<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\07512455442\46blogName\75Did+You+Know?\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_HOSTED\46navbarType\75BLUE\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75http://www.myuniversalfacts.com/search\46blogLocale\75en_US\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://www.myuniversalfacts.com/\46vt\0752942159417597528138', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>
An informative site with content that provides interesting facts to know, learn and/or ponder about, at a level of coverage that is extensive in all subject areas to reach a wide audience. This is your source for everything to do with factual Knowledge. New content is published once each week.

The Web This Site

English Idioms - English phrases and their meanings

Published Saturday, March 25, 2006

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.

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
A bed of roses
Meaning:
A pleasant or easy situation.

A cock and bull story
Meaning:
A fanciful and unbelievable tale.

A diamond in the rough
Meaning:
Someone who are basically good hearted but lacking social graces and respect for the law.

A dish fit for the gods
Meaning:
An offering of high quality.

A leopard cannot change its spots
Meaning:
The notion that things cannot change their innate nature.

As keen as mustard
Meaning:
Very enthusiastic.

B
Back to square one
Meaning:
Back to the beginning, to start again.

Baker's dozen
Meaning:
Thirteen.

Below the belt
Meaning:
An unfair tactic.

C
Call a spade a spade
Meaning:
To speak plainly - to describe something as it really is.

Chip on his shoulder
Meaning:
To harbour a grudge.

Cold shouldered
Meaning:
Be treated in an offhand unfriendly way.

Come hell or high water
Meaning:
Persevere no matter what difficulties are encountered.

Crocodile tears
Meaning:
Fake tears.

Cut to the chase
Meaning:
Get to the point - leaving out unnecessary .

D
Daylight robbery
Meaning:
Blatant and unfair overcharging.

E

Excuse my French
Meaning:
Please forgive my swearing.

End of story
Meaning
The talking is over - there's no more to be said.

F
A face like a bulldog chewing a wasp
Meaning:
Ugly

Fall on your sword
Meaning:
Commit suicide or offer your resignation.

From sea to shining sea
Meaning:
From one coast to another.

G
Get off on the wrong foot
Meaning:
Make a bad start to a project or relationship.

Get used to it
Meaning:
Accept that what you want isn't going to be.

Get your feet wet
Meaning:
To get your first experience of something.

H
Have an axe to grind
Meaning:
Have an ulterior motive.

Head over heels
Meaning:
Excited, and/or turning cartwheels to demonstrate one's excitement.

Hit the hay
Meaning:
Go to bed.

Hold your horses
Meaning:
Hold on; be patient.

Hot off the press
Meaning:
Freshly printed.

Hanky-panky
Meaning:
Trickery - double dealing. Also, more recently, sexual shenanigans.

I
In a Nutshell
Meaning:
In very few words; briefly; clearly and to the point.

In the limelight
Meaning:
At the centre of attention.

It never rains but it pours
Meaning:
When troubles come they come together.

J
Just deserts
Meaning:
To get that which is deserved - A reward for what has been done wether it be good or bad.

Jet-black
Meaning:
To emphasize just how black something is.

K

Keep your nose to the grindstone
Meaning:
Apply yourself conscientiously to your work

Kick the bucket
Meaning:
Die.

knee jerk reaction
Meaning:
An automatic response to something.

Knock off
Meaning:
To finish work for the day.

Know the ropes
Meaning:
To understand how an organisation works.

Know which way the wind blows
Meaning:
To understand what is happening in changing circumstances.

L
labour of love
Meaning:
Work undertaken for the pleasure of it or for the benefit of a loved one.

Last but not least
Meaning:
An indication that something or someone are not necessarily in order of importance.

Laughing-stock
Meaning:
A figure or object of ridicule and laughter.

Learn the ropes
Meaning:
Learn something new.

Level playing field
Meaning:
Fair competition, where no advantage is shown to either side.

Lie low
Meaning:
Keep out of sight.

Let the cat out of the bag
Meaning:
To reveal a big secret, often unintentionally.

Living on borrowed time
Meaning:
Living after the time you would have expected to have died.

M
Make hay
Meaning:
Be quick - To take advantage of a favorable opportunity as soon as it arises without wasting time.

Make a mountain out of a molehill
Meaning:
To assume something is much worse than it actually is.

Make waves
Meaning:
To cause a lot of trouble.

Mind one's Ps and Qs
Meaning:
To be very careful and/or to behave correctly.

Mumbo jumbo
Meaning:
Nonsense.

N
Never never land
Meaning:
A utopia promised in the place of a real benefit.

New kid on the block
Meaning:
A new arrival in an area and in a group of young friends.

Nip in the bud
Meaning:
Put a stop to something while it is still in its early development.

No man is an island
Meaning:
Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others.

Not worth the candle
Meaning:
Worthless.

No-brainer
Meaning:
A problem that is especially easy to solve, if not outright obvious.

O
Off the hook
Meaning:
Someone have avoided punishment or criticism for something they have done.

Off the mark
Meaning:
It is inaccurate or incorrect.

On cloud nine
Meaning:
To be extremely happy.

On the fiddle
Meaning:
Engaged in corruption.

On the same page
Meaning
Two or more persons understanding a given situation the same way and are operating accordingly.

P
Paddle your own canoe
Meaning:
Act independently and decide your own fate.

Paper tiger
Meaning:
A person who appears to have power but is in reality ineffectual.

Pass the buck
Meaning:
Pass responsibility on to someone else.

Play by ear
Meaning:
Handle a situation in an impromptu manner, without reference to a set of guidelines.

Put your best foot forward
Meaning:
Embark on a journey or task with purpose and gusto.

Q
Queer Street
Meaning:
In debt.

Queer the pitch
Meaning:
Ruin a plan.

Quick buck
Meaning:
To make some money easily

R
Rags to riches
Meaning:
Someone who starts life very poor and becomes rich.

Red tape
Meaning:
Bureaucratic rules and paperwork.

Rise and shine
Meaning:
Get out of bed.

Rule of thumb
Meaning:
A means of estimation made according to a rough and ready practical rule, not based on science or exact measurement.

Run out of steam
Meaning:
Run out of energy.

S
Sacred cow
Meaning:
Something too highly regarded to be open to criticism.

Scot free
Meaning:
To escape pursuers or avoid payment.

Shot in the arm
Meaning:
A stimulus.

Shot in the dark
Meaning:
A hopeful attempt at something.

Sleep tight
Meaning:
Sleep well.

Smoke and mirrors
Meaning:
Trickery or deception.

Sour grapes
Meaning:
Acting meanly after a disappointment.

Strike a deal (or bargain)
Meaning:
To agree terms on a transaction.

T
Take a back seat
Meaning:
Take no active part.

Take with a pinch of salt
Meaning:
Accept a truth but with reservations.

The Ball is in your court
Meaning:
The next move is up to you.

The bitter end
Meaning:
To the limit of one's efforts - to the last extremity.

The blind leading the blind
Meaning:
Uninformed and incompetent people leading others who are similarly incapable.

The Full Monty
Meaning:
Complete, the whole thing.

Thorn in the flesh
Meaning:
A persistent difficulty or annoyance.

Time and tide wait for no man
Meaning:
No one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.

Tie the knot
Meaning:
Get married.

Top notch
Meaning:
Excellent.

Two cents worth
Meaning:
Offer an opinion.

Turn a blind eye
Meaning:
To refuse to take notice of a situation.

Turn the tables
Meaning:
Reverse the positions of adversaries. Usually used when the weaker position subsequently becomes dominant.

U
Up a blind alley
Meaning:
On the wrong track.

V
Veg out
Meaning:
Relax in a slothful and mindless manner.

W
Wake up on the wrong side of the bed
Meaning:
Be very grumpy.

Water under the bridge
Meaning:
A past event that is no longer worth agonizing over.

What goes around comes around
Meaning:
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
Meaning:
The sexes should be treated the same way and not be subjected to different standards.

When in Rome, do as the Romans
Meaning:
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
Meaning:
A suspicion or rumor usually has a basis in fact - There is always a basis for a rumor, no matter how untrue it appears.

White elephant
Meaning
Something that is more trouble than it is worth.

Willy-nilly
Meaning
Two slightly differing but related meanings.

X
X marks the spot
Meaning:
This is used to say where something is located or hidden.

Y
Yellow belly
Meaning:
Cowardly

You are what you eat
Meaning
The notion that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food.

You can't get blood out of a stone
Meaning:
You cannot extract what isn't there to begin with.

Your name is mud
Meaning:
You are not popular

Z
Zero hour
Meaning:
The time when something important is to begin.

Zero tolerance
Meaning:
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

Similar Articles:
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

Labels:

Add to your favorite at Teachnorati | Submit to Boing Boing | Subscribe to Feed

15 Comments:

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Amstaffie said...
 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger TNChick said...
 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger Dirty Butter said...
 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger Katina Mooneyham said...
 
At 12:47 AM, Blogger R. Edmondson said...
 
At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
 
At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Hikmah said...
 
At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
 
At 3:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Mystiquescorp said...
 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger krishamaer said...
 
At 2:22 AM, Anonymous Web Design Company said...
 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous WMUD962G said...
 
At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Lisa said...
 

Wow, I've used a lot of these before and luckily I used most of them in the right context!

Yes, glad to know I've been using my phrases correctly. However, a lot of the phrases I say aren't listed... I suppose Southern Slang is just that, slang. LOL L(

I used to teach 5th graders, and took advantage of idioms for an enjoyable activity.

After discussing what they were and illustrating a few, I gave the students the assignment to create a drawing which depicted what the idiom literally said, not what it meant.

Then we all had to guess which idiom the student had in mind, and we talked about its accepted meaning in our culture. We all had a lot of fun with this assignment.

I'm from the Deep South, too, and a much older generation, and I find that I use a lot of idioms that the younger generation no longer recognizes. I fear that much colorful speech is being lost to the more "colorful" speech of the street, if you get my drift.

There sure are a lot of these. I will have to note these. They would make great writing prompts and a teaching lesson for my kids.

Amstaffie:
I hope there are few that you are learning for the first time! :)

Tnchick:
I will be adding more soon so there is a possibility of you seeing some that you know. You will not find any slang though since it is strickly Idioms :)

Dirty Butter:
Glad to have you here again my friend :) I always visit and read your site now and again but don’t leave a comment because I don’t have any worthwhile comment to offer. If it is okay with you though, I can just de-lurk myself now and again and let you know I’m around :)

There is no doubt that you are really a great teacher. I like your creativity and can see that you had a wonderful time working with the 5th graders. Kudos to you!

I totally agree with what you are saying. English is itself a dynamic language always growing and changing as times goes. Our artistic style of expressing our self now in communication will change as times goes by. Many generations from now, the English language will not be the same as it is today. The newer generations have their own style of expressing themselves than we the older generation and thus, will invent new words, drop some and add some. You would be surprise to even though how many words for example are being added to the dictionaries that were once a slang etc. For example, you will now be able to find the term “bling bling” in some dictionary. This was once a street terminology.

Thanks for stopping by and later.

Katina:
Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment :)

I’m glad you found this post educational and useful. It is greatly appreciated. The aim of my blog is to impart quality content that is both informative and interesting to reach a wide cross section of readers in an easy and understandable manner in spite of ones background knowledge.

Thanks again.

its wonderful...

can u also tell me what does it mean by

rubbing on the wrong side?

I'm an English teacher in a private senior high school in Indonesia. Would you mind sending me the phrases of expressing warning, embarrasment, anger, annoyance, pain, relief and pleasure?. I'm looking forward for your help. Thank you.

Wow that was the best but some there wasn't...ㅠ.ㅠ

goooooooooooooosh i just want to know the meaning of some idioms for my english report!!nth is up there

Phew!..Ammazing stuff here...really nice of you to take this effort to bring out the best of this beautiful language called- English.

I am really looking forwrad to use and flaunt some of them soon...

Btw can you help me the meaning of the phrase " wearing one's heart on his/ her sleeve?

Cheers..keep writing..
Pallavi

..hi to all..
..tnx for giving idioms w/ their meanings..
..thanks to all!!!!

Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck! Web Design Company

Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

Nice link! very useful!!

Just bookmarked. Thought me few new ones! Sample Statements

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Headline | About Site | MyGame


Message Board
FeedBack Appreciated

Please spare some time to give your feedback about this site. Thanks in advance.


Message from the Author
R. Edmondson United States

Did You Know site is used as a learning tool to provide a stimulating learning environment for general knowledge development; to promote increased diversity on the online learning community and to incorporate the site’s informative quality content with the best of online communication platform (blog) in making knowledge accessible and free to all.



Thanks for the support.
Click The [+] Button To View [−]
Subscribe in Rojo Add to My Yahoo! Subscribe with Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Pluck RSS reader Add 'Did You Know?' to Newsburst from CNET News.com Subscribe with SearchFox RSS Google Reader Add to My AOL del.icio.us Did You Know? Subscribe with myFeedster Furl Did You Know? Feed Your Feeds Kinja Digest Solosub MultiRSS Rmail Rss fwd Blogarithm MSN Alerts Eskobo gritwire BotABlog Subscribe in FeedLounge


Subscribe through FEEDBURNER.
Subscribe with Bloglines

Get hundreds of visitors to your blog!
Click The [+] Button To View [−]
Click The [+] Button To View
Reviews For This Site [−]

Did You Know Question [−]
For another question, click your browser Reload or Refresh button .

Site Recognition [−]



Cool Site of the Day
March, 2007
Canadian Web Award

This Site Is Approved By: [−]

Science News Of Interest [−]

Powered by Blogger Creative Commons License

BlogAdvance Top Blogs

 
Your Ad Here
© 2005 - 2009 by R. Edmondson - myuniversalfacts.com (Did You Know?). All rights reserved.
About Site | Copyright Info. | Disclaimer | FAQ | Link To Us | Privacy Policy | Make $$$$ | Free Stuff
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
~Your source for interesting facts across the world~