COMMON IDIOMS IN USE 1

English@HighSchool would never be complete without idioms, proverbs, and expressions which are an important part of everyday English. They come up all the time in both written and spoken English.

Many BooksBecause idioms and proverbs don’t always make sense literally, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of each idiom. That may seem like a lot of work, but learning idioms is fun, especially when you compare English idioms to other idioms.

An idiom is a common expression understood figuratively, as the literal definition makes no sense.

Learning to use common idioms and expressions will make your English sound more native, so it’s a good idea to master some of these expressions. None of the idioms on this page are unusual or old fashioned, so you can be confident using any of them any time or anywhere in your travels or when carrying out English assignments.

Read the sentence and match its definition on the right.

Common Idioms Definitions
1. It cost me an arm and a leg to take my trip to Australia. Feeling inferior or having a grievance about something
2. I was over the moon when he asked me to marry him. Happening very rarely
3. He comes round to see me once in a blue moon. Extremely pleased or happy
4. He’s got a chip on his shoulder. Very expensive
5. I reckon getting a 75% will be a piece of cake! I’m very good at English. When an attempt to do something fails and it’s time to start all over again using different methods
6. The money sent by comic relief to help poverty in Africa is just a drop in the ocean. They need far more than this. Very easy
7. Getting a low score the first time was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to study extremely hard. A very small part of something much bigger
8. We have to actually do something about global warming. Actions speak louder than words. Meeting someone you would not have expected to
9. I bumped into Joumana in town the other day. It’s a small world. It’s better to actually do something rather than just talking about it
10. Oh well, I got 57% again. Back to the drawing board! Something positive that isn’t recognized until later

Good IdeaHow did you fair? Here are the answers to the above exercise.

Common Idioms Definitions
1. It cost me an arm and a leg to take my trip to Australia. Very expensive
2. I was over the moon when he asked me to marry him. Extremely pleased or happy
3. He comes round to see me once in a blue moon. Happening very rarely
4. He’s got a chip on his shoulder. Feeling inferior or having a grievance about something
5. I reckon getting a 75% will be a piece of cake! I’m very good at English. Very easy
6. The money sent by comic relief to help poverty in Africa is just a drop in the ocean. They need far more than this. A very small part of something much bigger
7. Getting a low score the first time was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to study extremely hard. Something positive that isn’t recognized until later
8. We have to actually do something about global warming. Actions speak louder than words. It’s better to actually do something rather than just talking about it
9. I bumped into Joumana in town the other day. It’s a small world. Meeting someone you would not have expected to
10. Oh well, I got 57% again. Back to the drawing board! When an attempt to do something fails and it’s time to start all over again using different methods

Here is another dosage of idioms:

After twenty years of working at the post office and living frugally, Mr Lerner had built up quite a nice nest egg for his retirement.

A nest egg is the total savings or material value possessed by a person or company.

quote-chalk-think-words.jpgIf the new kid crosses Big Buck during the train car robbery, the kid is going to be pushing up daisies.

To push up daises is to no longer be of this world, to have passed away or perished.

Mr Morey didn’t trust his daughter’s new boyfriend because he wore suits and used ten dollar words.

Ten dollar words are large or difficult vocabulary words that most people would not understand.

Ever since her dog Tori went missing, Shona has been a real basket case.

A basket case is a person who is not emotionally fit to function.  

The principal is trying to bring Mariam before a school council kangaroo court to have her removed from the journalism club.

A kangaroo court is a trying body that judges people unfairly or without proper authority.

As the teacher reprimanded Eric, we all expected that he would reply with something smart or witty, but it seemed as if the cat had gotten his tongue.

When the cat has someone’s tongue that person is uncharacteristically quiet in the face of charges or criticism.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.

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