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English can be a tricky language, but I am going to outline the basics of the idiom (in english). An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words.

Lets look at some creative examples I have written.

First, A bad apple. The saying goes, one bad apple can ruin the bushel. This phrase generally means that one bad kid or circumstance can ruin a perfectly good record.

Second, as blind as a bat. When someone refers to themselves as being blind as a bat, that means they can't see well.

A true oldie, kick the bucket. The phrase kick the bucket means that someone has passed away.

Lastly, the last straw. This is when a string of incidents occurs and after the final incident you cannot take it anymore, that was the last straw.

Add on to this list with those that come to mind!

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Yeah English is tricky even for native american sometimes. The second idiom phrase you shared is easy to understand because anyone can get the idea right away about bats not being able to see at night. So you can associate that with the action that someone has done. And there are many other idioms to talk about. Some aren't being used frequently will be mentioned to you all of a sudden specially at a job interview which can be very annoying. For example, "case in point". Easy enough to get what it means right? But how about "wet behind ears" or "on a power trip" and it starts to swirl my mind a bit.

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Ha ha I was thinking the same thing before between idioms and metaphors and asked about it with my English teacher. The main thing to remember is that, correct me if I'm wrong with this, when you are using a metaphor, you are comparing two things. And I believe you do it without using the words "like" or "as". I'm gonna think of some examples, right now I really can't think of any good ones. As for idioms, it is how it's been defined. An idiom or idiom phrase is something that means something different than the words used for it. Maybe like the phrase "you are an eyesore" or something like that. You get the idea. I'll think of a good example for metaphors next time. Hope this helps though.

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"true oldie, kick the bucket. The phrase kick the bucket means that someone has passed away. "

Thats so interesting. In polish we say "kick the calendar".

Ok, talking about buckets, here is mine:

"Like collecting frogs in a bucket" - describing a task that is difficult to control

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thank you judhie for that nice definition about the difference of idiom and metaphor. @Fabrice: thank you for your input as well about "kick the calendar". Really interesting how metaphors / idioms are different in  different countries (stupid sentence, sorry). :tongue:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Speaking of idioms being different in different countries (not as stupid as you think; don't worry!), in English there is the idiom for when  it is persisting with rain (torrentially), that is

"It's raining cats and dogs"

However, just across the border in Wales, they have an idiom, meaning the same;

"Mae'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn."

..meaning..

"It's raining old ladies and sticks."

I admit: that's one of my ultimate favourites in Welsh idioms, but it is very interesting how each country puts their own unique twist and interpretation onto things, even as simple as the weather, and come out with something so different

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  • 2 weeks later...

very interesting indeed, Marie. It would be interesting to compare languages in terms of idiomatic expressions about the weather. We already touched upon that topic and I think we should continuing doin g so...maybe it would be even better to start a new thread for this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for the very easy answer to what an idiom is. I have had troubles understanding what an idion really is. I cannot think of any idioms at the moment, but at least when I see one I will know. =)

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  • 2 weeks later...

How about "happy as a clam at high tide"? How happy that is, I cannot imagine but pretty happy. Is that a simile then, uses as or like?

I love this site, very informative.

the old ladies and sticks knocks me out and makes about as much sense as cats and dogs! :speechless:

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How about "happy as a clam at high tide"? How happy that is, I cannot imagine but pretty happy. Is that a simile then, uses as or like?

I love this site, very informative.

the old ladies and sticks knocks me out and makes about as much sense as cats and dogs! :speechless:

Yes, that's a simile for the reason you stated, it is using "as."  A simile uses "like" or "as" to draw a comparison.

In contrast, an idiom is a expression or a phrase that does not mean what its literal words would suggest but it is understood by speakers of the language. 

I agree "raining old ladies and sticks" is quite hilarious.  It's definitely an idiom!

Here's another weather-related idiom: 

"When it rains it pours."  This means a lot of things are going wrong at the same time.

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Idioms are fun! Some of my favorites are "it's hot as hell", "break a leg", "knock on wood  "Another one bites the dust", "between a rock and a hard place". Daily life wouldn't be the same with out it.

Exactly what does "another one bites the dust" mean? I have heard it so many times, but never really understood what it relates to.

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As far as I know "another one bites the dust" means that another person actually died. I could imagine that it is actually "war-related" terminology.

It can mean a death, but usually it is not literally that. It can refer to something failing or ending. Like someone quitting or dropping out of a contest, or another newspaper shutting down.

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I think "another one bites the dust" can refer to someone dying but I think it is also used when someone fails at something (if a man is rebuffed when he goes up to talk to a woman or a competitor fails like knocking over the bar in a high jump).

Also "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" (children often have character traits of their parents)

I also loved the stick and old women one, never heard it.

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It can mean a death, but usually it is not literally that. It can refer to something failing or ending. Like someone quitting or dropping out of a contest, or another newspaper shutting down.

I think "another one bites the dust" can refer to someone dying but I think it is also used when someone fails at something (if a man is rebuffed when he goes up to talk to a woman or a competitor fails like knocking over the bar in a high jump).

Yes, "another one bites the dust" has a lot of meanings along these lines, just as you both have described.  It's also the title of a classic song by the rock band Queen. 

I'm enjoying this idioms topic very much.  Another one that's quite colorful is "an arm and a leg" meaning something that costs a lot, in money or other sacrifice. 

Also to "wear your heart on your sleeve," meaning that you express your emotions freely and openly. 

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