Idioms and Phrases with Meanings and Examples Pdf! An idiom is a phrase that has a meaning that is not literal. This means that you can’t understand the meaning of the idiom by looking at the individual words that make it up. For example, if someone says “I’m pulling your leg,” they don’t actually mean that they are going to grab hold of your leg and try to pull it off.
Instead, they are joking with you or trying to trick you. If you want to understand idioms, you need to know how to use them in context. In this PDF, we will provide you with a list of common idioms and phrases, along with their meanings and examples. After reading through this guide, you should have a better understanding of how to use these expressions in your own writing and conversation.
Idioms and Phrases with Meanings and Examples
Related: 500 Idioms and Meaning
1-A Blessing in Disguise
Meaning: A good thing that initially seemed bad
Example: Losing my job was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the opportunity to start my own business.
2-A Dime a Dozen
Meaning: Something that is very common and not special
Example: There are a dime a dozen ideas out there for starting a business, but it’s the execution that counts.
3-Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Meaning: It’s better to do something than to just talk about it
Example: I’ve been telling my team that we need to be more proactive, but actions speak louder than words.
4-Add insult to injury
Meaning: To make a bad situation even worse
Example: I was already upset about spilling coffee on my shirt, and then add insult to injury.
5-All in the Same Boat
Meaning: Everyone is in the same situation
Example: We’re all in the same boat when it comes to this project – none of us know what we’re doing.
6-An Arm and a Leg
Meaning: A lot of money
Example: This new car is going to cost me an arm and a leg.
Meaning: A person who is not good or trustworthy
Example: I thought he was a bad egg when he didn’t show up for our meeting.
8-Beat around the Bush
Meaning: To avoid talking about something directly
Example: Let’s stop beating around the bush and get to the point.
9-Bite off more than you can chew
Meaning: To take on more than you can handle
Example: I bit off more than I could chew when I agreed to take on three new projects at work.
10-Break a Leg
Meaning: Good luck (usually said to performers before they go on stage)
Example: You’re going to do great – just break a leg.
Meaning: To do something in order to delay an event or create more time
Example: I need to buy some time so I can finish this project.
12-Call it a day
Meaning: To stop working for the day
Example: I’m going to call it a day – I’ve been working for 10 hours straight.
13-Cat got your tongue?
Meaning: Why are you not saying anything?
Example: Cat got your tongue? I’ve been talking to you for 5 minutes and you haven’t said a word.
14-Chip on your shoulder
Meaning: A feeling of resentment or anger about something that happened in the past
Example: He’s been carrying a chip on his shoulder ever since he was passed over for the promotion.
15-Close, but no cigar
Meaning: Almost, but not quite
Example: I was close, but no cigar – I missed the target by 2 inches.
16-Cost an arm and a leg
Meaning: To be very expensive
Example: This dress costs an arm and a leg, but it’s worth it.
17-Cry over spilled milk
Meaning: To feel sorry for something that has already happened and cannot be changed
Example: There’s no use crying over spilled milk – we need to focus on the future.
18-Curiosity killed the cat
Meaning: You should be careful about investigating something too much because it might be dangerous
Example: I was curious about what was in the box, but curiosity killed the cat – there was a snake inside.
Meaning: To do something in a less than the satisfactory way in order to save time or money
Example: I’m going to cut corners and take the shortcut to save time.
Meaning: To argue against something, even though you may not agree with the argument, in order to create a discussion
Example: I know you’re in favor of the proposal, but can I play devil’s advocate for a moment and point out some potential problems?
21-Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
Meaning: Don’t make plans for something that might not happen
Example: I’m not going to buy a new car until I get the promotion – I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.
22-Draw a blank
Meaning: To be unable to remember something
Example: I’m sorry, I drew a blank – what was your name again?
23-Dressed to the nines
Meaning: To be very well dressed
Example: She’s dressed to the nines for her job interview.
24-Driving me up the wall
Meaning: To be annoying
Example: Her constant complaining is driving me up the wall.
25-Easier said than done
Meaning: It’s easy to say that you will do something, but it’s more difficult to actually do it
Example: I know you say you’re going to quit smoking, but it’s easier said than done.
26-Eat humble pie
Meaning: To be forced to apologize for something
Example: He was eating humble pie after he was caught stealing candy from the store.
27-Everything but the kitchen sink
Meaning: To include everything, even things that are not necessary
Example: I’ve packed everything but the kitchen sink – I hope I don’t have to carry this all myself.
Meaning: A situation in which people are competing fiercely with each other
Example: There was a feeding frenzy when the company announced that there would be layoffs.
29-Feeling under the weather
Meaning: To be ill
Example: I’m feeling a bit under the weather – I think I’m coming down with a cold.
30-Few and far between
Meaning: Not many; not often
Example: Good jobs are few and far between these days.
31-For the life of me
Meaning: I cannot remember or figure out
Example: For the life of me, I can’t remember where I put my keys.
32-Get a kick out of something
Meaning: To enjoy something
Example: I get a kick out of watching old movies.
33-Get your ducks in a row
Meaning: To get everything organized
Example: I’m going to get my ducks in a row before the meeting.
34-Give someone the benefit of the doubt
Meaning: To trust someone even though they may not deserve it
Example: I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings.
35-Go back to the drawing board
Meaning: To start something again from the beginning because it isn’t working
Example: We need to go back to the drawing board.
Related: Idioms in English With Meaning
Idioms and Phrases with Meanings and Examples – Infographics