English Idiomatic Expressions: Examples & Meanings


Here are some of the common English idiomatic expressions and meanings

Idiomatic expressions have been a part of the English language around since time immemorial and here are some common examples.

Idioms, another term, are defined as a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.

idiomatic expressions

Here are some common examples and the meanings.

To add insult to injury

– to make a situation worse
“To add insult to injury the car drove off without stopping after knocking me off my bike.”

Taste of your own medicine

– means that something happens to you, or is done to you, that you have done to someone else
“She ignored me, now she tastes her own dose of medicine when her friends ignored her.”

To feel under the weather 

– to not feel well
“I’m really feeling under the weather today; I have a terrible cold.”

Whole nine yards

– Everything. All of it.
“He ate the entire cake, the whole nine yards.”

When pigs fly

– something that will never happen.
“When pigs fly she’ll tidy up her room.”

Keep something at bay

– Keep something away.
“The that bottle of wine at bay, she’s sober now.”

See eye to eye

– this means agreeing with someone.
“They finally saw eye to eye on the business deal.”

Every cloud has a silver lining

– Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.
“Is still believe that every cloud has a silver lining after these hardships.”

To hit the nail on the head

 to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.
“He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more HR support.”

Hear it on the grapevine

– this example of idiomatic expressions means ‘to hear rumors’ about something or someone.
“She is pregnant, I heard it on the grapevine.”

Cross that bridge when you get there

-Deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.
“I don’t have plans for summer. I’ll just cross the bridge when I get there.”

To cut corners

– to do something badly or cheaply.
“They really cut corners when they built this bathroom; the shower is leaking.”

Bite off more than you can chew

-To take on a task that is way to big.
“You always bite off more than you can chew, that is why you can’t finish anything.”

A piece of cake

– something is very easy.
“The English test was a piece of cake.”

Jump on the bandwagon

-Join a popular trend or activity.
“It’s NBA Finals again, many people will just jump on bandwagon and pretend to be die-hard fans.”

Once in a blue moon

– an event that happens infrequently.
“I only go to the cinema once in a blue moon.”

Speak of the devil!

-This example of idiomatic expressions is used when the person you have just been talking about arrives.
“Speak of the devil! You appeared just right at the moment she was mentioning your name.”

To hit the nail on the head

 to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.
“He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more HR support.”

Your guess is as good as mine

-To have no idea, do not know the answer to a question
“Your guess is as good as mine if she will come to the party of her ex-boyfriend.”

To cost an arm and a leg

– something is very expensive.
“Fuel these days costs and arm and a leg.”

Off one’s rocker

-Crazy, demented, out of one’s mind, in a confused or befuddled state of mind, senile.
“She was off her rocker when she bashed a good person.”

The best of both worlds

 – means you can enjoy two different opportunities at the same time.
“By working part-time and looking after her kids two days a week she managed to get the best of both worlds.”

Enjoy using these idiomatic expressions!

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