List of Idioms

Here are some examples of idioms.

  • Let the cat out of the bag. (Reveal a secret)
  • Spill the beans. (Reveal a secret).
  • A slap on the wrist. (A mild punishment)

  • Baker’s dozen. (Thirteen)
  • Bend over backwards. (Willing to do whatever it takes to help)
  • Bite your tongue. (Stop talking)
  • Cry wolf. (Intentionally raise a false alarm)
  • A dead ringer. (Incredibly similar)
  • Out on a limb. (A risky situation).
  • On the fence. (Undecided)
  • Pipe down. (Be quiet)
  • Start from scratch. (Restart a task from the beginning)
  • Use your loaf. (Think about it)
  • Under the weather. (Feeling unwell)
  • Smell a rat (To believe that someone isn’t acting honestly).
  • Nest egg. (Money put aside for the future).
  • Loose canon. (Someone who’s unpredictable)
  • Kick the bucket. (To die)
  • To hit the nail on the head. (To get something exactly right).
  • Hit the sack. (To go to bed).
  • Dry run. (A rehearsal)

These are just a few examples of some commonly used idioms. It is thought that there are more than 20,000 idiomatic phrases in the English language.

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.