Sugarcane will be shutting down on June 30, 2018. For more information, .

Common Idioms

Learn the meaning of 65 common idioms in the English language. An idiom is a phrase with a culturally understood meaning that differs from the literal meaning of the words. It is estimated that there are at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language.
a data set by ms.brown
created March 25, 2017
Play a game to test your knowledge!
See all 29 games!
See fewer games
A hot potatoAn issue which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed
A penny for your thoughtsA way of asking what someone is thinking
Actions speak louder than wordsPeople's intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say.
Add insult to injuryTo further a loss with mockery or indignity; to worsen an unfavorable situation.
At the drop of a hatWithout any hesitation
Back to the drawing boardWhen an attempt fails and it's time to start all over.
Ball is in your courtIt is up to you to make the next decision or step.
Barking up the wrong treeLooking in the wrong place or accusing the wrong person
Be glad to see the back ofBe happy when a person leaves
Beat around the bushAvoiding the main topic or not speaking directly about the issue
Best of both worldsAll the advantages
Best thing since sliced breadA good invention, innovation, idea, or plan
Bite off more than you can chewTo take on a task that is way too big
Blessing in disguiseSomething good that isn't recognized at first
Burn the midnight oilTo work late into the night
Can't judge a book by its coverCannot judge something primarily on appearance
Caught between two stoolsWhen someone finds it difficult to choose between two alternatives
Costs an arm and a legSomething is very expensive
Cross that bridge when you come to itDeal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, but not before
Cry over spilt milkWhen you complain about a loss from the past
Curiosity killed the catBeing inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation.
Cut cornersWhen something is done badly to save money
Cut the mustardTo succeed; to come up to expectations; adequate enough to compete or participate
Devil's AdvocateA person who advocates an opposing or unpopular view, often for the sake of argument
Don't count your chickens before the eggs have hatchedDon't make plans for something that might not happen.
Don't give up the day jobYou are not very good at something.
Don't put all your eggs in one basketDo not put all your resources in one possibility.
Drastic times call for drastic measuresDifficult situations require us to take actions that would be considered extreme if taken in other situations.
Elvis has left the buildingThe show has come to an end. It's all over.
Every cloud has a silver liningBe optimistic. Even difficult times will lead to better days.
Far cry fromVery different from
Feel a bit under the weatherFeel slightly ill
Give the benefit of the doubtBelieve someone's statement, without proof
Hear it on the grapevineHear rumors about something or someone
Hit the nail on the headDo or say something exactly right
Hit the sack / sheets / hayGo to bed
In the heat of the momentOverwhelmed by what is happening in the moment
It takes two to tangoActions or communications need more than one person.
Jump on the bandwagonJoin a popular trend or activity
Keep something at bayKeep something away
Kill two birds with one stoneAccomplish two different things at the same time
Last strawThe final problem in a series of problems
Let sleeping dogs lieDo not disturb a situation since that would result in trouble or complications.
Let the cat out of the bagShare information that was previously concealed
Make a long story shortCome to the point and leave out details
Method to my madnessDespite an approach seeming random, there actually is structure to it.
Miss the boatSomeone missed his or her chance.
Not a spark of decencyNo manners
Not playing with a full deckNot very bright or intelligent
Off one's rockerCrazy, demented, out of one's mind, in a confused or befuddled state of mind, senile
On the ballActive and aware of things
Once in a blue moonAlmost never 
Picture paints a thousand wordsA visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.
Piece of cakeA job, task, or other activity that is easy or simple
Put wool over other people's eyesDeceive or trick someone
See eye to eyeTwo or more people agree on something.
Sit on the fenceDo not take sides in a dispute.
Speak of the devilThe person you have just been talking about arrives.
Steal someone's thunderTake the credit for something someone else did
Take with a grain of saltDo not take what someone says too seriously.
Taste of your own medicineSomething happens to you, or is done to you, that you have done to someone else.
To hear something straight from the horse's mouthTo hear something from the authoritative source
Whole nine yardsEverything or all of it
Wouldn't be caught deadWould never like to do something
Your guess is as good as mineI do not know.
Ready to learn about Common Idioms?