An idiom is a phrase, saying or a group of words that has a metaphorical (not literal) meaning, which has become accepted in common usage.
An idiom's symbolic sense is quite different from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made. There are a large number of Idioms and they are used very commonly in all languages. There are estimated to be at least 25,000 idiomatic expressions in the English language.
Idioms in fact, evolve the language; they are the building blocks of a language and civilization. They also have great intensity to make a language interesting and dynamic. Idioms bring a spectacular illustration to everyday speech. They provide interesting insights into the use of words, languages and the thought processes of their speakers. They have a sense of mystery and fun about them.
So what makes idioms difficult?
The answer is their "meaning". Idioms are not easy to understand - especially for non-native speakers, because their meanings are usually metaphorical. This characteristic of idioms makes them strange and difficult to understand for English learners.
Top 10 Common Idioms
List of top 10 most common English idioms and phrases, with their meaning and examples for students and teachers. They are also frequently asked in competitive exams. Though the popularity of the idioms may vary from region to region, still the list is rather popular around the globe.
- piece of cake
- Meaning: something that is easy to do.
Example: Making spaghetti Bolognese is a piece of cake.
- a hot potato
- Meaning: a controversial issue or situation that is awkward or unpleasant to deal with.
Example: The subject of bullying and fighting in my school is a hot potato.
- once in a blue moon
- Meaning: very rarely.
Example: I go to visit my grandfather only once in a blue moon; he lives in a remote farm house.
- a bed of roses
- Meaning: easy option.
Example: Taking care of my younger sister is no bed of roses; she is very silly.
- raining cats and dogs
- Meaning: raining very heavily.
Example: I wanted to go to play outside, but it was raining cats and dogs yesterday.
- when pigs fly
- Meaning: something that will never happen or is impossible.
Example: William will keep quiet only when pigs fly.
- devil's advocate
- Meaning: one who presents a counter argument.
Example: Hey Jack! You're always playing devil's advocate! Give it a rest and mind your own business.
- miss the boat
- Meaning: miss the chance.
Example: Peter wanted to enter the drawing competition, but he was too late to enter, and he missed the boat.
- apple of eye
- Meaning: someone very precious or dear.
Example: Every kid in the world is the apple of their parents' eye(s).
- zip your lip
- Meaning: to stop talking.
Example: I don't want to hear another sound out of you. Now do as you're told and zip your lip.
- anything but
- anything but Meaning | Synonyms by no means it's not the case at all certainly not the opposite of what you imagined didn't turn out as planned nothing ... Read on
- square peg in a round hole
- square peg in a round holealso, round peg in a square hole Meaning | Synonyms a person who doesn't fit into societies norm finding yourself in a situation ... Read on
- hit or miss
- hit or missalso, hit and miss Meaning | Synonyms something is arranged in a haphazard fashion it hasn't been planned or organised very well might be good or ... Read on
- silver lining
- silver lining The expression is the shorter version of the famous saying, "every cloud has a silver lining." Meaning | Synonyms sadness or unpleasant things can have a ... Read on
- in the air
- in the air Meaning | Synonyms something like a mood that everybody can feel you can sense/feel/smell/taste it but not see it it might be a change in ... Read on
- View all idioms
- View the complete list of all idioms we've on our website.