Jump to content
Linguaholic

Favourite English Idioms


Recommended Posts

above the law

Not subject to the law, exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else

act one’s age

To be mature and not childish.

feast for the eyes

visually pleasing sight. :clown:

Link to post
Share on other sites

My favourite is 'Changing the goalposts during the game', as it is such a visual one. Every time I hear someone using it, or use it myself, I giggle because I see it happening :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

My favourite is "Bob's your uncle". It's a very British expression meaning everything is OK. For example I give a long list of instructions too someone on how to bake a cake and then at the end I tell them, "Just follow the instructions carefully, and Bob's your uncle", meaning if you follow the instructions as explained everything will turn out alright.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My favourite is "Bob's your uncle". It's a very British expression meaning everything is OK. For example I give a long list of instructions too someone on how to bake a cake and then at the end I tell them, "Just follow the instructions carefully, and Bob's your uncle", meaning if you follow the instructions as explained everything will turn out alright.

I love that one too :D I was confused when I saw it for the first time, I thought it was some secret code or something.

My other favorite is "It's raining cats and dogs". It's just so random. But in Polish we have an expression "pogoda pod psem" which literally means "the weather [is] under the dog" which means bad weather. I wonder whether associating bad weather with dogs is a thing in other languages too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

well, in german you can say that today it is "Hundewetter", which literally translates to today it is dog weather. The meaning of this is of course that the weather is bad today. I am sure there are more expressions about the weather in German including animals...some deriving from English though (my guess).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like "mum's the word," which is an assurance that a secret will be kept. As an example for any non-native speakers:

P1: Please don't tell anyone

P2: Mum's the word.

P1: Thank you.

It's really more British, and I'm a US speaker, but it jsut had such a fun, old-timey ring to it. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Keep you in the dark" is one that caused a fair bit of confusion. I had used it offhand and a non-English speaker questioned what I meant, and upon trying to explain that it meant "I'm not telling you", we got stuck in a bit of a loop. She kept thinking I was trying to play coy and not tell her what the phrase meant.

Another one was "to come to grips with". No funny story, but it caused some confusion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Or how about a few more of my favourites:

Face like thunder. If someone is described as having a face like thunder it means they look particularly angry.

Taking your hat off to someone. If someone takes their hat off to you they're showing admiration for something you've done.

Hard to come by. This describes something that is difficult to find.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another great topic!  That's why I enjoy this forum so much.  Here are a few of my favorites.

"Bend over backwards"  means doing everything possible to be helpful:  "My aunt is prone to anxiety when she travels and so I always bend over backwards to make sure she feels safe no matter where we are."

"A fish out of water" means that you are in a place or in circumstances that are uncomfortable because they are unfamiliar to you:  "Born and raised in the city I felt like a fish out of water when I spent a week at a cabin in the woods with no electricity or plumbing."

If doing something is "like taking candy from a baby" that means it is very easy to do: "We negotiated a multimillion dollar contract yesterday and it was like taking candy from a baby."

Similarly "a piece of cake" also refers to something that's easy to do: "Finishing my homework last night at the last minute was a piece of cake."

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Wearing your heart on your sleeve".

You use this when someone is being particularly emotional, or not hiding their emotions very well. This isn't necessarily a negative connotation, only that they are showing their emotions very openly. For example, a classmate has a crush on a girl and she always catches him staring. He could be said to be wearing his heart on his sleeve.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the saying "A dime a dozen" because it is one of the idioms that can actually be deciphered if you think about it! If I say "Oh, that guitar is a dime a dozen" then I'm saying it only costs a dime for a dozen of those guitars--implying that they are cheap or average!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate "dead as a doornail" for some unknown reason. It's just really funny to me because... how can a doornail be dead? It means being dead or asleep deeply, or otherwise unconscious. It's so silly and no one even thinks about how silly it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I think "Born on the wrong side of the tracks" is an interesting one. It implies that somebody was born in the poor part of the town.

Another one I've read but not heard being used a lot is "Fight like kilkenny cats". It means fight valiantly till the end, even though total destruction may be the only outcome.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Guest chives152

I really like the phrase "getting out of hand". I don't know why but I think it is a cool way to say something is getting out of control.

I also like the phrase "letting the cat out of the bag". I don't know why, but I just really like saying those two phrases a lot.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the saying "A dime a dozen" because it is one of the idioms that can actually be deciphered if you think about it! If I say "Oh, that guitar is a dime a dozen" then I'm saying it only costs a dime for a dozen of those guitars--implying that they are cheap or average!

I know what that means from reading English books, but it's kind of hard to think about for me because we don't really use dimes here.

I guess related to that is nickel-and-dime which I heard means involving a small amount of money. We also don't really use nickels and it's hard to think of it in a local setting. I just think of America when those expressions are being said.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't let the door hit you in the rear- bad behavior reaps fire coming back at you

What goes around, comes around- what ones says and does to others, comes back to them. So make what you benefiary to others and positive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think "Born on the wrong side of the tracks" is an interesting one. It implies that somebody was born in the poor part of the town.

I love idioms with historical origins like that one.

'Close but no cigar' (for when someone is wrong) and 'Give that man a cigar' (for when they're right) are two of mine.

From when carnival games had cigars as small prizes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Spitting image" is a cool one, because from what I've heard, it's actually a phonetic perversion of the original saying, "spit and image". "Spit" in this case being the very DNA of a person. It's a cool one because that sort of gradual shift in the way the phrase is spoken makes it really hard to translate as an idiom.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...