50 Idiomatic Expressions With Examples & Meaning + PDF

50 Idiomatic Expressions Examples with Meaning! Here are 50 popular English idioms to help you sound more like a native speaker.

An idiom is a phrase that has a meaning that is different from the meanings of each word in it. For example, if you say someone “has bitten off more than they can chew,” you mean they have taken on more than they can handle.

We often use idioms without realizing it. However, if you aren’t familiar with the meaning of an idiom, it can be very confusing. For example, if an American English speaker says “I’m pulling your leg,” to someone who doesn’t know this idiom, that person might think the speaker is actually physically pulling their leg!

To avoid confusion and communicate effectively, it’s important to learn common idiomatic expressions.

50 Idiomatic Expressions Examples Meaning

50 Idiomatic Expressions With Examples and Meanings

Related: 500 Idioms and Meaning

1- Bite off more than you can chew

Means: to take on something bigger than you can handle

Sentence: John wanted to take on the project alone, but he soon realized he had bitten off more than he could chew.

2- Beat around the bush and avoid the main topic

Means: delay giving an answer

Sentence: When I asked my boss for a raise, she beat around the bush and didn’t give me a direct answer.

3- Break a leg

Means: good luck in performing or succeeding

Sentence: Good luck with your audition tonight! Break a leg!

4- Buckle down

Means: work hard

Sentence: I need to buckle down and study if I want to pass my exam.

5- By the seat of your pants

Means: by instinct

Sentence: She had no formal training, but she managed to create a successful business by relying on her instincts and going by the seat of her pants.

6- Call it a day

Means: stop working for the day

Sentence: We’ve been working for hours, let’s call it a day and pick up where we left off tomorrow.

7- Can’t see my hand in front of my face

Means: very dark

Sentence: It was so dark in the cave that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

8- Carry a torch

Means: to be in love with someone

Sentence: He’s been carrying a torch for her since they were teenagers, but he’s never told her how he feels.

9- Chew the fat

Means: to talk casually with someone

Sentence: We spent hours chewing the fat over a cup of coffee.

10- Choke on something

Means: to choke is to swallow food or liquid that is too large for your throat

Sentence: I almost choked on a piece of steak at dinner last night.

11- Come out of nowhere

Means: appear suddenly

Sentence: The storm came out of nowhere and caught us off guard.

12- Cook up a plot

Means: to create plans

Sentence: She cooked up a plot to surprise her husband on his birthday.

13- Cut to the chase

Means: get to the most important part of something

Sentence: Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main issue.

14- Cut your losses

Means: stop trying to fix your mistake or problems

Sentence: After losing a lot of money on the stock market, he decided to cut his losses and sell his shares.

15- Dead ringer

Means: a person who is exactly like someone else

Sentence: She’s a dead ringer for her mother at the same age.

16- Don t count your chickens before they hatch

Means: don t be too optimistic

Sentence: You can’t assume you’ll win the game before it’s even started. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

17- Don t rock the boat

Means: don’t make a big change

Sentence: Let’s just keep things the way they are and not rock the boat.

18- Don t twist my arm

Means: to persuade someone by using pressure or force

Sentence: I don’t really want to go to the party, but she keeps twisting my arm to convince me.

19- Down in the dumps

Means: sad

Sentence: After her breakup, she was down in the dumps for weeks.

20- Drop a dime

Means: to report someone s bad behavior

Sentence: She dropped a dime on her neighbor for playing loud music late at night.

21- Drop in the bucket

Means: a small amount

Sentence: The $10 donation was just a drop in the bucket compared to what they needed for the project.

22- Drop of a hat

Means: immediately

Sentence: If you need my help, I’ll come over right away, just give me a call. I’ll be there at the drop of a hat.

23- Easy as pie

Means: very easy

Sentence: After practicing a few times, riding a bike became as easy as pie.

24- Eat your heart out

Means: to feel jealous

Sentence: Look at my new car! Eat your heart out, Jerry.

25- Eye candy

Means: something that looks good but is not useful

Sentence: That painting might not be worth much, but it sure is eye candy.

26- Face-off

Means: face someone and argue

Sentence: They faced off a heated debate about the future of the company.

27- Fall back on

Means: to use something as a backup plan

Sentence: If I can’t find a job in my field, I can always fall back on my degree in education.

28- Fits like a glove

Means: fits perfectly

Sentence: This jacket fits like a glove, it’s perfect!

29- Flat broke

Means: without money

Sentence: After losing his job, he was flatly broke and couldn’t afford to pay his bills.

30- Flat out

Means: at full speed

Sentence: She was running flat out to catch the train before it left the station.

31- Flat tire

Means: an event that stops progress

Sentence: We had to pull over and change the flat tire before continuing our road trip.

32- Fly off the handle

Means: to become angry

Sentence: He flew off the handle when he found out that someone had scratched his car.

33- For crying out loud

Means: expressing surprise

Sentence: For crying out loud, will you please stop talking and let me concentrate?

34- Freaked out

Means: very surprised

Sentence: I freaked out when I saw the spider crawling on my arm.

35- Get a word in edgewise

Means: to be able to talk

Sentence: She never stops talking, I can never get a word in edgewise.

36- Get the ball rolling

Means: to start something

Sentence: Let’s get the ball rolling and start planning the event.

37- Give me a break!

Means: do not lie

Sentence: He said he was only 10 minutes late, but give me a break, it’s been an hour!

38- Go ballistic

Means: to become very angry

Sentence: My dad went ballistic when he found out I crashed his car.

39- Go down the tubes

Means: to fail

Sentence: The company’s profits started going down the tubes after the new CEO took over.

40- Go on a rampage

Means: to break things

Sentence: The protesters went on a rampage, destroying everything in their path.

41- Going in circles

Means: doing the same thing over and over

Sentence: We’ve been discussing the same issue for hours and we’re just going in circles.

42- Good riddance

Means: something you are happy about leaving

Sentence: I finally got rid of my old car, good riddance!

43- Good to go

Means: ready

Sentence: The car’s all packed up, everyone’s ready to go, and we’re good to go!

44- Go the extra mile

Means: to do more than expected

Sentence: If you want to succeed in this business, you have to be willing to go the extra mile.

45- Got a mouth on you!

Means: saying you talk too much

Sentence: Wow, you really have a mouth on you! You never stop talking.

46- Grin and bear it

Means: to put up with something

Sentence: The food was terrible, but I had to grin and bear it because it was a fancy restaurant.

47- Grow like a weed

Means: to grow very fast

Sentence: The plants in the garden are growing like weeds this summer.

48- Grown-up

Means: someone who is an adult

Sentence: You’re not a kid anymore, you’re a grown-up now.

49- Gut feeling

Means: to have a hunch

Sentence: I have a gut feeling that something is not right about this situation.

50- Have a bone to pick with you

Means: to be angry at you

Sentence: I have a bone to pick with you about the way you treated me yesterday.

Related: 20 Idioms with Their Meanings and Sentences

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