ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Idioms and Phrases

Updated on June 25, 2020
Aadhithan sujay profile image

I am Lakshmi. I've completed my graduation in the stream of ECE. I love reading and like to listen more than I speak up.

Idioms and phrases, it sounds interesting, isn't it?. Generally, they are something in the sentence that is not understandable literally. While their exact meanings may seem absurd, they have unusual grammatical structure. Furthermore, the correct use of idioms in our conversations shows us more like a native speaker and creates curiosity among others about what does it mean.

Donkey's Years

The phrase doesn't point the age or lifespan of a donkey but his ears and its length. 'Donkey's ears' is the original expression certain play on word makes it donkey's years. If you meet a person, after many years, then you may say to him that it's been a donkey's years since we met. Yes, It is to express after a long time.

Example sentences,

1. we are going out for the first time in donkey's years.

2. It has been a donkey's years since I had a burger.


Dog in the Manger

This expression suits a person who prevents others from enjoying what he cannot. In other words, it exactly means spoiling other's pleasure in envy. The dialect comes from the old Greek fable. In that fable, there was a dog that was taking a nap on a hay rack. At that time, the cattle were coming from the farm field to eat. The dog got awakened by the sounds of cattle and started to bark and restrict them to touch the hay. This idiom speaks about the dog's behavior towards cattle even it has no benefit of possessing that hay.

Example sentence,

1. Ragu is a real dog in the manger. He cannot drive, but he will not lend anyone his car.


No Spring Chicken

This one has been in custom since early 1700 where, it concerns both men and women who misrepresent their age and fabricate themselves as too young and, this clause means to say no longer young. This phrase emerged from the markets on those days where the chickens born in the spring seasons had high value and demand than winter born chickens. Hence, if anyone tried to sell the aged winter born chicken as the fresh one, the buyer would say that's no spring chicken. At the same time, if we wish to describe anyone young then, we might say that he is a spring chicken.
Example sentence,
1. She is no spring chicken.
2.I'm no spring chicken, yet I still full of energy.


Baker's Dozen

The next in the line is baker's dozen, don't get crazy, I'm not talking about a bad count, it concerns medieval sales techniques. In 13th-century England, bakers had a bad reputation for selling underweight loaves. Strict regulations were therefore introduced in 1266 to fix standard weights for the different kinds of bread according to the price of wheat. They were punished and exposed to the public for keeping the price of bread high and giving short weight, So they would include an extra loaf with each dozen to ensure the law was satisfied. So, the idiom implies not twelve but thirteen.

Example sentences,

1. I have a baker's dozen of shoes in my wardrobe.

2. He gave her a baker's dozen of chocolates.


Rank and File

Rank and file represent ordinary people. The phrase describes the way soldiers are standing for inspection. The expression refers to private, non-commissioned combatants who carry out the orders of those in command. Rank is a row of people standing one beside another where the file is a column of people standing one behind another. It is no longer a purely military term and is now used to describe the ordinary members of a large organization or political party.

Example sentences

1. The rank and file of the party is the major reason for the success.

2. The lockdown creates big chaos among the rank and file of the country.


Eager Beaver

This phrase applies to an overly spirited person who tries to impress others with enthusiasm and hard work. This expression was made popular by the American forces during the time of the Second World War to describe those keen recruits who volunteered for absolutely everything; other American sources say it was widespread in student circles from about 1940. Moreover, Beavers are reputedly industrious animals, and eager conveys enthusiasm. Together the words make a catchy little rhyming phrase.

Example sentences,

1. Don't work like an eager beaver.

2..she needs one eager beaver for her project.



The term is a contraction of the words will I, nill I (similarly will he, nill he, where nill being the negative of will) and means that the business will take place whether it is with the will of the person concerned or against it. It is to express whether one likes it or not.

Example sentence,

1. You can't just select your partner willy-nilly.

Rule of Thumb

It means an estimate based on experience rather than careful calculation. In a single word, you can say as approximately. The phrase itself has been in circulation since the late seventeenth century. In Roman times it was estimated that the measure of the last part of the thumb above the top joint would fit roughly twelve times into the larger measure of one foot. It remained a standard measure for centuries. Careful measurement required a standard rule but, where an estimated length would do the thumb sufficed.

Example sentence,

1. As a rule of thumb, two handfuls of rice measures 1 kilogram.


White Elephant

It refers to an unwanted object, especially something burdensome. The devious kings of Thailand have invented a smart way of destroying their subordinates whom they disliked by gifting them a white elephant, which was considered a sacred beast. So, they could not employ it as a working animal. At the same time, it was very expensive to maintain and ruined its keep at last. For this reason, a white elephant relates to unwanted items and encumbering junk in modern days.

Example sentence,
1. The house has become a white elephant to him after his father's demise because he cannot spend on its maintenance.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)