Have you ever heard someone speaking a certain phrase or sentence that do not mean exactly what they say but nevertheless conveying a certain message or lesson? Well, this is a style of artistic expression (phrases or a sentence) or a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a given language. It is an expression (a group of words) in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word understood on its own. This manner of expression is called idiom. Labels: Idioms
The English language uses many idioms in all forms of communication whether it be, written, oral, casual or formal. Idiom differs from the figures of speech (for example, irony, sarcasm, metaphor) and other linguistic variants that are used in the English language ( euphemism, colloquialism, analogy, allegory, allusion, jargon, slang). Due to the fact that idioms have no literal meanings (do not mean exactly what they say) this therefore means that even if you know the meaning of every word that you read (see) or hear, you might not comprehend the meaning in the message because you don't understand the culture behind it. This also means you will not able to find the meanings of such a phrase or sentence by looking in a regular dictionary. Thus therefore, non-native speakers of the language (English language in this case) will find it very difficult and confusing when used in communication to them directly or indirectly ( books, amongst native speakers, plays etc). However, they are very easy and quick to learn when their meanings are explained. This weeks article provide a few collection of idioms and their meanings. There are many that cannot be listed here, however you can find more of these phrases and sentences in a dictionary of idioms.This will provide a comprehensive alphabetical list with their general meanings and uses. More will be added to the list below overtime. Now, learn some phrases that will make others around you ponder especially when communicating with another person who already know the hidden meanings. Have fun!
A bed of roses
A pleasant or easy situation.
A cock and bull story
A fanciful and unbelievable tale.
A diamond in the rough
Someone who are basically good hearted but lacking social graces and respect for the law.
A dish fit for the gods
An offering of high quality.
A leopard cannot change its spots
The notion that things cannot change their innate nature.
As keen as mustard
Back to square one
Back to the beginning, to start again.
Below the belt
An unfair tactic.
Call a spade a spade
To speak plainly - to describe something as it really is.
Chip on his shoulder
To harbour a grudge.
Be treated in an offhand unfriendly way.
Come hell or high water
Persevere no matter what difficulties are encountered.
Cut to the chase
Get to the point - leaving out unnecessary .
Blatant and unfair overcharging.
Excuse my French
Please forgive my swearing.
End of story
The talking is over - there's no more to be said.
A face like a bulldog chewing a wasp
Fall on your sword
Commit suicide or offer your resignation.
From sea to shining sea
From one coast to another.
Get off on the wrong foot
Make a bad start to a project or relationship.
Get used to it
Accept that what you want isn't going to be.
Get your feet wet
To get your first experience of something.
Have an axe to grind
Have an ulterior motive.
Head over heels
Excited, and/or turning cartwheels to demonstrate one's excitement.
Hit the hay
Go to bed.
Hold your horses
Hold on; be patient.
Hot off the press
Trickery - double dealing. Also, more recently, sexual shenanigans.
In a Nutshell
In very few words; briefly; clearly and to the point.
In the limelight
At the centre of attention.
It never rains but it pours
When troubles come they come together.
To get that which is deserved - A reward for what has been done wether it be good or bad.
To emphasize just how black something is.
Keep your nose to the grindstone
Apply yourself conscientiously to your work
Kick the bucket
knee jerk reaction
An automatic response to something.
To finish work for the day.
Know the ropes
To understand how an organisation works.
Know which way the wind blows
To understand what is happening in changing circumstances.
labour of love
Work undertaken for the pleasure of it or for the benefit of a loved one.
Last but not least
An indication that something or someone are not necessarily in order of importance.
A figure or object of ridicule and laughter.
Learn the ropes
Learn something new.
Level playing field
Fair competition, where no advantage is shown to either side.
Keep out of sight.
Let the cat out of the bag
To reveal a big secret, often unintentionally.
Living on borrowed time
Living after the time you would have expected to have died.
Be quick - To take advantage of a favorable opportunity as soon as it arises without wasting time.
Make a mountain out of a molehill
To assume something is much worse than it actually is.
To cause a lot of trouble.
Mind one's Ps and Qs
To be very careful and/or to behave correctly.
Never never land
A utopia promised in the place of a real benefit.
New kid on the block
A new arrival in an area and in a group of young friends.
Nip in the bud
Put a stop to something while it is still in its early development.
No man is an island
Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others.
Not worth the candle
A problem that is especially easy to solve, if not outright obvious.
Off the hook
Someone have avoided punishment or criticism for something they have done.
Off the mark
It is inaccurate or incorrect.
On cloud nine
To be extremely happy.
On the fiddle
Engaged in corruption.
On the same page
Two or more persons understanding a given situation the same way and are operating accordingly.
Paddle your own canoe
Act independently and decide your own fate.
A person who appears to have power but is in reality ineffectual.
Pass the buck
Pass responsibility on to someone else.
Play by ear
Handle a situation in an impromptu manner, without reference to a set of guidelines.
Put your best foot forward
Embark on a journey or task with purpose and gusto.
Queer the pitch
Ruin a plan.
To make some money easily
Rags to riches
Someone who starts life very poor and becomes rich.
Bureaucratic rules and paperwork.
Rise and shine
Get out of bed.
Rule of thumb
A means of estimation made according to a rough and ready practical rule, not based on science or exact measurement.
Run out of steam
Run out of energy.
Something too highly regarded to be open to criticism.
To escape pursuers or avoid payment.
Shot in the arm
Shot in the dark
A hopeful attempt at something.
Smoke and mirrors
Trickery or deception.
Acting meanly after a disappointment.
Strike a deal (or bargain)
To agree terms on a transaction.
Take a back seat
Take no active part.
Take with a pinch of salt
Accept a truth but with reservations.
The Ball is in your court
The next move is up to you.
The bitter end
To the limit of one's efforts - to the last extremity.
The blind leading the blind
Uninformed and incompetent people leading others who are similarly incapable.
The Full Monty
Complete, the whole thing.
Thorn in the flesh
A persistent difficulty or annoyance.
Time and tide wait for no man
No one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.
Tie the knot
Two cents worth
Offer an opinion.
Turn a blind eye
To refuse to take notice of a situation.
Turn the tables
Reverse the positions of adversaries. Usually used when the weaker position subsequently becomes dominant.
Up a blind alley
On the wrong track.
Relax in a slothful and mindless manner.
Wake up on the wrong side of the bed
Be very grumpy.
Water under the bridge
A past event that is no longer worth agonizing over.
What goes around comes around
What ever a person do, it will eventually come back to him/her. If a person does something bad, for example, something bad will happen to him.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander
The sexes should be treated the same way and not be subjected to different standards.
When in Rome, do as the Romans
When you are visiting a different place or culture, you should try to follow their customs and practices.
Where there's smoke, there's fire
A suspicion or rumor usually has a basis in fact - There is always a basis for a rumor, no matter how untrue it appears.
Something that is more trouble than it is worth.
Two slightly differing but related meanings.
X marks the spot
This is used to say where something is located or hidden.
You are what you eat
The notion that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food.
You can't get blood out of a stone
You cannot extract what isn't there to begin with.
Your name is mud
You are not popular
The time when something important is to begin.
A form of policing that allows no crime to be overlooked.
It is important to note that aphorisms and proverbs are not the same as idioms. An aphorism is a wise saying that bears repetition - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphorisms.
A Proverb is a short statement, usually known by many people for a long time, that gives advice or expresses some common truth- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proverb
Latin Abbreviations and their English meaning
Languages by Countries
Differences between American and British English - PT. 1
Differences between American and British English - PT. 2