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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