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100 MOST COMMON ENGLISH IDIOMS AND PHRASES

MOST COMMON ENGLISH IDIOMS AND PHRASES

Phrase and idioms are used as English speaking ornament. Hope these words will give ornamentation in your speaking.

  1. ‘The best of both worlds’ – combining two opportunities simultaneously.

“By working part-time and looking after her kids two days a week she managed to get the best of both worlds.”

  1. ‘Speak of the devil’ – at this moment, you will see the person you are talking about.

Hello Tom, I was just telling Sara about your new car, so speak of the devil.

  1. To “see eye to eye” is to concur with someone.

“On the commercial arrangement,” they at last agreed.

  1. Once in a blue moon” refers to a rare occurrence.

“I only occasionally go to the movies.”

  1. The phrase “when pigs fly,” which will never occur.

She will organize her room “when pigs fly.”

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6. Piece of Cake

Meaning: A situation or task being too easy

Example: Finishing this homework by Friday will be a piece of cake for me. (It is very easy for me to finish this assignment by Friday)

7. Costs an arm and a leg

Meaning: To be very expensive, To cost a lot of money

Example: I would really like to have a new house but probably it costs me an arm and a leg. (I would love to own a house, but it would probably cost me dearly.)

8. Break a leg

Meaning: To wish someone luck before a show, event or any important event

Example: You have an Math exam on Monday?

Break a leg, buddy! (You have a Maths test on Monday? Good luck man!)

9. Hit the books

Meaning: To study a lot, to start studying

Example: You have exams 2 weeks later, you should definitely hit the books now or else you will fail.

10. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: to reveal a secret, to reveal something by chance or accident

Example: My cousin let the cat out of the bag and told her parents about her plans of studying abroad. (My cousin revealed her secret and told her parents about her plans to study abroad)

11. Hit the nail on the head

Meaning: to be absolutely right about something, to know the right answer, to find it

Example: When my computer did not start, my sister took a look and said that its because of a dead battery. It was true, she hit the nail on the head! (When my computer wasn’t working, my sister took a look and said it was due to a dead battery. It was true, she was absolutely right!)

12. When pigs fly

Meaning: Something that will never happen, Impossible, Impossible to happen (the situation that will only happen when pigs can fly, i.e. impossible)

Example: I asked my mother if I could study abroad and she said “yes, when pigs fly!” (I asked my mom if I could study abroad and she said “yes, only when pigs can fly”)

13. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Meaning: Appearance does not determine a person’s worth or quality. You can’t recognize someone by their appearance.

Example: New girlfriend of my best friend does not seem beatiful but we can’t judge a book by its cover. Maybe she is really a good person. (My best friend’s new girlfriend doesn’t look pretty, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Maybe she’s a nice person)

14. Bite off more than you can chew

Meaning: To undertake something difficult to accomplish, To be burdened more than one can bear, To try to do much more than one’s own capacity

Example: By starting two jobs, I am clearly biting off more than I can chew. But I have to pay my bills. (By starting two jobs, I’ve had a tough job, but I have to pay my bills.)

15. Scratch someone’s back

Meaning: Doing a favour in return for a favour done to someone, Doing a favour expecting something in return.

Example: I have scratched your back for many times, now the turn is yours. Do me a favour and let’s be even. (I’ve done you a favour many times, now it’s your turn. Do me a favour and let’s be equal)

16. Work like a charm

Meaning: To work, to work

Example: At first we could not work it well but then the setup worked like a charm. (It didn’t work well at first, but then the installation started working fine)

17. Work like a horse

Meaning: to work hard, to work like a horse

Example: My last worked like a horse for his exams and he passed them with grade marks. (My son studied his exams like a horse and passed his exams with very good grades.)

18. Up in the air

Meaning: Not resolved, Decision stage, undecided

Example: Our vacation plans are still up in the air because we are still changing our minds about our choice of vacation places. (Our vacation plans are still in the process of being decided because we are still changing our minds about choosing our vacation destination)

19. Spill the beans

Meaning: to spit out

Example: Not getting the broad beans in your mouth

I won’t tell my brother about my plans of getting married because he may spill the beans. (I won’t tell my brother about my wedding plans because he’ll let it go)

20. Ring a bell

Meaning: to evoke something, to express something

Example: Your husband’s name is Bernie. Does this name ring a bell with you? (His wife’s name is Bernie. Does that name make any sense to you?)

21. old hat

Meaning: It can also be used for outdated status, or old-fashioned people.

Example: My grandfather is maybe an old hat but he is not against piercing. (Maybe my grandfather is old-fashioned but not against piercings)

22. Make ends meet

Meaning: Having enough money to cover expenses, Having enough money to survive

Example: We are going to start saving money in order to make ends meet or else we will turn into two broke girls. (We’ll start saving money to cover our expenses or we’ll be two broken girls.)

23. Lose your touch

Meaning: To fail to keep in touch, To lose the ability to do something as before

Example1: Selin was my best friend at the university but over the years we have lost touch. (Selin was my best friend in college but we lost touch over the years)

Example2: I guess I am starting to lose my touch managing children because they don’t listen to me as before. (I guess I’m losing my ability to manage my kids because they don’t listen to me like they used to)

24. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: to reveal a secret, to reveal something by chance or accident

Example: My cousin let the cat out of the bag and told her parents about her plans of studying abroad. (My cousin revealed her secret and told her parents about her plans to study abroad)

25. Hit the sack

Meaning: to hit the head and sleep

Example: When I arrive at home, I will definitely hit the sack. (When I get home, I’m definitely going to bang my head)

26 Fit as a fiddle

Meaning: To be like a radish

Example: After the operation my mother had, she seemed as fit as a fiddle. (My mom looked like a radish after her surgery.)

27. Don’t beat a dead horse

Meaning: To waste energy on something that will not happen, To waste a shovel

Example1: My father keeps trying to publish the book he wrote two years ago, but I think he beats a dead horse. (My father is trying to publish the book he wrote 2 years ago, but I think he’s wasting money.)

Example 2: Don’t beat a dead horse, she won’t come back, buddy. (Don’t waste your energy, it won’t come back man)

28. Come rain or come shine

Meaning: Without saying summer or winter, Without listening to rain and mud

Example: Don’t worry, I will come to your wedding come rain or come shine. (Don’t worry, I’ll come to your wedding before it rains mud)

29. Break the bank

Meaning: needing more money than you have

Example: Me and my husband can not go on a vacation without breaking the bank this summer. (Me and my wife can’t go on a vacation this summer without robbing a bank.)

30. As cold as stone

Meaning: To be as cold as ice (person)

Example: Our new English teacher is as cold as stone. I don’t think we can get along well with her this semester. (Our new English teacher is icy cold. I don’t think we’ll get along well with him this semester.)

31. Every cloud has a silver lining

Meaning: There is a good in every evil, every negative situation has a positive aspect

Example: Even though we have a though times with my fiancee, I know that we are gonna be okay, every cloud has a silver lining. (Even though we had a hard time with my fiancee, I know that everything will be okay, there is always a positive aspect to every negative situation.)

32. Go with the flow

Meaning: Go with the flow, Go with the majority, Go with the flow

Example: When I feel depressed, it reminds me of going with the flow. When I let it go and go with the flow, it feels better. (When I feel depressed, I remind myself to go with the flow. I feel better when I let go and go with the flow.)

33. Hit the books

Meaning: To study a lot, to start studying

Example: You have exams 2 weeks later, you should definitely hit the books now or else you will fail. (You have exams in 2 weeks, you should definitely start studying or you will fail)

34. Look like a million dollars

Meaning: to look perfect

Example: You look like a million dollars in that blue dress, sweetheart! (You look perfect in this blue dress honey!)

35. Put one’s foot in it

Meaning: To break a pot, to blunder

Example: I really put my foot in it when I asked her about her parents. I did not know her parents got divorced. (I broke the pot when I asked about her parents. I didn’t know her parents were divorced)

36. When something “costs an arm and a leg,” it is exceedingly pricey.

“Fuel these days is really expensive.”

37. “A piece of cake” denotes how simple something is.

The English test went quite smoothly.

38. To accidentally divulge a secret, say, “Let the cat out of the bag.”

39. To feel under the weather’ – to not feel well.

“There’s something wrong with my throat, and I’m really feeling under the weather today.”

40. “To kill two birds with one stone” refers to resolving two issues simultaneously.

“By taking my dad on vacation, I accomplished two goals at once. I got to see him while simultaneously getting to travel.

41. To “cut corners” is to work inefficiently or at a low price.

The shower in this bathroom is leaking; they obviously cut corners when they built it.

42. “To add insult to injury” refers to worsening a predicament.

“The automobile drove off without stopping after knocking me off my bike, adding insult to injury.”

43. “You can’t judge a book by its cover” – to refrain from making snap judgments about people or things based merely on appearance.

It turns out that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because I thought this no-brand bread would be terrible.

44. Break a leg, which is slang for “good luck” (often said to actors before they go on stage).

45.Cat got your tongue meaning?

When I asked someone why they didn’t say anything, they remained silent

Your behavior tonight has been unusually quiet, she said. “What’s wrong? The cat got your tongue?”

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