What is an idiom?

An idiom is a phrase that has a figurative meaning which is different to its literal meaning. In other words, you can’t work out what an idiom means by looking at the meaning of words in the phrase.

Here are some examples of idioms.

  • It’s raining cats and dogs. (It’s raining heavily)
  • You’re driving me up the wall. (You’re making me feel cross and frustrated)
  • I’m pulling your leg. (I’m joking)

As you can see, the figurative meaning is very different to the literal meaning.

There are estimated to be more than 20,000 idiomatic expressions in the English language.

Follow the link to see a list of idioms.

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