Idiomatic Expressions with Meaning


Idiomatic expressions are phrases or sayings that have a figurative meaning, different from their literal interpretation. They are a fundamental part of English communication, adding color and nuance to everyday conversations, writing, and even literature. In this article, we will explore some of the most common idiomatic expressions with their meanings, origins, and examples.

Animal Idioms

  • “Raining cats and dogs”: Meaning heavy rain
  • “Hold your horses”: Meaning be patient
  • “Let the cat out of the bag”: Meaning reveal a secret
  • “Bull in a china shop”: Meaning clumsy or reckless behavior

Food Idioms

  • “Piece of cake”: Meaning easy task
  • “Spill the beans”: Meaning reveal a secret
  • “Full of beans”: Meaning energetic and enthusiastic
  • “Butter someone up”: Meaning flatter someone to gain a favor

Body Part Idioms

  • “Break a leg”: Meaning good luck
  • “Keep your eyes peeled”: Meaning be alert and watchful
  • “Get cold feet”: Meaning lose courage or confidence
  • “Put your foot in your mouth”: Meaning say something embarrassing or foolish

Sports Idioms

  • “Hit it out of the park”: Meaning succeed impressively
  • “Throw in the towel”: Meaning give up
  • “On the ball”: Meaning attentive and competent
  • “Level playing field”: Meaning fair competition

Color Idioms

  • “Green with envy”: Meaning jealous
  • “In the black”: Meaning profitable
  • “Red flag”: Meaning warning sign
  • “White lie”: Meaning harmless or small lie

Miscellaneous Idioms

  • “Break the ice”: Meaning to start a conversation or activity
  • “Bite the bullet”: Meaning endure a difficult situation
  • “Pull someone’s leg”: Meaning tease or joke with someone
  • “Put a sock in it”: Meaning stop talking or be quiet

Using Idiomatic Expressions in Everyday Life

Incorporating idiomatic expressions into your everyday conversations and writing can add depth and nuance to your communication. Here are some tips to help you use them effectively:

  • Understand the meaning of the idiomatic expression before using it
  • Use idioms in context and appropriately
  • Don’t overuse idioms as they can become tiresome
  • Practice using idioms in writing and conversation

Examples of Idiomatic Expressions in Popular Media and Literature

Idiomatic expressions are ubiquitous in popular media and literature. Here are some examples:

  • “The ball is in your court”: Meaning it’s your turn to make a decision or take action
  • “Speak of the devil”: Meaning someone mentioned appears
  • “Kick the bucket”: Meaning to die
  • “Costs an arm and a leg”: Meaning something is very expensive


Idiomatic expressions are an essential part of English communication, adding nuance and color to everyday conversations and writing. Understanding their meanings and origins can help you incorporate them effectively in your communication. Keep learning and practicing idiomatic expressions to improve your English skills and make your communication more engaging and interesting.

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Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Camford Publishing
Founder of On the Horizon (camford publishing)and The Technology Source, and professor of education at North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Morrison is author and co-author of over 200 publications focusing on educational planning and using information technology tools.Dr. Morrison has delivered numerous conference presentations and workshops for associations such as EDUCAUSE, AAHE, the College Board and others.He has served as a planning consultant to a number of colleges, universities, university systems, community colleges, educational agencies and public agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor, and Department of the Army.His consulting activities focus on assisting organizations to integrate information technology tools in teaching and management.

The title of his Speech is “The Future of Distance Learning.” Professor Morrison will describe the driving forces that will affect education and distance learning in this decade and will focus on the implications of these forces for education and distance learning
Dr. James Morrison
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