Javatpoint Logo
Javatpoint Logo

Idioms List

Idioms might be perplexing if English is not your native language, or even if it is. So many people do not grasp the meaning of an idiom or are confused about what an idiom is, how to apply it in daily conversation, or how to recognize and include them in writing. This article will not only aid in understanding idioms but also provide you with, idioms list along with some ideas on how to begin using them yourself.

Idioms List

So, what exactly is an idiom?

Idioms list can be found in all languages and on all continents. They are classified as a type of formulaic language. In most circumstances, this form of the phrase is not intended to be taken in the literal sense. These words are intended to have a metaphorical connotation that provides a mental picture as a contrast to what is literally represented by the vocabulary employed. The majority of idioms are expressed through phrases termed as idiomatic phrases. Idioms are used in a wide range of talks and conversations every day. They are most common in informal chats but can also be part of the formal discourses.

Definitions of Idioms

Idioms refers to the phrases or words with a figurative or, in some cases, actual meaning. The metaphorical meaning of an idiom differs from its true definition.

Idioms are phrases or sentences that, when considered exactly, make no sense. This can be perplexing, but they are essential 'sayings' or 'phrases' that English people understand in terms of their intentional meaning, yet when taken literally, the words make very little sense or no sense at all.

Someone might say they were "over the moon" when something positive or good happened in their life. Taking that in the literal sense would leave someone perplexed, but most people realize that the person is attempting to express how joyful they are. There are numerous idioms in English, and we will look at some of these in the idioms list below. But before that let us explore why do we utilize them in the first place?

The History of Idioms

The majority of idioms have a long history of usage. Many of these are acquired from the Bible, while others are taken from Old English or Latin expressions and words. Shakespeare, Chaucer, and several other renowned authors have used or are exclusively responsible for the development of some idioms in their literary works, theatre, dramas, and other genres. By making the same old dull comparison by using relative and literal words, these famous writers used idioms to keep their work from appearing bland, mundane, and repetitious. In reality, the most common idioms that we still use today have existed for many years and actually originated centuries ago.

Examples and Idioms List

Native English speakers, or any other language-speaking individuals for that matter, automatically inherit the understanding of what idioms signify or mean since they are exposed to them on a daily basis as they grow up. Idioms and other types of figurative language, on the other hand, can be exceedingly difficult to comprehend when studying English as a second or third language. This is true especially when it is not your first tongue. Knowing them, on the other hand, is critical to being able to interact well with others around you and for them all to interact efficiently with you.

Idioms List

Below is the idioms list, and most of these are frequently used in everyday conversations.

  1. Hit the books: this expression simply implies studying, particularly with zeal. It's also a verb - hit the books.
  2. On the ball: this idiomatic phrase refers to somebody who is alert, energetic, or vigilant. When you say somebody is "on the ball," you suggest that he or she has a good understanding of the situation.
  3. Pull someone's leg: this expression indicates to tease, lead, or provoke somebody into overreaction.
  4. Break a leg: It is a common idiom that means "Good Luck or Good Wishes. "
  5. Hit the sack: This colloquial expression often refers to going to bed. The phrase "hit the hay" also has the same connotation.
  6. A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush: It means having something definitely is far preferable than taking a risk for more since you may lose all.
  7. A Blessing in Disguise: It means something nice that is not instantly recognized.
  8. A chip on your shoulder: It means when you are upset over something that happened years ago.
  9. A dime a dozen: It means that anything is common and easily obtained.
  10. A Doubting Thomas: It refers to a skeptical person who requires tangible or personal proof to believe anything.
  11. A Drop in the Bucket: It refers to a very small portion of something larger or more complete.
  12. A Fool and His Money Are Easily Separated: It is simple for a foolish person to lose his or her wealth.
  13. A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand: It means everybody involved must unite together and act together for this to happen, or else it might not happen.
  14. A leopard's spots cannot be changed: It means one cannot change your identity.
  15. Saving a penny equals earning a penny: It means by not spending cash, you are saving (little by little).
  16. A Picture Speaks Louder Than a Thousand Words: It implies that words are significantly less informative than a visual display.
  17. It's a Piece of Cake: It implies a task that is exceedingly simple to complete.
  18. A slap on the wrist: This means a very small punishment.
  19. A taste of your own medicine: It means when you are abused in the same way that you disrespect others, you get a flavor of your own medicines.
  20. A Toss-Up: It means an outcome that is still unclear and could go either direction.
  21. Actions Speak Louder Than Words: It implies it is preferable to do some action or activity rather than merely talking about it.
  22. Add Fuel To The Fire: When anything is done to make an already terrible situation worse.
  23. Against The Clock: You are pressed for time.
  24. All Bark And No Bite: When somebody is intimidating and/or belligerent yet refuses to fight.
  25. It's all Greek to me: Worthless and unintelligible for somebody who can read, speak, or comprehend any of the Greek languages.
  26. Bend Over Backwards: Help in any way you can. Willing to go to any length.
  27. When You're Between A Rock And A Hard Place: It implies to be stuck in between two terrible possibilities.
  28. Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: Taking on a far too large job.
  29. Bite Your Tongue: To avoid speaking.
  30. Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The familial link is stronger than any other.
  31. The Blue Moon: An unusual occurrence or event.
  32. Can't Cut The Mustard: Somebody who isn't capable of competing or participating.
  33. Cast-Iron Stomach: A person who has no troubles, difficulties, or negative effects when eating or drinking something.
  34. Charley Horse: Leg tightness / A leg spasm.
  35. Chew someone out: criticize someone verbally.
  36. Chip on his Shoulder: It means to be upset today or in present because of something that has occurred in the past.
  37. Chow Down: To consume food.
  38. Close but no cigar: To get very close to achieving a goal but falling short.
  39. Cock and Bull Story: An inspiring story.
  40. Come Hell or High Water: Any serious matter or hurdle.
  41. Crack Someone Up: To make somebody laugh.
  42. Cross Your Fingers: To anticipate that something will go as planned.
  43. Cry Over Spilled Milk: It implies grieving a loss from the past.
  44. Cry Wolf: It implies creating an artificial alarm on purpose.
  45. Cup Of Joe: It means a cup of coffee.
  46. Curiosity Killed the Cat: It means Inquisitiveness might lead to harmful situations.
  47. Cut to the Chase: It means to remove all extraneous details and get straight to the point.
  48. The Dark Horse: It means someone who was formerly unknown but is now well-known.
  49. The Dead Ringer: It implies completely identical. Or it implies duplication.
  50. The Devil's Advocate : It is someone who takes a stance just for debate but does not believe in that specific side of the dispute. It can also refer to someone who makes a counter-argument to another orator defending a viewpoint in which they believe.
  51. Dog Summer Days: The warmest days of the summertime.
  52. Don't count your chickens before they hatch: It means don't put your faith in it until you're certain of it.
  53. Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth: It implies don't be dissatisfied whenever anyone gives you a present.
  54. Never Put All Your Eggs In One Basket: It means don't place all your eggs in one tray.
  55. Doozy: Something extraordinary.
  56. Down To The Wire: Something that comes to an end in the last minutes or a few secs.
  57. Difficult Times Drastic Measures Are Required: When you're in a desperate situation, you have to take desperate measures.
  58. Drink like a fish: It means consuming a lot of alcohol.
  59. Drive someone insane: It means to greatly offend and/or annoy.
  60. Falling Like Flies: It means a big number of individuals are getting sick or dying.
  61. Dry Run: It means to Practice /rehearse.
  62. Eighty-Six: It implies a specific product that is no longer available. This idiom can also indicate to discard or dump.
  63. Elvis has already left the building: It implies the show has concluded. It's all over now.
  64. Ethnic Cleansing: It means mass murder of a particular ethnic or religious community.
  65. There is a silver lining to every cloud: It implies being optimistic; even bad times can lead to better times.
  66. Everything But The Kitchen Sink: It implies everything and all is also included.
  67. Please excuse my French: It implies, please excuse my swearing.
  68. The Cock and Bull Story: It refers to an unbelievable/ unreal narrative.
  69. Feeding Frenzy: It implies a group's violent attack on somebody.
  70. Finding Your Feet: It means getting or feeling more easy with whatever one person is doing.
  71. Finger-lickin' good: It means a very delicious food or dinner.
  72. Fixed in your ways: It means unwilling or unable to modify your usual manner of doing anything.
  73. A flash in the pan: It implies something that has potential or appears good at first but fails to deliver in the end.
  74. A flea market: It refers to a type of swap meet. A gathering area for people to buy and sell cheap things.
  75. Flesh and Blood: This phrase can relate to either the living stuff from which individuals are made or to a person's family.
  76. Foam at the Mouth: It implies being angered and exhibiting it.
  77. Fools' Gold: It implies Iron pyrites, a meaningless stone that mimics real gold.
  78. From Rags to Riches: It implies progressing from extreme poverty to immense wealth.
  79. A fuddy-duddy: It implies to is an old-fashioned and stupid person.
  80. Get Down to Brass Tacks: It implies taking something seriously.
  81. Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed: It implies to somebody who is having a terrible day.
  82. Get Your Walking Papers: It implies getting fired or dismissed from the office or job.
  83. Give Him The Slip: It implies to escape from or to get away.
  84. Drop Like a Lead Balloon: It implies being poorly received by an audience.
  85. Go For Broke: It refers to bet everything you own.
  86. Go Out On A Limb: It implies putting oneself in a difficult situation to help somebody or something.
  87. Go The Extra Mile: It implies going far beyond the responsibilities for the task given.
  88. The Good Samaritan: It pertains to somebody who, without hesitation, helps people when they are in difficulty. They do this without hope of a reward or compensation.
  89. Great Minds Think Alike: It implies to intelligent people share similar perspectives.
  90. Haste Makes Waste: Rushing through tasks leads to a poor outcome.
  91. Hat trick: When a single player scores three consecutive goals in any game or sport.
  92. Grind Your Own Axe: It implies having an argument/ fight with someone.
  93. He Lost His Head: It implies being angry and overwhelmed with emotions.
  94. Head Over Heels: It implies being extremely enthusiastic and/or joyous, especially while in love.
  95. Hell in a Handbasket: It means deteriorating and on the verge of total calamity.
  96. High on the Hog: It refers to luxurious living.
  97. Hit the books: It implies preparing for a test or exam.
  98. Hit the nail on the head: It means to do something or say something absolutely perfectly.
  99. Hold Your Horses: It implies to be calm and patient.
  100. Icing On The Cake: It means when somebody already has a fantastic situation and adds something to it.
  101. Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools: It means that if somebody has nothing to do, you are more prone to fall into trouble or wrong acts.
  102. Joshing Me: It implies Fooling or tricking me.
  103. Keep An Eye On Him: It implies keeping a close eye on him or somebody.
  104. Keep your body and soul together: It implies to earning enough money to keep oneself alive.
  105. Keep your chin up: It implies to remain happy in a challenging situation.
  106. Kick The Bucket: This means to die.
  107. Kitty-corner: It implies diagonally across. Catty-Corner is another name for it.
  108. Knee Jerk Reaction: It refers to an immediate and automatic reaction.
  109. Knock On Wood: It implies to tap knuckle on wood to ward off ill-luck.
  110. Know the Ropes: It implies to know or understand the specifics.
  111. Lend Me Your Ear: To gently request someone's undivided attention.
  112. Let Bygones to Be Bygones: To forget about a dispute or argument.
  113. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: To avoid resuming a conflict.
  114. Let The Cat Out Of The Bag: It implies to disclose or reveal a secret that should not have been revealed.
  115. Level playing field: A healthy competition in which no side has an edge.
  116. Like a chicken with its head cut off: To behave in a thrilling manner.
  117. Liquor someone up: to make somebody drunk.
  118. Long in the Tooth: Senior citizens (or horses).
  119. Loose Cannon: Somebody who is unpredictable and can bring harm if not controlled.
  120. Make No Bones: Having no hesitation about expressing or dealing with (something), no matter how uncomfortable or embarrassing it is.
  121. Method to My Madness: Strange or insane behaviors that appear useless yet are done for a valid reason in the ending.
  122. Mumbo Jumbo: Nonsense or pointless speech.
  123. Mum's the word: To stay quiet or used to express that some details must be kept secret.
  124. Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You: Do not harm or injure someone who assists you.
  125. New kid on the block: Somebody new to the group or neighborhood.
  126. No Dice: To refuse to agree. To refuse a proposition.
  127. No Space to Swing a Cat: A strangely small or limited space.
  128. Not Playing With a Full Deck: Somebody who doesn't have the intelligence.
  129. Off On The Wrong Foot: Making a poor start in relation or job.
  130. Off the Hook: It implies that you no longer need to cope with a difficult situation.
  131. Off the record: Something uttered in private that the speaker does not want to be linked with him/her.
  132. On Pins And Needles: Nervous or anxious, particularly in expectation of something.
  133. On the fence: It implies to be undecided.
  134. On The Same Page: When numerous individuals all acknowledge on the same thing.
  135. Out Of the Blue: Something that sudden and unexpected occurs.
  136. Out On a Limb: It implies that whenever somebody puts themselves in danger.
  137. Pass The Buck: Avoid taking responsibility by delegating it to somebody else.
  138. Pedal to the metal: To accelerate quickly, especially when operating a vehicle.
  139. Pick up your ears: To pay close attention.
  140. A pig in a poke: It is a bargain that is made without first thoroughly investigating it.
  141. Pull the plug: To put an end to something. To put a stop to something.
  142. Pulling Your Leg: Playing a joke on somebody.
  143. Put a sock in it: To instruct a loud person or group to be silent.
  144. Rise and shine: It's necessary to get out of bed and prepare for work/school.
  145. Rome Was Not Built in a Day: If you wish or desire something to be implemented right, it will take time.
  146. Rule Of Thumb: A rough calculation.
  147. To run out of steam: It means to be entirely depleted of energy.
  148. Saved By the Bell: It implies to a person who is saved at the last possible moment.
  149. Scapegoat: Somebody else who accepts responsibility.
  150. Scot-free: To flee without having to pay.
  151. Sick As A Dog: To be extremely ill (with the flu or a cold).
  152. Sitting Shotgun: Riding in a vehicle's front seat of the car.
  153. Smell A Rat: It implies to detecting someone in the group who is betraying others.
  154. Something Smells Fishy: It implies to detecting that something is wrong and that there may be an explanation for it.
  155. The Ball Is in Your Court: This time, the choice is all yours.
  156. Having the Best of Both Worlds: It implies that there are two options, and you have both of them.
  157. The harder they fall, the bigger they are: While, the bigger and more powerful opponent may be much more difficult to defeat. However, if they fall, they suffer a far greater loss.
  158. Third times a charm: After failing the twice, the third attempt is a success.
  159. To tie the knot: This means to marry.
  160. Until or Till, the cows, come home: It implies to a very long time.
  161. To steal someone else's thunder : It means to take the merit for something that somebody else did.
  162. Tongue And Cheek: sarcastic wit, not to be taken seriously.
  163. Turn A Blind Eye: Deny to acknowledge something that you know is true.
  164. Twenty-three Skidoo: To be rejected.
  165. Under the weather: It implies to feel ill or sick.
  166. Going down a blind alley: Choosing a path that will result in a negative conclusion.
  167. Make Use of Your Loaf: Make use of your brain. Consider your options carefully.
  168. Variety Is the Spice of Life: It means the more life experience you keep trying, the more interesting life can be.
  169. Zero In On: It implies to focus or concentrate closely on something; or it may also imply aiming toward something.
  170. Zig When One Should Be Zagging: to make a mistake; to take the wrong path.


Thus, this is idioms list. However, this is not a complete list of the idioms, but these are some of the common ones. Idioms are used on a regular basis for a variety of reasons. Idioms have a way of making what we're trying to express better, whether they're employed in a dialogue or in writing. Idiomatic expressions bring color and poetry to what we speak and write. Because of their symbolic language, they also enable people to make the individuals on the other end of the line think creatively. Some idioms may make the listeners or readers chuckle by having them imagine something exceedingly implausible. Finally, using idioms allows for excellent comparisons, which can impress readers and listeners.

Next TopicEnglish Phrases

Youtube For Videos Join Our Youtube Channel: Join Now


Help Others, Please Share

facebook twitter pinterest

Learn Latest Tutorials


Trending Technologies

B.Tech / MCA