English Idiom with its meaning

By Yohannes Zewde August 08, 2012

English Idiom list with its meaning ''A''

A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush: Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.

A Blessing In Disguise: Something good that isn't recognized at first.

A Chip On Your Shoulder: Being upset for something that happened in the past.

A Dime A Dozen: Anything that is common and easy to get.

A Doubting Thomas: A skeptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something.

A Drop in the Bucket: A very small part of something big or whole.

A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted: It's easy for a foolish person to lose his/her money.

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand: Everyone involved must unify and function together or it will not work out.

A Leopard Can't Change His Spots: You cannot change who you are.

A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned: By not spending money, you are saving money (little by little).

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words: A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.

A Piece of Cake: A task that can be accomplished very easily.

A Slap on the Wrist: A very mild punishment.

A Taste Of Your Own Medicine: When you are mistreated the same way you mistreat others.

A Toss-Up: A result that is still unclear and can go either way.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: It's better to actually do something than just talk about it.

Add Fuel To The Fire: Whenever something is done to make a bad situation even worse than it is.

Against The Clock: Rushed and short on time.

All Bark And No Bite: When someone is threatening and/or aggressive but not willing to engage in a fight.

All Greek to me: Meaningless and incomprehensible like someone who cannot read, speak, or understand any of the Greek language would be.

All In The Same Boat: When everyone is facing the same challenges.

An Arm And A Leg: Very expensive. A large amount of money.

An Axe To Grind: To have a dispute with someone.

Apple of My Eye: Someone who is cherished above all others.

As High As A Kite: Anything that is high up in the sky.

At The Drop Of A Hat: Willing to do something immediately.

English Idiom list with its meaning ''B''

Back Seat Driver: People who criticize from the sidelines, much like someone giving unwanted advice from the back seat of a vehicle to the driver.

Back To Square One: Having to start all over again.

Back To The Drawing Board: When an attempt fails and it's time to start all over.

Baker's Dozen: Thirteen.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree: A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve.

Beat A Dead Horse: To force an issue that has already ended.

Beating Around The Bush: Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.

Bend Over Backwards: Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place: Stuck between two very bad options.

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: To take on a task that is way to big.

Bite Your Tongue: To avoid talking.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The family bond is closer than anything else.

Blue Moon: A rare event or occurance.

Break A Leg: A superstitious way to say 'good luck' without saying 'good luck', but rather the opposite.

Buy A Lemon: To purchase a vehicle that constantly gives problems or stops running after you drive it away.

English Idiom list with its meaning ''C''

Can't Cut The Mustard: Someone who isn't adequate enough to compete or participate.

Cast Iron Stomach: Someone who has no problems, complications or ill effects with eating anything or drinking anything.

Charley Horse: Stiffness in the leg / A leg cramp.

Chew someone out: Verbally scold someone.

Chip on his Shoulder: Angry today about something that occured in the past.

Chow Down: To eat.

Close but no Cigar: To be very near and almost accomplish a goal, but fall short.

Cock and Bull Story: An unbelievable tale.

Come Hell Or High Water: Any difficult situation or obstacle.

Crack Someone Up: To make someone laugh.

Cross Your Fingers: To hope that something happens the way you want it to.

Cry Over Spilt Milk: When you complain about a loss from the past.

Cry Wolf: Intentionally raise a false alarm.

Cup Of Joe: A cup of coffee.

Curiosity Killed The Cat: Being Inquisitive can lead you into a dangerous situation.

Cut to the Chase: Leave out all the unnecessary details and just get to the point.

English Idiom list with its meaning ''D''

Dark Horse: One who was previously unknown and is now prominent.

Dead Ringer: 100% identical. A duplicate.

Devil's Advocate: Someone who takes a position for the sake of argument without believing in that particular side of the arguement. It can also mean one who presents a counter argument for a position they do believe in, to another debater.

Dog Days of Summer: The hottest days of the summer season.

Don't count your chickens before they hatch: Don't rely on it until your sure of it.

Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth: When someone gives you a gift, don't be ungrateful.

Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket: Do not put all your resources in one possibility.

Doozy: Something outstanding.

Down To The Wire: Something that ends at the last minute or last few seconds.

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures: When you are extremely desperate you need to take extremely desperate actions.

Drink like a fish: To drink very heavily.

Drive someone up the wall: To irritate and/or annoy very much.

Dropping Like Flies: A large number of people either falling ill or dying.

Dry Run: Rehearsal.

English Idiom list with its meaning ''E''

Eighty Six: A certain item is no longer available. Or this idiom can also mean, to throw away.

Elvis has left the building: The show has come to an end. It's all over.

Ethnic Cleansing: Killing of a certain ethnic or religious group on a massive scale.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining: Be optomistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink: Almost everything and anything has been included.

Excuse my French: Please forgive me for cussing.

Cock and Bull Story: An unbelievable tale.

Cock and Bull Story: An unbelievable tale.

English Idiom list with its meaning ''F''

Feeding Frenzy: An aggressive attack on someone by a group.

Field Day: An enjoyable day or circumstance.

Finding Your Feet: To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing.

Finger lickin' good: A very tasty food or meal.

Fixed In Your Ways: Not willing or wanting to change from your normal way of doing something.

Flash In The Pan: Something that shows potential or looks promising in the beginning but fails to deliver anything in the end.

Flea Market: A swap meet. A place where people gather to buy and sell inexpensive goods.

Flesh and Blood: This idiom can mean living material of which people are made of, or it can refer to someone's family.

Flip The Bird: To raise your middle finger at someone.

Foam at the Mouth: To be enraged and show it.

Fools' Gold: Iron pyrites, a worthless rock that resembles real gold.

French Kiss: An open mouth kiss where tongues touch.

From Rags To Riches: To go from being very poor to being very wealthy.

Fuddy-duddy: An old-fashioned and foolish type of person.

Full Monty: This idiom can mean either, "the whole thing" or "completely nude".

Funny Farm: A mental institutional facility.

English Idiom list with its meaning ''G''

Get Down to Brass Tacks: To become serious about something.

Get Over It: To move beyond something that is bothering you.

Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed: Someone who is having a horrible day.

Get Your Walking Papers: Get fired from a job.

Give Him The Slip: To get away from. To escape.

Go Down Like A Lead Balloon: To be received badly by an audience.

Go For Broke: To gamble everything you have.

Go Out On A Limb: Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/something.

Go The Extra Mile: Going above and beyond whatever is required for the task at hand.

Good Samaritan: Someone who helps others when they are in need, with no discussion for compensation, and no thought of a reward.

Graveyard Shift: Working hours from about 12:00 am to 8:00 am. The time of the day when most other people are sleeping.

Great Minds Think Alike: Intelligent people think like each other.

Green Room: The waiting room, especially for those who are about to go on a tv or radio show.

Gut Feeling: A personal intuition you get, especially when feel something may not be right. 

English Idiom list with its meaning 'H''

Haste Makes Waste: Quickly doing things results in a poor ending.

Hat Trick: When one player scores three goals in the same hockey game. This idiom can also mean three scores in any other sport, such as 3 homeruns, 3 touchdowns, 3 soccer goals, etc.

Have an Axe to Grind: To have a dispute with someone.

He Lost His Head: Angry and overcome by emotions.

Head Over Heels: Very excited and/or joyful, especially when in love.

Hell in a Handbasket: Deteriorating and headed for complete disaster.

High Five: Slapping palms above each others heads as celebration gesture.

High on the Hog: Living in Luxury.

Hit The Books: To study, especially for a test or exam.

Hit The Hay: Go to bed or go to sleep.

Hit The Nail on the Head: Do something exactly right or say something exactly right.

Hit The Sack: Go to bed or go to sleep.

Hocus Pocus: In general, a term used in magic or trickery.

Hold Your Horses: Be patient.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'I''

Icing On The Cake: When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have.

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools: You are more likely to get in trouble if you have nothing to do.

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another: When one thing goes wrong, then another, and another...

In Like Flynn: To be easily successful, especially when sexual or romantic.

In The Bag: To have something secured.

In The Buff: Nude.

In The Heat Of The Moment: Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment.

In Your Face: An aggressive and bold confrontation.

It Takes Two To Tango: A two person conflict where both people are at fault.

It's A Small World: You frequently see the same people in different places.

Its Anyone's Call: A competition where the outcome is difficult to judge or predict.

Ivy League: Since 1954 the Ivy League has been the following universities: Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Harvard.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'J''

Jaywalk: Crossing the street (from the middle) without using the crosswalk.
Joshing Me: Tricking me.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'K''

Keep An Eye On Him: You should carefully watch him.
Keep body and soul together: To earn a sufficient amount of money in order to keep yourself alive .
Keep your chin up: To remain joyful in a tough situation.
Kick The Bucket: Die.
Kitty-corner: Diagonally across. Sometimes called Catty-Corner as well.
Knee Jerk Reaction: A quick and automatic response.
Knock On Wood: Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid some bad luck.
Know the Ropes: To understand the details.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'L'

Last but not least: An introduction phrase to let the audience know that the last person mentioned is no less important than those introduced before him/her.
Lend Me Your Ear: To politely ask for someone's full attention.
Let Bygones Be Bygones: To forget about a disagreement or arguement.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: To avoid restarting a conflict.
Let The Cat Out Of The Bag: To share a secret that wasn't suppose to be shared.
Level playing field: A fair competition where no side has an advantage.
Like a chicken with its head cut off: To act in a frenzied manner.
Liquor someone up: To get someone drunk.
Long in the Tooth: Old people (or horses).
Loose Cannon: Someone who is unpredictable and can cause damage if not kept in check.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'M

Make No Bones About: To state a fact so there are no doubts or objections.
Method To My Madness: Strange or crazy actions that appear meaningless but in the end are done for a good reason.
Mumbo Jumbo: Nonsense or meaningless speech.
Mum's the word: To keep quiet. To say nothing.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'N'

Nest Egg: Savings set aside for future use.
Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You: Don't hurt anyone that helps you.
New kid on the block: Someone new to the group or area.
New York Minute: A minute that seems to go by quickly, especially in a fast paced environment.
No Dice: To not agree. To not accept a proposition.
No Room to Swing a Cat: An unsually small or confined space.
Not Playing With a Full Deck: Someone who lacks intelligence.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'O

Off On The Wrong Foot: Getting a bad start on a relationship or task.
Off The Hook: No longer have to deal with a tough situation.
Off the Record: Something said in confidence that the one speaking doesn't want attributed to him/her.
On Pins And Needles: Anxious or nervous, especially in anticipation of something.
On The Fence: Undecided.
On The Same Page: When multiple people all agree on the same thing.
Out Of The Blue: Something that suddenly and unexpectedly occurs.
Out On A Limb: When someone puts themself in a risky situation.
Out On The Town: To enjoy yourself by going out.
Over My Dead Body: When you absolutely will not allow something to happen.
Over the Top: Very excessive.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'P'

Pass The Buck: Avoid responsibility by giving it to someone else.
Pedal to the metal: To go full speed, especially while driving a vehicle.
Peeping Tom: Someone who observes people in the nude or sexually active people, mainly for his own gratification.
Pick up your ears: To listen very carefully.
Pig In A Poke: A deal that is made without first examining it.
Pig Out: To eat alot and eat it quickly.
Pipe Down: To shut-up or be quiet.
Practice Makes Perfect: By constantly practicing, you will become better.
Pull the plug: To stop something. To bring something to an end.
Pulling Your Leg: Tricking someone as a joke.
Put a sock in it: To tell noisy person or a group to be quiet.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'Q'

Queer the pitch: Destroy or ruin a plan.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'R'

Raincheck: An offer or deal that is declined right now but willing to accept later.
Raining Cats and Dogs: A very loud and noisy rain storm.
Ring Fencing: Seperated usual judgement to guarantee protection, especially project funds.
Rise and Shine: Time to get out of bed and get ready for work/school.
Rome Was Not Built In One Day: If you want something to be completely properly, then its going to take time.
Rule Of Thumb: A rough estimate.
Run out of steam: To be completely out of energy.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'S'

Saved By The Bell: Saved at the last possible moment.
Scapegoat: Someone else who takes the blame.
Scot-free: To escape and not have to pay.
Sick As A Dog: To be very sick (with the flu or a cold).
Sitting Shotgun: Riding in the front passenger seat of a car.
Sixth Sense: A paranormal sense that allows you to communicate with the dead.
Skid Row: The rundown area of a city where the homeless and drug users live.
Smell A Rat: To detect somone in the group is betraying the others.
Smell Something Fishy: Detecting that something isn't right and there might be a reason for it.
Son of a Gun: A scamp.
Southpaw: Someone who is left-handed.
Spitting Image: The exact likeness or kind.
Start From Scratch: To do it all over again from the beginning.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'T'

The Ball Is In Your Court: It is your decision this time.
The Best Of Both Worlds: There are two choices and you have them both.
The Bigger They Are The Harder They Fall: While the bigger and stronger opponent might be alot more difficult to beat, when you do they suffer a much bigger loss.
The Last Straw: When one small burden after another creates an unbearable situation, the last straw is the last small burden that one can take.
The Whole Nine Yards: Everything. All of it.
Third times a charm: After no success the first two times, the third try is a lucky one.
Tie the knot: To get married.
Til the cows come home: A long time.
To Make A Long Story Short: Something someone would say during a long and boring story in order to keep his/her audience from losing attention. Usually the story isn't shortened.
To Steal Someone's Thunder: To take the credit for something someone else did.
Tongue-in-cheek: humor, not to be taken serious.
Turn A Blind Eye: Refuse to acknowledge something you know is real or legit.
Twenty three skidoo: To be turned away.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'U'

Under the weather: Feeling ill or sick.
Up a blind alley: Going down a course of action that leads to a bad outcome.
Use Your Loaf: Use your head. Think smart.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'V'

Van Gogh's ear for music: Tone deaf.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life: The more experiences you try the more exciting life can be.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'W'

Wag the Dog: A diversion away from something of greater importance.
Water Under The Bridge: Anything from the past that isn't significant or important anymore.
Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve: To openly and freely express your emotions.
When It Rains, It Pours: Since it rarely rains, when it does it will be a huge storm.
When Pigs Fly: Something that will never ever happen.
Wild and Woolly: Uncultured and without laws.
Wine and Dine: When somebody is treated to an expensive meal.
Without A Doubt: For certain.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'X'

X marks the spot: A phrase that is said when someone finds something he/she has been looking for.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'Y'

You Are What You Eat: In order to stay healthy you must eat healthy foods.
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover: Decisions shouldn't be made primarily on appearance.
You Can't Take it With You: Enjoy what you have and not what you don't have, since when you die you cannot take things (such as money) with you.
Your Guess Is As Good As Mine: I have no idea.

English Idiom list with its meaning 'Z'

Zero Tolerance: No crime or law breaking big or small will be overlooked.