Today we’re going to talk about ten essential idioms for English speakers. Idioms and proverbs are common expressions in English that usually have two meanings, usually a literal meaning and a figurative meaning. It’s important actually to learn these and know what their figurative meaning is. That way you won’t be so confused. Otherwise it could be quite strange. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
1. To hit the books – Idiom
Now, if we think about this in a literal way, it’s a little bit strange because to hit is maybe to punch or to to knock something. And of course you don’t actually hit a book. But to hit the books the figurative meaning of this idiom is to start studying. You might say something like, ‘I really need to hit the books. I want to improve my English a lot this week’. So, you might want to try studying harder.
2. Up in the air – Idiom
Up in the air actually refers to plans that are not really confirmed yet or not solid. You might say, ‘How is that plan for your vacation going? Do you know where you’re going to go on vacation yet? And the answer might be, ‘Well, my plans are up in the air. I will either go to Spain or Italy, but I’m not sure yet’. Up in the air means that they’re not confirmed, they’re not certain yet.
3. To stab someone in the back – Idiom
Now, to stab someone in the back this sounds like it’s illegal and it is. But in a figurative meaning to stab someone in the back means that you betrayed them or you, maybe, did something sneaky to hurt them. I could say something like, ‘I can’t believe he said that about me, he really stabbed me in the back. He pretended like he was my friend and then he told everyone something bad about me. He really stabbed me in the back.
4. To go cold turkey or to quit cold turkey – Idiom
This is a really strange idiom because this has nothing to do with Turkey, birds or anything like this. To quit cold turkey means to stop doing something immediately and forever. For example, if you’re a smoker you can quit in a few different ways. Generally people might quit gradually which means they slowly start smoking less over an amount of time or someone can quit cold turkey which means that they stop immediately right now and never smoke again. It works for some people and doesn’t work for others, but you can use this idiom with any kind of bad habit.
5. Rule of thumb – Idiom
this is a very interesting idiom, we use this quite a lot. A rule of thumb really refers to a best practice. A rule of thumb might be that you should back up all your data on your computer every evening before you leave the office. It’s a good rule of thumb. Historically it was interesting about this idiom is that this comes from England, a few hundred years ago, where there was literally a rule of thumb which meant that a man was allowed to beat his wife as long as the object was no thicker than his thumb. Of course today we don’t have this rule, but a rule of thumb refers to best practice. Check Also: aiou tutor
6. To be under the weather – Idiom
It sounds a little bit strange as it has nothing to do with weather or climate. But to be under the weather means to be not feeling very well. Maybe, you feel a little bit sick, maybe you a little bit of a cold or fever. Usually we use this when we talk about maybe not going into work. We might call our boss and we might say, ‘I’m sorry today I’m feeling a little under the weather, I won’t be able to come in’. It’s a good one to know. It’s very general and it refers to you feeling a little bit ill.
7. To Feel like a million bucks – Idiom
To feel like or to look like a million bucks really means that you feel really good or you look really good. Maybe, someone goes to the hairdresser and comes back and asks their friend, ‘How do you like my new haircut?’. And the friend might say, ‘Well, you look like a million bucks’. It means you look really good.
8. To cut to the chase – Idiom
To cut to the chase really simply means to avoid any extra unnecessary information and to talk specifically about what you want. Perhaps, you host a meeting, maybe, you’re the boss, you have a meeting. All the staff comes in and they’re aware that this meeting might be about job layoffs in the company. And as the boss you might not want to talk too much about the surrounding information, you might say, ‘Well, guys let’s cut to the chase. We’re going to have to lay people off’. This is a way that they introduce direct way to the point.
9. To get over something or To get over it – Idiom
This could refer to a few different things, but this is when you have some kind of problem that lasts for a duration of time and you have to maybe resolve this problem or forget about it. One simple way it could be is if you have a cold, a cold usually lasts for maybe a week or two, so we can say that it takes some time to get over the cold. That means it take some time to resolve this problem. This could also be an emotional problem as well. Maybe a guy and a girl broke up. Maybe, the guy feels very sad, but we could say, ‘Well, he’ll get over it with some time, maybe in a month he’ll feel better and he can find a new girlfriend, maybe’. To resolve a problem over time is to get over something.
10. To keep your chin up – Idiom
To keep your chin up is maybe a positive or motivating idiom that means to stay strong, stay confident, don’t be sad despite a bad situation. Perhaps, if you get fired from your job, you might feel very sad and depressed and want to feel sorry for yourself. Someone might tell you, ‘Just keep your chin up, and things will get better’. They mean stay strong, stay positive, stay energetic and you’ll get over it, actually.
Those were 10 idioms and their meanings with sentences in the English language that we use quite a lot. It’s difficult to learn idioms for kids actually and the biggest problem with this is that we usually use them in very specific situations. We don’t really use them every day. The best way to learn these is really to get familiar with how they work and to understand how you can use them. I always recommends that students write them down, take notes about them, try to come up with some examples of how they can use them and just to get a feel for how they really work because to write them down a lot might help you to memorize them and that is really the best way.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember them in your spoken English, but it’s very important to know when someone uses it what this actually means, you can understand some people. But keep practicing with those and you’ll only get better. That’s it for me for today.