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100 Common Idioms That You’ll Use All the Time

 What are common idioms in English you often use? It’s no secret – the English language can be a little frustrating at times. Okay, maybe more than a little frustrating. English can be “shake-your-fist-and-yell” frustrating. Just when a rule begins to make sense, it turns out it is only a rule part of the time. Almost as if the language has a strange sense of humor.

One thing seems certain – English appears to have fun. How can you tell? By the idioms – strange phrases used to say something or describe a situation. Idioms seldom say what we think they’re saying, so they add color – and sometimes laughter – to speech.

But what are we waiting for? Instead of standing around like a bunch of old stumps, let’s get on the ball and take a gander at-

Common Idioms

List of 100 common idioms and their meanings

1. “Raining Cats and Dogs”

Raining hard.

>>Example: Wow, it’s raining cats and dogs out there!

2. “Hotter than Hades”

Extremely hot.

>>Example: It’s hotter than Hades in here.

3. “Give a Bad Time”

To criticize. Sometimes it can mean to tease.

>>Example: Jane’s boyfriend gave her a bad time because she burned dinner.

4. “Don’t Rain on My Parade”

Said to someone who is being negative.

5. “Busy as a One-Legged Man in a Butt-Kicking Contest”

Kind of says it all.

6. “Cut Corners”

To leave out something important in order to save time or money.

7. “Bite the Bullet”

To do something that needs to be done, even though it is painful or extremely uncomfortable.

8. “Couldn’t Find His Backside with Both Hands”

Used to describe someone who can look straight at something when hunting for it, but still not see it.

>>Example: Mary found Mark’s book for him. She knew how he was—Mark couldn’t find his own backside with both hands.

9. “Break a Leg”

A wish for good luck. Began in show business. It was bad luck to wish “good luck”. So they began wishing “break a leg instead.

10. “Hang in There”

Don’t quit or give up.

11. “The Last Straw”

No more chances; I am out of patience.

12. “Doesn’t know his backside from a tomato can”

Doesn’t know much about it.

13. “Don’t Burn Your Bridges”

Always keep a connection.

14. “Snake in the Grass”

Someone you can’t trust.

15. “Cut the Mustard”

Do as well as they need to do.

16. “Beat Around the Bush”

Not come out and tell the truth. Not lie, just not say what is the hard truth.

>>Example: “Honey, do these pants make my butt look big?”

“You know I love your butt. And those pants are a great color. They really complement your skin.”

“Stop beating around the bush! Do the pants make my butt look big?”

(Man fakes fainting spell).

17. “Wild Horses Couldn’t Drag Me Away”

Nothing can take me away from this moment or from you, etc.

18. “Dead As a Door Nail”


19. “I Don’t Give Tinker’s Damn”

I don’t care.

20. “Like Two Peas in a Pod”

Two people who are either alike in many ways or are always together.

21. “Square Peg in a Round Hole”

Used when someone doesn’t seem to fit some places.

>>Example: She felt like a square peg in a world full of round holes.

22. “Hold Your Horses”

Wait a bit.

>>Example: “I’m going to the store right now, and buy that new wood-working set.”

“Whoa! Hold your horses! Do you have enough money?”

23. “Walking On Eggshells”

Be very careful about what you say or do, for fear of offending someone or making them angry.

24. “The Elephant in the Room”

When there is an elephant in the room, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, rather than deal with the problem, people pretend it doesn’t exist.

25. “What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”

Keeping private what someone does, and not telling anyone else.

26. “Cut the Cord”

Grow up.

27. “Break the Ice”

Begin chatting or talking to someone, usually someone you don’t know very well.

28. “In a Pig’s Eye!”

Not too stinking likely.

>>Example: “I’m going out, but I thought you could stay home tonight.”

“In a pig’s eye!”

29. “You Can Say That Again!”

What you just said is definitely true.

>>Example: “This movie sure is long!”

“Boy, you can say that again.”

30. “Within an Inch of My Life”

I almost died.

31. “Two Left Feet”

A person has no talent for dancing.

32. “Tighter Than a Bull’s Butt at Fly-Time.”

Holds onto their money with a firm grip.

33. “Off the Hook”

Great; excellent.

>>Example:: Greg went surfing and the waves were off the hook.

34. “Let Off the Hook”

Not make someone pay for some wrong they have done, or not call a person to the task.

35. “Call it a Day”

Quit work or go home.

36. “Jump the Broom”

Get married.

37. “Tie the Knot”

Get married.

38. “Kick the Can Down the Street”

Forgive someone when you are mad at them.

39. “Steal a Person’s Thunder”

To pull attention off of a person who has just done something good.

40. “Yell Like a Stuck Hog”

To make a lot of noise yelling.

41. “Take a Rain Check”

When you take a rain check, you are refusing the offer of something now, but saying you would like it later.

>>Example: “Want a ride?” “I’ll take a rain check, thanks.”

42. “You’re My BFF”

Best Friends Forever.

43. “Funny as Hell”

Extremely funny.

44. “On Pins and Needles”

Nervous or anxious.

45. “Sharp as a Tack”


46. “Flat as a Pancake”


47. “Smart as a Whip”


48. “Bald as a Billiard Ball”

No hair on the head.

49. “Actions Speak Louder Than Words

50. “Heart on Your Sleeve”

People who wear their hearts on their sleeves fall in love easily.

51. “Better Late than Never”

52. “Softer than a Baby’s Butt”

53. “Get worn out”

To become very tired.

54. “Go Ape”

Act crazy.

55. “Freak Out”

Get upset.

56. “I’m going to bounce”

I am leaving soon.

57. “Better Safe Than Sorry”

Better to be cautious than to do something you will regret later.

58. “I’d Better Get Going”

It is time to leave.

59. “So Mad I Could Chew Nails and Spit Bullets”

60. “Stop and Smell the Roses”

Take time to enjoy life.

61. “A Pretty Kettle of Fish”

“Oh, boy, what a mess.”

62. “For crying in the dark”

An exclamation of frustration.

>>Example: “Oh, for crying in the dark, get on with it!”

63. “Cut Some Slack”

Give someone some forgiveness when they don’t do perfectly.”

64. “Love At First Sight”

The first time you look at someone or something, you love it.

65. “As the Crow Flies”

Go straight.

66. “The Best Things in Life are Free”

67. “It’s a Dog’s Life”

Life isn’t easy.

68. “I’m pooped out”

I am very tired.

69. “A Clean Getaway”

Escaped quickly and didn’t leave anything behind.

70. “So Clean You Can Eat Off It”

Used to refer to a very clean surface, such as a floor after mopping.

71. “Get it Out of My System”

To say something you have been wanting to say, do something you’ve been wanting to do, etc.

72. “Better Than Sex”

When something is very enjoyable.

73. “It’s Raining Harder than a Cow Wetting on a Flat Rock”


74. “She is so Cheap, She Squeezes a Quarter ’til the Eagle Screams.”

75. “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.”

Can mean life is pleasant, or, if said with humor, can mean life is kind of hard.

76. “It’s on My Bucket List”

I want to do it before I die.

77. “Kick the Bucket”


78. “Larger than Life”

Someone who has a flair or excitement about them that makes them seem more important than they are.

79. “Go Down in Flames”

To fail terribly.

80. “Easy Does it”

Be careful.

81. “Against the Grain”

Things go against the grain when they are irritating, or something a person doesn’t like doing.

82. “He led a double life”

When someone leads two completely different lives, but no one knows it.

83. “It Spread Like Wildfire”

Usually used in reference to something like a rumor.

84. “Hit the Roof”

To become suddenly very angry.

85. “When All is Said and Done”

When all the arguments have been presented/when it is time to move forward.

86. “I am Spent”

To have used up all one’s energy.

87. “Out Like a Light”

When a person lays down and immediately goes to sleep.

88. “As Poor as a Church Mouse”

A really poor person.

89. “Tucker Out”

Make very tired.

90. “Well, Speak of the Devil”

The person being talked about just walked into the room/called.

91. “Wrap Your Head Around This”

Think about this.

92. “I am zonked”

I am tired

93. “I Have Bigger Fish to Fry”

I have something more important to do.

94. “Didn’t Miss a Beat”

The person kept talking.

95. “Run Like the Wind”

To run fast.

96. “By the skin of my teeth”

To barely make it.

>>Example: I made it to the store before closing time, but only by the skin of my teeth.

97. “We’ll Cross That Bridge When We Come to it.”

Let’s wait and deal with that when it becomes absolutely necessary.

98. “Keep Your Eyes Open”

Be aware of what is going on around you.

99. “So Poor I Couldn’t Jump Over a Nickel to Save a Dime”

I’m broke.

100. “Costs an Arm and a Leg”

Very expensive.

Common Idioms | Infographic

Common Idioms | Infographic 1

Common Idioms | Top 100 Idiomatic Expressions That You'll Use All the TimePin

Common Idioms | Infographic 2

Common Idioms | Top 100 Idiomatic Expressions That You'll Use All the Time

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