Understanding Idioms. An Important Part of English Learning
Even if you studied English for some time, you will encounter some expressions that may not be familiar to you. You suddenly find yourself lost or confused on their meaning.
These are called idioms. Idioms are expressions used in figurative manner or sense. To simply put it, it is just a bunch of words that means differently than the literal translations of the words used.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the saying – “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is a very common example of an idiom that is used frequently. And I am certain most of you know the meaning of this, but for those who don’t, it means you must not base your judgment or opinion on someone’s physical appearance or looks.
English idioms are used everyday. Mostly by native English speakers. So, it would be very helpful if you understand idioms more. It is an essential part of English learning as a whole.
To help you further, here are some of the English idioms you may (or may have encountered) encounter in your conversations with a native english speakers.:
Dead as a door nail
It means lifeless or obsolete or unusable.
Up in the air
If someone tells you that things are still “up in the air”, it just means that those things are uncertain or unsure.
Stick to your guns
It means to stand by your opinion or refuse to change your opinion.
Waiting in the wings
What you really mean with this is that you are ready to act when it is needed or necessary.
Hedge your bets
Hedge your bets means to not take any risks
Jump the gun
When someone tells you not to jump the gun, it means not to do something too soon.
In the bag
Meaning that success is already certain.
To turn a blind eye
This means to pretend not to have noticed something.
Once in a blue moon
This refers to something that occurs very rarely.
Go cold turkey
Another famous expression that means to quit something addictive. A bad habit like smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages.
Face the music
To face the music means to confront reality, to deal with your problem and accept the truth.
Bit off more than you could chew
This implies that you may have taken on something more than you can handle.
When the pigs fly
If your father tells you that he’ll give you his beloved red Ferrari when the pigs fly, he means it will “never” happen.
Wear your heart on your sleeve
To express your feelings openly or show your emotions.
Let sleeping dogs lie
One of my favorite idioms which means to avoid bringing up past issues that can be argued again.
English idioms are constantly changing. We may encounter new ones in the future. There are many more idioms you have to learn before you master the english language. But one advice I can give you is to never look at an idiomatic expression as the literal translation of each words.
Learning idioms are necessary to better understand the english language. Try to learn and remember as much as you can. And have fun with the ways you can use them in your future conversations.