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Popular English idioms


asked by
over 2 years ago

What are English idioms that people actually use? There are many articles on the web but I am not sure if the English idioms from them are used in real life. Please, let me know.

1 answer
answered by
over 2 years ago

Idioms are definitely worth learning for a simple reason. They appear quite often in the language, so their knowledge will help us to understand spoken English. Thanks to idioms, we can also quickly and precisely describe a situation and, almost as important, to show off.

But, as you say, it is not clear which English idioms are actually used every day. So I created a list of idioms that I oftem come acress when living in the UK. I would not say I hear them every day, but I certainly hear them every so often.

I have chosen 15 popular idioms. I will describe them first and then present them in a table together with pronunciation.

15 popular English idioms

A piece of cake, we do not talk about the cake of course. The meaning of this expression is something very easy. We can say for instance, This job is a piece of cake. Another popular English idiom that we can use interchangeably is a walk in the park.

To cut corners, again we do not look at the literal meaning. It means to do something without required effort, carelessly or in a hurry. When you cut corners you save time or money but lose quality.

24/7, a popular phrase that means that something, a shop, sports centre, is open or runs all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Easier said than done, my mistake, it is not really an idiom but because my daughter recorded this phrase for us, I have decided to include it. It is quite a popular English phrase, and we use it when something seems like a good idea but would be difficult to do.

To go the extra mile This idiom can be translated as to make every effort, to do something extra which is not actually required, but it is a sign of person's involvement.

To be sick and tired, We are not talking about the illness here. The meaning of this phrase is to have enough of something, to be tired of something, and cannot cope with it any more.

Tip of the iceberg This is something partially visible with its true size being hidden. The meaning of this idiom is something which is much more serious or problematic than it looks.

The best of both worlds The expression means to have the advantages of two different situations and none of the disadvantages.

To make a long story short It means not going into details and presenting something, to go straight to the point or to the heart of the matter without wasting time when discussing things.

Do not judge a book by its cover It is a call not to judge someone or something based only on appearances and stereotypes. The book can be fascinating even if it has a poorly designed cover.

To hit the nail on the head This English idiom means to describe something precisely, to capture in one sentence the complexity of the situation.

No pain, no gain, this is easy to decipher. It means that in order to benefit, you need to first sacrifice and work hard. In other words, there's no reward without effort.

Pull yourself together, if somebody loses his temper, you can tell him exactly that. It's used to ask somebody to recover control of emotions.

To stab someone in the back As you can easily guess the phrase means to betray someone, to attack someone unexpectedly. It sometimes also means to talk about someone unpleasantly behind their back.

To go cold turkey means a sudden and complete break with the addiction, without fuss and substitute means. The phrase is sometimes also used when describing a situation in which someone completely cuts away from social media.

Below you will find all discussed idioms along with audio files containing English pronunciation and a short description of meaning.

Idiom Pronunciation Meaning
A piece of cake Something very easy, an easy task
To cut corners to do something in the easiest, cheapest, or fastest way
24/7 open all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Easier said than done something easy to suggest, but much more difficult to make happen
To go the extra mile to make more effort than is expected of you
To be sick and tired to have experienced too much of someone or something and be annoyed
Tip of the iceberg a small, noticeable part of a problem, the total size of which is really much greater
The best of both worlds a situation in which you can enjoy the advantages of two very different things at the same time
To make a long story short to get to the point
Don't judge a book by its cover! we can't simply judge people only by their appearances
To hit the nail on the head to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem
No pain, no gain you can only achieve something, for example become fitter, by suffering or working hard
Pull yourself together! calm down and behave normally again after being angry or upset
To stab someone in the back to harm someone who trusts you
To go cold turkey suddenly and completely stop doing something

Some information in the table comes from Cambridge Dictionary.

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