ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • The English Language

Idioms Dance on Paper

Updated on February 11, 2018

The pot calling the kettle black, bear with a sore head, off the beaten track, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and lots more.

These are probably some of the minutest of the more graphic idioms in English, a language that is enlightened by its idiomatic expressions. Because of the idioms the language dances on the page and in speech, it stimulates and scintillates the mind and the being of oneself.

Every day we use idioms and expressions without realizing as we dabble in ballyhoos that are not necessarily in line with grammar or proper sentence construction.

These linguistic gems become part of our speech, conversation, dialogue and the way we interact with one another. We add color to the language when we use them without ever realizing it because they are colorful, vibrant and didactic.

Some expressions have hovered in my head since I can remember, and no doubt in yours as well. However, the other day I came across one of the editions of a Concise Dictionary of English Idioms by B.A Phythian in the Teach Yourself Series, and couldn't put it down. It was a constant drool over what must be thousands upon thousands of idioms

Skimming through the pages is a historical rediscovery. It is indeed stark realization that English is made up of idioms, expressions and figures of speech, connected together to produce a "linguistic chain reaction" to express a living language we take for granted.

It turned out that I have long lost favorites I can't possibly put down simply because they are so many like Achilles heel for instance, or age before beauty, which my former landlady used to tell me when I passed her up the stairs.

Damn all is interesting meaning nothing, complemented by not all there which means crazy while keep up appearances or the apple's of one's eye actually makes one think.

Backstairs gossip, a bad egg, a bag of bones, backhanded compliment, not to bat an eyelid and a pitched battle is actually what makes English not nice as such but pleasing to the ear and sound.

Jump on the bandwagon, spill the beans, beat about the bush, beauty is only skin deep, birds of a feather flock together, lick the dust, and wearing one's birthday suit have long added richness to the language.

I haven't even started but the list goes on and on and on. It’s a never ending story, a bit like opening up a can of worms but this one is of delight.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 4 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      Thanks Dream On, yes there were the days

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 4 years ago

      Very interesting and so much part of my childhood.Growing up with adults who taught me right from wrong and the good from the bad.I learned the ins and outs what is important and what is not or at least their version to keep me on the straight and narrrow.Alls well that ends well.Thanx for shedding some light.Have a great night.

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 4 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      Thanks for all comments

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing this. I do love to read and to discover new idioms and ponder on their meaning.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Very interesting. I muse often over the origins of these wonderful expressions. I heard just yesterday on the that there is n interesting contrast in Brit and American terms and how Americans are using more Brit idioms and vice versa. I have not looked it up yet but will. You might find it interesting too.