English Idioms – A sample

An idiom (Latin: idioma, “special property”, from Greek: ἰδίωμα – idíōma, “special feature, special phrasing, a peculiarity”, f. Greek: ἴδιος – ídios, “one’s own”) is a phrase or a fixed expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. An idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning.

Idioms are often used to relay a message by using a figurative expression to relay a message, in often humorous way.

Here are the top 10 most common ones that I have come across and used in my time spent abroad in Canada.

  • Actions speak louder than words! – A persons feelings and intentions are often shown better by what they do rather than what they say
  • The Ball is in your court– A reference to tennis! This means it is up to you to make the next decision or step in a given situation
  • Best of both worlds–Getting advantages from both sides of a situation
  • Cost and arm and a leg – Used when something is very expensive
  • Cross that bridge when we come to it – To worry or deal with a problem when it arrives, not before hand
  • Don’t cry over spilt milk! – Not to worry or be upset about something that you cannot fix or change

Spilled Milk

  • Heard it on the grapevine – Hearing rumours about something or someone through a network of people.
  • Hit the sack – Time for bed! Going to bed or going to sleep
  • Off your rocker! – Used when someone is crazy. It is to imply that someone crazy person has fallen off their rocking chair!

Off your Rocker

  • To bite off more than you can chew – To take on a task or chore that is much larger than you can handle

There are many more idioms that are used in the English language. They are unique and most are very fun to learn and use. I encourage all of my readers to research their own Idioms and post them here are replies! I look forward to hearing some of your favourites!

6 thoughts on “English Idioms – A sample

  1. A favourite topic of mine! Here in Canada we joke that most hockey players only speak in Idioms. If you ever listen to an interview, that is mostly all the use!

    My personal favourites that are on this list are:
    1) Actions speak louder than words – I use this quite often in my line of work when working with my clients
    2) Cross that bridge when we get to it – I am one to not worry about future events until the arise so i often use this when faced with worry about a situation from friends and family
    3) Hit the sack – I use this every single day when communicating to someone that I am going to bed

    Also ones that aren’t on this list that are my favourites:

    1) Pull yourself together – This one means to get a hold of yourself and calm down in a situation. The visualization of such an idiom is funny to me. To picture a person pulling all of their parts together to calm down!

    2) No Brainer – This one means a decision or result is so easy to come to that you don’t need a brain to do it! I love this one!

    3) When pigs fly – This one means something that will never happen. I love to picture this one happening one day!

    I am curious what favourites the teacher has?!


    • Yes, idioms are probably the most brilliant way to make our speech interesting and vivid. Being constantly busy at work makes my friends and family call me a bee ( as busy as a bee) but personally I sometimes want to be as free as a bird!)


  2. How about “Don’t burn your bridges”, reminding someone to be cautious that the repercussions of your actions may hurt you later on. Or “Running on Empty” unsustainable activity, like a car still running with the gas gauge showing empty.

    Liked by 1 person

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