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English Idioms: Water Idioms and their Meaning

Published Saturday, January 06, 2007

An idiom is a commonly used phrase, expression or group of words whose meaning cannot be understood from the ordinary meaning of the words. The meaning that is conveyed has little to do with the actual words expressed. In other words, it is a phrase or expression that is (usually) not taken literally. It is a language familiar to a group of people (e.g. another country, from a specific region, culture etc.). Therefore it is a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language which is not understood outside its culture. Every language has it's own idioms or idiomatic expressions and as such, someone unfamiliar with the English idioms would probably not understand it.

The list below provides a list of commonly used idioms and meaning in relation to the term “water” - Water Idiom. However, no example of it usage are provided due to time constraint. Nevertheless, you should find the list very useful in understanding the meaning of commonly used English idioms. You can check the Related Articles section below for other relevant and interesting articles.

Idioms with Water

a drop in the ocean
Meaning:
a quantity too small to make any improvement.

be dead in the water
Meaning:
if something is dead in the water, it has failed, and it seems impossible that it will be successful in the future.

be in deep water
Meaning:
to be in a difficult situation which is hard to deal with. In other words, to be in trouble.

be (like) water off a duck's back
Meaning:
if criticism is water off a duck's back to someone, it has no effect on them at all.

be like a fish out of water
Meaning:
to feel awkward because you are not familiar with a situation or because you are very different from the people around you.

be water under the bridge / be water over the dam
Meaning:
if a problem or an unpleasant situation is water under the bridge, it happened a long time ago and no one is upset about it now or an event that has already occurred and cannot be altered.

blood is thicker than water
Meaning:
family relationships are stronger and more important than other kinds of relationships, such as being friends.

blow out of the water
Meaning:
to destroy or defeat something or someone completely.

could talk under water / could talk under wet cement
Meaning:
someone who could talk under water has a lot to say in any situation.

come hell or high water
Meaning:
if you say you will do something come hell or high water, you mean you are determined to do it even if it is difficult.

keep your head above water
Meaning:
to have just enough money to live or to continue a business.

get into deep water
Meaning:
to become involved in a difficult situation.

go through fire and water
Meaning:
to experience many difficulties or dangers in order to achieve something

in hot water
Meaning:
to be in big trouble or be in an embarrassing situation with someone.

make mouth water
Meaning:
if the smell or the sight of food makes your mouth water, it makes you want to eat it.

not hold water
Meaning:
if an opinion or a statement does not hold water, it can be shown to be wrong.

out of one's depth/beyond one's depth
Meaning:
Outside one's understanding or competence.

pour/throw cold water on
Meaning:
if you pour cold water on opinions or ideas, you criticize them and stop people believing them or being excited about them

Raining cats and dogs
Meaning:
raining very heavily.

spend money like water
Meaning:
if someone spends money like water, they spend too much

(to) skate on thin ice
Meaning:
you do or say something that could cause trouble.

take to like a duck to water
Meaning:
to learn how to do something very quickly and to enjoy doing it.

test the water/waters
Meaning:
to try to discover what people think about an idea before you do anything about it, or to try to discover what a situation is really like before you become very involved in it.

the last straw (that broke the camel's back)
Meaning:
additional event that makes a situation intolerable. In other words, it is saying one has reached the limit of his/her patience in a present situation.

the tip of the iceberg
Meaning:
small but evident part of a much larger problem.

throw the baby out with the bath water
Meaning:
to get rid of the good parts as well as the bad parts of something when you are trying to improve it.

to let off steam
Meaning:
to do or say something that helps you to get rid of strong feelings or energy.

to break the ice
Meaning:
to say or do something to reduce tension at a first meeting. In other words, to get through the first difficulties in starting a conversation or discussion.

to be soaked to the skin
Meaning:
be completely soaked.

to leave someone high and dry
Meaning:
to put someone in a very difficult situation which they have no way of making better. In other words, to leave some one helpless.

to take the plunge
Meaning:
take a decisive step after thinking about it for a long time.

tread water
Meaning:
someone who is treading water is not doing anything to make progress.

You can lead a horse to water (but you can't make him/it drink)
Meaning:
you can give someone the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to.


Related Articles:

English Phrases, Expression, Sayings and Abbreviations
English Idioms - English phrases and their meanings
Conflicting Proverbs
Oxymoron: Expression with Contradictory Words
Anagram: A Short List of Popular Anagrams and Its Definition
Latin Abbreviations and their English meaning
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The Vocabulary of the Human Body in English and Spanish
Spanish Speaking Countries - Countries Where Spanish Is Mostly Spoken
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Languages by Countries
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The Use and Meaning of Internet Slang: Abbreviations and Acronyms
Emoticons and Smileys - Their Functions and Meanings
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How to say I Love You in different languages
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Differences between American and British English - PT. 2
Differences between American and British English - PT. 1
Collective Nouns
Collective Nouns for Reptiles and Amphibians
Collective Nouns for Fish - What Group of Fish are Called
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Collective Nouns for Birds - What Group Of Birds Are Called
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6 Comments:

At 11:22 PM, Blogger The Phoenix said...
 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger R. Edmondson said...
 
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At 5:57 PM, Anonymous WMUD962G said...
 

Great post. I think it's interesting how common idioms are. They start out more regional, but become national very quickly.

My favorite is "getting caught with your pants down."

Thank you :)

Yea, that idiom is really a funny one. Not a nice situation to find oneself in :)

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