Examples of Idioms

An idiom is the expression from which figurative meaning can be derived. The 25,000 idioms in English language are figures of speech, which assist in expressing a particular idea with ease. One cannot derive literal meaning out of idioms. For example, the idiom, ‘to kick the bucket’, doesn’t actually speak about a person kicking a bucket. It is an expression used to inform about a person’s death. Thus, idioms take many different forms in order to express different ideas. Few of the commonly used idioms are presented in paragraphs below.

List of Popular Idioms

The different examples of idioms in literature reflect richness of that particular language. One gets an idea about the different ways in which a particular idea can be expressed.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Meaning: It is better to retain a particular thing that one already has rather than taking risk to get more. Such a behavior can lead to a person losing everything that he possesses.

At the drop of a hat

Meaning: The willingness to take action urgently is displayed through this idiom.

Bite your tongue

Meaning: The act of avoiding conversation is exhibited through this expression.

Blood is thicker than water

Meaning: This idiom indicates that family bonds always prove to be important/significant.

Curiosity killed the cat

Meaning: The behavior of being overtly curious can lead to a person getting caught into dangerous situations.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

Meaning: If one is not sure about the end result, he/she must not engage himself/herself into making predictions or rely on the possible outcome.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Meaning: No matter, how worse the situation is, there is always a possibility for better times to arrive.

Great minds think alike

Meaning: Intelligent people have a similar way of thinking.

Haste makes waste

Meaning: Those tasks handled without patience and in a hurry end up in a mess.

Hit the nail on the head

Meaning: To do a particular thing exactly in manner it should be done.

Icing on the cake

Meaning: This expression is used in reference with something that adds to the joy or happiness experienced due to an earlier thing/event.

In the heat of the moment

Meaning: The feeling of being overwhelmed as a result of what is happening at the moment.

Keep an eye on him

Meaning: Taking note of a person’s actions carefully.

Knee jerk reaction

Meaning: A reaction which is based more on an impulsive kinda behavior rather than careful thinking.

Last but not least

Meaning: This expression is used to underline the importance of a person even though he/she is mentioned/introduced to an audience at the end.

Never bite the hand that feeds you

Meaning: One should never hurt a person who has helped him/her.

Practice makes perfect

Meaning: Doing a particular thing over and over makes us perfect in that activity.

Rome was not built in one day

Meaning: If one has to do something worthwhile, enough time and efforts need to be reserved for that activity.

Run out of steam

Meaning: To feel exhausted or out of energy while doing a particular task.

Smell something fishy

Meaning: To detect some wrongdoing or malice in a particular activity.

Start from scratch

Meaning: To start a particular activity or task once again from the beginning.

Tongue in cheek

Meaning: To indicate that humor was intended and that one shouldn’t take the speech/action seriously.

Children can learn a lot about the English language through idioms presented above. The mannerisms, customs, and even the local/native ways of thinking get reflected through idioms.

These examples of idioms for students and people in general should provide with more options to express in a better manner. Idioms also help raise the level of interest in reading. One should therefore, learn as many idioms as possible to enjoy both reading and writing.

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