15 popular English idioms



15 popular English idioms

A penny for your thoughts

Meaning: Is a way to ask someone for their opinion or what they are thinking about.

Example: You’ve been very quiet this evening. A penny for your thoughts.


Barking up the wrong tree

Meaning: To blame the wrong person for something or drawing wrong conclusions.

Example: Did you eat my sandwich? Hey, you are barking up the wrong tree!


Beat around the bush

Meaning: Not being straight forward about something, not saying it directly.

Example: I was thinking… You said you were going to the store, right? Don’t beat around the bush, what do you want?


Bite off more than you can chew

Meaning: To take on more than you can handle.

Example: I have so much to do for tomorrow! I have a test from chemistry. I have to walk the dog and I promised mom I’ll help her with shopping. Sounds like you bit off more than you can chew.


Cross the bridge when you come to it

Meaning: Don’t worry about a possible problem that hasn’t yet occurred.

Example: If I can’t sell the car, I won’t be able to go on vacation. You still have some time, cross the bridge when you come to it.


Drastic times call for drastic measures

Meaning: Times of difficulty require you to take extreme actions.

Example: The company wasn’t making any profit, we had to let four employees go. Well drastic times call for drastic measures.


Every cloud has a silver lining

Meaning: Some good can come from every terrible situation. This is used as encouragement.

Example:  I missed the bus and I was late for work, but I ran into my childhood friend on the way. Every cloud has a silver lining.


Feel a bit under the weather

Meaning: To feel ill or unhealthy.

Example:  Are you coming to the party? No, I feel a bit under the weather.


Kill two birds with one stone

Meaning: To solve two problems with one solution or achieve two things with one action.

Example:  I went shopping for a wedding dress and also bought the shoes. I killed two birds with one stone.


Let sleeping dogs lie

Meaning: To not bring up something hurtful from the past. Leave the past in the past.

Example:  We decided to let the sleeping dogs lie and not talk about our childhood.


Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: To reveal a secret without the intention to do it, by mistake.

Example:  This is a surprise birthday party, so don’t let the cat out of the bag!


Once in a blue moon

Meaning: Rarely, seldom.

Example:  Does your boyfriend take you to dinner dates? Once in a blue moon.


Piece of cake

Meaning: Something easy.

Example:  Did you pass that exam? Yes, it was a piece of cake.


Steal someone’s thunder

Meaning: To use someone’s idea as your own. To bring attention to yourself on someone’s big day.

Example:  The maid of honor stole the bride’s thunder with the dress she was wearing.


Out of the blue

Meaning: To occur unexpectedly.

Example:  He hasn’t talked to me in years and then yesterday out of the blue he calls me.



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