Home GRAMMAR 100 Most Useful Idioms in English

100 Most Useful Idioms in English

100 Most Useful Idioms in English
100 Most Useful Idioms in English

Idioms are expressions or phrases whose meanings do not relate to the literal meaning of their words. They are special words or phrases that aren’t meant to be taken literally and usually have a cultural meaning behind them. They typically present a figurative meaning attached to the phrase.

A Storm in a Teacup Needless anger or worry about an insignificant things
At the Eleventh Hour
It befalls when it is almost too late
All Things Being Equal In the occasion that all aspects of a situation remain the same
A Bite at The Cherry A good time that isn’t available to everyone
Ace Up One’s Sleeve A surprise benefit of which others are unaware
Acknowledge The Corn
Admit a mistake, especially a small one
A Cat Has Nine Lives Cats seem to get away with perilous things
Blow Stack To lose one’s disposition and explode in anger
Burn the Midnight Oil Working late into the night
Bite the Bullet To do something even though it involves suffering, discomfort, or strain
Bells And Whistles Attractive but needless features of a product
Bail Out To save someone from a difficult situation
Cut Your Teeth on Something To learn or to understand basic skills in a field
Crunch the Numbers To calculate before making a decision or conclusion
Call a Spade a Spade To speak freely and directly about a problem or difficulty
Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face To act in a proud way that eventually harms your own cause
Draw a Line in the Sand To give an ultimatum; specify an absolute limit in a conflict
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Do not worry about minor or insignificant  things
Dance to Someone’s Tune Consistently follow someone’s advice or authority
Devil’s Advocate Someone who insists a point not out of conviction or judgement
Every Dog Has His (Its) Day Everyone has a moment of prominence, power, or supremacy
Elevator Pitch A brief demonstration of an idea, one short enough to be delivered in an elevator
Eat Crow To confess one was wrong, and accept dishonour
Eager beaver A person who is hardworking and passionate, sometimes considered fervent
Early Bird Someone who does something prior to the usual time
Full of the Joys of Spring Very happy, enthusiastic, cheerful and full of vivacity
From the Bottom of Heart To express sincere emotions with deep feelings
From Pillar to Post From one place to another, in a forced, unintended or random way
Fish Out of Water A person who is in unknown, baffling surroundings

1. Your wife is so upset. It seems to be a storm in a teacup.
2. At the eleventh hour, they asked me to welcome the guest.
3. All things being equal, I attend the wedding.
4. He wants a bite at the cherry to rectify his mistakes.
5. A leader’s popularity gives him an ace up his sleeve to win elections.
6. He acknowledged the corn that he was drunk then.
7. She is missing for few days, but nothing to worry, as a cat has nine lives.
8. Her father was blowing stack over his going to the cinema with friends.
9. Students burn midnight oil to pass the exams.
10. Her husband insulted her before all, but she had to bite the bullet.
11. Their house has all bells and whistles, but nobody is happy in it.
12. She bailed me out when my business collapsed.
13. Students of law must cut their teeth on advocacy and then practice.
14. When we crunched the numbers, we realised that it was not enough to buy a new house.
15. That lady is very outspoken. She calls a spade a spade.
16. You are just cutting off your nose to spite your face by leading such depressed life due to break-up with your partner.
17. You have no choice, but to draw a line in the sand and go ahead in life.
18. It is never of use to cry over spilt milk.
19. Her husband dances to her tunes all the time.
20. A good journalist is a devil’s advocate who encourages healthy discussion.
21. Don’t weep, the storm will pass, every dog has his day.
22. The speaker gave an elevator pitch to students about technology.
23. He had to eat crow after quarreling with his neighbor.
24. Don’t worry, you will accomplish this work too as you are an eager beaver.
25. We all believe that an early bird is really able to catch the worm.
26. She seems full of the joys of spring due to some reason.
27. I express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart.
28. She was running from pillar to post for her children.
29. He feels like a fish out of water in her absence.

Grease the Wheels Do something to make an operation run smoothly and effortlessly
Go Out on a Limb To put in a risky or precarious situation in order to help someone
Grasp (Grab) at Straws To take desperate actions with little hope of achievement
Give the Green Light Approve or allow something to proceed
Hit the Roof Explode in anger; become extremely angry
Highways and Byways Large and small roads of a particular area
Hell for Leather At full speed: as fast as possible
Hot Potato An argumentative subject or hard project that is best avoided
Heavy Hitter A powerful, influential or important person
It’s Not Rocket Science It’s not difficult or crucial to understand
It Never Rains but It Pours hard luck or bad things tend to happen at the same time
In the Driver’s Seat In a commanding position; in control
In a Rut Confined by routine, bored and pursuing new experiences.
If the Shoe Fits, Wear It If the description is accurate, accept or adjust it
Jam on the brakes To operate the brakes suddenly and in a hard way
Just In The Nick Of Time Just before the last moment when something can be changed or happened
Jaundiced Eye  To look at something with a prejudiced or unfriendly way
Jump Through Hoops Accomplish a series of tasks in order to content someone

30. Good marketing will grease the wheels of selling the products.
31. He was left out on a limb by his colleagues when the boss was scolding him.
32. She was grasping at straws to come out of depression.
33. His parents gave him the green light to marry his girlfriend.
34. When she saw the messy kitchen, she hit the roof.
35. They travelled highways and byways of the city to find him out.
36. She is going hell for leather to complete her project.
37. Election is a hot potato for them.
38. This company is one of the heavy hitters in the film industry.
39. Doing this course is not a rocket science.
40. It really true that it never rains, but pours. First she lost her husband, then she had to leave her house.
41. The man was in the driver’s seat, as he could take important decisions in the absence of his boss.
42. We go to that hotel every week, we are in a rut.
43. Are you calling me a liar? Well, if shoe fits, wear it.
44. A truck appeared all of a sudden, so I had to jam on the brakes.
45. I had to change the plan just in the nick of time.
46. Don’t look at the world with jaundiced eyes.
47. They had to jump through hoops to reach the peak of the mountain.

Jangle someone’s nerves To make someone feel very nervous
Joe Bloggs An average or typical man
Keep a civil tongue Speak politely
Keep one’s eyes peeled Be alert
Kick the bucket Die
Knit one’s brow To frown
Know something inside and out Know something very thoroughly
Labour of love A task done for pleasure
Lame duck An unsuccessful person, thing or organization
Leave the nest Move away from parents’ home
Let the sleeping dogs lie To ignore a problem as dealing with it could cause a more serious problem
Let the cat out of the bag Reveal the secret
Make a mountain out of a mole-hill Overstate something
Make yourself at home Feel comfortable
Meat and potatoes Basic and essential aspects
Memory like sieve Very poor memory
Men make houses, women make homes It’s a man who builds up a house for his family, but it’s woman who provides thing to turn it into home.
Name is mud Disgrace or dishonor
Never say die Used to encourage someone not to give up hope
Nine times out of ten often
No spring chicken Not young
Never in a million years Impossible
Old wives’ tale A widely held traditional belief which is now considered unscientific
On the horns of dilemma Caught between two choices
On the same wavelength Have the same thought
Once bitten, twice shy A person who has failed doing something is careful about doing it again
Once in a blue Moon Rarely
Pain in the neck Nuisance
Picture paints a thousand words One single image can convey a story more effectively
Pipe dream An unattainable or fanciful scheme
Poetry in motion Someone or something that moves in a way that is very graceful

48. The pressure of exams jangled her nerves.
49. He is just Joe Bloggs.
50. You must always keep a civil tongue while speaking to elders.
51. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on exams.
52. He kicked the bucket in the prime of his life.
53. She knitted her brows while looking at him.
54. He knows law inside and out.
55. Building house is a labour of love for me.
56. Such a lame-duck he is!
57. Children have to leave the nest after growing up for their career.
58. He has just calmed down, let the sleeping dogs lie.
59. She let the cat out of the bag by telling him everything.
60. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole-hill, it’s not much important.
61. Please come in and make yourself at home.
62. Teaching in the classroom is the meat and potatoes of our profession.
63. He has a memory like sieve, don’t rely on him much.
64. He bought a new house and she decorated it beautifully, men make houses, women
make homes
65. Mend your ways, or your name will be mud soon.
66. Never say die, every cloud has a silver lining.
67. If you want anything, you get it nine times out of ten.
68. He is no spring chicken, but so fit.
69. This will happen never in a million years.
70. Drinking wine is good for flu is old wives’ tale.
71. She was on the horns of dilemma about getting married and choosing career.
72. They could succeed because they were on the same wavelength.
73. Since her daughter fell from the swing, she doesn’t like it anymore, once bitten, twice shy.
74. My father comes home once in a blue Moon.
75. He irritates me time and again, just a pain in the neck.
76. Show him the picture of it, as the picture paints a thousand words.
77. Going abroad is just a pipe dream for a lazy man like you.
78. When she dances, she is a poetry in motion.

Quick as a wink Very fast
Quake like a leaf Tremble
Rain cats and dogs Rain heavily
Red-letter-day Very important day
Sail against the wind To try to achieve something that is unlikely to succeed because most people would oppose it.
Salt of the earth Very honest person
Save money for a rainy day To reserve money for a difficult situation
Take forty winks Nap
Take French leave Go without taking permission
Tall tale Fanciful story
Under one’s thumb Completely under one’s influence
Up in the air Uncertain
Vanish into air Disappear
Variety is the spice of life People like variety
Wag one’s chin To talk idly
Walk on air Feel very happy
Wear your heart on your sleeve To show one’s emotions very openly
Whet your appetite To sharpen your desire for
X marks the spot This is the exact spot
You can’t please everyone Whatever you do, some people will not like it
Young at heart Behaving or thinking like young person
Zero hour The time when something important is planned to begin

79. He solved that problem as quick as a wink.
80. Because of cold, everybody was quaking lie a leaf.
81. It has been raining cats and dogs since yesterday.
82. It is a red-letter-day in my life.
83. Don’t sail against the wind, your father won’t like it.
84. He is salt of the earth.
85. We must save money for a rainy day.
86. I am going to take forty winks.
87. She always takes French leave.
88. He is fond of telling tall tales.
89. She is under the thumb of her husband.
90. That plant is now up in the air.
91. Sorrows will vanish in the air, have patience.
92. Variety is the spice of life, we love tasting different cuisine every time in a hotel.
93. Don’t just wag your chin, do something.
94. He is walking on the air these days.
Why do you wear your heart on your sleeve always? It’s not good, people may take advantage of this.
96. Whet your appetite for reading.
97. Put your table here, X marks the spot.
98. He got angry, leave it, you can’t please everyone.
99. He is very old, but still young at heart.
100. This is the zero hour to write your article.

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