Learn English idioms and improve your English!


Matt Hopkins_DOSHi Guys! This is Matt, the Director of Studies at Langports Brisbane campus. There are, of course, many ways you can improve your English. One of these ways is to become more familiar with idioms. An idiom is an expression that has a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own (Are you confused yet!?!). For example, you probably know the famous English idiom, “It’s raining cats and dogs!” In English, we use this expression to say that it’s raining heavily. Here is a list of 30 common idioms you can try to use to improve your understanding of English.

1. It’s raining cats and dogs.

English meaning: It is raining heavily.

2. The straw that broke the camel’s back.

English meaning: you have reached the limit of your patience

3. As useful as a chocolate teapot.

English meaning: referring to a useless or pointless item or action

4. Like a seagull on a hot chip

English meaning: quick to take action

5. Let the cat out of the bag

English meaning:  to reveal a secret or information previously hidden

6. That’s the way the cookie crumbles

English meaning: to say that sometimes bad things happen and there is nothing you can do. That is just how life goes.

7. Don’t put  all your eggs in one basket

English meaning: don’t put all your resources in one place. For example: don’t invest all your money in the same company.

8. A hot potato

English meaning: referring to a controversial issue/problem.

9. Open a can of worms

English meaning: to create a situation that will cause trouble or be unpleasant

10. That’s a piece of cake

English meaning: you consider something to be very easy.

 11. At the drop of a hat

English meaning: doing something immediately

12. It rings a bell

English meaning: it sounds familiar

13. Champagne on a beer budget

English meaning:  referring to someone who likes expensive things that they cannot afford.

14. To go the extra mile

English meaning:  make an extra effort that was not expected.

15. To put your heart (and soul) into something

English meaning: to give a 100% effort into something.

16. To hit the road

English meaning: to begin a journey, to leave.

17. To be back on your feet

English meaning: to recover from an illness or bad situation.

18. To be blind as a bat

English meaning: somebody who can’t see very well.

19. To be in the same boat

English meaning: to be in the same unpleasant situation as someone else.

20. To explore all avenues

English meaning: you try out every possibility in order to obtain a result or find a solution

21. To be all ears

English meaning: listening carefully.

22. Cost an arm and a leg

English meaning: something that is very expensive.

23. Up a gum tree

English meaning: you are having a problem.

24. A ray of sunshine

English meaning: something or someone that makes you really happy.

25. Your bread and butter

English meaning: a job or activity that provides you with an income.

26. To make a killing

English meaning: to earn a lot of money in a short time

27. To play it by ear

English meaning: to improvise, to do whatever seems best at the time depending on the situation.

28. Drive up the wall

English meaning:  being irritated or annoyed by something or somebody.

29. To break the ice

English meaning:  to end or avoid an awkward situation by starting a conversation with someone about something.

30. To keep an eye on somebody

English meaning:  to make sure you know what someone is doing.

Now that you’ve learnt 30 common English expressions, you can try to use them in your conversations.

Good luck guys!