Common Nature Idioms in English with Meaning and Examples

Ultimate List of Idioms about Nature with Meanings and Example Sentences

idiom, definition, example sentence

This list includes idioms related to nature with their meanings and example sentences. Here are the phrases in alphabetical order

A bolt from the blue

  • A sudden and unexpected event or news.
  • Winning the lottery was a bolt from the blue for him.

A breath of fresh air

  • Something or someone that brings new and refreshing ideas or energy.
  • The new teacher was a breath of fresh air in the classroom.

A cold day in July

  • Something very unlikely to happen.
  • Getting snow in our town in July would be like a cold day in July.

A drop in the ocean

  • A very small or insignificant amount in comparison to what is needed or expected.
  • Donating a dollar to charity is just a drop in the ocean compared to their overall budget.

A force of nature

  • Someone who is powerful, unstoppable, or has a strong impact on others.
  • Her energy and determination make her a force of nature in the business world.

A ray of hope

  • Some positive news when things are bad.
  • After failing the test, receiving an invitation to a study group was like a ray of hope for Sarah.

A ray of sunshine

  • Someone or something that brings happiness, joy, or hope.
  • Her smile is like a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day.

A rolling stone gathers no moss

  • Someone who is always moving or changing their situation gains less burdens and unwanted responsibilities.
  • He prefers to travel and explore different places; he believes a rolling stone gathers no moss.

A rose by any other name

  • A rose by any other name means that a person or thing is the same with any name, so the name does not define the person or thing.
  • You could change your name to Mr Richman but it does not change who you are, as a rose by any name is still a rose.
  • Origin: It is an adage (a saying) from the William Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

A sight for sore eyes

  • Something or someone you’re happy to see.
  • After being away for a month, seeing her family was a sight for sore eyes.

A snowball’s chance in hell

  • Almost no chance of success.
  • Trying to convince the teacher to cancel homework has a snowball’s chance in hell.

A storm is brewing

  • A situation or conflict is developing and could become intense or difficult.
  • With all the tension in the office, it feels like a storm is brewing.

A voice in the wilderness

  • An opinion or idea that is not popular or widely accepted.
  • When she first proposed the idea, it was like a voice in the wilderness; nobody agreed with her.

A walk in the park

  • Something that is easy.
  • For him, solving math problems is a walk in the park; he’s very good at it.

Across the pond

  • Refers to the United States from a European perspective.
  • My cousin lives across the pond in England.

Against the wind

  • Going against the majority of people or current opinion.
  • Despite the challenges, she continued to work against the wind to achieve her goals.

All at sea

  • Feeling confused, lost, or uncertain about a situation.
  • With the sudden changes in the project, he felt all at sea and didn’t know what to do.

Answer the call of nature

  • To go to the bathroom or relieve oneself.
  • Excuse me, I need to answer the call of nature; I’ll be right back.

April showers bring May flowers

  • Difficult or unpleasant times can lead to better things in the future.
  • Even though it’s raining now, remember that April showers bring May flowers.

As fresh as a daisy

  • Feeling or looking refreshed, energetic, and lively.
  • After a good night’s sleep, she woke up feeling as fresh as a daisy.

As high as a kite

  • To be very excited, elated, or euphoric.
  • After winning the game, the team was as high as a kite.

As pure as the driven snow

  • To be innocent, pure, or without any wrongdoing.
  • She has a reputation for being as pure as the driven snow; she never gets involved in any scandals.

Back to nature

  • To return to a simpler or more natural way of living.
  • During the camping trip, we can enjoy being back to nature without technology.

Barking up the wrong tree

  • To accuse or blame the wrong person or thing.
  • The police were barking up the wrong tree when they arrested him; he had an alibi.

Beat around the bush

  • To avoid getting to the point or speaking directly about something.
  • Don’t beat about the bush and tell me what you really think.

Bed of roses

  • A situation that is comfortable or easy.
  • Starting a new job is not always a bed of roses.

Below the surface

  • Beyond what is immediately apparent or visible.
  • There’s more to her than meets the eye; you have to look below the surface.

Beyond the horizon

  • Something that is not yet visible or known, in the future or distant.
  • He has big dreams that go beyond the horizon; he wants to make a difference in the world.

Bird’s eye view

  • A view from a high position, providing a good overview.
  • From the top of the tower, we had a bird’s eye view of the city.

Birds of a feather flock together

  • People that are similar tend to associate with one another.
  • They say birds of a feather flock together, and that’s why they’re such good friends.

Bite the bullet

  • To face a difficult or unpleasant situation with courage and determination.
  • He had to bite the bullet and tell his parents the truth about what happened.

Blood and Thunder

  • Very exciting and energetic.
  • The concert was full of blood and thunder, with everyone dancing and cheering.

Blow hot and cold

  • To keep changing one’s opinion or attitude about something.
  • She blows hot and cold about her career; one day she’s enthusiastic, the next day she’s not.

Break the ice

  • To start a communication and [hopefully] create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in a social setting.
  • He told a joke to break the ice and make everyone feel more comfortable.

Break the mold

  • To do something in a new or different way, breaking away from tradition.
  • She wanted to break the mold and introduce innovative ideas in the industry.

Burst into bloom

  • To suddenly and fully blossom or flourish.
  • In spring, the garden burst into bloom with colorful flowers.

back to top

Call of Nature (Nature calls or Nature’s calling)

  • To need to go to the bathroom.
  • The call of nature is strong so excuse me for a minute.
  • Excuse me, nature calls; I’ll be right back.
  • Sorry, but nature’s calling, and I need to find a restroom.

Calm before the storm

  • A period of quiet and peacefulness before a difficult or challenging situation.
  • The office was unusually calm before the storm of the annual performance reviews.

Can’t see the forest for the trees

Can’t see the wood for the trees

  • To be unable to see or understand the big picture because of focusing too much on small details.
  • He’s so caught up in the details that he can’t see the forest for the trees.
  • She’s so focused on individual tasks that she can’t see the wood for the trees.

Cat got your tongue

  • A playful or teasing way of asking why someone is not speaking or responding.
  • You’ve been unusually quiet. Cat got your tongue?

Caught between a rock and a hard place

  • To be in a difficult or impossible situation with no good options.
  • She was caught between a rock and a hard place; she had to choose between two equally undesirable choices.

Chase rainbows

  • To pursue or seek something that is unrealistic or unlikely to happen.
  • Instead of chasing rainbows, focus on achievable goals.

Clear as mud

  • Something that is unclear or confusing.
  • His explanation was clear as mud; nobody understood what he was trying to say.

Cloud nine

  • To be extremely happy or elated.
  • When she received the scholarship, she was on cloud nine.

Come rain or shine

  • Regardless of the weather or any difficulties.
  • The postal service delivers mail come rain or shine.

Cuts no ice

  • Not able to influence or impress.
  • His excuses cut no ice with the teacher; he still had to finish his homework.

Dawn on someone

  • To suddenly understand or become aware of something.
  • It finally dawned on him that he had forgotten his keys at home.

Dead air

  • A period of silence or lack of communication during a conversation (e.g. on the radio).
  • The radio station had dead air for a few seconds before resuming the broadcast.

Death of winter

  • The end of the winter season.
  • Spring flowers bloom with the death of winter.

Don’t rain on my parade

  • A phrase used to ask someone not to spoil or ruin a positive experience or moment.
  • I’m really excited about my new job, so please don’t rain on my parade.

Down to earth

  • To be practical, realistic, and humble.
  • Despite his success, he remains down to earth and treats everyone with respect.

Draw a line in the sand

  • To establish a boundary or set limits on what is acceptable.
  • She had to draw a line in the sand and let her colleagues know when their behavior was crossing a line.

Drop a bombshell

  • To reveal or announce surprising or shocking news.
  • She dropped a bombshell when she announced her resignation.

Every cloud has a silver lining

  • Even in difficult or negative situations, there is always a positive or hopeful aspect.
  • She didn’t get the job she wanted, but she realized that every cloud has a silver lining and found an even better opportunity.

Every nook and cranny*

  • every place you can look or search
  • We searched every nook and cranny but we could not find the toy.
  • *used normally as searched every nook and cranny.

Face like thunder

  • To have an angry or displeased expression on one’s face.
  • When she heard the news, she had a face like thunder; she was clearly upset.

Fair-weather friend

  • Someone who is only a friend during good times or when it benefits them.
  • He’s just a fair-weather friend; he’s never there when you need him.

Feel under the weather

  • To feel unwell or not in good health.
  • I won’t be able to come to work today; I’m feeling under the weather.

Field of dreams

  • An imaginary or idealized place or situation where dreams can come true.
  • For him, the football field was a field of dreams where he imagined becoming a professional player.

Force of Nature

  • If a person is described as a force of nature they are unnaturally strong in some form.
  • Despite her small stature, the young actress was a force of nature on stage.

Forest for the trees

  • To be unable to see or understand the big picture because of focusing too much on small details.
  • She’s so immersed in her research that she can’t see the forest for the trees.

Freak of nature

  • Something or someone that is highly unusual, extraordinary, or abnormal.
  • The athlete’s speed and strength were like a freak of nature; he broke records effortlessly.

back to top

Get the green light

  • Permission to proceed or start.
    • The project got the green light, and they could begin working on it.

Get wind of something

  • To hear or become aware of information or news.
  • I got wind of a new movie coming out next week; I’m excited to see it.

Go off the beaten path

  • To take a route or approach that is less conventional or well-known.
  • Instead of following the main road, let’s go off the beaten path and explore the hidden trails.

Go out on a limb

  • Take a risk or put oneself in a vulnerable position.
  • She decided to go out on a limb and try a completely new hobby.

Go with the flow

  • To adapt to the circumstances or follow the prevailing trends or opinions.
  • She prefers to go with the flow rather than make waves.

Gone with the wind

  • Something or someone that is no longer present or has disappeared.
  • After the tornado, many houses were gone with the wind.

Good nature

  • To have a good nature is to be a kind person.
  • Sally shared her umbrella as usual, she is so good natured.
  • Some native speakers say ‘well natured’, with the same meaning.

Grass is always greener on the other side

  • The belief that what other people have or experience is always better than one’s own situation.
  • She thought working from home would be better, but now she realizes the grass is always greener on the other side.

Grass roots

  • Starting at the basic level; ordinary people.
  • The charity started at the grass roots, with local volunteers organizing events.

Green around the gills

  • To appear pale or sickly, often due to nausea or illness.
  • After the boat ride, he looked a bit green around the gills.

Green thumb (fingers)

  • To have a natural talent or skill for gardening or growing plants.
  • Her garden is always flourishing; she definitely has a green thumb.

Green with envy

  • To be extremely jealous of someone.
  • When she saw her friend’s new car, she turned green with envy.

Hail from (a place)

  • To come from or be native to a particular place.
  • She hails from a small town in the countryside.

Have a face like thunder

  • to have a very angry or upset expression on your face.
  • When Sarah saw the mess her children made in the living room, she had a face like thunder.

Have a whale of a time

  • To have a great and enjoyable time.
  • The children had a whale of a time at the amusement park.

Head in the clouds

  • To be daydreaming or not paying attention to what is happening around you.
  • He’s always got his head in the clouds; he needs to focus on his work.

Heaven on earth

  • A place or situation of extreme happiness.
  • Being with family on holidays feels like heaven on earth.

Hit the hay

  • To go to bed to sleep
  • I’m so tired, I’m going upstairs to hit the hay.

Hit the ground running

  • To start a project or task with great energy, enthusiasm, and effectiveness.
  • She joined the team and hit the ground running, quickly making valuable contributions.

Human nature

  • Human nature is the normal and natural way for a person to behave.
  • She was so upset when her dog was sick, when you love your pet it is human nature.

In a fog

  • To feel confused, disoriented, or unable to think clearly.
  • I’ve been up all night studying; my brain is in a fog.

In broad daylight

  • In plain view or during the daytime.
  • The thief stole the bike in broad daylight; nobody noticed.

In deep water

  • In a difficult or troublesome situation.
  • He got himself in deep water with his financial decisions.

In full bloom

  • When flowers are fully open and at their most beautiful.
  • The garden is in full bloom, with colorful flowers everywhere.

In full swing

  • At the peak or height of an activity or event.
  • The party was in full swing, with music, dancing, and laughter.

In the eye of the storm

  • To be at the center of a chaotic or difficult situation.
  • Despite the chaos around her, she remained calm in the eye of the storm.

It’s a jungle out there

  • The world or a particular situation is competitive, challenging, or ruthless.
  • Finding a job in this market is tough; it’s a jungle out there.

It’s raining cats and dogs

  • It is raining heavily.
  • Grab an umbrella; it’s raining cats and dogs outside.

Last straw

  • The final event or action that causes someone to reach their limit or take decisive action.
  • His constant lateness was the last straw; she decided to end the relationship.

King of the castle

  • The person in charge or the one with the most authority.
  • In the game, he always wants to be the king of the castle.

Knock on wood

  • A superstition to ward off bad luck.
  • “I’ve never had a car accident, knock on wood,” she said, tapping the table.

Late bloomer

  • Someone who achieves success later than others.
  • She was a late bloomer in academics, but eventually, she excelled.

Like a fish out of water

  • To feel uncomfortable or out of place in a particular situation.
  • She’s never been to a formal event before, so she felt like a fish out of water.

Like looking for a needle in a haystack

  • a task that is extremely difficult or nearly impossible because of the range of options.
  • Searching for my lost keys in the park’s tall grass was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Like a moth to a flame

  • To be irresistibly attracted to something or someone, even if it is dangerous or harmful.
  • He’s always drawn to dangerous situations; he’s like a moth to a flame.

Lost in the shuffle

  • To be forgotten, overlooked, or not given proper attention.
  • With so many projects going on, his ideas got lost in the shuffle.

Lost in the wilderness

  • To be confused, disoriented, or unsure about what to do in a situation.
  • When she started her new job, she felt lost in the wilderness; everything was unfamiliar.

back to top

Make a mountain out of a molehill

  • To exaggerate or make a small problem seem much bigger or more important than it actually is.
  • Stop making a mountain out of a molehill; it’s not a big deal.

Make hay while the sun shines

  • To make hay while the sun shines is to take advantage of the current situation while it lasts.
  • Have you seen the prices in the sales this year? I’m going to make hay while the sun shines and buy some clothes.

Make waves

  • To cause trouble or controversy by challenging the status quo or asserting oneself.
  • She’s not afraid to make waves and speak up for what she believes in.

Many moons ago

  • A long time ago.
  • Many moons ago, people used to communicate through letters.

Mother nature

  • Mother nature is used to describe nature and the forces of nature.
  • We walk alone in the remote parts of the forest where there are no noises from the city to really be with mother nature.

Nature of the beast

  • Nature of the beast describes something as just the way it is, especially if it’s hard to change.
  • When playing sports you will get some cuts and bruises, that’s the nature of the beast.

Neck of the woods

  • A particular region, neighborhood, or area.
  • I haven’t seen her around our neck of the woods lately.

Nip it in the bud

  • Stop a problem before it gets worse.
  • He noticed a small leak in the roof and decided to nip it in the bud by fixing it right away.

Off the beaten path

  • Away from the more commonly traveled route or mainstream options.
  • They decided to take a vacation off the beaten path and explore remote destinations

Off the grid

  • Not connected to public utilities such as electricity or water.
  • Their cabin in the mountains is completely off the grid.

Old flame

  • A past romantic partner or love interest.
  • She ran into her old flame at the grocery store.

Olive branch

  • A symbol of peace or a gesture of reconciliation.
  • He extended an olive branch to his former rival, hoping to mend their relationship.

On cloud nine

  • To be extremely happy or joyful.
  • Winning the championship put him on cloud nine.

On the rocks

  • In a difficult or uncertain situation, usually referring to a relationship.
  • Their marriage has been on the rocks for a while.

Once in a blue moon

  • Very rarely.
  • He visits us once in a blue moon because he lives far away.


  • An expression used when something goes wrong or there’s a small accident.
  • Oops-a-daisy, she dropped her books in the hallway.

Out of the woods

  • No longer in danger or facing a difficult situation.
  • After months of treatment, she is finally out of the woods and on the road to recovery.

Out of your element

  • Outside of one’s usual or comfortable environment.
  • As a city dweller, camping in the wilderness is out of my element.

Over the hill

  • Older or past one’s prime.
  • People say you’re over the hill when you turn fifty, but I disagree.

Over the moon

  • Overjoyed or extremely happy.
  • She was over the moon when she received the scholarship.

Paper tiger

  • Something or someone that appears powerful or threatening but is actually weak.
  • Don’t be afraid of him; he’s just a paper tiger.

Plant seeds of something

  • To initiate or start the development of something.
  • The conference aimed to plant seeds of innovation in young minds.

Pushing up daisies

  • Slang for being dead and buried.
  • I don’t want to start pushing up daisies; I still have a lot to do in life.

Put down roots

  • Settle down and establish a permanent home.
  • After years of traveling, they decided to put down roots in a small town.

Rain cats and dogs

  • To rain heavily.
  • It’s pouring outside; it’s raining cats and dogs!

Rain on someone’s parade

  • To spoil or dampen someone’s enthusiasm or plans.
  • Don’t rain on her parade; let her enjoy her accomplishment.

Rain or shine

  • Regardless of the weather conditions.
  • The event will take place, rain or shine.

Reach for the moon

  • To set ambitious goals or aim for something very challenging.
  • Don’t limit yourself; reach for the moon and see what you can achieve.

Ride out the storm

  • To endure or survive a difficult or challenging situation.
  • We need to stay strong and ride out the storm together.

back to top

Save for a rainy day

  • To save money or resources for future needs or emergencies.
  • She always saves a portion of her income for a rainy day.

Second nature

  • Something that has become so familiar or natural that it is done without much thought.
  • After years of practice, playing the piano has become second nature to her.

Shoot for the moon

  • To set ambitious goals and aim high.
  • Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon and pursue your dreams.

Shrinking violet

  • A shy person
  • Donald is a great singer but he is a shrinking violet when it comes to showing his talents in public.

Spit into the wind*

  • Engaging in a futile or counterproductive activity.
  • Arguing with him is like spitting into the wind; he never listens.
  • *also used is “piss in the wind” (vulgar), this is offensive to some people.

Steal your thunder

  • Take attention or praise away from someone.
  • Announcing her achievement just after his stole her thunder.

Storm in a teacup

  • A situation that is blown out of proportion, causing unnecessary drama or conflict.
  • Don’t worry about their argument; it’s just a storm in a teacup.

Take a rain check

  • To decline an invitation or offer, but suggest doing it at a later time.
  • I can’t join you for dinner tonight, but let’s take a rain check and do it another day.

Take the wind out of someone’s sails

  • To diminish someone’s enthusiasm or advantage.
  • His criticism took the wind out of her sails, making her doubt her abilities.

Test the waters

  • Try something cautiously before fully committing.
  • Before buying a new car, he decided to test the waters and rent one for a week.

The best of both worlds

  • the advantage or benefit of two different things at the same time.
  • Working from home allows me to spend time with my family and save on traveling, giving me the best of both worlds.

The birds and the bees

  • A metaphorical explanation of sexual reproduction and the facts of life.
  • It’s time for us to have a talk about the birds and the bees.

The calm before the storm

  • A peaceful period before a challenging or turbulent time.
  • Enjoy the quiet; it’s the calm before the storm.

The coast is clear

  • It’s safe to proceed; there’s no danger.
  • They waited until the coast was clear before sneaking into the kitchen for cookies.

The tip of the iceberg

  • A small, visible part of a much larger problem or issue.
  • The damaged roof was just the tip of the iceberg; the entire house needed repairs.

The winds of change

  • Symbolizing a significant shift or transformation in a situation.
  • The new CEO brought the winds of change to the company.

Throw caution to the wind

  • To take risks without worrying about the consequences.
  • They decided to throw caution to the wind and travel the world.

Tip of the iceberg

  • A small part or aspect of a larger problem or situation.
  • The accounting error is just the tip of the iceberg; there may be more issues hidden.

To back the wrong horse

  • To support or invest in something or someone that is likely to fail or lose.
  • He backed the wrong horse by investing in that failing company.

To be a guinea pig

  • To be the first person to try or test something.
  • She volunteered to be a guinea pig for the new medication.

To go green

  • Adopt environmentally friendly practices.
  • Many companies are making efforts to go green by reducing waste and using sustainable materials.

To make a mountain out of a molehill

  • To exaggerate or make a small problem seem much larger or more significant than it actually is.
  • Stop making a mountain out of a molehill; it’s not a big deal.

Too many to shake a stick at

  • A large number.
  • There were too many balloons to shake a stick at during the celebration.

Touch wood

  • A superstition to avoid jinxing something.
  • “I’ve never had a major injury, touch wood,” he said, tapping the table.

Turn over a new leaf

  • To make a fresh start or change one’s behavior for the better.
  • After the incident, he decided to turn over a new leaf and be more responsible.

Under a cloud

  • Having a negative reputation or suspicion surrounding oneself.
  • Since the scandal, he has been under a cloud of suspicion.

Under the same sun

  • Sharing a common experience or condition.
  • We may live in different countries, but we’re all under the same sun.

Under the weather

  • Feeling unwell or sick.
  • I won’t be able to go to the party; I’m feeling under the weather.

Up a tree

  • In a difficult or challenging situation with no clear solution.
  • The company’s financial problems have them up a tree.

Up in the air

  • Uncertain or undecided.
  • The plans for the weekend are still up in the air; we haven’t decided yet.

Virgin territory

  • A place or situation that is completely new and unexplored.
  • This market is virgin territory for our business; we have no competitors.

Walking on thin ice

  • Engaging in a risky or dangerous situation.
  • He’s walking on thin ice with his reckless behavior.

Water under the bridge

  • Past events or conflicts that are no longer important.
  • After their apology, they considered the disagreement water under the bridge.

Weather a storm

  • To endure or withstand a difficult situation or period of turmoil.
  • We need to stay strong and weather the storm together.

Weather the storm

  • To successfully endure or overcome a difficult or challenging situation.
  • Despite the obstacles, they were able to weather the storm and come out stronger.

When hell freezes over

  • Something that will never happen.
  • He said he’d clean his room when hell freezes over, meaning it will never happen.

Wild goose chase

  • A fruitless or futile search or pursuit.
  • Searching for the missing keys turned into a wild goose chase.

X marks the spot

  • A phrase used to indicate the specific location of something.
  • The treasure map shows that X marks the spot where the treasure is buried.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs

  • You can’t achieve something significant without facing some difficulties or making sacrifices.
  • If you want to start your own business, be prepared for challenges. After all, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Zero hour

  • The moment when something important or significant is about to begin.
  • We’re approaching zero hour; the race is about to start.

back to top

Essential Nature Idioms for Beginners

If you want to learn and improve your understanding of everyday English language then increase your vocabulary.

Learn English idioms and phrases with this comprehensive list of idiomatic expressions that is used to describe these expressions with definitions and an example sentence for each. 

Unlocking the Power of Idioms: Learn and Use Natural Expressions

Students will like a lot how these phrases mean something different from their meaning of words literally.

They can also be used in writing but to explain how they should be used read a lot of background use to see the context that they are used to really know their meaning.

You’ll improve your English if you can write about the topic of nature with these phrases.

Idioms in Action: Examples of Nature-related Expressions

Describe nature using these expressions. It is easy to make a mistake but after time you will begin to understand what these idioms mean and how to use them correctly.

Mastering Nature Idioms: Enhancing Your English Vocabulary

If you are a English Second Language (ESL) learner then these phrases will help you enhance your vocabulary. Take a class or have a lesson everyday with these expressions.

English Idioms

If you wish to try other categories of idioms then try our Categories of Common English  Idioms and their Meanings for Language Learners page.

Can you make sense of these phrases, let us know? Contact us on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube.