The Ultimate List of Common English Idiom Examples: Become Fluent in Common Idioms

English idioms with definitions and common idiom examples (as they don’t always make sense literally.)

A list of idioms and meanings with examples

Introduction to Idioms

Welcome to our article on idioms and examples of common idioms for students.

If you’re a university student or language learner looking to improve your understanding of English idioms, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common idioms used by native speakers, and provide you with example sentences to help you master them.

From everyday expressions to more complex phrases, we’ll give you plenty of idiom examples to help you develop your language skills. So whether you’re writing an essay or engaging in conversation, read on to discover how mastering English idioms can help you communicate more effectively with native speakers.

What are idioms?

Idioms are expressions or phrases that have a meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the individual words that make up the phrase. They are unique to a language or culture and are often used in everyday conversation or writing.

For example, the idiom “break a leg” is often used to wish someone good luck, but the words themselves do not have any connection to luck or success. Similarly, the idiom “a piece of cake” means something is very easy, but it does not refer to an actual cake.

Idioms can be difficult for non-native speakers to understand because they do not follow the typical rules of grammar or syntax. However, learning idioms can help individuals better understand the nuances of a language and communicate more effectively with native speakers.

Why are idioms important for students?

Idioms are important for students because they can help them understand the more complex part of a language. Idioms are expressions or phrases that do not have a literal meaning and are unique to a language or culture. They are a part of the everyday language and are often used in spoken and written communication.

Why learn Idioms?

Learning idioms can help students improve their language skills by:

  1. Improving your Vocabulary: Idioms often use words that are not commonly used in everyday language. By learning idioms, students can expand their vocabulary and use more difficult language.
  2. Improving Comprehension: Idioms can be difficult to understand for non-native speakers because they do not have a literal meaning. Learning idioms can help students understand the meaning behind a phrase or expression and improve their comprehension skills.
  3. Improve Communication: Using idioms in conversation or writing can make language more colorful and expressive. Learning idioms can help students communicate more effectively and express their thoughts and ideas in a more creative way.
  4. Improve Understanding: Idioms are often rooted in a culture or region, and learning them can provide insight into the customs, beliefs, and values of that culture. Understanding idioms can also help students avoid cultural misunderstandings and communicate more effectively with people from different backgrounds.

In summary, learning idioms can build a student’s language skills, improve comprehension, enhance communication, and deepen cultural understanding.

How to Use Idioms

Using idioms can be tricky, especially for non-native speakers who may not be familiar with their meaning or usage. Here are a few tips to help you use idioms effectively:

  1. Context is key: Idioms are often used in specific contexts, such as informal conversations or certain types of writing. Make sure you understand the context in which the idiom is being used before you attempt to use it yourself.
  2. Practice makes perfect: Like any language skill, using idioms takes practice. Try to use them into your writing or speaking, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that’s how you’ll learn!
  3. Use idioms simply: While idioms can add to your language, it’s important not to overuse them. Using too many idioms in a single piece of writing or conversation can make it difficult for your audience to understand you.
  4. Know your audience: Not all idioms are universally understood, and some may be more appropriate for certain audiences than others. Make sure you’re using idioms that your audience will be familiar with, or be prepared to explain their meaning if necessary.

By following these tips, you can become more comfortable and confident in your use of English idioms, and add a new dimension to your language skills.

Tips to Writing Idioms

  • Be creative: Idioms are often based on everyday situations and experiences, but they can be used in unexpected ways. Use your imagination to come up with new and interesting idioms.
  • Keep it concise: Idioms are usually short and to the point. Try to keep your idioms concise and easy to remember.
  • Be consistent: If you’re writing a series of idioms, try to keep them consistent in style and structure. This will help your readers remember them more easily.

Idiom Example Sentences

Before using idioms in your conversation and writing it is good to gain experience of reading the idiom in the context it is used. In this article we provide an example sentence with every idiom.

English Idiom Examples and Meanings

In the list of idioms below there are both definitions that show the meaning of the idiom, and example sentences.

under the weather

  • feeling sick or unwell. Example sentence: “I can’t come into work today, I’m feeling under the weather.”

See more – Definition, examples and exercises for feeling under the weather idiom.

thin ice

  • to be in a risky or dangerous situation (Example: “She’s on thin ice with her boss after missing so many deadlines.”)

 thick and thin

  • through good times and bad times (Example: “I’ll be there for you through thick and thin.”)

(throw) caution to the wind

  • to take a risk without worrying about the possible consequences. Example: “She threw caution to the wind and quit her job without having another one lined up.”

read between the lines

  • to understand the hidden or implied meaning in a message. Example: “His email was very brief, but I could read between the lines that he wasn’t happy with the results.”

forest for the trees (see the wood from the trees)

  • to be so focused on small details that you miss the big picture. Example: “He’s so busy worrying about the small stuff that he can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I practice using idioms?

To practice using idioms, try using them into your everyday conversation and writing. You can also find online exercises and quizzes that focus on idioms on this website.

Q. Can idioms have multiple meanings?

Yes, many idioms have multiple meanings depending on the context in which they are used. It’s important to understand the context in order to understand the intended meaning of an idiom.

Common English Idioms with Meanings and Example Sentences

Idioms by Category – idiom, definition, example sentence

There are many idioms of interest, so in this section we have listed idioms by category. The idioms will be in alphabetical order, therefore if you are unable to find the idiom then try to look for a version without the fist word (a, the).

Animal Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for animal idioms.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

  • it’s better to have or keep something than to risk losing it by trying to get something better that you may not actually get.
  • Example: “I was thinking of selling my old car and buying a new one, but then I remembered that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so I decided to keep it instead.”

All bark and no bite

  • someone who talks tough but doesn’t follow through with action.
  • Example: “He threatened to punch me, but he was all bark and no bite.”

Ants in your pants

  • to be restless or fidgety.
  • Example: “I couldn’t sit still during the movie, I had ants in my pants.”

Bee in your bonnet

  • to have an idea that keeps nagging at you or to be obsessed with something.
  • Example: “She’s had a bee in her bonnet about starting her own business for years.”

   Butterflies in your stomach

  • feeling nervous or anxious.
  • “I always get butterflies in my stomach before a job interview.”

Cat got your tongue

  • when someone is silent or at a loss for words.
  • Example: “Why aren’t you saying anything? Has the cat got your tongue?”

Cat’s out of the bag

  • a secret has been revealed.
  • Example: “I accidentally told him about the surprise party, now the cat’s out of the bag.”

Camel’s nose in the tent

  • allowing a small problem to occur, which then leads to larger problems
  • Example: I agreed to let my friend stay for a few days, but now he’s taken over the whole apartment. It’s like letting the camel’s nose in the tent.

Chicken out

  • to back out of something because of fear or lack of courage.
  • Example: “I was going to bungee jump, but I chickened out at the last minute.”

Crocodile tears

  • insincere or fake tears.
  • Example: “She cried crocodile tears when she got caught stealing from the store.”

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

  • don’t assume something will happen before it actually does.
  • Example: “I’m not counting on getting the job, I know not to count my chickens before they hatch.”

Dog eat dog (dog-eat-dog)

  • a competitive situation where everyone is trying to be the winner.
  • Example: “The business world can be dog-eat-dog, with everyone trying to outdo each other.”

Elephant in the room

  • a problem or issue that everyone is aware of but no one wants to talk about.
  • Example: “We need to address the elephant in the room and talk about the budget cuts.”

Fish out of water

  • to feel uncomfortable or out of place in a new or unfamiliar situation.
  • Example: “I grew up in the city, so being on a farm made me feel like a fish out of water.”

   Fish for compliments

  • to try to get someone to give you compliments.
  • Example: She kept asking how she looked, fishing for compliments.

   Fly on the wall

  • to observe something without being noticed.
  • Example: “I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that meeting to hear what they were really talking about.”

Fox in the hen house

  • a dangerous or disruptive person or thing in a peaceful or vulnerable environment.
  • Example: “I’m worried that the new manager is going to be a fox in the hen house and disrupt our team’s productivity.”

Frog in your throat

  • having difficulty speaking due to a tickle in your throat.
  • Example: “I can’t give a speech today, I have a frog in my throat.”

Happy as a clam

  • extremely content and satisfied.
  • Example: “After finishing her project, she was happy as a clam.”

   Hold your horses

  • to be patient and wait.
  • Example: “Hold your horses! I’m almost ready to leave, but I still need to grab my keys.”

Horse of a different color

  • a situation or topic that is different to the current discussion.
  • Example: “I know we’re talking about the budget, but that’s a horse of a different color compared to our marketing strategy.”

   In the doghouse

  • to be in trouble with someone
  • Example: “After forgetting their anniversary, he was definitely in the doghouse with his wife.”

Kangaroo court

  • a mock or ‘not real’ court that lacks proper authority or fairness.
  • Example: “I didn’t get a fair trial, it was more like a kangaroo court.”

   Kill two birds with one stone

  • accomplish two tasks with a single action
  • Example: By combining our tasks, we can kill two birds with one stone.

   Like a duck to water

  • to do something very easily and naturally
  • Example: She had never played tennis before, but she took to it like a duck to water.

   Let the cat out of the bag

  • to reveal a secret.
  • Example: “I can’t believe you let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party!”

Lame duck

  • an ineffective or powerless person or thing.
  • Example: “He’s just a lame duck in this company, he doesn’t have any real authority.”

Lion’s share

  • the majority or largest portion of something.
  • Example: “The CEO took the lion’s share of the profits, leaving very little for the employees.”

Monkey business

  • untrustworthy behavior. Example: “I don’t trust him, he’s always up to some monkey business.”

   Monkey see monkey do

  • someone is likely to copy the actions of another person, especially if they look up to them or see them as a role model.
  • Example: “My little sister always copies everything I do. Monkey see, monkey do, I guess.”

Night owl

  • a person who is awake and active during the night.
  • Example: “I’m not a morning person, I’m more of a night owl.”

Pecking order

  • a ranking system, typically used to describe the social order among animals.
  • Example: “In the workplace, there’s a clear pecking order with the boss at the top and the new staff at the bottom.”

Pig out

  • to eat too much food.
  • Example: “I always pig out on junk food when I’m stressed.”

Rat race

  • a competitive, fast-paced lifestyle focused on career success.
  • Example: “I’m tired of the rat race, I want to take some time off and travel.”

Snake in the grass

  • a bad, untrustworthy person who appears to be trustworthy.
  • Example: “I thought he was my friend, but it turns out he’s a snake in the grass.”

Take the bull by the horns

  • to face a problem or challenge directly and with confidence.
  • Example: “I know this project is going to be tough, but I’m ready to take the bull by the horns.”

   The early bird catches the worm

  • the person who arrives first has the best chance of success
  • Example: I always wake up early so I can start my day early and get things done. The early bird catches the worm, after all.

   Wolf in sheep’s clothing

  • someone who appears harmless but is actually dangerous
  • Example: I thought he was just a friendly stranger, but it turns out he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Ugly duckling

  • a person or thing that initially appears unattractive but eventually becomes beautiful or successful.
  • Example: “At first, the startup seemed like an ugly duckling, but now it’s growing rapidly.”

White elephant

  • a possession or project that is expensive to maintain and has little or no value.
  • Example: “The old building was a white elephant, it was too costly to renovate and nobody wanted to buy it.”

   When pigs fly

  • something is unlikely or impossible to happen.
  • Example: “I’ll lend you a thousand dollars when pigs fly, because I know you never pay me back.”

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

  • it’s difficult to change someone’s habits or behavior when they are set in the way they do things.
  • Example: “My grandfather refuses to use a smartphone, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Zebra crossing

  • a place for people to safely cross a road painted with black and white stripes resembling a zebra.
  • Example: “Be sure to stop for pedestrians at the zebra crossing.”

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Body Idioms

All ears

  • paying close attention to what someone is saying.
  • Example: Tell me your idea, I’m all ears.

Bend Over Backwards

  • Trying really hard to help.
  • They bent over backwards to make her feel welcome, doing everything they could.

Break a leg

  • a phrase used to wish someone good luck, especially before a performance.
  • Example: Break a leg in your audition tomorrow!

Catch someone’s eye

  • to attract someone’s attention.
  • Example: “The bright red sign really caught my eye as I was walking down the street.”

Costs an arm and a leg

  • to be very expensive.
  • Example: “I would love to travel to Europe, but the airfare alone costs an arm and a leg.”

Ear to the ground

  • to be aware of the latest news or trends. Example: “As a journalist, I always try to keep my ear to the ground to stay on top of breaking news.”

Get a kick out of

  • to enjoy something.
  • Example: “I always get a kick out of watching funny videos online.”

Get cold feet

  • to become nervous or scared about something you’re about to do.
  • Example: He got cold feet before his big presentation.

Get off someone’s back

  • to stop criticizing or bothering someone.
  • Example: “Can you please get off my back about the deadline? I’m working on it.”

Give someone the cold shoulder

  • to ignore or treat someone rudely.
  • Example: She gave me the cold shoulder after our argument.

Have a chip on your shoulder

  • to easily lose your temper like your waiting to be offended or to hold a grudge
  • Example: “He’s always looking for a fight, he has a real chip on his shoulder.”

Head over heels

  • completely obsessed or deeply in love with someone.
  • Example: She’s head over heels for her new boyfriend.

Keep a stiff upper lip

  • to remain calm and composed in the face of problems
  • Example: “Even though she was upset, she kept a stiff upper lip and got through the difficult situation.”

Keep your chin up

  • to remain optimistic in the face of adversity.
  • Example: You’ll find a new job soon, keep your chin up.

On the tip of your tongue

  • to be almost able to remember something.
  • Example: Her name is on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t quite remember it.

Play by ear

  • To handle a situation spontaneously or without a predetermined plan.
  • Example: “We don’t have a set agenda, so let’s play it by ear and see how the meeting unfolds.”

Pull someone’s leg

  • to joke or tease someone.
  • Example: Are you serious or are you just pulling my leg?

Put your foot in your mouth

  • to say something foolish or embarrassing.
  • Example: I put my foot in my mouth by accidentally insulting her.

See eye to eye

  • to agree with someone.
  • Example: “We don’t always see eye to eye, but in this case, I think we both agree that the project needs more time.

Twist someone’s arm

  • to persuade or convince someone to do something they don’t want to do.
  • Example: I had to twist her arm to get her to come to the party.

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Business Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for work, business and money idioms.

All hands on deck 

  • that everyone needs to work together to achieve a goal or complete a task.
  • Example: “We have a big project due next week, so it’s all hands on deck – we need everyone to help out to get it done on time.”

A penny saved is a penny earned

  • that it’s important to be careful with money and save whenever possible.
  • Example: “I decided to bring my lunch to work instead of eating out every day, because a penny saved is a penny earned.”

At the end of the day

  • ultimately or in the final analysis
  • Example: “At the end of the day, customer satisfaction is our top priority.”

Back to the drawing board

  •  to start over and create a new plan or strategy, especially when the original plan has failed or is not working.
  • Example: “Our product launch was a flop, so we need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new approach.”

Barking up the wrong tree

  •  to try or attempt a wrong course of action.
  • Example: “If you’re looking for the sales department, you’re barking up the wrong tree – they’re located on the second floor, not the third.”

Bite off more than you can chew

  •  to take on more than you can handle or manage.
  • Example: “I know you’re excited about starting your own business, but don’t bite off more than you can chew – make sure you have a solid business plan and enough resources to make it work.”

Bleeding edge

  •  to be at the front of innovation, often with new and experimental technologies or ideas.
  • Example: “Our startup is working on some truly bleeding-edge technology that could change the way we live and work in the future.”

Blow the whistle

  • to report illegal, unethical, or inappropriate behavior or activity, especially in a workplace or professional setting.
  • Example: “She knew she had to blow the whistle on her boss’s illegal scheme, even though it was a difficult decision to make.”

Break new ground 

  • to do something that has not been done before, or to be a pioneer in a new area or industry.
  • Example: “Our startup is breaking new ground in the field of renewable energy – we’re developing innovative new technologies that can change the way we generate and use energy.”

Cash in on

  •  to profit or gain an advantage from a situation or trend, often by taking advantage of an opportunity or by being the first to act.
  • Example: “We’re hoping to cash in on the growing demand for sustainable products by launching a new line.”

Close ranks

  • to come together and support each other in a difficult situation, especially when facing external pressure or criticism.
  • Example: “After the company’s controversial decision was publicly criticized, the employees decided to close ranks and show solidarity with their management team.”

Crunch the numbers

  • to analyze and interpret numerical data, especially in a financial or quantitative context.
  • Example: “Before we make any decisions, we need to crunch the numbers and see how the new project will impact our bottom line.”

Cut corners

  • to take shortcuts or reduce costs in a way that reduces  quality or safety.
  • Example: “We can’t afford to cut corners on this project – we need to make sure we do it right, even if it takes a little longer and costs a bit more.”

Cut the mustard

  • to meet or exceed expectations or standards, often used to describe someone’s performance or abilities.
  • Example: “She may be new to the job, but she’s definitely cutting the mustard and impressing everyone with her skills and knowledge.”

Cut to the chase

  • to get to the point or the essential information without wasting time on irrelevant details.
  • Example: “I don’t have all day – can you cut to the chase and tell me what you need from me?”

Double down

  •  to increase one’s effort, or investment in something, often in the face of uncertainty or risk.
  • Example: “Despite the challenges, we’re going to double down on our marketing efforts and push even harder to reach our target audience.”

Face the music

  •  to accept the consequences of one’s actions, especially when they are negative.
  • Example: “I know I made a mistake, and I’m ready to face the music and apologize to my boss.”

Fish or cut bait

  •  to make a decision and take action, especially when facing a difficult or uncertain situation.
  • Example: “We’ve been talking about expanding into new markets for months – it’s time to fish or cut bait and make a concrete plan.”


  • a person or company that is unreliable, untrustworthy, or operates without a solid foundation or long-term plan.
  • Example: “We had a bad experience with a fly-by-night contractor who took our money and never finished the project.”

Get down to brass tacks

  •  to focus on the essential or practical aspects of a matter, especially when discussing details or making decisions.
  • Example: “Let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about the budget for this project.”

Get the ball rolling

  • to start a process or a project.
  • Example: “We need to get the ball rolling on our new product launch – let’s schedule a meeting to discuss our next steps.”

Golden handshake

  • a generous retirement bonus, often given to executives or high-level employees upon leaving a company.
  • Example: “After 30 years of service, he was given a golden handshake that allowed him to retire comfortably.”

Go the extra mile 

  • to make an extra effort or do more than what is expected or required.
  • Example: “If we want to win this contract, we need to go the extra mile and provide exceptional customer service.”

Have skin in the game 

  • to have a personal investment or stake in a venture, often as a way of showing commitment or taking on risk.
  • Example: “We’re only interested in working with investors who have skin in the game and are willing to take a long-term view.”

Hit the ground running

  •  to start something quickly and energetically, often with the goal of achieving success in a short amount of time.
  • Example: “Our new manager hit the ground running and immediately started implementing changes to improve the efficiency of our team.”

In the loop

  • to be informed or included in a decision-making process
  • Example: “I need to be kept in the loop on this project if I’m going to contribute effectively.”

In the pipeline

  •  something that is currently being developed or planned, but not yet ready for release or implementation.
  • Example: “We have several new products in the pipeline that we’re very excited about – we’re just putting the finishing touches on them before we release them to the market.”

In the red

  •  to be losing money or debts, as opposed to being in the black which means having profits.
  • Example: “Our business has been struggling lately, and we’re currently in the red – we need to find ways to cut costs and increase revenue.”

Jump on the bandwagon

  •  to follow or support a trend or popular opinion, often without much critical thought or analysis.
  • Example: “Everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon of cryptocurrency investing, but I’m not convinced it’s a good idea.”

Jump ship

  •  to leave a job or company, especially when things are not going well.
  • Example: “After the new manager took over and started making changes, a lot of employees started jumping ship and looking for other jobs.”

Keep your eye on the ball

  •  to stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted.
  • Example: “We have a lot of projects going on right now, but we need to keep our eye on the ball and make sure we meet our deadlines.”

Low-hanging fruit

  • an easy or achievable goal or target, often one that can be accomplished quickly and with little effort.
  • Example: “We need to focus on the low-hanging fruit and tackle the most urgent issues first before we can take on bigger challenges.”

Mind your P’s and Q’s

  •  to be careful what you say, especially in a professional or formal setting.
  • Example: “When meeting with a potential client, it’s important to mind your P’s and Q’s and make a good impression.”

Nail down

  • to finalize or firmly complete something, often after a period of uncertainty.
  • Example: “We need to nail down the details of the contract before we can move forward with the project.”

On the ball

  •  to be alert, efficient, and doing as good as you can.
  • Example: “Our assistant is always on the ball – she anticipates our needs before we even ask for something.”

On the same page

  •  to have a shared understanding or agreement about something, especially in a business or organizational context.
  • Example: “Before we start the project, we need to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands the goals and expectations.”

Out of the loop

  •  to be unaware of important information or updates.
  • Example: “I’ve been out of the loop since I went on vacation – can you fill me in on what I missed in the last two weeks?”

Pass the buck

  •  to avoid taking responsibility for a problem or task, and instead pass it on to someone else.
  • Example: “The CEO tried to pass the buck to the marketing team when sales numbers were down, but ultimately, he had to take responsibility for the company’s performance.”

Pay through the nose

  •  to pay a high or unreasonable price for something, often as a result of limited options or a lack of bargaining power.
  • Example: “We had to pay through the nose for the last-minute airline tickets, but we had no other choice.”

Pencil pusher (pen pusher)

  • someone who works in an office role, often with a focus on paperwork or data entry.
  • Example: “Don’t expect any creative ideas from the new hire – he’s just a pencil pusher who’s here to do the grunt work.”

Play hardball (playing hardball)

  • to be aggressive in discussions or business dealings.
  • Example: “The other company was playing hardball during the contract negotiations, but we held firm and got the terms we wanted.”

Put all your eggs in one basket

  • to rely too heavily on one particular thing, without having a backup plan.
  • Example: “I know we really want to win this big client, but we can’t put all our eggs in one basket – we need to keep looking for other opportunities as well.”

Put your nose to the grindstone

  • to work hard and diligently, especially on a challenging or difficult task.
  • Example: “Starting a business is not easy – you need to put your nose to the grindstone and be willing to work long hours and make sacrifices.”

Ride shotgun

  • to take a supportive or secondary role in a project or venture, often assisting or working alongside the main driver or leader.
  • Example: “I’m happy to ride shotgun on this project and help out in any way I can, but I know you’re the real expert and leader.”

Skin in the game 

  • to have a personal stake or investment in something, often used to describe a situation where someone has put their own money or reputation on the line.
  • Example: “I decided to invest in the startup because I believe in the product and want to have some skin in the game.”

Square the circle

  •  to try to solve a problem that is complex or seemingly impossible to solve.
  • Example: “We’re trying to square the circle of creating a product that is both affordable and high-quality – it’s a tough challenge, but we’re up for it.”

Strike a deal

  •  to reach an agreement or make a deal with someone, often after negotiation or discussion.
  • Example: “After several rounds of talks, the two companies were finally able to strike a deal and form a strategic partnership.”

Take the plunge

  •  to take a bold or risky step, such as starting a business or investing in a new venture.
  • Example: “Starting my own business was scary, but I knew I had to take the plunge and pursue my dreams.”

The bottom line

  • this refers to the final result or outcome, especially in terms of financial profit or loss.
  • Example: “We need to consider the bottom line when making this decision – we can’t afford to lose money on this project.”

Think on your feet

  •  to be able to quickly come up with solutions or ideas in a fast-paced and unpredictable situation.
  • Example: “As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to think on your feet and adapt to changing market conditions.”

Think outside the box 

  • to approach a problem or situation in a new, creative way.
  • Example: “We’ve been trying the same marketing strategies for years, and they’re not working anymore. We need to think outside the box and come up with something fresh.”

Throwing good money after bad 

  • to continue investing in a failing venture or project, often out of a misguided sense of commitment or obligation.
  • Example: “We need to cut our losses and move on – throwing good money after bad is just going to make things worse.”

Under the table 

  • to engage in illegal or unethical business practices, often involving cash payments or favors that are not reported or taxed.
  • Example: “We suspect that some of our competitors are making under-the-table deals with suppliers in order to get better prices.”

Wear many hats

  •  to have multiple roles or responsibilities within a business or organization.
  • Example: “As a small business owner, I have to wear many hats – I’m the CEO, accountant, and customer service representative all in one.”

Winging it 

  • to improvise or make things up as one goes along, often without a plan or sufficient preparation.
  • Example: “I didn’t have time to prepare for the presentation, so I’ll just have to wing it and hope for the best.”

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Clothes Idioms

Cloak and dagger

  • Refers to secretive or undercover activities, often associated with espionage or intrigue.
  • example: “The spy novel was full of cloak and dagger operations and unexpected twists.”

Dressed to kill

  • Wearing clothes or accessories that are very fashionable or attention-grabbing.
  • example: “She arrived at the party dressed to kill in a stunning evening gown.”

Drop of a Hat

  • Doing something right away.
  • She’s always ready to help at a moment’s notice – she acts at the drop of a hat.

Fit like a glove

  • To fit perfectly or very snugly.
  • example: “The tailored suit fit him like a glove, accentuating his figure.”

Keep a Stiff Upper Lip

  • Stay strong, even when things are tough.
  • Even though she was sad, she kept a stiff upper lip and didn’t cry.

In someone’s shoes

  • To be in someone else’s position or circumstances.
  • example: “Before you judge her, try to put yourself in her shoes and understand her perspective.”

Put on your thinking cap

  • To encourage someone to think deeply or use their intelligence and problem-solving skills.
  • example: “We have a challenging puzzle to solve; put on your thinking cap and let’s figure it out.”

Socks Off

  • Really impressive.
  • His singing blew our socks off; it was amazing!

Sweep something under the rug

  • To hide or ignore a problem or issue, usually to avoid confrontation or embarrassment.
  • example: “The company decided to sweep the issue under the rug rather than address it directly.”

Take something off the rack

  • To choose or purchase an item of clothing from a ready-made, mass-produced selection.
  • example: “She didn’t have time for tailor-made clothes, so she grabbed a dress off the rack.”


  • Worn out or frayed, often referring to clothes or fabric.
  • example: “His favorite sweater became threadbare after years of use.”

Tighten your belt

  • To cut back on spending or live more frugally due to financial difficulties.
  • example: “During tough times, we had to tighten our belts and reduce unnecessary expenses.”

Up one’s sleeve

  • A hidden advantage or resource that can be used when needed.
  • Example: “He always has a few tricks up his sleeve to gain an advantage in the game.”

Wear your heart on your sleeve

  • To openly and visibly display one’s emotions or feelings.
  • example: “She is not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve and express her love for others.”

Wear many hats

  • To have multiple roles or responsibilities.
  • example: “As a small business owner, she has to wear many hats, from sales and marketing to accounting.”


  • Having a lot of money or wealthy.
  • example: “The guests at the gala were well-heeled, adorned in expensive jewelry and designer attire.”

Zip your lip

  • To be quiet or keep silent.
  • example: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s better to zip your lip and avoid causing any trouble.”

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Color Idioms

Black sheep

  • Someone who is seen as the outcast or different from the rest of the group or family.
  • example: “He’s always been the black sheep of the family, with his unconventional lifestyle.”

Blue blood

  • Referring to someone from a noble or aristocratic family.
  • example: “She comes from a family with blue blood and has a prestigious lineage.”

Green with envy

  • Feeling jealous or envious of someone else’s success or possessions.
  • example: “She turned green with envy when she saw her friend’s new car.”

Grey area

  • A situation or topic that is unclear or undefined, where it is difficult to determine right from wrong.
  • example: “The legality of their actions falls into a grey area of the law.”

In the red

  • To be in debt or financial deficit.
  • example: “Their business has been struggling, and they are currently in the red.”

Out of the blue

  • Unexpectedly or without warning.
  • example: “He called me out of the blue after not hearing from him for years.”

Pink slip

  • A notice of termination or dismissal from employment.
  • example: “He received a pink slip after the company downsized.”

Silver lining

  • Finding something positive or beneficial in a difficult or negative situation.
  • example: “Even though she lost her job, the silver lining was that it gave her an opportunity to pursue her passion.”

Paint the town red

  • To go out and have a wild or extravagant time, often involving parties or celebrations.
  • example: “After their victory, the team went out to paint the town red.”

Red flag

  • A warning sign or indication of a potential problem or danger.
  • example: “His aggressive behavior towards others is a red flag in their relationship.”

Purple patch

  • A period of time when someone experiences a run of success or good fortune.
  • example: “He’s been in a purple patch lately, winning every competition he enters.”

Tickled pink

  • To be extremely pleased or delighted about something.
  • example: “She was tickled pink when she received the promotion.”

True colors

  • Someone’s real or genuine personality or intentions, often revealed during challenging or difficult situations.
  • example: “It was during the crisis that her true colors were revealed, showing her selflessness and kindness.”

White lie

  • A harmless or small lie told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or causing conflict.
  • example: “She told a white lie and said she was busy to avoid attending the event.”


  • Cowardly or lacking courage.
  • example: “He’s a yellow-bellied individual who always avoids confrontations.”

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Crime Idioms

Caught red-handed

  • To be caught in the act of doing something wrong or illegal.
  • example: “The thief was caught red-handed while trying to steal from the store.”

Crime doesn’t pay

  • Wrongdoing or illegal activities will not lead to long-term benefits or success.
  • example: “He thought he could make easy money through fraud, but he soon realized that crime doesn’t pay.”

Get away with murder

  • To avoid punishment or consequences for a serious wrongdoing.
  • example: “The wealthy businessman seemed to get away with murder, never facing justice for his corrupt practices.”

In cold blood

  • To commit a crime or act of violence without any emotion or remorse.
  • example: “The murder was committed in cold blood, shocking the entire community.”

On the run

  • To be fleeing or evading capture, often from law enforcement authorities.
  • example: “After the robbery, the criminals went on the run and managed to elude the police for weeks.”

Open and shut case

  • A legal case or situation that is easily resolved or clear-cut due to overwhelming evidence or facts.
  • example: “The surveillance footage and fingerprints made it an open and shut case for the prosecution.”

Pay the price

  • To face the consequences or suffer the punishment for one’s actions.
  • example: “He knew he had made a mistake and was ready to pay the price for his wrongdoing.”

Steal the show

  • To attract the most attention or admiration in a particular event or performance.
  • example: “Her captivating solo dance routine stole the show at the talent competition.”

Take the law into your own hands

  • To seek justice or revenge without involving legal authorities or proper procedures.
  • example: “He was frustrated with the slow progress of the investigation and decided to take the law into his own hands.”

Throw the book at someone

  • To impose the maximum or harshest punishment on someone.
  • example: “Given the severity of the crime, the judge decided to throw the book at the defendant.”

Under lock and key

  • To be securely locked or closely guarded, often referring to valuable items or prisoners.
  • example: “The classified documents were kept under lock and key in a secure vault.”

Wipe the slate clean

  • To start fresh or eliminate past mistakes or debts.
  • example: “After serving his sentence, he was determined to wipe the slate clean and rebuild his life.”

With a clean record

  • Having no previous criminal convictions or offenses on one’s legal record.
  • example: “She was able to secure the job because she had a clean record and no history of misconduct.”

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Death Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for life, healthy living and death idioms.

Bite the dust

  • To die or be defeated.
  • example: “The villain finally bit the dust in the climactic battle.”

Curtain call

  • The final act or performance before the end.
  • example: “The aging actor’s last role was a memorable curtain call to his career.”

Dance the last dance

  • To die.
  • example: “After a long battle with illness, she danced her last dance.”

Dead as a door nail

  • Completely dead.
  • example: “After being struck by lightning, the tree was dead as a door nail.”

Death’s door

  • Near death or in a critical condition.
  • example: “Due to a severe illness, he was knocking on death’s door.”

Drop like flies

  • To die or succumb to something rapidly and in large numbers.
  • example: “During the epidemic, people were dropping like flies.”

Eternal rest

  • Permanent peace and rest after death.
  • example: “May his soul find eternal rest.”

Give up the ghost

  • To die or stop functioning.
  • example: “After years of service, the old car finally gave up the ghost.”

Graveyard shift

  • The late-night work shift, typically starting in the evening and ending early morning.
  • example: “She works the graveyard shift at the hospital.”

Grim reaper

  • A personification of death, often depicted as a skeletal figure.
  • example: “The sight of the grim reaper sent chills down his spine.”

Kick the bucket

  • To die.
  • example: “He kicked the bucket at the age of 90.”

Knock on wood

  • A superstitious expression used to ward off bad luck or to avoid tempting fate.
  • example: “I’ve never been in a car accident, knock on wood.”

Meet one’s maker

  • To die and face one’s creator or higher power.
  • example: “In his final moments, he knew he was about to meet his maker.”

Memento mori

  • A Latin phrase meaning “remember that you must die,” often used as a reminder of mortality.
  • example: “The painting served as a memento mori, reminding viewers of the impermanence of life.”

Pass away

  • To die.
  • example: “She passed away peacefully in her sleep.”

Pushing up daisies

  • To be buried in the ground after death.
  • example: “Once he’s gone, he’ll be pushing up daisies.”

Rest in peace (R.I.P)

  • An expression used to wish for someone’s soul to find peace after death.
  • example: “May he rest in peace.”

Six feet under

  • Buried in the ground, in a grave typically dug six feet deep.
  • example: “Once he’s gone, he’ll be six feet under.”

The final curtain

  • Death or the end of someone’s life.
  • example: “When the final curtain falls, we should cherish every moment we have.”

The final journey

  • The passage from life to death.
  • example: “As we say goodbye, let’s remember that death is just a part of the final journey.”

The great beyond

  • The unknown or afterlife.
  • example: “Nobody knows what lies in the great beyond.”

To be at death’s doorstep

  • To be very close to death.
  • example: “After a long battle with illness, she was at death’s doorstep.”

To meet one’s demise

  • To die or come to an end, often due to unfortunate circumstances.
  • example: “The criminal met his demise at the hands of justice.”

To meet one’s end

  • To die or reach the end of one’s life.
  • example: “The hero met his end while trying to save others.”

To pass on

  • To die.
  • example: “She passed on peacefully in her sleep.”

To shuffle off this mortal coil

  • To die or pass away.
  • example: “After a long illness, he finally shuffled off this mortal coil.”

To take one’s last breath

  • To die or breathe one’s final breath.
  • example: “He took his last breath surrounded by his loved ones.”

Tombstone mentality

  • An attitude or mindset focused on death or a pessimistic view of life.
  • example: “His tombstone mentality prevented him from fully enjoying the present.”

Turn to dust

  • To die and your body will eventually be just dust.
  • example: “Over time, all living things turn to dust.”

With one foot in the grave

  • Near death or in a very weak and frail condition.
  • example: “Due to his age and health, he feels like he has one foot in the grave.”

Worm food

  • A humorous term referring to a dead body or someone who has died.
  • example: “Once we’re gone, we’ll all become worm food.”

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Feelings Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for emotional, friendship, relationship and love idioms.

Bitter pill to swallow

  • Something difficult or unpleasant to accept or come to terms with.
  • example: “Losing the competition was a bitter pill to swallow for the team.”

Butterflies in the stomach

  • Feeling nervous or excited, often associated with anticipation or being in love.
  • example: “Before going on stage, she had butterflies in her stomach.”

Caught between a rock and a hard place

  • Being in a difficult situation with no easy or favorable options.
  • example: “She was caught between a rock and a hard place when she had to choose between two job offers.”

Emotional roller coaster

  • Experiencing a series of intense emotions that fluctuate rapidly.
  • example: “Going through a breakup can be an emotional roller coaster.”

Have a change of heart

  • To change one’s opinion, feelings, or intentions about something.
  • example: “After seeing how hard she had been working, he had a change of heart and decided to offer his help.”

Heart on your sleeve

  • Being open and honest about one’s emotions or feelings.
  • example: “She always wears her heart on her sleeve and isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability.”

Pins and Needles

  • Feeling nervous and excited.
  • I was on pins and needles before the test, feeling both worried and excited.

Mixed feelings

  • Having both positive and negative emotions or conflicting thoughts about something.
  • example: “He had mixed feelings about the job offer because it meant moving to a new city but also presented exciting opportunities.”

Read between the lines

  • To understand or perceive the hidden or implied meaning behind someone’s words or actions.
  • example: “She had to read between the lines to figure out how he truly felt about the situation.”

Wear your heart on your sleeve

  • To openly and honestly express one’s emotions or feelings.
  • example: “He wears his heart on his sleeve and is not afraid to show his affection for others.”

Wreck havoc

  • To cause chaos or extensive damage.
  • example: “The storm wreaked havoc on the town, leaving destruction in its wake.”

On cloud nine

  • Feeling extreme happiness or euphoria.
  • example: “After winning the award, she was on cloud nine for the rest of the day.”

Sitting on the fence

  • Being undecided or neutral about a particular issue or decision.
  • example: “She was sitting on the fence and couldn’t choose which university to attend.”

Heart skips a beat

  • A sudden and intense feeling of excitement, anticipation, or fear.
  • example: “Whenever he sees her, his heart skips a beat.”

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Food Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for food idioms

A piece of cake

  • something that is very easy to do.
  • Example: The test was a piece of cake.

A hot potato

  • a controversial or sensitive issue that no one wants to deal with.
  • Example: The topic of abortion is a political hot potato.

Bread and butter

  • a person’s main source of income.
  • Example: Her freelance writing is her bread and butter.

Butter someone up

  • to say good things about someone in order to gain something from them.
  • Example: He’s always buttering up the boss to get ahead.

Cool as a cucumber

  • to be calm and composed, especially in a difficult situation.
  • Example: Even when the fire alarm went off, she remained as cool as a cucumber.

Cry over spilled milk

  • to be upset about something that cannot be changed.
  • Example: “I know you made a mistake, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Let’s focus on fixing the problem.”

Go bananas

  • to go crazy or act crazy.
  • Example: “The crowd went bananas when their favorite band came on stage.”

Have your cake and eat it (too)

  • to want two incompatible things at the same time.
  • Example: She wants to work less and make more money, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Spill the beans

  • to reveal a secret.
  • Example: She spilled the beans about the surprise party.

Take with a grain of salt (pinch of salt)

  • to not completely believe something.
  • Example: He told me he was a millionaire, but I took it with a grain of salt.

The apple of someone’s eye

  • a person or thing that is loved.
  • Example: Her daughter is the apple of her eye.

The icing on the cake

  • something that makes a good situation even better.
  • Example: Getting a raise was great, but the bonus was the icing on the cake.

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Friendship Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for emotional, friendship, relationship and love idioms.

A shoulder to cry on

  • Someone who provides emotional support and comfort during difficult times.
  • example: “Whenever I’m feeling down, I know I can count on Sarah. She’s always a shoulder to cry on.”

Birds of a feather flock together

  • People who have similar interests or characteristics tend to associate with each other.
  • example: “They were drawn to each other because of their shared love for art. Birds of a feather flock together.”

Count on someone

  • To rely or depend on someone for support or help.
  • example: “You can count on me to be there for you whenever you need a friend.”

Have someone’s back

  • To support or defend someone, especially in challenging situations.
  • example: “No matter what happens, I’ll always have your back. You can trust me.”

In the same boat

  • Facing the same situation or challenge as others.
  • example: “We’re all struggling with our exams. We’re in the same boat and can help each other out.”

Ride or die

  • A loyal friend who will support you no matter what.
  • example: “Sarah and I have been through thick and thin together. She’s my ride or die.”

Thick as thieves

  • Very close friends who share secrets and trust each other completely.
  • example: “Emma and Lisa have been best friends since childhood. They’re as thick as thieves.”

Through thick and thin

  • Supporting each other during both good and bad times.
  • example: “Our friendship has stood the test of time. We’ve been there for each other through thick and thin.”

Ups and downs

  • The highs and lows experienced in a friendship.
  • example: “Like any friendship, we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, but we’ve always managed to work through them.”

We go way back

  • Referring to a long-standing friendship that started a long time ago.
  • example: “John and I go way back to our school days. We’ve known each other for over 20 years.”

When the chips are down

  • Supporting and standing by a friend during difficult or challenging times.
  • example: “I know I can always count on you when the chips are down. You’re a true friend.”

Warts and all

  • Accepting someone’s flaws and imperfections without judgment.
  • example: “True friends accept you warts and all. They love you for who you are.”

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Good or Bad Idioms

Actions speak louder than words

  • What someone does is more significant than what they say they will do.
  • example: “He promised to help, but actions speak louder than words, so we’ll see if he actually follows through.”

As good as gold

  • Very well-behaved or trustworthy.
  • example: “The children were as good as gold during the entire school trip.”

Bad apple

  • A person who is trouble or negatively influences others.
  • example: “The team had to deal with a bad apple who constantly disrupted the group’s progress.”

Bad egg

  • A person who is dishonest, untrustworthy, or unreliable.
  • example: “Be cautious around him; he has a reputation for being a bad egg.”

Bad hair day

  • A day when one’s hair looks untidy, messy, or generally unmanageable.
  • example: “I woke up late and didn’t have time to fix my hair, so it’s a bad hair day for me.”

Beat around the bush

  • To avoid getting to the main point or being indirect in communication.
  • example: “Stop beating around the bush and just tell me what you want.”

Clean as a whistle

  • Very clean or completely free from dirt or impurities.
  • example: “She always keeps her house clean as a whistle.”

Give someone the benefit of the doubt

  • To believe someone’s statement or excuse without strong evidence against it.
  • example: “Even though I have my doubts, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and trust his explanation.”

Good things come to those who wait

  • Being patient and waiting will eventually bring rewards or positive outcomes.
  • example: “I know you’re eager for success, but remember, good things come to those who wait.”

Good riddance

  • Expressing relief or joy at being rid of someone or something undesirable.
  • example: “After their breakup, she said, ‘Good riddance,’ as she realized he wasn’t good for her.”

Goody two-shoes

  • A person who is excessively well-behaved or self-righteous.
  • example: “She is always following the rules and never gets in trouble; everyone calls her a goody two-shoes.”

Grass is always greener on the other side

  • The belief that other people or situations are more desirable than one’s own.
  • example: “She often thinks the grass is always greener on the other side, but she should appreciate what she has.”

In someone’s bad books

  • To be in a state of disfavor or disapproval with someone.
  • example: “After I accidentally broke his favorite vase, I’m definitely in his bad books.”

In someone’s good graces

  • Being in favor with someone or having their approval.
  • example: “After apologizing sincerely, he managed to get back into his boss’s good graces.”

On your best behavior

  • Acting in a manner that is well-mannered, polite, or socially acceptable.
  • example: “We are visiting important clients today, so be on your best behavior.”

Out of the goodness of your heart

  • Doing something kind or generous without expecting anything in return.
  • example: “She donated a large sum of money to the charity out of the goodness of her heart.”

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

  • The more powerful or successful someone is, the more dramatic or significant their downfall or failure will be.
  • example: “He used to be at the top of the industry, but when his scandal was exposed, he experienced the truth of ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall.'”

The good, the bad, and the ugly

  • Referring to the presence of positive, negative, and extremely negative aspects within a situation.
  • example: “Every job has its ups and downs—the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

The lesser of two evils

  • Choosing something or someone that is not ideal but is perceived to be less harmful or negative than the alternative.
  • example: “I didn’t like either of the options, but I chose the lesser of two evils.”

Too good to be true

  • So excellent or perfect that it is difficult to believe or trust.
  • example: “The offer seemed too good to be true, so I decided to investigate further before committing.”

Toot your own horn

  • To boast or brag about one’s own achievements or abilities.
  • example: “She’s always tooting her own horn, constantly talking about how great she is.”

Worse things happen at sea

  • There are more serious or difficult situations that people face, so the current situation is not so bad in comparison.
  • example: “Although they lost the game, they realized worse things happen at sea, and they can bounce back.”

You can’t judge a book by its cover

  • You should not judge or form opinions about someone or something based solely on appearances.
  • example: “She may seem unfriendly, but you can’t judge a book by its cover; she’s actually quite kind.”

You reap what you sow

  • The consequences of one’s actions will eventually come back to them.
  • example: “He cheated his way to the top, but in the end, he reaped what he sowed and lost everything.”

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Happy Idioms

Be on cloud nine

  • To be extremely happy or joyful.
  • example: “When she received the job offer, she was on cloud nine.”

Burst with joy

  • To be filled with happiness or delight.
  • example: “He burst with joy when he found out he won the competition.”

Cheer someone up

  • To make someone feel happier or more positive.
  • example: “She brought him a bouquet of flowers to cheer him up after a long day.”

Grin from ear to ear

  • To smile widely, showing great happiness or excitement.
  • example: “When he saw his surprise birthday party, he grinned from ear to ear.”

Jump for joy

  • To express extreme happiness by jumping up and down.
  • example: “They jumped for joy when they heard the news of their promotion.”

On top of the world

  • To feel elated and supremely happy.
  • example: “After winning the championship, she felt on top of the world.”

Over the moon

  • To be extremely pleased or delighted about something.
  • example: “When he got accepted into his dream college, he was over the moon.”

Put a smile on someone’s face

  • To make someone happy or bring them joy.
  • example: “The surprise gift put a smile on her face.”

Walk on air

  • To feel elated or extremely happy.
  • example: “After receiving the good news, she felt like she was walking on air.”

Warm the cockles of one’s heart

  • To bring deep happiness and warmth to someone’s emotions.
  • example: “His kind words warmed the cockles of her heart.”

Wear a smile

  • To have a smile on one’s face, indicating happiness.
  • example: “Despite the challenges, she always wore a smile.”

With a heart full of joy

  • To be extremely happy or delighted.
  • example: “He walked down the aisle with a heart full of joy on his wedding day.”

Wrap someone in a warm glow

  • To make someone feel happy and content.
  • example: “Her supportive words wrapped him in a warm glow.”

Yell with delight

  • To shout loudly in a joyful or excited manner.
  • example: “When she opened the gift, she yelled with delight.”

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Health Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for life, healthy living and death idioms.

Fit as a fiddle

  • In excellent physical health and condition.
  • example: “After months of training, she was fit as a fiddle for the marathon.”

Fight off

  • To resist or ward off an illness or infection.
  • example: “With a strong immune system, she was able to fight off the flu.”

Get back on track

  • To return to a healthy or productive state after a setback or deviation.
  • example: “After indulging on vacation, it’s time to get back on track with a balanced diet.”

Have a clean bill of health

  • To be declared free of any illness or medical condition.
  • example: “After the medical tests, he received a clean bill of health.”

Hit rock bottom

  • To reach the lowest point in terms of health or well-being.
  • example: “His excessive drinking caused him to hit rock bottom.”

In the best of health

  • In a state of optimal physical well-being.
  • example: “With a balanced diet and regular exercise, he’s in the best of health.”

In good shape

  • In good physical condition or health.
  • example: “Regular exercise and a balanced diet keep her in good shape.”

In the pink

  • In good health and high spirits.
  • example: “Despite her age, she’s always in the pink and full of energy.”


  • Not feeling well or appearing unhealthy.
  • example: “He’s been looking off-color lately; I hope he’s okay.”

On the mend

  • In the process of recovering from an illness or injury.
  • example: “After a week of rest, she’s on the mend and feeling better.”

Out of shape

  • Not in good physical condition or health.
  • example: “After months of inactivity, he’s out of shape and needs to start exercising.”

Put one’s health first

  • Prioritize one’s well-being and take care of one’s health.
  • example: “She decided to put her health first and take a break from work.”

Sick as a dog

  • Extremely sick or unwell.
  • example: “After eating the spoiled food, he felt sick as a dog.”

Sound as a bell

  • In perfect health and condition.
  • example: “The doctor examined him thoroughly and declared him sound as a bell.”

Take a turn for the worse

  • To worsen or deteriorate, especially in terms of health.
  • example: “Her condition suddenly took a turn for the worse, and she had to be hospitalized.”

Tip-top shape

  • In excellent physical condition.
  • example: “She exercises regularly to stay in tip-top shape.”

Under the weather

  • Not feeling well or slightly unwell.
  • example: “I won’t be able to come to the party tonight; I’m feeling under the weather.”

Up and about

  • Recovered from an illness or injury and able to move around and engage in activities.
  • example: “After a week of bed rest, he’s finally up and about again.”

Wellness check

  • A routine examination or assessment of one’s overall health and well-being.
  • example: “It’s important to schedule regular wellness checks with your doctor.”

Work up a sweat

  • To engage in physical activity that causes perspiration.
  • example: “She works up a sweat at the gym every morning to stay healthy.”

Worn out

  • Exhausted or extremely tired.
  • example: “After a long day at work, she was completely worn out.”

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Home Idioms (House)

A house divided against itself cannot stand

  • When members of a group or family are in conflict or have opposing interests, the group or family will not be able to succeed or endure.
  • example: “The family needs to resolve their differences and work together; a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

A man’s home is his castle

  • A person has the right to feel safe, secure, and in control within their own home.
  • example: “He values his privacy and independence; for him, a man’s home is his castle.”

Bring the house down

  • To receive enthusiastic applause or cheers from the audience, typically after a performance or speech.
  • example: “The comedian’s hilarious routine brought the house down, and the audience couldn’t stop laughing.”

Home sweet home

  • An expression of comfort and contentment when returning to one’s own home.
  • example: “After a long trip, it feels good to be back home sweet home.”

Make yourself at home

  • To invite someone to feel comfortable and at ease in one’s home.
  • example: “When guests arrive, I always tell them to make themselves at home and help themselves to anything they need.”

On the house

  • Provided or given by the establishment without charge.
  • example: “As a token of appreciation, the manager offered us dessert on the house.”

Safe as houses

  • Very safe and secure, with little to no risk or danger.
  • example: “Investing in government bonds is considered safe as houses; it’s a low-risk investment.”

Settle into a new home

  • To become familiar and comfortable in a new living space.
  • example: “It took a few weeks, but we finally settled into our new home and started to feel at ease.”

Sweep Something Under the Rug

  • Ignore a problem instead of fixing it.
  • They didn’t talk about the mistake; they swept it under the rug.

There’s no place like home

  • Expressing the sentiment that one’s own home is the most comfortable and enjoyable place to be.
  • example: “After a long day, I just want to relax and unwind; there’s no place like home.”

Throw someone out of the house

  • To forcefully evict or expel someone from a residence.
  • example: “After repeated incidents of misconduct, the landlord decided to throw the tenant out of the house.”

Upstairs downstairs

  • A phrase used to describe the distinction between the social classes or the divide between the wealthy and the working class.
  • example: “Growing up, she experienced both sides of the upstairs downstairs divide, as her parents worked as domestic help for a wealthy family.”

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

  • When you are in a new or unfamiliar place, it’s best to adopt the customs and behavior of the locals.
  • example: “While visiting a foreign country, it’s good to remember the saying ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ and respect their cultural norms.”

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I Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for life, healthy living and death idioms.

In the driver’s seat

  • In control or in a position of power or authority.
  • example: “I’m in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions for my business.”

In the limelight

  • Receiving a lot of attention or being the center of public focus.
  • example: “I never expected to be in the limelight, but my artwork gained widespread recognition.”

In my element

  • Feeling comfortable, confident, and natural in a particular environment or situation.
  • example: “When I’m on stage, performing in front of an audience, I’m in my element.”

In my shoes

  • Experiencing or understanding a situation from one’s own perspective.
  • example: “You wouldn’t understand unless you were in my shoes and faced the same challenges.”

In my own backyard

  • In one’s immediate surroundings or personal territory.
  • example: “I don’t have to travel far for inspiration; I find it right in my own backyard.”

In the spotlight

  • Receiving attention and being the focus of public or media scrutiny.
  • example: “As an actor, I often find myself in the spotlight, but it comes with its own challenges.”

In the same boat

  • Facing or experiencing a similar situation or challenge.
  • example: “We’re all in the same boat, dealing with the effects of this global pandemic.”

March to the beat of my own drum

  • Choosing to act or behave independently and uniquely, not conforming to societal norms.
  • example: “I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum, following my passions and values.”

Me, myself, and I

  • Referring to oneself, often indicating self-reliance or being centered about yourself.
  • example: “I don’t need anyone else; it’s just me, myself, and I.”

On my own terms

  • Doing things according to one’s own preferences or conditions.
  • example: “I prefer to work on my own terms, setting my own schedule and rules.”

One and only

  • Being unique or the only one of its kind.
  • example: “I believe in embracing my individuality; I’m the one and only me.”

Out of my comfort zone

  • In a situation or experience that is unfamiliar or challenging.
  • example: “I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something completely new.”

Put myself in someone else’s shoes

  • To try to understand or empathize with someone else’s perspective or experiences.
  • example: “Before judging others, I always try to put myself in their shoes and see things from their point of view.”

Stand on my own two feet

  • To be independent and self-reliant, not relying on others for support.
  • example: “I learned to stand on my own two feet and take responsibility for my own success.”

The apple of my eye

  • Someone or something that is cherished, loved, or highly valued.
  • example: “My daughter is the apple of my eye; she brings so much joy to my life.”

To each his own

  • Different people have different preferences or opinions, and it’s important to respect individual choices.
  • example: “You like classical music, and I prefer rock. To each his own!”

Walk in my shoes

  • To experience or understand someone else’s life or circumstances by imagining oneself in their position.
  • example: “Before criticizing me, try to walk in my shoes and understand the challenges and experiences I’ve been through.”

Weigh on my mind

  • To be a persistent or burdensome concern or worry.
  • example: “The thought of the upcoming exam is weighing on my mind.”

Within my comfort zone

  • Within the range of activities or situations that one finds familiar and feels at ease with.
  • example: “I prefer to stay within my comfort zone when it comes to trying new foods.”

Your guess is as good as mine

  • To express uncertainty or lack of knowledge about a particular topic.
  • example: “I’m not sure what the answer is. Your guess is as good as mine.”

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Justice Idioms

Equal justice under law

  • The principle that all individuals should be treated equally and fairly within the legal system, regardless of their social status or power.
  • example: “Equal justice under law is the cornerstone of a democratic society.”

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth

  • The concept of retaliation or punishment that is equivalent or proportional to the harm inflicted.
  • example: “Some people believe in the principle of ‘an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’ as a form of justice.”

Fair and square

  • In a just and honest manner, without cheating or deception.
  • example: “They competed fair and square, and the winner deserved the victory.”

Fair shake

  • A fair and equitable treatment or opportunity given to someone.
  • example: “I hope they give him a fair shake during the hiring process.”

Justice is blind

  • The concept that justice should be impartial and objective, without favoritism or bias.
  • example: “In a fair legal system, justice is blind and treats everyone equally.”

Judgment call

  • A decision or choice that requires personal judgment or subjective assessment.
  • example: “Whether to cancel the event due to bad weather is a judgment call for the organizers.”

Jump to conclusions

  • To form an opinion or make a judgment hastily or prematurely without having all the facts.
  • example: “Don’t jump to conclusions. Let’s gather more information before reaching a decision.”

Jury is still out

  • Referring to a situation where a decision or verdict is yet to be reached or a definitive conclusion is yet to be determined.
  • example: “The jury is still out on whether the new policy will be effective or not.”

Just deserts

  • The punishment or reward that someone deserves based on their actions or behavior.
  • example: “He got his just deserts when he was fired for repeatedly breaking company rules.”

Justice served

  • Referring to a fair or appropriate outcome or punishment being administered.
  • example: “The criminal was convicted, and justice was finally served.”

Judge a book by its cover

  • To form an opinion about someone or something based on outward appearance alone.
  • example: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. Get to know someone before making assumptions.”

Judge someone/something with a critical eye

  • To carefully and objectively evaluate or assess someone or something.
  • example: “As a reviewer, she judges movies with a critical eye, analyzing every aspect.”

Kangaroo court

  • A mock or illegitimate court characterized by unfair or biased proceedings, often with predetermined outcomes.
  • example: “The defendant did not receive a fair trial; it was nothing more than a kangaroo court.”

Law and order

  • The principle or system of maintaining a society’s rules and regulations, typically enforced by legal institutions and authorities.
  • example: “The government’s primary focus should be on upholding law and order.”

No rest for the wicked

  • A phrase suggesting that those who do wrong or engage in immoral behavior will face consequences and won’t find peace or rest.
  • example: “After committing the crime, he realized there would be no rest for the wicked.”

Presumed innocent until proven guilty

  • The legal principle that an accused person is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
  • example: “In our justice system, individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Swift justice

  • The prompt and efficient administration of justice or legal proceedings.
  • example: “In cases of emergency, it’s important to ensure swift justice to protect the rights and safety of all involved.”

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Knowledge Idioms

A little bird told me

  • Used when someone reveals information without disclosing the source.
  • example: “I heard you got a promotion. A little bird told me.”

A picture is worth a thousand words

  • Visual representation can convey information more effectively than words alone.
  • example: “Instead of describing it, let me show you. A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Ahead of the curve

  • Being more advanced or knowledgeable in a particular subject or trend.
  • example: “She’s been studying for years and is ahead of the curve in mathematics.”

Food for thought

  • Something that provokes or stimulates thinking or consideration.
  • example: “His remarks about climate change gave us all some food for thought.”

Know the ropes

  • To be familiar with the details or procedures of a particular situation or task.
  • example: “She’s been working here for years; she really knows the ropes.”

Knowledge is power

  • The more knowledge and information one possesses, the more control and influence one has.
  • example: “He spends hours reading books because he believes knowledge is power.”

Learn the hard way

  • To gain knowledge or experience through difficulty or by making mistakes.
  • example: “He didn’t listen to advice and had to learn the hard way.”

The ball is in your court

  • It is now your responsibility or turn to take action or make a decision.
  • example: “I’ve given you all the necessary information. The ball is in your court now.”

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Love Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for emotional, friendship, relationship and love idioms.

Crazy in love

  • Being deeply and passionately in love with someone.
  • example: “Ever since they met, they have been crazy in love with each other.”

Head over heels

  • Being completely and deeply in love with someone.
  • example: “She fell head over heels for him the moment she saw him.”

Love at first sight

  • Falling in love with someone instantly upon first meeting them.
  • example: “They experienced love at first sight and knew they were meant to be together.”

Love is blind

  • Love can make people overlook flaws or imperfections in their partner.
  • example: “She can’t see his faults because love is blind.”


  • A term used to describe two people who are deeply in love with each other and often seen together.
  • example: “The couple are true lovebirds, always holding hands and whispering sweet nothings to each other.”

Love conquers all

  • Love is powerful enough to overcome any obstacles or challenges.
  • example: “They believe that love conquers all and will see them through any difficulties they may face.”

Love is in the air

  • A feeling or atmosphere of love and romance.
  • example: “With flowers, chocolates, and romantic music, love is in the air on Valentine’s Day.”

Love triangle

  • A romantic situation involving three people, typically with one person being torn between two romantic interests.
  • example: “The story revolves around a love triangle between the three main characters.”


  • Expressing affection or behaving in an overly sweet or sentimental manner.
  • example: “They are always so lovey-dovey, constantly hugging and kissing in public.”

Prince charming

  • An idealized or perfect man who is charming and comes to the rescue.
  • example: “She’s still waiting for her prince charming to sweep her off her feet.”


  • Two people who are deeply connected and meant to be together, often described as having a strong bond on a spiritual or emotional level.
  • example: “They believe they are soulmates, as if they were destined to find each other.”

Stolen heart

  • To have one’s heart captured or deeply affected by love.
  • example: “He stole her heart with his kind gestures and charming personality.”

Tied the knot

  • To get married.
  • example: “After dating for several years, they finally tied the knot and exchanged wedding vows.”

Woo someone

  • To try to gain someone’s affection or romantic interest through gestures, compliments, or romantic actions.
  • example: “He’s been trying to woo her with flowers and romantic dinners.”

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Money Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for work, business and money idioms.

Break the bank

  • to cost too much money; to be too expensive
  • Example: I would love to buy that car, but it would break the bank.

Cash cow

  • a source of constant and dependable income
  • Example: The new product has turned out to be a cash cow for the company.

Cost an arm and a leg

  • to be very expensive
  • Example: The new iPhone costs an arm and a leg.

In the black

  • making a profit; having a positive balance in a financial statement
  • Example: Our company is finally in the black after years of losses.

In the red

  • losing money; having a negative balance in a financial statement
  • Example: The company has been in the red for the past two quarters.

Money doesn’t grow on trees

  • money is not infinite and needs to be earned
  • Example: I can’t just buy everything I want, money doesn’t grow on trees.

Money talks

  • wealth has power and influence
  • Example: When it comes to politics, it’s often said that money talks.

On the money

  • to be correct; accurate in a prediction or assessment
  • Example: His prediction about the stock market was on the money.


  • being extremely careful with money, or cheap
  • Example: My boss is always penny-pinching when it comes to office supplies.

Put your money where your mouth is

  • to show that you are committed to something by investing your own money in it
  • Example: If you really believe in your business idea, you should put your money where your mouth is and invest in it.

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Music Idioms

Blow one’s own trumpet

  • To boast about one’s achievements or abilities.
  • example: “He always blows his own trumpet, talking about his accomplishments.”

Blow the competition away

  • To outperform or surpass the competition.
  • example: “Their innovative product design blew the competition away.”

Call the tune

  • To be in control or have authority.
  • example: “As the CEO, he calls the tune and makes the final decisions.”

Change one’s tune

  • To change one’s opinion, attitude, or behavior.
  • example: “At first, she was against the idea, but she changed her tune after hearing the benefits.”

Face the music

  • To accept the consequences of one’s actions.
  • example: “He knew he had made a mistake and had to face the music.”


  • To make small adjustments or improvements for optimal performance.
  • example: “We need to fine-tune the details before the presentation.”

Get into the groove

  • To get into a rhythm or find one’s comfortable and effective way of doing something.
  • example: “Once he got into the groove of the project, his work became more efficient.”

Hit the right note

  • To do or say something that is well received or appropriate.
  • example: “His speech hit the right note and inspired the audience.”

Keep the beat

  • To maintain a steady rhythm or pace.
  • example: “She plays the drums and keeps the beat for the band.”

March to the beat of one’s own drum

  • To do things in one’s own unique way, regardless of others’ opinions.
  • example: “She always marches to the beat of her own drum and follows her own path.”

Make beautiful music together

  • To work well together and create a harmonious collaboration.
  • example: “As a team, they make beautiful music together and achieve great results.”


  • Not in tune or not harmonious.
  • example: “His singing was off-key, and it was difficult to listen to.”

Play it by ear

  • To handle a situation spontaneously without a definite plan.
  • example: “We’ll see how the day goes and play it by ear.”

Play second fiddle

  • To take a subordinate role or position.
  • example: “She was used to playing second fiddle to her older sister.”

Sing a different tune

  • To have a different opinion or perspective.
  • example: “He used to support the idea, but now he’s singing a different tune.”

Strike a chord

  • To resonate or evoke a strong emotional response.
  • example: “The song struck a chord with the audience, bringing back memories.”

Strike up a conversation

  • To initiate or start a conversation.
  • example: “He struck up a conversation with the person sitting next to him on the train.”

Turn up the volume

  • To increase the volume or intensity.
  • example: “Let’s turn up the volume and make this party more exciting.”

Uncharted territory

  • New or unfamiliar territory; something that has not been explored or experienced before.
  • example: “Starting a new business is uncharted territory for him.”

Watch the tempo

  • To monitor and maintain the speed or pace.
  • example: “As the conductor, he watches the tempo and ensures the musicians stay in sync.”

Work in harmony

  • To work together smoothly and cooperatively.
  • example: “When the team members work in harmony, they achieve great results.”

Work like a well-oiled machine

  • To work together efficiently and seamlessly.
  • example: “The staff in the restaurant work like a well-oiled machine, providing excellent service.”

Work to a tight deadline

  • To have a limited amount of time to complete a task or project.
  • example: “We’re working to a tight deadline, so we need to stay focused and efficient.”

Young at heart

  • To have a youthful or lively spirit, regardless of one’s age.
  • example: “Even in her 80s, she’s young at heart and enjoys trying new activities.”

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Nature Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for nature idioms.

A drop in the ocean

  • A very small or insignificant amount compared to the whole.
  • example: “Donating a dollar is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to solving the problem of poverty.”

A force of nature

  • A person or thing with extraordinary power or influence.
  • example: “Her energy and determination make her a force of nature in the business world.”

A ray of sunshine

  • Someone or something that brings happiness or hope.
  • example: “Her cheerful personality is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.”

Against the wind

  • In opposition to prevailing circumstances or forces.
  • example: “Despite facing many obstacles, he persisted and continued to move against the wind.”

As fresh as a daisy

  • Feeling or looking refreshed, energetic, and lively.
  • example: “After a good night’s sleep, I woke up as fresh as a daisy.”

Bark up the wrong tree

  • To pursue the wrong course of action or direct criticism or blame at the wrong person.
  • example: “If you think I’m the one who ate your sandwich, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

Bird’s-eye view

  • An overall or panoramic perspective.
  • example: “From the top of the mountain, we had a bird’s-eye view of the entire valley.”

Burst into bloom

  • To suddenly and fully blossom or flourish.
  • example: “In spring, the cherry blossoms burst into bloom, creating a beautiful sight.”

Calm before the storm

  • A period of quiet or peacefulness that precedes a significant or turbulent event.
  • example: “The office seemed quiet today; it feels like the calm before the storm.”

Dawn on someone

  • To suddenly understand or realize something.
  • example: “It finally dawned on him that he had been following the wrong directions all along.”

Don’t rain on my parade

  • Do not spoil or ruin someone’s plans or enthusiasm.
  • example: “I’m excited about my new job, so please don’t rain on my parade with negative comments.”

Draw a line in the sand

  • To establish a boundary or limit that should not be crossed.
  • example: “We need to draw a line in the sand and make it clear what is acceptable behavior.”

Drop a bombshell

  • To reveal surprising or shocking news or information.
  • example: “She dropped a bombshell when she announced that she was quitting her job.”

Every cloud has a silver lining

  • There is something positive or hopeful to be found in every difficult or unpleasant situation.
  • example: “Even though he lost his job, he courageously. Every cloud has a silver lining.”

Feel under the weather

  • To feel unwell or sick.
  • example: “I think I’m coming down with a cold. I’ve been feeling under the weather all day.”

Go with the flow

  • To adapt or adjust to the current situation or circumstances.
  • example: “I don’t have a specific plan for the weekend. I’ll just go with the flow and see what happens.”

Green thumb (fingers)

  • A natural talent or skill in gardening or growing plants.
  • example: “Her garden is always flourishing; she definitely has a green thumb.”

Have a whale of a time

  • To have a great or extremely enjoyable time.
  • example: “We went on vacation to the beach and had a whale of a time.”

In full bloom

  • In the peak period of flowering or development.
  • example: “The garden looks stunning with all the flowers in full bloom.”

Like a fish out of water

  • Feeling uncomfortable or out of place in a particular situation.
  • example: “As an introvert, attending big parties makes me feel like a fish out of water.”

Make hay while the sun shines

  • To take advantage of an opportunity while it is available.
  • example: “The weather is perfect for outdoor activities. Let’s make hay while the sun shines.”

Mountain Out of a Molehill

  • Making a small problem seem much bigger.
  • She’s always making a big deal out of small things, like turning a molehill into a mountain.

On cloud nine

  • To be extremely happy, elated, or euphoric.
  • example: “After receiving the job offer, she was on cloud nine.”

Plant seeds of something

  • To initiate or start the development or growth of something.
  • example: “By introducing music classes in schools, we can plant seeds of creativity in children.”

Play with fire

  • To engage in a risky or dangerous activity.
  • Example: “Investing all your money in high-risk stocks is like playing with fire.”

Save for a rainy day

  • To save money or resources for future needs or unexpected circumstances.
  • example: “I always save a portion of my income for a rainy day.”

Take the wind out of someone’s sails

  • To deflate or diminish someone’s enthusiasm, confidence, or pride.
  • example: “His critical remarks took the wind out of her sails and made her doubt her abilities.”

Up a tree

  • In a difficult or challenging situation with no easy solution.
  • example: “I’m up a tree with this project deadline approaching, and I haven’t even started.”

Wild goose chase

  • A fruitless or futile pursuit or search for something unattainable.
  • example: “Trying to find my misplaced keys turned into a wild goose chase.”

X marks the spot

  • Used to indicate the specific place where something is located or hidden.
  • example: “The treasure is buried here, X marks the spot.”

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs

  • Achieving something significant often requires sacrificing or disrupting something else.
  • example: “We had to let go of some old equipment to make room for the new. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”

Zero hour

  • The time at which a planned event or action is scheduled to start.
  • example: “The concert starts at 8 p.m. sharp. That’s the zero hour.”

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Outdoor Idioms

Outdoor idioms may be found in this comprehensive list of nature idioms.

Breathe fresh air

  • To enjoy a refreshing change of environment or perspective.
  • Example: “After spending weeks in the city, he went camping to breathe fresh air.”

Burn Bridges

  • Damage relationships, making it hard to work together later.
  • Don’t be rude when quitting your job; you don’t want to burn bridges.

Go off the beaten path

  • To venture away from conventional or popular routes or ideas.
  • Example: “During their vacation, they decided to go off the beaten path and explore hidden trails.”

In the wilderness

  • To be in a remote or isolated place, often with natural surroundings.
  • Example: “They spent days hiking in the wilderness, disconnected from the modern world.”

Nature’s call

  • The urge to urinate or answer the body’s natural need.
  • Example: “After drinking several cups of water, she felt nature’s call during the hike.”

Take a hike

  • To go for a long walk or hike, often to enjoy nature or as an expression of frustration.
  • Example: “I need to clear my mind, so I’m going to take a hike in the nearby woods.”

Under the open sky

  • Outdoors, without any overhead cover or shelter.
  • Example: “They set up their camp under the open sky, enjoying the stars at night.”

Walk in the wilderness

  • To explore or travel through natural or undeveloped areas.
  • Example: “He loves to walk in the wilderness, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.”

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Political Idioms

Behind closed doors

  • Happening privately or secretly, away from public view or scrutiny.
  • example: “The negotiations took place behind closed doors, and the public was not aware of the details until an agreement was reached.”

By hook or by crook

  • By any means necessary, whether legal or illegal.
  • example: “The politician was determined to win the election by hook or by crook, resorting to unethical tactics.”

Campaign trail

  • The route or series of locations where a politician or candidate travels during an election campaign to give speeches, attend events, and meet voters.
  • example: “The candidate spent months on the campaign trail, visiting cities and towns to connect with voters.”

Election rigging

  • Manipulating or tampering with the electoral process to influence the outcome of an election.
  • example: “There were allegations of election rigging, with claims of voter suppression and fraudulent activities.”

Lame duck

  • A political officeholder who is nearing the end of their term and has little influence or power because their successor has already been elected or identified.
  • example: “In the final months of his presidency, he was considered a lame duck, as he couldn’t push through any major policies.”

Playing both sides

  • Engaging or supporting multiple conflicting interests or groups, often for personal gain or to maintain influence.
  • example: “The politician was accused of playing both sides, publicly supporting one group while secretly aiding their opposition.”

Political correctness

  • The practice of using language or behavior that avoids offense or marginalization of particular groups, often in relation to sensitive social or political issues.
  • example: “The debate around political correctness has sparked discussions on the boundaries of free speech and cultural sensitivity.”

Power play

  • An act or strategy used to gain advantage, control, or influence in a political context.
  • example: “The sudden cabinet reshuffle was seen as a power play by the prime minister to consolidate his authority.”

Spin doctor

  • A political spokesperson or public relations expert who attempts to manipulate or present information in a way that favors a particular political agenda or individual.
  • example: “The spin doctor was tasked with shaping the politician’s image and controlling the narrative in the media.”

Throwing your hat into the ring

  • Declaring one’s candidacy or expressing interest in a political position or competition.
  • example: “She surprised everyone by throwing her hat into the ring for the mayoral race.”

Voters at the ballot box

  • The individuals who cast their votes during an election.
  • example: “The voters at the ballot box ultimately determine the outcome of an election.”


  • A person who exposes or reveals information about illegal, unethical, or secretive activities within an organization or government.
  • example: “The whistleblower provided crucial evidence that led to the investigation of corruption within the political establishment.”

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Quantity Idioms

A dime a dozen

  • Very common and easy to obtain.
  • example: “Those cheap knockoff sunglasses are a dime a dozen.”

A drop in the bucket

  • A very small or insignificant amount compared to what is needed.
  • example: “The money I donated was just a drop in the bucket compared to the total funds needed for the project.”

A handful

  • A small, manageable quantity.
  • example: “He could only manage a handful of grapes at a time.”

A ton of

  • A large quantity or a great amount.
  • example: “I have a ton of work to do before the deadline.”

All or nothing

  • The idea of complete success or total failure, with no middle ground.
  • example: “She decided to give it her all or nothing in the final competition.”

Burst at the seams

  • To be filled to capacity or overflowing.
  • example: “The theater was bursting at the seams with enthusiastic fans.”


  • Too numerous to be counted or enumerated.
  • example: “She received countless awards for her outstanding achievements.”

Dozen of

  • A group or set of twelve.
  • example: “I bought a dozen of fresh eggs from the local farmer.”

Double-edged sword

  • Something that has both positive and negative aspects or effects.
  • example: “The internet can be a double-edged sword, providing information but also spreading misinformation.”


  • Limitless or without end.
  • example: “The possibilities are infinite when it comes to creativity.”

Make a long story short

  • to summarize something briefly.
  • Example: “To make a long story short, I ended up getting lost on my way to the airport.”

Mile a minute

  • Very quickly or rapidly.
  • example: “She talks a mile a minute; it’s hard to keep up with her.”

Miles away

  • Completely absorbed in thought or not paying attention.
  • example: “During the meeting, he seemed miles away, lost in his own thoughts.”

More than meets the eye

  • Having hidden or additional qualities or aspects beyond initial appearance.
  • example: “He may seem quiet, but there’s more than meets the eye. He’s actually a brilliant musician.”

Not in a million years

  • An emphatic way of saying that something is highly unlikely to happen.
  • example: “I would never have expected to see her there, not in a million years.”

On the dot

  • Exactly at the specified time.
  • example: “The train arrived at 8 a.m. on the dot.”

Piece of cake

  • Something that is very easy to do.
  • example: “Solving that math problem was a piece of cake for her.”

Plenty of fish in the sea

  • There are many other options or opportunities available.
  • example: “Don’t worry about that breakup; there are plenty of fish in the sea.”

Pound of flesh

  • An excessively severe or demanding payment or punishment.
  • example: “The debt collector insisted on his pound of flesh, demanding more than was fair.”

Round the clock

  • Continuously or without stopping throughout the day and night.
  • example: “The emergency services work round the clock to ensure public safety.”

Score of

  • A large number or quantity.
  • example: “The park was filled with a score of children playing and laughing.”

Short and sweet

  • Brief but enjoyable or satisfying.
  • example: “His presentation was short and sweet, delivering the key points concisely.”

Short End of the Stick

  • Get less than others in a situation.
  • She always gets the short end of the stick, like the last piece of cake.

Three’s a crowd

  • A situation in which there is an unwanted or unnecessary third person present.
  • example: “I wanted to have a private conversation with my friend, but when another person joined us, it became clear that three’s a crowd.”

Tip of the iceberg

  • A small visible part of a larger, more complex, or significant problem or issue.
  • example: “The corruption scandal revealed so far is just the tip of the iceberg; there’s much more beneath the surface.”

Two peas in a pod

  • Two people who are very similar in interests, behavior, or appearance.
  • example: “They are like two peas in a pod; they even finish each other’s sentences.”

Under the table

  • A secret or illicit transaction that is done privately, usually involving money or favors.
  • example: “They made a deal under the table to avoid paying taxes.”

Up to one’s ears

  • Completely overwhelmed or deeply involved in something.
  • example: “She’s up to her ears in work and has no time for anything else.”

Whole nine yards

  • The entire or complete extent of something.
  • example: “She went all out for the party, decorating the house, preparing a feast—she really went the whole nine yards.”


  • A standard or criterion used for comparison or evaluation.
  • example: “We use customer satisfaction as the yardstick to measure the success of our service.”

Zero in on

  • To focus or direct attention on something specific.
  • example: “During the investigation, the detective zeroed in on the prime suspect.”

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Relationship Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for emotional, friendship, relationship and love idioms.

A match made in heaven

  • A couple who is extremely compatible or well-suited for each other.
  • example: “They are truly a match made in heaven; they share the same interests and complement each other perfectly.”

Break the ice

  • To initiate or start a conversation or interaction to ease tension or create a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • example: “They played a game to break the ice and get to know each other better.”

Give someone the cold shoulder

  • To intentionally ignore or snub someone.
  • example: “After their argument, she gave him the cold shoulder and refused to speak to him.”

Love-hate relationship

  • A relationship characterized by alternating feelings of love and hate or intense conflict.
  • example: “They have a love-hate relationship; they can’t live without each other, but they constantly argue.”

Make up

  • To reconcile or resolve a disagreement in a relationship.
  • example: “After their argument, they apologized and made up with each other.”

Play hard to get

  • To act aloof or uninterested to make oneself more desirable to a potential partner.
  • example: “She played hard to get to see if he would put in effort to pursue her.”

Rocky relationship

  • A relationship characterized by frequent arguments, disagreements, or instability.
  • example: “They had a rocky relationship with constant ups and downs.”

Second chance

  • An opportunity to try again or give someone another opportunity in a relationship.
  • example: “They decided to give their relationship a second chance and work on their issues.”

Ship sails

  • Referring to a romantic relationship that has come to an end or is no longer viable.
  • example: “Their ship has sailed; they have decided to part ways and move on.”

Stuck in a rut

  • To be in a situation where there is no progress or improvement, often leading to dissatisfaction or boredom.
  • example: “They felt stuck in a rut in their relationship, doing the same things and lacking excitement.”

Tied down

  • To be committed or restricted in a relationship or marriage.
  • example: “He feels tied down in his current relationship and longs for more freedom.”

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Science Idioms

Blow off steam

  • To release pent-up energy or frustration.
  • example: “After a long day at work, he went to the gym to blow off some steam.”

Caught in the crossfire

  • To be involved or caught in the middle of a conflict or dispute between two or more parties.
  • example: “The employees found themselves caught in the crossfire between the management and the union.”

Crack the code

  • To decipher or solve a complex problem or puzzle.
  • example: “The team worked tirelessly to crack the code and gain access to the encrypted files.”


  • The negative or unintended consequences resulting from a particular action or event.
  • example: “The fallout from the controversial decision led to widespread criticism.”

Go the distance

  • To persist or endure until a task or goal is completed.
  • example: “He was determined to go the distance and finish the marathon, no matter how exhausted he felt.”

Hit the nail on the head

  • To accurately or precisely identify or address a problem or issue.
  • example: “She hit the nail on the head with her analysis of the market trends.”

In full swing

  • At the peak or most active stage of a process or event.
  • example: “The festival was in full swing with music, performances, and a bustling crowd.”

Leave no stone unturned

  • To make every possible effort or explore every option to achieve a desired outcome.
  • example: “They left no stone unturned in their search for the missing artifact.”

Lost in translation

  • Misunderstanding or misinterpretation that occurs when something is translated from one language or context to another.
  • example: “The humor in the joke was lost in translation, and nobody laughed.”

Put two and two together

  • To make an obvious deduction or come to a logical conclusion based on available information or evidence.
  • example: “When she saw the empty cookie jar and chocolate on her son’s face, she put two and two together and realized he was the culprit.”

Rocket science

  • Something that is extremely complex or difficult to understand.
  • example: “Understanding the intricacies of quantum physics is like rocket science to most people.”

The tip of the iceberg

  • A small, visible part of a much larger, hidden or complex problem or situation.
  • example: “The financial losses were just the tip of the iceberg; the company had deeper underlying issues.”

Under the microscope

  • To be closely examined or scrutinized, often in great detail.
  • example: “Her actions were under the microscope as the media analyzed her every move.”

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Sports Idioms


  • A player who rarely or never participates in a game and spends most of the time on the bench.
  • example: “He’s frustrated because he’s been a benchwarmer for the entire season.”

Call the shots

  • To be in a position of authority and make important decisions.
  • example: “As the team captain, she has the authority to call the shots during the game.”

Level playing field

  • A situation in which all participants have an equal chance or opportunity to succeed.
  • example: “The new regulations aim to create a level playing field for all athletes in the competition.”

Hit it out of the park

  • To achieve a great or impressive success, often beyond expectations.
  • example: “The sales team hit it out of the park with their latest marketing campaign.”

Keep your eye on the ball

  • To stay focused and pay close attention to the task or situation at hand.
  • example: “In order to succeed, you need to keep your eye on the ball and not get distracted.”

On the ball

  • Being alert, attentive, and quick to respond.
  • example: “The goalkeeper is always on the ball, ready to make crucial saves.”

Play ball

  • To cooperate or participate in a group activity or plan.
  • Example: “Let’s all play ball and work together to achieve our project goals.”

Play hardball

  • To be uncompromising, tough, or aggressive in pursuing one’s objectives or negotiating.
  • example: “During the contract negotiations, the athlete’s agent decided to play hardball with the team management.”

Play the field

  • To date or be romantically involved with multiple people.
  • Example: “After her breakup, she decided to play the field and meet new potential partners.”

Score an own goal

  • To inadvertently do something that harms oneself or one’s own interests.
  • example: “The politician’s controversial statement ended up scoring an own goal for his campaign.”

Step up to the plate

  • To take on a challenge or responsibility, especially in a courageous or confident manner.
  • example: “In times of crisis, it’s important for leaders to step up to the plate and make difficult decisions.”

Throw in the towel

  • To give up, admit defeat, or surrender.
  • example: “The boxer was badly injured and had to throw in the towel, ending the match.”

Up your game

  • To improve one’s performance or skill level.
  • example: “If you want to succeed in this competitive industry, you need to up your game.”

Win hands down

  • To win easily or convincingly without much effort.
  • example: “With their outstanding performance, they won the match hands down.”


  • A unique or extraordinary quality or ability that sets someone apart from others.
  • example: “Her incredible speed and agility on the field give her the X-factor that makes her a standout player.”


  • A standard or criterion used to measure or compare something.
  • example: “In the Olympics, gold medals are often considered the yardstick of success.”

Zero-sum game

  • A situation in which any gain by one side or participant is offset by an equal loss for another.
  • example: “Business negotiations can sometimes feel like a zero-sum game, where one party’s gain is the other party’s loss.”

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Strange Idioms

Break a butterfly on a wheel

  • to use excessive force to achieve a small result
  • Example: “I think we’re overreacting to this minor issue. It’s like trying to break a butterfly on a wheel.”

Break the eggshell

  • to overcome shyness or hesitation
  • Example: “He’s usually pretty quiet, but he really broke the eggshell when he got up to sing at karaoke.”

Chew the fat

  • to chat or gossip
  • Example: “I’m going to meet up with my friend and chew the fat for a while.”

Have a frog in your throat

  • to have a hoarse or croaky voice
  • Example: “Sorry, I have a frog in my throat. Let me get a drink of water.”

Kick the bucket

  • to die
  • Example: “He kicked the bucket last night after a long illness.”

Pull someone’s leg

  • to tease or joke with someone
  • Example: “I was just pulling your leg – I didn’t really mean what I said.”

Raining cats and dogs

  • to describe a heavy rainfall
  • Example: “I was going to go for a walk, but it’s raining cats and dogs out there!”

Shoot the breeze

  • to chat casually or have a leisurely conversation
  • Example: “Let’s just hang out and shoot the breeze for a while.”

Spill the tea (beans)

  • to gossip or reveal secrets
  • Example: “I heard she’s been spilling the tea about her ex-boyfriend all over social media.”

Steal someone’s thunder

  • to take credit for someone else’s accomplishments or ideas
  • Example: “I had this great idea for a project, but my coworker stole my thunder and presented it as his own.”

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Study Idioms

Ace a test

  • to do extremely well on a test or exam.
  • Example: “I studied all week for the chemistry exam and ended up acing it!”

Bury your head in the books

  • To study intensively or extensively, often to the point of neglecting other activities or responsibilities.
  • example: “She has exams next week, so she’s burying her head in the books to prepare.”

Cutting class

  • to skip or not attend a class.
  • Example: “I’m not feeling well today, so I’m thinking about cutting class and staying home to rest.”

Drop a class

  • to withdraw from a class before the end of the term.
  • Example: “The workload for my biology class is too much for me right now, so I’ve decided to drop the class and take it again next semester.”

Hit the books

  • to study hard, especially for an upcoming exam.
  • Example : “I have a big exam tomorrow, so I need to hit the books tonight and review all my notes.”

In the field

  • refers to research or work done outside of the classroom or office.
  • Example: “The scientist spent a year in Australia conducting research in the field.”

Ivory tower

  • Refers to the isolation of academics from the real world; an institution or environment where people are detached from the practical world.
  • Example: “Some people believe that professors live in ivory towers and have no idea what life is like outside of academia.”

Last-minute cramming

  • Studying intensely and quickly just before an exam or deadline.
  • example: “I procrastinated all week and ended up doing last-minute cramming before the final exam.”

Learn the ropes

  • To learn or understand the basics or fundamental aspects of a subject or activity.
  • example: “As a new employee, it took some time for me to learn the ropes of the job.”

Make the grade

  • To achieve a satisfactory level of performance, usually in an academic context.
  • example: “He studied hard to make the grade and earned top marks on the test.”

Pass with flying colors

  • to pass a test or exam with a very high score.
  • Example: “John was nervous about the math test, but he ended up passing with flying colors.”

Pull an all-nighter

  • to stay up all night studying or working on a project.
  • Example: “I have a major research paper due tomorrow, so I’m going to have to pull an all-nighter to finish it in time.”

Put your thinking cap on

  • To engage your mind and think carefully or creatively about a problem or task.
  • example: “We need some innovative ideas for this project, so put your thinking cap on.”

Read between the lines

  • To look for or understand the hidden or implied meaning in written or spoken words.
  • example: “When reading the poem, it’s important to read between the lines to fully grasp the poet’s intentions.”

Swot up

  • To study intensively and acquire knowledge about a specific subject.
  • example: “I need to swot up on the history of art before the museum visit.”

Take a crash course

  • To quickly learn or acquire knowledge about a subject or skill in a short period of time.
  • example: “I’m taking a crash course in Spanish before my trip to Spain.”

Teacher’s pet

  • describe a student who is favored by a teacher and receives special attention as a result.
  • Example : “Samantha always brings the teacher an apple and compliments her every day, so she’s definitely the teacher’s pet.”

To have your nose in a book

  • To be absorbed in reading, particularly for study or leisure.
  • example: “She always has her nose in a book, whether it’s for studying or pleasure.”

Work your fingers to the bone

  • To work extremely hard, often for long hours and with great effort.
  • example: “She worked her fingers to the bone to complete her thesis on time.”

You can’t make bricks without straw

    • It is difficult to accomplish something without the necessary materials, resources, or tools.
    • example: “Without access to the required textbooks, you can’t make bricks without straw.”

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Success Idioms

Beat the odds

  • To achieve success despite unfavorable circumstances or challenges.
  • example: “She beat the odds and became a successful entrepreneur despite starting with limited resources.”

Chase one’s dreams

  • To pursue and strive for one’s aspirations or goals.
  • example: “He quit his job to chase his dreams of becoming a professional musician.”

Climb the ladder

  • To progress or advance in one’s career or social status.
  • example: “She worked hard and climbed the ladder to become a senior executive in the company.”

Come out on top

  • To emerge as the winner or achieve a successful outcome.
  • example: “After months of intense competition, their team came out on top and won the championship.”

Go the extra mile

  • To put in additional effort or exceed expectations in order to achieve success.
  • example: “In order to succeed in this competitive industry, you need to be willing to go the extra mile.”

Make a mark

  • To leave a lasting impact or achieve notable success.
  • example: “Her groundbreaking research made a mark in the field of medicine.”

Reach for the stars

  • To set ambitious goals or aim for great achievements.
  • example: “Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars and pursue your highest aspirations.”

Rise to the occasion

  • To meet the challenge or demands of a situation successfully.
  • example: “Despite the pressure, he rose to the occasion and delivered an outstanding performance.”

Score a victory

  • To achieve a significant win or success.
  • example: “Their innovative marketing strategy helped them score a major victory in the market.”

Seize the opportunity

  • To take advantage of a favorable circumstance or chance for success.
  • example: “She seized the opportunity to launch her own business when the market was ripe for it.”

Stand out from the crowd

  • To be distinct, exceptional, or unique compared to others.
  • example: “His creative approach and unique style make him stand out from the crowd.”

Succeed against all odds

  • To achieve success despite facing extreme difficulties or challenges.
  • example: “Against all odds, she succeeded in building a successful startup from scratch.”

Take the lead

  • To assume a position of leadership or dominance.
  • example: “The company’s innovative products helped them take the lead in the market.”

Win by a landslide

  • To win by a wide margin or with a significant advantage.
  • example: “The candidate won the election by a landslide, receiving a majority of the votes.”

Work one’s way up

  • To gradually progress or advance in one’s career or position.
  • example: “He started as an intern and worked his way up to become the CEO of the company.”

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Technology Idioms


  • To suddenly stop working or fail, often referring to a computer system or software.
  • example: “My computer crashed right in the middle of an important presentation.”


  • The process of identifying and fixing errors or bugs in computer programs or systems.
  • example: “The developers spent hours debugging the code to ensure it runs smoothly.”

Get on the same wavelength

  • To have a mutual understanding or agreement, especially regarding technology or ideas.
  • example: “Let’s have a meeting to get on the same wavelength about the new project.”


  • A temporary malfunction or error in a system, often referring to electronic devices or software.
  • example: “There was a glitch in the software that caused the images to disappear.”

Go offline

  • To disconnect from the internet or be unavailable online.
  • example: “I need to go offline for a while to focus on my work.”

Hit the delete button

  • To remove or eliminate something, often referring to digital content.
  • example: “I realized that email was not appropriate, so I hit the delete button.”

Plug and play

  • Referring to devices or software that can be easily connected and used without much setup or configuration.
  • example: “This new printer is plug and play, so you can start using it right away.”


  • To restart a computer or device to resolve issues or apply changes.
  • example: “If the software freezes, try rebooting the computer.”


  • Referring to technology or software that is easy to use and understand for the average person.
  • example: “This new smartphone has a user-friendly interface that is intuitive to navigate.”

Virtual reality

  • A computer-generated environment that simulates a real-world experience.
  • example: “With virtual reality, you can immerse yourself in a virtual world and interact with it.”

Zero in on

  • To focus or direct attention to a specific point or target.
  • example: “During the presentation, the speaker zeroed in on the key features of the product.”

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Time Idioms

Against the clock

  • Doing something in a hurry or with a time constraint.
  • “We’re working against the clock to finish this project before the deadline.”

All in good time

  • Patience is required, as something will happen at the appropriate time.
  • “Don’t worry, your promotion will come all in good time.”

Ahead of one’s time

  • Being more advanced or progressive in ideas or actions compared to others.
  • “His inventions were ahead of his time and revolutionized the industry.”

Beat the clock

  • Completing a task or achieving something before the allotted time runs out.
  • “They managed to beat the clock and complete the puzzle within the time limit.”

Better late than never

  • It’s better to do something late than not at all.
  • “I finally apologized to him, better late than never, I suppose.”

Call it a day

  • Deciding to finish or end an activity or work for the day.
  • “We’ve been working on this project for hours. Let’s call it a day and continue tomorrow.”

In the nick of time

  • Just in time or at the last possible moment.
  • “She arrived at the airport in the nick of time and caught her flight.”

Kill time

  • Engaging in an activity to pass the time when there is nothing else to do.
  • “I usually read a book to kill time during my long commute.”

Like clockwork

  • Happening with regularity or precision, as if controlled by a clock.
  • “He shows up for work at 9 a.m. every day, like clockwork.”

Make up for lost time

  • To catch up on something that was missed or wasted in the past.
  • “After being away for a year, I want to make up for lost time with my family.”

Once in a blue moon

  • Something that happens very rarely or on rare occasions.
  • “We go on vacation together once in a blue moon due to our busy schedules.”

Time flies

  • The feeling that time passes quickly, especially in enjoyable situations.
  • “When you’re having fun, time really flies.”

Time is money

  • Time should be used efficiently because it has value.
  • “In the business world, time is money, so we need to work efficiently.”

Time is of the essence

  • Time is crucial and shouldn’t be wasted.
  • “We need to act quickly; time is of the essence in this emergency situation.”

Time will tell

  • The truth or outcome of something will be revealed over time.
  • “We’re not sure if the new product will be successful, but time will tell.”

Turn back the clock

  • To go back in time or relive a past period.
  • “If I could turn back the clock, I would have made different choices.”

Watch the clock

  • To keep an eye on the time or be aware of it.
  • “We need to watch the clock to make sure we don’t miss the train.”

Worth one’s while

  • Something is valuable or beneficial in terms of the time or effort invested.
  • “The conference was long, but it was worth my while; I learned a lot.”

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Travel Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for  travel idioms.

A change of scenery

  • A new or different environment or surroundings.
  • example: “I needed a break from the city, so I took a weekend trip for a change of scenery.”

A leap of faith

  • Taking a risk or making a decision without knowing the outcome.
  • example: “He quit his job and moved abroad, taking a leap of faith to pursue his dreams.”

A road less traveled

  • A less conventional or popular choice or path.
  • example: “Instead of going to the crowded tourist destinations, she preferred to explore the road less traveled.”

Bite the bullet

  • To face a difficult or unpleasant situation with courage and determination.
  • example: “I had to bite the bullet and tell them the truth, even though it was hard.”

Catch some rays

  • To sunbathe or spend time in the sun.
  • example: “I’m going to the beach to catch some rays and relax.”

Fly off the handle

  • to lose one’s temper suddenly and unexpectedly
  • Example: “She flew off the handle when she heard the news about her promotion.”

Hit the road

  • To begin a journey or start traveling.
  • example: “We packed our bags and hit the road early in the morning.”

In the same boat

  • Facing the same situation or challenge as others.
  • example: “We’re all struggling with the project deadline; we’re in the same boat.”

Jet lag

  • The feeling of fatigue and disorientation caused by traveling across different time zones.
  • example: “I always struggle with jet lag after long flights.”

Jump Ship

  • Leave a situation for something else.
  • When the company got worse, many employees jumped ship.

Live out of a suitcase

  • To travel frequently or for an extended period, living with minimal possessions.
  • example: “As a travel journalist, she lives out of a suitcase most of the year.”

Miss the boat

  • to miss an opportunity.
  • Example: “I didn’t apply for the scholarship in time, so I missed the boat.”


On the horizon

  • Something that is expected or likely to happen in the future.
  • example: “There are exciting opportunities on the horizon; we just need to be patient.”

Pack one’s bags

  • To prepare for a trip by packing one’s belongings.
  • example: “We’re leaving tomorrow, so it’s time to pack our bags.”

Rest and relaxation (R&R)

  • A period of rest and leisure, typically during a vacation.
  • example: “After months of hard work, I’m looking forward to some R&R on my holiday.”

Set sail

  • To begin a sea voyage or sailing journey.
  • example: “As the sun rose, the ship set sail, heading towards the open sea.”

Take a hike

  • To go on a long walk or hike, often as a form of recreation.
  • example: “I need some fresh air, so I’m going to take a hike in the mountains.”

The world is one’s oyster

  • The belief that one has the opportunity and freedom to do anything or go anywhere.
  • example: “With her skills and determination, she believes the world is her oyster.”

Under the sun

  • Everything in existence or available.
  • example: “They sell all kinds of products under the sun at that market.”

Vacation from vacation

  • A period of rest or relaxation needed after a busy or tiring vacation.
  • example: “After our hectic sightseeing trip, we need a vacation from vacation to recharge.”

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Urban Idioms

City that never sleeps

  • Refers to a city that is vibrant and active 24 hours a day, with a bustling nightlife and constant activity.
  • Example: “New York City is often referred to as the city that never sleeps due to its energetic atmosphere.”


  • Refers to the visual appearance or view of a city, including its buildings, skyline, and overall urban scenery.
  • Example: “The cityscape at night, with its sparkling lights and towering skyscrapers, is truly mesmerizing.”

Concrete evidence

  • Refers to solid and irrefutable proof or evidence.
  • Example: “The detective presented concrete evidence that linked the suspect to the crime scene.”

Concrete jungle

  • Refers to a city or urban environment characterized by its busy, crowded, and impersonal nature.
  • Example: “Life in the concrete jungle can be overwhelming with its fast-paced lifestyle and constant noise.”


  • Refers to a situation where traffic is heavily congested and unable to move due to a complete standstill.
  • Example: “During rush hour, the roads are often in gridlock, causing significant delays and frustration.”


  • Refers to a tall building with multiple floors, typically found in urban areas.
  • Example: “The city skyline is dominated by high-rise buildings that house offices, apartments, and hotels.”

Pavement pounding

  • Refers to walking or traveling extensively on foot, especially on city sidewalks or pavements.
  • Example: “She spent the day pavement pounding, exploring the city and discovering hidden gems.”

Rush hour

  • The busiest and most crowded period during the day when there is heavy traffic and people commuting to or from work.
  • Example: “Avoid driving during rush hour if you want to reach your destination on time.”

Street smart

  • Refers to someone who possesses practical knowledge, experience, and the ability to navigate urban situations effectively.
  • Example: “Growing up in a tough neighborhood, she developed street smarts that helped her stay safe and make wise decisions.”

Urban legend

  • Refers to a modern folklore or story that circulates within a particular city or urban community.
  • Example: “There’s an urban legend about a haunted house in the neighborhood that terrifies the locals.”

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Victory Idioms

Claim victory

  • To assert or declare oneself as the winner.
  • Example: “After a fierce competition, she finally claimed victory in the singing contest.”

Snatch victory from the jaws of defeat

  • To achieve success in a challenging or seemingly hopeless situation.
  • Example: “In the final moments of the game, the team managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.”

Taste victory

  • To experience or savor the feeling of winning or success.
  • Example: “After years of hard work, she finally tasted victory when her novel became a bestseller.”

Crown the victor

  • To officially declare or recognize someone as the winner.
  • Example: “In a thrilling match, they crowned the victor after a unanimous decision by the judges.”

Emerging victorious

  • To come out as the winner or prevail in a competition or conflict.
  • Example: “Despite facing numerous challenges, they emerged victorious in the end.”

Seal the victory

  • To secure or ensure a win or success.
  • Example: “With a last-minute goal, they sealed the victory and secured their spot in the finals.”

Victory lap

  • A celebration or demonstration of success after achieving a significant victory.
  • Example: “After winning the championship, the team took a victory lap around the stadium.”

Victory march

  • A celebration parade to celebrate a victory.
  • Example: “The soldiers returned from war with a victory march through the city streets.”

Victory speech

  • A speech delivered to express gratitude, pride, or triumph after a victory.
  • Example: “In her emotional victory speech, she thanked her supporters for their unwavering belief.”

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Weather Idioms

Weather idioms may be found in this comprehensive list of nature idioms.

Blow hot and cold

  • To have inconsistent or unpredictable behavior or attitudes.
  • example: “He blows hot and cold in his relationship; one moment he’s affectionate, and the next he’s distant.”

Break the ice

  • To initiate or start a conversation or interaction to ease tension or create a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • example: “He told a joke to break the ice and make everyone feel more comfortable.”

Chase rainbows

  • Pursuing unrealistic or impractical dreams or goals.
  • example: “Instead of focusing on practical career options, he spends his time chasing rainbows.”

Cloud nine

  • A state of extreme happiness or joy.
  • example: “When she won the award, she felt like she was on cloud nine.”

Come rain or shine

  • Regardless of any circumstances or weather conditions.
  • example: “I’ll be there for you, come rain or shine.”

Cool Guy

  • A calm and confident person.
  • Mike stayed calm during the storm – he’s such a cool guy.

Every cloud has a silver lining

  • Even in difficult or challenging situations, there is often something positive or beneficial to be found.
  • example: “Losing his job turned out to be a blessing in disguise; he found a better opportunity.”

Face like thunder

  • Having a very angry or upset facial expression.
  • example: “When he heard the news, he had a face like thunder.”

In a fog

  • Feeling confused, disoriented, or unable to think clearly.
  • example: “I’m sorry, I can’t remember what we were discussing; I’m in a fog today.

In the eye of the storm

  • In the middle of a difficult or chaotic situation.
  • example: “During the negotiations, she remained calm and composed in the eye of the storm.”

Rain cats and dogs

  • To rain heavily.
  • example: “It was pouring outside; it was raining cats and dogs.”

Rain on someone’s parade

  • To spoil or ruin someone’s plans or moment of happiness.
  • example: “She was excited about her promotion, but her colleague’s negative comment rained on her parade.”

Storm in a teacup

  • A situation that is exaggerated or blown out of proportion, creating unnecessary drama or conflict.
  • example: “Their argument was just a storm in a teacup; it wasn’t worth all the fuss.”

Take a rain check

  • To decline an invitation or offer but suggest doing it at a later time or date.
  • example: “I can’t make it to the concert tonight, but can I take a rain check and join you next time?”

Throw caution to the wind

  • To act without considering the potential risks or consequences.
  • example: “She decided to throw caution to the wind and pursue her dreams.”

Weather the storm

  • To endure or survive through difficult times or challenges.
  • example: “They had their fair share of ups and downs in their relationship, but they managed to weather the storm.”

Under the weather

  • Feeling unwell or sick.
  • example: “I won’t be able to come to the party tonight; I’m feeling under the weather.”

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Work Idioms

A full, comprehensive list is available here for work, business and money idioms.

A hard day’s work

  • A day of laborious or tiring work.
  • example: “After a hard day’s work, he likes to relax and unwind.”

Bite off more than you can chew

  • To take on more tasks or responsibilities than one can handle.
  • example: “He bit off more than he could chew by accepting multiple projects with tight deadlines.”

Burn the midnight oil

  • To work late into the night or put in extra hours of work.
  • example: “He burned the midnight oil to prepare for the important presentation.”

Clock in/out

  • To record the time of arrival/departure at work using a time clock or system.
  • example: “Employees need to clock in and out to track their working hours accurately.”

Cut corners

  • To take shortcuts or do something in a less thorough or proper way to save time or effort.
  • example: “They cut corners during production, and the quality of the product suffered.”

Cut to the chase

  • To get to the main point or essential part of a discussion without unnecessary details.
  • example: “Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the key issues we need to address.”

Dress for success

  • To wear clothing appropriate for a particular occasion or to create a positive impression.
  • example: “She always dresses for success when going to job interviews.”

Face the music

  • To confront or accept the consequences of one’s actions or decisions.
  • example: “He had to face the music when his mistakes were exposed during the meeting.”

Get the hang of

  • To understand or master something through practice or experience.
  • example: “It took him some time, but he finally got the hang of using the new software.”

Go the extra mile

  • To make additional effort or do more than what is expected.
  • example: “She always goes the extra mile to provide excellent customer service.”

Hit the ground running

  • To start a new task or job energetically and with great enthusiasm.
  • example: “He hit the ground running in his new role and immediately made an impact.”

In the driver’s seat

  • In control or in a position of power or authority.
  • example: “After years of hard work, she finally found herself in the driver’s seat.”

Keep one’s nose to the grindstone

  • To work diligently and consistently without distractions.
  • example: “He kept his nose to the grindstone to meet the project deadline.”

Keep someone in the loop

  • To keep someone informed or involved in a situation or project.
  • example: “Make sure to keep the team in the loop about any important updates.”

Keep the ball rolling

  • To maintain progress or momentum in a project or task.
  • example: “After finishing her part, she passed the baton to her colleague to keep the ball rolling.”

Move up the ladder

  • To progress or advance in one’s career or hierarchy within an organization.
  • example: “With dedication and hard work, she moved up the ladder and became a manager.”

On the same page

  • To be in agreement or have a shared understanding of something.
  • example: “It’s important for team members to be on the same page to work effectively together.”

Pay the price

  • To face the consequences or negative outcomes of one’s actions or decisions.
  • example: “He paid the price for his reckless behavior by losing his job.”

Play one’s cards right

  • To make the right decisions or take the appropriate actions in order to achieve success or a desired outcome.
  • example: “If he plays his cards right, he could secure a promotion at work.”

Put all one’s eggs in one basket

  • To invest or rely heavily on a single thing or course of action, which is risky.
  • example: “He put all his eggs in one basket by investing all his savings in a single stock.”

Pull one’s weight

  • To do one’s share of work or contribute equally to a group effort.
  • example: “In a team, it’s important for everyone to pull their weight and contribute.”

Rise through the ranks

  • To advance in a hierarchical structure or organization.
  • example: “She started as an intern and rose through the ranks to become the CEO.”

Show someone the ropes

  • To teach or guide someone in a new job or situation.
  • example: “As the senior employee, she showed the new intern the ropes.”

Stay ahead of the curve

  • To remain updated and well-informed about current trends or developments.
  • example: “In a rapidly changing industry, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve.”

Take the bull by the horns

  • To confront or take charge of a difficult or challenging situation.
  • example: “He decided to take the bull by the horns and address the issue directly.”

Think outside the box

  • To think creatively or unconventionally, considering different perspectives or solutions.
  • example: “To solve this problem, we need to think outside the box and explore innovative approaches.”

Toot one’s own horn

  • To boast or speak proudly about one’s accomplishments or abilities.
  • example: “He’s always tooting his own horn and bragging about his achievements.”

Turn the tables

  • To reverse a situation or shift the advantage to one’s own favor.
  • example: “With a clever strategy, she turned the tables and emerged as the winner.”

Up the ante

  • To increase the level of demand, effort, or risk in a situation.
  • example: “To attract top talent, the company upped the ante by offering higher salaries.”

Wear multiple hats

  • To have multiple roles or responsibilities in a job or situation.
  • example: “As a small business owner, she wears multiple hats, handling various tasks.”

Work against the clock

  • To have limited time to complete a task or meet a deadline.
  • example: “With the deadline approaching, they had to work against the clock to finish the project.”

Work like a charm

  • To work perfectly or effectively.
  • example: “After fixing the technical issues, the system worked like a charm.”

Work one’s fingers to the bone

  • To work extremely hard and put in a lot of effort.
  • example: “She worked her fingers to the bone to complete the project on time.”

Work your way up

  • To progress or advance gradually through effort and experience.
  • example: “He started in an entry-level position and worked his way up to a management role.”

Wrap things up

  • To complete or finish tasks or activities.
  • example: “Let’s wrap things up and finalize the report before the end of the day.”

Zero in on

  • To focus or concentrate intensely on something, often with precision or accuracy.
  • example: “She zeroed in on the main issue and presented a well-researched solution.”
  • To focus or concentrate on a specific target or objective.

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Young Idioms (or terms)


  • an abbreviation for “before anyone else,” used as a term of endearment for a significant other or crush.
  • Example: “I’m going out with my bae tonight.”


  • something is cool or impressive.
  • Example: “That new jacket is dope, where did you get it?”


  • someone is being over-the-top or dramatic.
  • Example: “Why are you being so extra about your outfit? It’s just a casual dinner.”


  • stands for “fear of missing out,” used to describe anxiety over missing out on something.
  • Example: “I can’t believe I missed the party last night, I had major FOMO.”


  • to abruptly stop all communication with someone without any explanation.
  • Example: “I thought we were getting along, but he just ghosted me.”


  • means something is good or going well. Example: “Everything’s Gucci, we can relax now.”


  • a combination of hungry and angry, used to describe someone who is irritable due to hunger.
  • Example: “I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier, I was just hangry.”


  • something is exciting or enjoyable.
  • Example: “The concert last night was so lit!”


  • something resonates with how someone is feeling or their current situation.
  • Example: “When I saw that meme, it was such a mood.”

On fleek

  • perfect or flawless.
  • Example: “Your makeup is on fleek today!”


  • someone is acting ruthless or merciless.
  • Example: “She completely destroyed him in the debate, she’s a savage.”


  • someone is acting bitter or resentful.
  • Example: “She’s been acting really salty since she didn’t get the job she wanted.”


  • to support or hope for a romantic relationship between two people.
  • Example: “I totally ship those two, they would make a great couple.”

Throw shade

  • to subtly insult or criticize someone.
  • Example: “Did she just throw shade at me for wearing these shoes?”


  • an exclamation used to express excitement or joy, or to physically throw something.
  • Example: “Yeet! We aced the test!”

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Common Idiom Questions & Answers

When pigs fly idiom examples?

  • “When pigs fly” is an idiom that means something is extremely unlikely to happen. An example of this idiom used in a sentence would be “I might go skydiving when pigs fly.”

What are 10 idiom examples?

  • Ten examples of idioms include “barking up the wrong tree,” “hit the sack,” “break a leg,” “cut to the chase,” “spill the beans,” “raining cats and dogs,” “the ball is in your court,” “get cold feet,” “piece of cake,” and “a dime a dozen.”

What are some good examples of idioms?

  • Some good examples of idioms include “bite the bullet,” “by the skin of your teeth,” “let the cat out of the bag,” “once in a blue moon,” and “skeletons in the closet.”

Idiom are examples?

  • Idioms are expressions or phrases that have a meaning that differs from the literal meaning. Examples of idioms include “hit the hay,” “hold your horses,” and “put a sock in it.”

What is idioms give 5 examples?

  • Idioms are expressions or phrases that have a meaning that differs from the literal meaning. Five examples of idioms include “back to the drawing board,” “get the ball rolling,” “in the doghouse,” “spill the beans,” and “under the weather.”

What are idioms 5 examples?

  • Idioms are expressions or phrases that have a meaning that differs from the literal meaning. Five examples of idioms include “break a leg,” “cry over spilt milk,” “let the cat out of the bag,” “take the bull by the horns,” and “kick the bucket.”

What definition idiom?

  • An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a meaning that differs from the literal meaning. Idioms are often unique to a specific language or culture and can be challenging for non-native speakers to understand.

What are the 20 examples of idioms?

  • Twenty examples of idioms include “let the cat out of the bag,” “break a leg,” “kick the bucket,” “spill the beans,” “piece of cake,” “raining cats and dogs,” “barking up the wrong tree,” “chew the fat,” “back to the drawing board,” “hit the sack,” “under the weather,” “burn the midnight oil,” “throw in the towel,” “cry over spilt milk,” “cost an arm and a leg,” “jump the gun,” “hit the nail on the head,” “all ears,” “a dime a dozen,” and “give the cold shoulder.”

Meaning which examples?

  • The meaning of an idiom is often different from its literal meaning, and can be unique to a specific language or culture. Examples of idioms with different meanings than their literal translation include “hold your horses,” “barking up the wrong tree,” and “break a leg.”

Phrase is examples?

  • Phrases are groups of words that function as a unit, but do not have a subject-verb relationship. Examples of phrases include “bite the bullet,” “break the ice,” and “chew the fat.”

How are idioms structured?

  • Idioms are typically structured as phrases, with words that have a combined meaning that is different from the literal meanings of the individual words.

How do idioms work?

  • Idioms work by using words in a way that is different from their literal meanings to convey a meaning that is often rooted in cultural or historical contexts.

Struggling to understand just what an idiom is?

  • An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the individual words.

What is Idioms and phrases with examples?

  • Idioms are phrases or expressions that have a meanings that are different from the literal meanings of the individual words. Examples of idioms include “break a leg,” “spill the beans,” and “kick the bucket.”

What is easy Idiom in English?

  • Easy idioms in English include phrases like “piece of cake,” “a bed of roses,” and “out of the blue,” which are commonly used and easily understood.

What other idioms do you teach in your Idiom of the Day lessons?

  • As an AI language model, I don’t teach Idiom of the Day lessons, but some other idioms commonly taught include “hit the nail on the head,” “burn the midnight oil,” and “pull someone’s leg.”

What will happen if you put a cat on a hot tin roof?

  • Putting a cat on a hot tin roof is an idiomatic expression that means to put someone in a difficult or uncomfortable situation.

What’s the difference between an idiom and a cliché?

  • While idioms and clichés are both figures of speech, idioms are often considered more creative and unique expressions, while clichés are overused and lack originality.

When are idioms used in writing?

  • Idioms are often used in writing to add color, creativity, and cultural context to language, but they should be used sparingly and appropriately to avoid confusion or misunderstanding.

When are idioms used?

  • Idioms are used in everyday language and conversation to convey a specific meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the individual words.

Where to not use any idiom?

  • Idioms should not be used in formal or technical writing, or in situations where they may be misunderstood by the audience or readers.

Why Use Idioms in Sentences?

  •  Idioms can add color, creativity, and cultural context to language, making it more interesting and expressive.

Why are idioms challenging for language learners?

  •  Idioms can be challenging for language learners because their meanings are often rooted in cultural or historical contexts that may not be familiar to non-native speakers.

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