which idiom best describes Sarah's feelings?

Which of the following situations may require someone to "bite the bullet"?

What is the meaning of the phrase "bite the bullet"?

"It's raining cats and dogs" means

"Break a leg" is an idiom commonly used to

When Jake lost his job, he felt like he was ________.

Sarah's speech was so captivating that she really ________ the audience.

It's important to ________ before making a big decision.

Break a leg! means

Advanced: Jennifer was feeling under the weather, but she didn't want to miss her best friend's party. She decided to attend, even though she knew she might not enjoy it as much as she usually does. What does "under the weather" mean in this passage?

Advanced: John and Emily had a heated argument last night, but they both realized that it was just a storm in a teacup. They quickly resolved their differences and apologized to each other. What does "a storm in a teacup" mean in this passage?

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