25 Essential Idioms in English

 In Learn English

English language learners have to grasp the many essential idioms and their meanings that are used in everyday English. Idioms are phrases which have emerged from a specific cultural, historical even regional influence. An idiom, notes the Urban Dictionary, is “An expression that doesn’t necessarily have a definition but more of an understanding behind it.”

There are thousands of idioms in the English language, and although a learner does not have to know what all of these mean in their written or spoken context, there are some of these expressions which are used so profusely in English that it’s best to understand their meanings from the standpoint of the native speaker.

25 Essential Idioms and how to use them in English conversation

1. Piece of cake The test was a piece of cake It was very easy
2. Costs an arm and a leg This coat costs an arm and a leg It is very expensive
3. Break a leg You’re performing in the play tonight? Break a leg! Good luck!
4. Hit the books I have a big exam tomorrow.  I need to hit the books. I must study hard.
5. Let the cat out of the bag We are meeting your sister at the airport as a surprise.  Don’t let the cat out the bag! Do not reveal this.
6. Hit the nail on the head When you said she was a complex person, you hit the nail on the head. You were completely accurate.
7. When pigs fly I’ll believe that when pigs fly. Something will never happen.
8. You can’t judge a book by its cover Although he looks like a pauper, he is a millionaire. Just goes to show, you can’t tell a book by its cover. Don’t base your opinion on appearances.
9.  Bite off more than you can chew I think if you take on this project, you might bite off more than you can chew. Too much to handle.
10. Scratch someone’s back If she scratched his back, she expected him to do a favor like lend her his holiday home at Christmas. Do a favor and expect a favor to be returned.
11. As easy as pie Knitting a scarf is as easy as pie   Very easy
12.  Sick and tired of I am sick and tired of the dog’s barking Do not like/ hate
13. Bend over backwards  We bent over backwards to make his stay enjoyable. Try very hard, (maybe too much)
14 The sky is the limit In terms of her career possibilities, the sky is the limit There are no limits to something being achieved
15. Broke The students were too broke to go an eat out at fancy restaurants. Have no money
16. Change one’s mind  Sally changed her mind and agreed to go to the movies instead of doing homework. Decide to do something different than you originally planned
17. Cut it out! You’ve been moaning all day. Cut it out! Stop it
18. Drop someone a line  I missed my sister, so I decided to drop her a line. Email or send a letter to someone.
19. Figure something out I could not understand what she was saying, but eventually I figured it out. Come to understand a problem
20. Fill in for someone Joan had to go to the doctor, so I am just filling in for her at the reception desk. Replace somebody
21. In ages We hadn’t seen each other in ages. In a long time
22. Give someone a hand She was having trouble carrying all her grocery bags, so I have her a hand To help
23. To get the ball rolling Since we are all here, let’s get the ball rolling! To start something
24. Up to the minute The website had the most up to the minute information about movie show times The most recent information
25. Twenty-four/seven We are working on this project twenty-four/seven. All the time
Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search