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'Speak of the Devil'! Popular Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions

Updated on January 26, 2015

Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions

Today I was in the mood to learn something new, a random tidbit that would be fun to know. I don’t care if it will become another thing I’ll file away with the rest of my surplus of useless knowledge, I just felt like getting a little bit smarter. I decided I would learn about idioms.

After a brief research session, I realized that once you have grasped the defined meaning of the term, it is way more fun to read some of the silly-sounding idioms of the English language. I realized that putting together a collection of an anecdotal way to say a multitude of things without saying what you mean at all!

What is an idiom?

Noun: A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words

'An idiom is an expression consisting of a combination of words that has a figurative meaning.‘

An idiom is just any collection of words, that when grouped together as a phrase, means something inconsistent with the meaning of any of the individual words. It turns out that idioms are a really neat tool of language. Imagine being an ESL student and being told its raining cats and dogs? It would be confusing for anyone to follow a figurative conversation if they didn’t understand how it was used as a tool of expression in language. What else is pretty cool is that they have historically been created spontaneously!

Best explained as when someone has said something that seems to describe a situation perfectly. Most, if not all, situations will be in someway, shape and form, a reflection of the relevant cultural and living conditions of the times. So there is also quite a variety of expressions that have been coined, lost popularity and come back, etc.

Knowing that an expression makes NO literal sense, yet is understood and accepted in everyday communications, will always make an idiom a really cool concept to think about. Imagine if you did not know this, how confusing life could become; I can only imagine the scene of confusion and terror as the unknowing runs to the window when the expression ‘raining cats and dogs’ is used.

Here is a compiled list of commonly used idioms for you knowing, understanding and utilizing as you please!

· a hot potato- a current event issue that everyone tends to be

· a penny for your thoughts- a way of asking someone what they are thinking

· a piece of cake- Very easy

· a slap on the wrist- A mild punishment

· add insult to injury- make a bad situation worse

· as fit as a fiddle- in extremely good health

· beating around the bush- avoiding the main point

· close, but no cigar. - very close, but you did not make it.

· costs an arm and a leg- extremely expensive.

· curiosity killed the cat- too much poking and prodding can be harmful

· cut corners- compromising quality for ease

· down in the dumps - Sad or depressed

· down to the wire- a situation with a last minute outcome

· drawing a blank- failing to recall a memory

· driving me up the wall- Making me very annoyed

· feast your eyes on- be delighted and gratified by what you see

· greek to me- I don't understand.

· hands down - no competition

· hear it through the grapevine- a way of saying that the information is second hand

· hold your horses- be patient.

· in the same boat- in the same position.

· keep your chin up- be happy.

· kill two birds with one stone- get two things done at once

· loose cannon- unpredictable

· miss the boat- missed the chance

· once in a blue moon- once in a very great while

· pulling your leg- just joking

· raining cats and dogs -very hard rain

· rise and shine- wake up and be happy!

· rubs me the wrong way- feels sketchy to me

· short end of the stick- being dealt a crummy situation

· sick as a dog- very sick

· speak of the devil!- the person being talked about walks in the room

· spread like wildfire- becomes known very fast

· tickled pink - made very happy

· till the cows come home - For a very long time

· under the weather.- not well

· when pigs fly - never


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