Idioms are phrases that mean something different from the actual words that make up the phrase. For example, “the cat’s out of the bag” means that you no longer have any secrets or surprises to keep.
Learning idioms is not just about knowing what they mean; it’s also about understanding how they’re used and hearing them in context. Idioms can be difficult to learn because their meanings often differ from what you would expect when reading them out loud. For example, if someone says “it’s raining cats and dogs,” it means that it’s raining very heavily — not that cats and dogs are falling from the sky!
Idioms in English with Meaning
Idioms are not usually used in formal writing. Instead, they are used in everyday speech and are of interest to language learners studying English as a foreign language. We have 20 idioms for you with their meaning.
|1||Angels on a pin||A situation so unlikely as to be impossible; is an example of hyperbole or exaggeration.|
|2||All’s well that ends well||Everything will turn out well in the end; no matter what happens, it’s good if it ends well.|
|3||At first blush||This means that something looks good on the surface but may not be exactly what it seems.|
|4||A face like thunder||It is used to describe someone is angry or upset about something.|
|5||Letting someone off the hook||Letting them escape punishment for something they have done wrong.|
|6||Take the bull by the horns||It means facing a difficult situation instead of trying to avoid or ignore it.|
|7||There’s more than meets the eye||It means that something seems simple but has hidden complexities that aren’t immediately apparent at first glance!|
|8||To cast pearls before swine||To waste something valuable on someone who does not appreciate it.|
|9||To cut one’s losses||To stop doing something that is not profitable or successful and move on to something else|
|10||To put the cart before the horse||To do things in the wrong order or in the wrong way; to do something the wrong way.|
|11||In the nick of time||This idiom means “at the right moment” or “just in time.|
|12||It’s all Greek to me||This idiom means “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”|
|13||Under your breath||This idiom means “in a low voice,” not loud enough for others to hear.|
|14||An elephant never forgets||This idiom means that people have long memories and will not easily forget what has happened to them in the past.|
|15||A leopard doesn’t change its spots||This idiom means that people have a particular character or personality which does not change over time or with experience.|
|16||As old as the hills||This idiom is used to describe something very old and has been around for a long time.|
|17||To take the bull by the horns||This idiom means to deal with a problem directly and without fear.|
|18||To keep one’s head above water||This idiom means to manage financially and to have enough money to live.|
|19||To be up in arms about something||This idiom means to be very angry about something or to feel strongly about it.|
|20||To throw one’s hat into the ring||This idiom means someone wants their name added as a candidate for an election, job position etc., especially if there is only one vacancy and many possible candidates.|