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.

flying pig

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.

At English Express and other Crystal Learning language schools, we see language, first of all, as a tool.

Every small improvement makes a difference immediately. You may never be perfect, and that’s ok. Even native speakers make mistakes. But as you become more confident in your ability to communicate in English, you’ll see the benefits.

We strongly believe that confidence is built through doing. That’s why our teachers will always encourage you to take the next step. Speak out, and try to speak out faster.

Practice and application are more important. To improve your conversational skills in English, you need to “do more” and “understand less”. That’s why we focus on practical topics that you can apply at the office the next day.

Not sure which course to join?


Test your level and we will advise you.


Take our free online English placement test

Completely online

No personal interactions or calls

Quick 15 – 20 mins test

Get your result immediately