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A Selection of English Idioms


An idiom is a group of words in a fixed order that has a particular meaning that cannot be understood from the meanings of the individual words when considered separately. An idiom is peculiar to a language. There normally is something unusual about the meaning or the grammar of the idiom that differentiates it from regular usage and makes it difficult to translate into other languages. Idioms are among the language's most colorful and unique forms of expression. Listed below is a selection of English language idioms.

a piece of cake
as easy as pie
at arm's length
bad blood
beat around the bush
beat one's brains out
bent out of shape
bite off more than one can chew
bite the bullet
blow one's top
Break a leg!
burn the midnight oil
button one's lip
by the skin of one's teeth
call it a day
can't make heads or tails of it
carry on
catch a cold
child's play
clean sweep
cost an arm and a leg
do a bang-up job
down in the dumps
drag one's feet
fall asleep
fall flat
gain ground
get a kick out of something
get on one's nerves
get out of hand
give someone a hand
go with the flow
grab a bite
hand to mouth
have one's hands full
hit the books
hit the hay
hit the sack
ill at ease
in the nick of time
in over one's head
jump all over someone
jump the gun
jump to conclusion
keep an eye on
keep an eye out for
keep one's chin up
keep one's fingers crossed
keep one's nose to the grindstone
keep pace with
know something backwards and forward
know something inside out
labor of love
lend someone a hand
leave well enough alone
Let sleeping dogs lie
live from hand to mouth
Live and let live
lose track of
make a clean breast of
make a mountain out of a mole hill
make both ends meet
make light of
odds and ends
once and for all
on hand
on the dot
on the sly
over one's head
pay the piper
pull someone's leg
pull through
rain cats and dogs
read someone's mind
rub someone the wrong way
set in stone
shoot the breeze
show your hands
sleep on it
stands to reason
take to heart
touch and go
through thick and thin
to bad-mouth


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