Idioms: Expressions

Idiom is a phrase or expression whose total meaning differs from the meaning of the individual words. For example, to blow one’s top (get angry) and under the weather (not in good health) are English-language idioms.

Idioms come from language usage and generally cannot be translated literally (word for word). Foreign language students must learn them just as they would learn vocabulary words.

The term idiom may also refer to the conventional way of joining words to express a particular idea.

Often in English, specific prepositions must follow certain verbs or adverbs. We say unequal to and to become of.

Also, the expressions run out of, run into, run from, run over, and run up may mean something different from simple directions. The use of such idioms may vary between different dialects within one language.

  1. All in the same boat, Back seat driver
  2. All Bark and No Bite, An Axe to Grind
  3. Cross your fingers, Devil’s advocate
  4. Cry Wolf, Cut to the Chase
  5. Down to the wire, Feeding frenzy
  6. Graveyard shift, Icing on the cake
  7. It’s a Small World, Knock on Wood
  8. Nest Egg, Out of Date, Off the Record
  9. Off balance, Pipe dream, Rain-check
  10. Shine some light, Sixth sense
  11. X marks the spot, Zero in on
  12. Zero sums, Zero tolerance

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Proverbs, Quotes, Sayings

Proverb is a brief saying that presents a truth or some bit of useful wisdom. It is usually based on common sense or practical experience. The effect of a proverb is to make the wisdom it tells seem to be self-evident.

The same proverb often occurs among several different peoples. True proverbs are sayings that have been passed from generation to generation primarily by word of mouth. They may also have been put into written form.

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