50 Commonly Known Idioms and their Meanings Part II

Idioms are an important part of everyday English. They come up all the time in both written and spoken language. Because idioms don’t always make sense literally, you need to familiarise yourself with their meaning and usage.

Here’s a list of the top 50 common idioms with their meanings 👇🏾

  1. A breath of fresh air
    Meaning: a new, fresh, and imaginative approach, a change that feels good
  2. A clean bill of health
    Meaning: when you examine someone or something and state that they are healthy, in good condition, or legal
  3. A life-saver
    Meaning: used to refer to something or someone that saves a person in a difficult situation or critical moment
  4. Achilles’ heel
    Meaning: said about a strong situation which contains an element of vulnerability
  5. Act one’s age
    Meaning: to be mature and not childish
  6. Against the clock
    Meaning: to do something as fast as possible and try to finish it before a deadline
  7. An act of war
    Meaning: an act which is considered violent enough to cause war
  8. Back on one’s feet
    Meaning: recovering from an illness or from a problem
  9. Bad blood
    Meaning: unpleasant feeling between different people
  10. Bad news travels fast
    Meaning: news about misfortune and trouble circulates quickly
  11. Call it a day
    Meaning: to stop working for the rest of the day
  12. Calm before the storm
    Meaning: an unusual or false quiet period before a period of upheaval
  13. Caught in the crossfire
    Meaning: a situation in which one is caught between opposing people arguing about something, making it difficult to remain neutral
  14. Dance with death
    Meaning: try to do something that involves a lot of risks
  15. Dead and buried
    Meaning: no longer in use or under consideration, irrelevant, forgotten
  16. Do the dirty work
    Meaning: to do the disagreeable, illegal or dishonest things
  17. Drag one’s feet
    Meaning: to procrastinate, put off; to dawdle, avoid, or make progress slowly and reluctantly
  18. Easy come, easy go
    Meaning: something which is easily won or obtained and then soon spent or lost
  19. Escape the rat race
    Meaning: leave a job or way of life in which people compete endlessly and aggressively with each other to be successful
  20. Every dog has its day
    Meaning: everyone has a time of success and satisfaction
  21. Fact of life
    Meaning: something that cannot be avoided
  22. Fair-weather friend
    Meaning: someone who is your friend only when the times are good
  23. Fall from grace
    Meaning: a loss of status, respect, or prestige
  24. Get away with something
    Meaning: to do something bad and not get punished for it
  25. Go against the flow
    Meaning: to do the opposite of people do and not accept things as thy are
  26. Hands are tied
    Meaning: unable to help, intervene or act
  27. Have an axe to grind
    Meaning: to have a strong opinion about something
  28. Ill-gotten gains
    Meaning: money or other possession gained dishonestly
  29. In cold blood
    Meaning: to do something without feeling or with cruel intent
  30. Jack-of-all-trades
    Meaning: said about someone who is able to do many things
  31. Join the club
    Meaning: said as a reply to someone to mean that they are in the same situation
  32. Keep one’s eye on the ball
    Meaning: to remain alert to the events occurring around oneself
  33. Lay down the law
    Meaning: tell people what they should do in a forceful and stern way
  34. Make a mountain out of a molehill
    Meaning: to exaggerate the severity of a situation; to make a lot of fuss about nothing
  35. Not have a leg to stand on
    Meaning: not have a sound justification, a firm foundation of facts to prove something
  36. Odd duck
    Meaning: an unusual person, especially an individual with an idiosyncratic personality or peculiar behavioral characteristics
  37. Pain in the neck
    Meaning: an annoyance
  38. Pass the hat around
    Meaning: to collect money by asking people or organizations
  39. Quake in one’s boots
    Meaning: to be frightened, scared, or nervous
  40. Roll one’s sleeves up
    Meaning: to prepare for hard work
  41. Safe and sound
    Meaning: safe and without injury or damage
  42. Sail against the wind
    Meaning: to work to achieve something that is difficult because most people would oppose it
  43. Save money for a rainy day
    Meaning: to reserve money for a time when it might be needed unexpectedly
  44. Take a deep breath
    Meaning: to pause, especially in order to make oneself feel strong and confident
  45. Take it or leave it
    Meaning: said about an offer when you either accept it or reject it completely
  46. Under the table
    Meaning: something that is done secretly
  47. Variety is the spice of life
    Meaning: frequent changes in one’s life makes life interesting
  48. Wait for the other shoe to drop
    Meaning: to await a seemingly inevitable event, especially one which is not desirable
  49. Walk on eggshells
    Meaning: to be overly careful in dealing with a person or situation
  50. You can’t please everyone
    Meaning: making everyone happy is impossible no matter what you do

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