100 of most Common English Idioms:

An idiom is a group of words that has a figurative meaning which has accepted in common usage. In this article, we are going to present to you 100 of the most common English idioms with their meaning and example, which really usable in our daily life. So, let’s get started; 

  1. A blessing in disguise this means a good thing that seemed bad at first. For exampleLosing that job was a blessing in disguise. 
  2. A picture is worth a thousand words this means a picture tells a story as well as, if not better than, written words. For example; Please could you sketch out a floorplan? A picture is worth a thousand words. 
  3. A piece of cake means really easy. For example; That exam was a piece of cake. 
  4. Actions speak louder than words this means what someone actually does means more than what they say, they will do. For example; I’m going to wait for him to show me he loves me because actions speak louder than words. 
  5. Add insult to injury this means to act in a way that makes a bad situation worse. For example; I was late and to add insult to injury I forget my keys. 
  6. As cheap as chips this means really cheap. For example; Don’t worry about paying me back – they were as cheap as chips. 
  7. Barking up the wrong tree this means to be wrong about the way to achieve something or the reason for something. For example; I think you’re barking up the wrong tree rather than reading textbook cover to cover, you should try the SQRRR method. (You want to know more about that then you should see my study smart not hard way) 
  8. Beat around the bush this means to avoid saying what you mean, usually because it is uncomfortable. For example; I’m not going to beat around the bush – I hate your girlfriend. 
  9. Better late than never this means it is better to arrive or do something later than expected than to not arrive or not do something at all. For example; wow! She finally turned up. Better late than never. (It’s often used sarcastically). 
  10. Bite off more than you can chew this means try to do something that is too difficult or too much for you. For example; I have bitter off more than I can chew with 100 idioms article. 
  11. Bite the bullet means to force yourself to do something unpleasant or difficult, or to be brave in a difficult situation. For example; I’m going to bite the bullet and quit my job. 
  12. Break a leg means good luck. For example; Break a leg tonight, you are an amazing actor. 
  13. Break the ice means to make people who have not met each other before feel more relaxed and comfortable. For example; I have organized fun to help us all break the ice. 
  14. To call it a day means to stop what you’re doing because you think you have done enough or do not want to do anymore. For example; I’m exhausted – I think I’m going to call it a day. 
  15. Cost an arm and a leg means to be very expensive. For example; That coat looks like it cost you an arm and a leg. 
  16. Cut corners this means to do something in the fastest, easiest, or cheapest way. For example; This report is of poor quality – I think the author may have cut some corners. 
  17. Cut somebody some slack this means to give someone additional freedom. For example; Because it was the last day of class, the teacher cut the students some slack. 
  18. Don’t give up your day job this means used for telling somebody that you don’t think you’re very good at something. For example; Your drum solo was very entertaining but don’t give up the day job. 
  19. Put all your eggs in one basket this means to depend for success on a single person or plan. For example; I’m applying for several jobs because I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. 
  20. Easy does it which means used to tell someone to do something carefully and slowly. For example; Easy does it, don’t spill the paint. 
  21. Every cloud has a silver lining this means every negative has positive. For example; Every cloud has a silver lining – after being made redundant I found my dream job. 
  22. Get a test of your own medicine this means get treated the way you have been treating other people. For example; the nasty prison wanders got a teste of his own medicine after being thrown in jail. 
  23. To get out of hand means to become difficult to control. For example; Over Christmas, our spending got a little out of hand. 
  24. To get something out of your system this means to get rid of a wish or emotion, especially a negative one, by allowing yourself to express it. For example; I went and bought that dress I was thinking about all day – I had to get it out of my system. 
  25. To get your act together this means to start to organize yourself so that you do things in an effective way. For example; My desk is a complete mess; I need to get my act together. 
  26. To get someone the benefit of the doubt this means to decide that you will believe someone even if you’re not sure that what they are saying is true. For example; She said she was late because her train was canceled, and we gave her the benefit of the doubt. 
  27. To give someone the cold shoulder means to ignore someone. For example; I think Shally is giving me the cold shoulder. 
  28. To go back to the drawing board means to start planning something again because the first plan failed. For example; Well that didn’t work, let’s go back to the drawing board. 
  29. Good things come to those who wait, means be patient. For example; Stop rushing me! Good things come to those who wait. 
  30. Hang in there means said as a way to tell people to not give up hope even through difficulties. For example; Final exams are tough but hang in there and it’ll be okay. 
  31. To hit the nail on the head means to get exactly right. For example; You’ve hit the nail on the head – that is the route we should have taken. 
  32. To hit the sack means to go to bed. For example; Oh! I’m tired – do you mind if I hit the sack? 
  33. Ignorance is bliss means you’re better off not knowing. For example; I could ask my boss if she’s planning to fire me but ignorance is bliss. 
  34. In a nutshell, means in the fewest possible words. For example; In a nutshell, everything went wrong. 
  35. It takes one to know one means you’re just as bad as I am. For example; If someone says to me, you’re such a gossip, (I could respond with what I am) it takes one to know one. 
  36. It’s not rocket science means used to say that you don’t think something is very difficult or hard to understand. For example; I don’t understand how you can’t work out how to use the washing machine, it’s not rocket science. 
  37. To jump on the bandwagon means to join an activity, trend, or opinion that has become popular. For example; I’ve jumped in the bandwagon and downloaded fortnight. 
  38. To keep one’s chin up means to keep one’s spirits high, to keep happy, positive. For example; I’m trying to keep the chin up after receiving that rejection letter. 
  39. To kill two birds with one stone this means to get two things done with a single action. For example; We could to birds with one stone by stopping off at the bakery on the way home from the butchers. 
  40. To leave no stone unturned means try every possible course of action in order to get something done. For example; He left no stone unturned in his search for this natural mother. 
  41. To let the sleeping dog lie means to leave a situation as it is, in order to no make it worse. For example; I think we should let sleeping dogs lie and avoid confronting her about her issues. 
  42. To let someone off the hook means to allow (someone who has caught doing something wrong or illegal) to go unpublish. For example; This is the third time you’ve caught speeding and I don’t think they’re going to let you off the hook. 
  43. To let the cat out of the bag means to reveal a secret. For example; Don’t let the cat out of the bag because the party is meant to be a surprise. 
  44. To make a long story short means used to indicate that you are providing just basic facts and information in order to reduce the length of a story. For example; To make a long story short, I canceled the party because of financial problems. 
  45. To miss the boat means to be too slow to take advantage of an opportunity. For example; I waited too long for the house prices to drop and I missed the boat. 
  46. Neck of the woods this either means the area where someone comes from or the area where you are. For example; I’m surprised to see in this neck of the woods. (this is often used to talk about exercise) 
  47. No pain, no gain means suffering is necessary in order to achieve something. For example; I have been going to the gym twice a day and my muscles ache – but no pain, no gain. 
  48. Not one’s cup of tea means someone doesn’t like or isn’t interested in something. For example; I’m sorry but line-dancing really isn’t my cup of tea. 
  49. Off the top of one’s head means from memory, without a lot of thought or consideration. For Example; Off the top of my head, I think she’s been engaged 5 times. 
  50. On the ball means alert to new ideas, methods, and trends. For example; I like hanging out with younger people – it keeps me on the ball. 
  51. On thin ice means on probation, if you made another mistake, there will be trouble. For example; I’m on thin ice after my behavior at the office party. 
  52. Once in a blue moon means rarely, very infrequently. For example; I only go to the cinema once in a blue moon, but when I do go, I really enjoy it. 
  53. Out of someone’s league means too good or expensive for someone to have. For example; My crush! is completely out of my league. 
  54. To play devil’s advocate means to argue the opposite, just for the sake of argument. (We often say, I don’t want to play devil’s advocate because of saying I don’t want to just argue for the sake of arguing but I have different opinions.) For example; I don’t want to play devil’s advocate but are you really going out dressed like that? 
  55. To play something by ear means to plan something in an improvised way (instead of planning ahead), deciding what to do as the plan develops. For example; Instead of looking at a table this weekend shall we just play it by earl, shall we see what happens? 
  56. To pull someone’s leg means to paly fully deceive someone or to teach someone. For example; Are you actually leaving your job or are you just pulling my leg? 
  57. Pull yourself together means recover control of your emotions. For example; I need to pull myself together and stop crying. 
  58. To rain on someone’s paradise means to spoil something. For example; I don’t want to rain on your paradise but I think you’ve made a huge mistake in your thesis. 
  59. To rock the boat means to do or say something that could cause a problem or disturbance. For example; The team is getting on really well at the moment so let’s not rock the boat. 
  60. To save something for a rainy day means to save something (usually money) for when you need it. For example; I think you should save that bonus for a rainy day. 
  61. To see eye to eye means to agree. For example; I really don’t see eye to eye with my grandma. 
  62. To shed light on something means to reveal information about or to clarify something. For example; Please, could you shed some light on your absence yesterday? 
  63. To shit on the fence (we often also say to be on the fence) means to avoid making a decision or choice. For example; I’m sitting on the fence; I really can’t choose between these two adorable puppies.  
  64. To sit tight means to refrain from taking action or changing one’s mind. For example; The estate agent advised us to sit tight and neither buy nor sell. 
  65. To smell a rat means to begin to suspect trickery or deception. For example; When she passed away, investigations were called in and soon smelt a rat. 
  66. So far so good means used to say that something (such a plan or project) is progressing well with no problems up to the present. For example; So, If someone asked me, how is the new job? I could say, so far so good! Until this very moment has been anything problematic. 
  67. Someone wouldn’t be caught dead means someone dislikes something very much. For example; I wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress like that. 
  68. Someone’s heart is in the right place means someone only has good intentions. For example; He is strict with his students, but his heart is in the right place. 
  69. Someone’s jaw drops this means someone is very surprised. For example; When I saw him in his suit, my jaw dropped. 
  70. Someone’s pride and joy this means a person or thing that gives someone a lot of satisfaction and happiness. For example; Her vegetable garden is her pride and joy. 
  71. Someone’s true colors this means the kind of person someone really is rather than what they appear to be (so, if you show your true colors, you show how you really are rather than how you appear) For example; I thought he was really nice, but then he was rude to the waiter and showed his true colors. 
  72. Something rings a bell means something is familiar or that you’ve heard something before. For example; I don’t know him personally, but the name rings a bell. 
  73. Speak of the devil means said when a person appears just after being mentioned. For example; Stephanie is so mean – Speak the devil – she’s just liked my Instagram post. 
  74. To spill the beans means to give away a secret or to reveal some gossip. For example; Go on, spill the beans, I need to know how your date went. 
  75. To steal someone’s thunder means to take attention or praise away from someone else’s accomplishments by outdoing them with your own. For example; She stole my thunder when she announced her pregnancy at my wedding! 
  76. To stick to one’s guns means to refuse to change your opinions or beliefs about something. For example; You need to stick to your guns and stop listening to when he says, you need to stick to what you believe in, not what someone else believes in. 
  77. To take something with a pinch/grain of salt means to not take something too seriously. For example; I think you need to take anything that martin says with a pinch of salt. 
  78. To take the mickey means to make fun of. For example; Are you taking the mickey of my mum? (it’s often shortened to Mick, are you taking the mick?) 
  79. The ball in your court means it’s your decision. For example; The ball is in your court regarding the location of the next event. 
  80. The best of both worlds this describes a situation in which you can enjoy the advantages of two different things. For example; She works in the city but lives in the countryside, so she can enjoy the best of both worlds. 
  81. The best thing since sliced bread means a really great invention. For example; Spork is the best thing since sliced bread. (the spork is like a hybrid of a knife, a fork, and a spoon all in one, my mom uses them for picnics) 
  82. The devil is in the details means it looks good from afar, but when you look more closely, there are problems. For example; The illustrations looked fine at first glance but the devil is in the details. 
  83. The early bird gets the worm means the people who arrive first will get the best stuff. (It’s often used for black Friday) For example; Let’s head to the sales at 6 am – the early bird gets the worm. 
  84. The elephant in the room means the big issue, the problem that people are avoiding. For example; I think we should address the elephant in the room – your hideous. (People were avoiding about them, but I have to mention them, they are so ugly) 
  85. The last straw this (this comes from, the straw that broke the camel’s back but we more commonly say the last straw) means the last in a series of unpleasant/unfortunate events that makes you feel like you just can’t continue. For example; She’s always been rude to me, but it was the last straw when she started insulting my mother. (I couldn’t accept that any longer) 
  86. There are plenty more fish in the sea this means it’s okay to miss this opportunity because others will arise. For example; Just forget about him – there are plenty more first in the sea. 
  87. There’s a method to someone’s madness this means someone appears crazy but actually they have a plan. For example; My bedroom seems messy but there is a method to my madness. 
  88. There’s no such thing as a free lunch this means that nothing is entirely free, (there is always a reason behind something). For example; I wonder what he wants from me? There’s no such thing as a free lunch. 
  89. Through thick and thin this means under all circumstances, no matter how difficult. For example; He stuck with her through thick and thin. 
  90. To through caution to the wind, this means to make/take risks. For example; I think you should throw caution to the wind and go on that date. (take the risk alone, yeah!) 
  91. To make matter worse (this is similar to add insult to injury) this means with the results that a bad situation is made worse. For example; She accidentally sent a romantic message to her family WhatsApp group, and to make matters worse it included a picture. (This is happened to someone I know very embarrassing) 
  92. To twist someone’s arm this means to convince someone to do what you want. For example; I didn’t want to go out tonight, but Felicity twisted my arm. (she convinced me) 
  93. Under the weather, this means slightly unwell or in low spirits. For example; I don’t think I’ll come tonight because I’m feeling a bit under the weather. 
  94. Up in the air means (of a plan or issue) still to be settled or understood. For example; The fate of our house purchase is still up in the air. 
  95. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it this is an expression that means you will not worry about a possible future problem but will deal with it if it happens. For example; Don’t worry about the car breaking down – we will cross that bridge when we come to it. 
  96. To warp you head around something this means to find a way to understand or accept (something). For example; I still can wrap my head around why she would do that. (I can’t understand it or accept it) 
  97. You can say that again this is used to express emphatic agreement. For example; I agree that you can say again, so, if someone says to me, the weather has been terrible. I as true Brit will say, you can say that again and then if they didn’t say again and you don’t need to, you don’t need to say anything again, if someone says, you can say that again. 
  98. You can’t have your cake and eat it too this means you can’t have everything. For example; You need to choose between the two options – you can’t have your cake and eat into too. 
  99. You can’t judge a book by its cover this means don’t judge what’s on outside. For example; She may look scruffy but don’t judge a book by its cover. 
  100. You live and you earn this a nice way of saying you learn from your mistake. For example; I know I failed the interview but you live and you learn.