Introducing Interesting, Important Idioms In I-nglish

  • February 20, 2018 / Evengeline Ho / 0 Comment

Good day to you all, Kawa Nation! I hope you all have/had a good week ahead of you! During this pleasant blog post, we shall be discussing about common English idioms you would find or hear during any conversation.

What are idioms

I hear you ask (or not)? Well, idioms are a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not understandable from those of the individual words. It can also be know as an English “expression”. This means that, like a metaphor, the words used in each phrase should not be taken into its literal sense, as it will not make any sense.


For example, one of the many common English idiom is: Break a Leg. Guess what this means…it means “Good Luck”! In a literal way, this does not make any sense at all! I mean, how does break ones leg in any form a way of saying good luck?

Well, it historically dates back in the early 1920s England where actors would wish another actor “good luck” in an ironic manner, thus wishing them to “break a leg” (as wishing them a meaningful good luck was considered bad luck… understandable, right?).

You can use this sense when wanting to wish a person good luck, but in a “humorous” way.



Only use this if you truly know the meaning behind the English idiom you intend to use, AND also make sure the person you want to use idioms against do not take meanings too literally!


Common ENGLISH idioms and expressions in the English language include:


1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Meaning: What you may have now is worth more than what you might have later on

2. A blessing in disguise

Meaning: Something that started out bad, and now it is a good thing

3. A penny for your thoughts

Meaning: Share with me what you’re thinking right now

4. A perfect storm

Meaning: The worst situation possible occuring

5. A picture speaks 1000 words

Meaning: It is better to show than to just tell/say

6. Actions speak louder than words

Meaning: (Similar to: A picture speaks a thousand words) Believe what people do instead of what they say

7. An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Meaning: Apples are healthy/good for you

8. An eye for an eye

Meaning: Whatever happens, the other person will be punished/awarded to a similar degree (A/N: One of my personal favorite idioms)

9. Bite the bullet

Meaning: Get something done as soon as possible, as it must be done (usually said for an unpleasant task)

10. Break the ice

Meaning: Make people feel more comfortable after an uncomfortable period (usually said when you plan to meet someone new

11. Call it a day

Meaning: Stop working on something and resume it at the later date (usually until the next day)

12. Calm before the storm

Meaning: Right now it is very calm, but something bad/wild is going to happen later.

13. Cost an arm and a leg

Meaning: The item was very expensive

14. Curiosity killed the cat

Meaning: Don’t be so curios, or stop asking so many questions

15. Cut [somebody] some slack

Meaning: Don’t be so critical on [someone], or leave them alone

16. Cut to the chase

Meaning: Say what you intend to say (even if it is awkward to say it)

17. Cutting corners

Meaning: Doing something poorly just to save time/money

18. Don’t beat around the bush

Meaning: (Similar to: Cut to the chase) Say what you mean (even if it is uncomfortable)

19. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Meaning: Do not take on a task that you know you cannot finish

20. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

Meaning: Do not get your hopes up, or do not do/plan something until it has happened

21. Don’t cry over spilt milk

Meaning: What’s done is done, or there is no reason to complain/be sad over something that has already happened

22. Don’t judge a book by its cover

Meaning: Do not have an opinion on something base on appearance alone

23. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Meaning: Do not put all your effort into something too risky

24. Easy does it

Meaning: Slow down or calm down

25. Every cloud has a silver lining

Meaning: Good things will come after a bad thing happens

26. Fit as a fiddle

Meaning: In good health/shape

27. Fortune favours the bold

Meaning: Take risks

28. Get a taste of their/your own medicine

Meaning: Get treated the way you/they have been treating other people (usually in a negative manner)

29. Get out of hand

Meaning: Getting out of control

30. Get [something] out of your system

Meaning: (Similar to: Bite the bullet) Do the thing you intend to do, so that you can move on

31. Get your act together

Meaning: Work better/harder or else leave

32. Get wind of [something]

Meaning: Hear news of a secret

33. Give [someone] the benefit of the doubt

Meaning: Trust what someone says to you

34. Give [someone] the cold shoulder

Meaning: To ignore someone

35. Go back to the drawing board

Meaning: To start over a task

36. Go down in flames

Meaning: Fail in a outstanding manner

37. Go on a wild goose chase

Meaning: To do something pointless, or to do something that you know you’re going to fail at

38. Good things come to those that wait

Meaning: Be patient

39. Hang in there

Meaning: Do not give up

40. Hit the nail on the head

Meaning: Getting something exactly correct

41. Hit the sack/hay

Meaning: Going to go sleep

42. Ignorance is bliss

Meaning: It is better to not know something

43. It’s a piece of cake

Meaning: It is very easy

44. It’s not rocket science

Meaning: It is not that hard/difficult

45. It takes two to tango

Meaning: One person alone isn’t responsible; both people are involved

46. Jump on the bandwagon

Meaning: To follow a trend that everyone else is doing

47. Kill two birds with one stone

Meaning: Get two task done with a single action

48. Leave no stone unturned

Meaning: Look everywhere

49. Let [someone] off the hook

Meaning: Not hold somebody responsible for something

50. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: Give away a secret

51. Like two peas in a pod

Meaning: Somebody/Something that are always together, or two things that are suited together

52. Live and learn

Meaning: Making a mistake, but to take away a lesson (learn) from it

53. Look before you leap

Meaning: Think/Plan before doing something

54. Make hay while the sun shines

Meaning: Taking advantage of a good situation

55. Monkey see, monkey do

Meaning: Following what somebody else is doing without understanding the process of why they’re doing it.

56. No pain, no gain

Meaning: You have to work for what you want to achieve

57. On cloud nine

Meaning: A feeling of delight, or being very nice

58. Once bitten, twice shy

Meaning: Being more cautious with a situation that you have been hurt by before

59. On the ball/On a roll

Meaning: Doing an excellent job

60. On thin ice

Meaning: On probation/in trouble – if another mistake is made, there will be serious consequences

61. Once in a blue moon

Meaning: A very rare thing

62. Patience is a virtue

Meaning: (Similar to: Good things come to those that wait) Be patient, and you shall be rewarded

63. Play devil’s advocate

Meaning: To argue the same and opposite viewpoint

64. Pull [someone’s] leg

Meaning: To joke with [someone]

65. Pull yourself together

Meaning: (Similar to: Easy does it) Calm down

66. Raining cats and dogs

Meaning: It is raining really heavily

67.Run like the wind

Meaning: To run very fast

68. Slow and steady wins the race

Meaning: Reliability is more important than rushing or it is better to do something slow and careful, than to do something fast but careless

69. Spill the beans

Meaning: (Similar to: Let the cat out of the bag) Give away a secret

70. [Someone] has bigger fish to fry

Meaning: [Someone] has bigger/more important things to take care off than what is happening right now

71. [Someone] is off their rocker

Meaning: [Someone] is crazy/a lunatic

72. [Someone] is sitting on the fence

Meaning: [Someone] cannot make up their mind on an opinion on something

73. Speak of the devil

Meaning: The person that is being talked about shows up/appears

74. Take it with a grain of salt

Meaning: Do not take that matter too seriously

75. That’s the last straw!

Meaning: My patience has run out

76. The ball is in your court

Meaning: It is your decision to make

77. The best of both worlds

Meaning: An ideal situation to have

78. The early bird gets the early worm

Meaning: The first people to arrive will get the best stuff

79. The elephant in the room

Meaning: A big issue/problem that people are avoiding to talk about

80. The pot calling the kettle black

Meaning: Someone being hypocritical, or something criticizing someone else for something, even though he himself is doing it

81. There are other fish in the sea

Meaning: It is fine to miss this opportunity, as other better ones will come.(Usually used for romantic relationships)

82. There is no such thing as free lunch

Meaning: Nothing is entirely free

83. Through thick and thin

Meaning: In both good times and bad

84. Throw caution to the wind

Meaning: (Similar to: Fortune favours the bold) Take a risk

85. Under the weather

Meaning: To feel unwell/sick

86. Waste not, want not

Meaning: Do not waste things;use everything that you have

87. We see eye to eye

Meaning: We agree to an opinion

88. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Meaning: (Similar to: Live and learn) Learn from your mistakes

89. Wrap your head around something

Meaning: To understand something complicated

90. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink

Meaning: You can tell someone to make a decision, but you can’t force them to make it

91. You can say that again

Meaning: I agree

92. Your guess is as good as mine

Meaning: I have no idea/clue


Great, there you have it! Hopefully you can use any of these in your future English conversations! As always, good luck in your English learning and I will see you all lovely readers in the next blog post!


Also, make sure you check out out Kawa Kawa English eBook (which is free to download if you click here), as it gives amazing tips and tricks, and helps you to learn English pronunciations fast and easy. See you all in the next blog post!



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