50 Most Commonly Used English Idioms and Phrases

50 Most Commonly Used English Idioms and Phrases

  1. Hit the haygo to bed“I have to get up early for work tomorrow, so I think I’d better hit the hay.”
  2. Up in the airuncertain and with an unknown result“The whole future of the project is still up in the air.”
  3. Stabbed in the backto do something harmful to someone who trusted you“He had been lied to and stabbed in the back by people that he thought were his friends.”
  4. It takes two to tangoTwo parties involved in a certain action or situation, especially a wrong that has been committed, are usually both responsible in some way (as opposed to it being the fault or responsibility of one alone)“She may want to argue, but it takes two to tango and I won’t stoop to her level.”
  5. Kill two birds with one stoneto succeed in achieving two things in a single action“I killed two birds with one stone and picked the kids up on the way to the supermarket.”
  6. A Piece of cakeeasy task“I never said that training him would be a piece of cake”
  7. Cost an arm and a legextremely expensive“The coat had cost him an arm and a leg”
  8. Break a leggood luck!“You all look great in your costumes! Break a leg!”
  9. Rule of thumba general principle developed through experiential rather than scientific means“A good rule of thumb is to plant your seedlings around the end of May”
  10. Blow off steamto release strong emotions or energy by engaging in some kind of enjoyable, vigorous, or relaxing activity“Call me any time you need to blow off some steam”
  11. The best of both worldsa situation wherein one can enjoy two different opportunities“She works in a city and lives in a village, so she gets the best of both worlds”
  12. Speak of the deviltalk about a certain person, and that person appears“Alan: I haven’t seen Bob for weeks. Jane: Look, here comes Bob right now. Alan: Well, talk of the devil.”
  13. See eye to eyebe in full agreement“My sisters don’t see eye to eye with me about the arrangements”
  14. Once in a blue moonrarely“My sister lives in Alaska, so I only see her once in a blue moon”
  15. When pigs flyimpossible (said as a taunt) – “I think he’ll pay you back your money – when pigs fly”
  16. Let the cat out of the bagreveal a secret carelessly or by mistake“now that Viola had let the cat out of the bag, she had no option but to confess”
  17. To feel under the weatherfeeling sick“Jennifer was feeling a bit under the weather today, so she chose to take the day off”
  18. To cut cornersto do something in the quickest, cheapest, or easiest way, using less effort, money, time, or resources“The government cut corners when they built the school with bad materials, and put everyone in danger”
  19. To add insult to injuryto make a bad situation even worse“They told me I was too old for the job, and then to add insult to injury, they refused to pay my expenses!”
  20. You can’t judge a book by its coveroutward appearances are not a reliable indication of the true character of someone or something“The candidate did not look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover”
  21. To hit the nail on the headto describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem“I think Mick hit the nail on the head when he said that what’s lacking in this company is a feeling of confidence.”
  22. Hit the booksto study, especially with particular intensity“You better hit the books if you want to pass your exam on Friday.”
  23. Bite off more than you can chewtake on a commitment one cannot fulfill“By accepting two part-time jobs, he is clearly biting off more than he can chew.”
  24. Scratch someone’s backdo someone a favor in hopes that a favor will be returned“I don’t mind driving this time-she’s scratched my back plenty of times.”
  25. A hot potatoa problem or situation that is difficult to deal with and causes a lot of disagreement“The political candidate knew the issue was a hot potato, so he deferred to his chief of staff, who directed questions to the committee chairperson.”
  26. Talk the Hind legs off a Donkeyto talk without stopping for a long time“You won’t be short of conversation with Adrian. He could talk the hind leg off a donkey.”
  27. Popping outto jump, burst, or leap out‘The fellow, popping out his head, said, “Shall it be we then?”‘
  28. Raining Cats and Dogsit is raining extremely heavily“We wanted to have a barbecue this weekend, but it’s been raining cats and dogs since Friday evening.”
  29. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bushsaid when you recognize that you should not risk losing something you already have by trying to get something you think might be better“Bob thinks he might do better in a bigger firm, but his wife insists he should stay, saying a bird in the hand.”
  30. Pulling someone’s legto tease or joke with someone, often by trying to convince him or her of something untrue“Are you serious about moving back in or are you pulling my leg?”

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