In Figurative Language

Idioms are a combination of words that have a figurative meaning owing to its common usage. An idiom’s figurative meaning is separate from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms and they occur frequently in all languages. According to Wikipedia, there are estimated to be at least thirty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language.


An idiom is “An expression that doesn’t necessarily have a definition but more of an understanding behind it.” Urban Dictionary.

examples of idioms

Classic idioms we still use today

  • Hit the books – to study
  • Hit the nail on the head – be perfectly correct and accurate
  • When pigs fly – something will never happen – it is as likely to happen as is pigs flying, which means impossible.
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover – don’t be fooled by appearances
  • Bite off more than you can chew – take on more than you can deal with

newer idioms

  • Elvis has left the building. It’s too late, it’s all over.
  • Put your money where your mouth is! If you believe that what you are saying is.
  • That takes the cake! That’s unbelievable/incredible/ridiculous!
  • Not playing with a full deck. Crazy.
  • Put a lid on it.  Be quiet!!
  • Paint the town red. Let’s go out and enjoy the exciting entertainment of the city! After the exam, let’s go out and paint the town!
  • When the going gets tough, the tough get going! When there are problems, strong people take action to solve the problems!

Native English speakers use idioms all the time, and as a short descriptive way to replace using words that mean what they say, it makes the speaker more expressive and individual with his style of speech. Idioms are special phrases with figurative meanings that are different than their literal meanings. These phrases play a big role for writers who want to connect with their readers in such a way that is not so dry, and by maybe adding a little bit of humor to their work.
There are around 35,000 idioms in the English language at last count. Idioms part of your everyday speech.

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