Social Life Idioms

Social life idioms are a fascinating aspect of the English language that can help you better understand the nuances of social interactions. These idioms are commonly used in everyday conversations and can help you express yourself more effectively and engagingly. Whether you’re trying to make new friends, navigate social situations, or simply improve your English speaking skills, learning social life idioms is a great way to enhance your vocabulary and connect with others.

Subpages of Social Life Idioms

Social Life Idioms, Phrases and Sayings

Social Life Idioms and Expressions - Image 1

Advice and Criticism Idioms

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

  • Meaning: If there are rumors or indications of something, it is likely to be true.
  • Example: A lot of people have been talking about the company going bankrupt. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

  • Meaning: A visual image can convey a message or idea more effectively than words.
  • Example: Instead of trying to describe the problem, I drew a picture to show the team. A picture is worth a thousand words. 

It’s Not Over Till the Fat Lady Sings

  • Meaning: The outcome of a situation is uncertain until it is completely finished.
  • Example: We’re losing by 10 points with only a minute left, but it’s not over till the fat lady sings.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

  • Meaning: Don’t get upset over something that has already happened and cannot be changed.
  • Example: I know you’re disappointed that you didn’t get the job, but don’t cry over spilled milk. There will be other opportunities.

Art Idioms

List of art idioms in English.

Behind the Scenes

  • Meaning: The work or activity that takes place privately or without public attention.
  • Example: The public only sees the final product, but there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen.

Waiting in the Wings

  • Meaning: To be ready and prepared to take action or assume a role if needed.
  • Example: The CEO is retiring soon, and the vice president has been waiting in the wings to take over.

Conflict Idioms

(To Have) Been Through The Wars

  • Meaning: To have experienced a lot of difficulties or challenges
  • Example: After three years of medical school, I feel like I’ve been through the wars.

(To Open Up a) Can of Whoop-Ass

  • Meaning: To use force or violence against someone.
  • Example: If he doesn’t stop harassing me, I’m going to have to open up a can of whoop-ass on him.

Add Fuel To The Fire

  • Meaning: To make a bad situation worse
  • Example: Don’t tell her that her ex-boyfriend is here. That will just add fuel to the fire.

Add Insult To Injury

  • Meaning: To make a bad situation even worse by saying or doing something else to upset someone
  • Example: Not only did I lose my job, but my boss also insulted me on my way out. He really added insult to injury.

Agree To Disagree

  • Meaning: To accept that people have different opinions and it’s okay to not always agree.
  • Example: We have different views on politics, but let’s just agree to disagree.

Ancient History

  • Meaning: Something that happened a long time ago and is no longer relevant or important
  • Example: That argument we had last week is ancient history.

At Each Other’s Throats

  • Meaning: To be in a state of intense conflict or disagreement
  • Example: The two political parties have been at each other’s throats for months.

At Loggerheads

  • Meaning: To be in a state of disagreement or conflict that seems impossible to resolve.
  • Example: The company and the union are at loggerheads over the new contract.

Bad Blood

  • Meaning: A feeling of animosity or ill will between people.
  • Example: There’s been bad blood between those two families for generations.

Clear the Air

  • Meaning: To resolve a misunderstanding or conflict by talking about it openly and honestly.
  • Example: We need to clear the air and figure out what’s really going on.

Cut (Someone) To the Quick

  • Meaning: To deeply hurt or offend someone.
  • Example: Her comments about my work really cut me to the quick.

Dead Ahead

  • Meaning: Straight ahead, with no obstructions or obstacles.
  • Example: The gas station is dead ahead on the left.

Dirty Look

  • Meaning: An angry or disapproving look.
  • Example: She gave me a dirty look when I walked in late.

Game of Chicken

  • Meaning: A situation where two people or groups are competing to see who will back down first.
  • Example: The two cars were playing a game of chicken. 

Get Bent Out of Shape

  • Meaning: To become overly upset or angry about something.
  • Example: Don’t get bent out of shape over a little criticism.

Give Someone a Piece of Your Mind

  • Meaning: To speak one’s mind forcefully and directly to someone.
  • Example: I’m going to give my boss a piece of my mind about his unfair treatment of me.

Have It Out with Someone

  • Meaning: To confront someone and try to resolve a problem or conflict.
  • Example: I need to have it out with my roommate about his messy habits.

Let Bygones Be Bygones

  • Meaning: To forget about past disagreements or conflicts and move forward.
  • Example: I know we had our differences, but let’s just let bygones be bygones and start fresh.

On the Warpath

  • Meaning: To be in a state of anger and ready to take action against someone or something.
  • Example: The boss was on the warpath after discovering the mistake in the report.

Pick a Fight

  • Meaning: To provoke or start a fight or argument with someone.
  • Example: I don’t know why he always tries to pick a fight with me.

Pissing Contest

  • Meaning: A situation in which two or more people try to prove their superiority over each other, often through bragging or one-upmanship.
  • Example: The argument turned into a pissing contest, with each person trying to prove they were right.

Rake Over the Ashes

  • Meaning: To bring up past problems or conflicts that have already been resolved.
  • Example: Let’s not rake over the ashes of that old argument. It’s in the past.

Rub It In

  • Meaning: To make someone feel worse about a bad situation by reminding them of it or emphasizing their failure.
  • Example: He kept rubbing it in that I lost the game, even though he knew how upset I was.

Sore Point

  • Meaning: A topic or issue that is sensitive or painful for someone.
  • Example: Don’t bring up his divorce. It’s still a sore point for him.

Spoiling for a Fight

  • Meaning: To be eager or ready to start a fight or argument.
  • Example: He was spoiling for a fight after his team lost the game.

Stab Someone in the Back

  • Meaning: To betray someone by doing something harmful or hurtful behind their back.
  • Example: I thought we were friends, but he stabbed me in the back by spreading rumors about me.

Take Someone to Task

  • Meaning: To criticize or reprimand someone for their behavior or actions.
  • Example: The teacher took the student to task for not doing their homework.

Throw Elbows

  • Meaning: To use one’s elbows aggressively to push through a crowd or gain an advantage.
  • Example: The concert was so crowded that we had to throw elbows just to get to the front.

To Have a Chip on One’s Shoulder

  • Meaning: To be easily offended or looking for a fight.
  • Example: He always has a chip on his shoulder and gets angry at the slightest criticism.

Witch Hunt

  • Meaning: An investigation or search for something that is perceived to be harmful or threatening, often with little evidence or justification.
  • Example: The senator called the investigation a witch hunt and denied any wrongdoing.

Spoiling for a Fight

  • Meaning: To be eager or ready to start a fight or argument
  • Example: He was spoiling for a fight after his team lost the game.

Point the Finger At

  • Meaning: To blame or accuse someone of something
  • Example: Don’t point the finger at me. I didn’t do anything wrong.

Have a Bone to Pick (with Someone)

  • Meaning: To have a problem or issue with someone that needs to be addressed.
  • Example: I have a bone to pick with my neighbor about their loud music late at night.

Daily Activities Idioms

(A) Walk in the Park

  • Meaning: Something that is easy or simple to do.
  • Example: For him, running a marathon is just a walk in the park.

Beat Someone to the Punch

  • Meaning: To do something before someone else has a chance to do it.
  • Example: I was going to call her, but she beat me to the punch and called me first.

Cooking Up a Storm

  • Meaning: To cook a lot of food or cook very well.
  • Example: My grandma was in the kitchen cooking up a storm for Thanksgiving dinner.

Crash a Party

  • Meaning: To attend a party or event without being invited.
  • Example: We decided to crash the party next door since we weren’t doing anything that night.

Give Something a Whirl

  • Meaning: To try something new or unfamiliar.
  • Example: I’ve never tried sushi before, but I’m willing to give it a whirl.

Have a Tough Row to Hoe

  • Meaning: To have a difficult or challenging task or situation to deal with.
  • Example: Starting a new business is a tough row to hoe, but it can be very rewarding.

Hit the Books

  • Meaning: To study or read intensively.
  • Example: I need to hit the books if I want to pass this exam.

Hit the Hay

  • Meaning: To go to bed or go to sleep.
  • Example: It’s getting late. I think it’s time to hit the hay.

Home Away from Home

  • Meaning: A place where one feels comfortable and at ease, as if they were in their own home
  • Example: The beach house was our home away from home during the summer.

In Touch

  • Meaning: To stay in contact or keep updated with someone
  • Example: We’ve been in touch since college, even though we live in different cities now.

Knock Some Sense Into

  • Meaning: To help someone understand something by being forceful or direct.
  • Example: He needed someone to knock some sense into him and make him realize the consequences of his actions.

Lose Touch

  • Meaning: To lose contact or connection with someone
  • Example: After I moved away, I lost touch with most of my old friends.

Make Someone’s Day

  • Meaning: To do something that brings joy or happiness to someone.
  • Example: The surprise party really made her day.

Me Time

  • Meaning: Time spent alone or doing something for oneself
  • Example: I need some me time to relax and recharge.

On a Roll

  • Meaning: To be experiencing a period of success or good luck.
  • Example: After winning the first game, the team was on a roll and won the next three games as well.

Pass With Flying Colors

  • Meaning: To pass a test or exam with a very high score.
  • Example: She studied hard and passed the exam with flying colors.

Play With Fire

  • Meaning: To do something risky or dangerous.
  • Example: You’re playing with fire if you don’t wear a helmet while riding a bike.

Put a Thumb on the Scale

  • Meaning: To unfairly influence a situation or outcome in one’s favor.
  • Example: The judge was accused of putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the defendant.

Ring a Bell

  • Meaning: To sound familiar or remind someone of something.
  • Example: That name rings a bell, but I can’t remember where I’ve heard it before.

Spin A Yarn

  • Meaning: To tell a long and elaborate story, often with exaggerations or embellishment.
  • Example: He spun a yarn about his adventures in the Amazon rainforest.

Take The Mickey (Piss) (Out Of Someone)

  • Meaning: To make fun of or tease someone in a playful way.
  • Example: He’s always taking the piss out of his friends, but they know he doesn’t mean any harm.

Trip the Light Fantastic

  • Meaning: To dance or move in a graceful and lively way.
  • Example: The couple tripped the light fantastic at their wedding reception.

Hit the Sack

  • Meaning: To go to bed or go to sleep.
  • Example: I’m exhausted. I think it’s time to hit the sack.

Drinking Idioms

(See the) Glass (as) Half Empty/Half Full

  • Meaning: To have a positive or negative outlook on a situation.
  • Example: Some people see the glass as half empty, while others see it as half full.

110 Proof

  • Meaning: Referring to strong alcoholic drinks, specifically those with a high alcohol content.
  • Example: He prefers 110 proof whiskey over beer.

Amber Nectar

  • Meaning: A term used to describe beer, especially when it is of high quality or considered a favorite.
  • Example: He enjoys sipping on an amber nectar after a long day at work.

Back Burner (On The)

  • Meaning: To put something aside or delay it until later.
  • Example: I had to put my travel plans on the back burner because of work.

Bend an Elbow

  • Meaning: To have a drink, typically alcohol.
  • Example: He likes to bend an elbow with his buddies after work.

Champagne taste on a beer budget

  • Meaning: To desire expensive things or experiences but not have the financial means to afford them.
  • Example: She has champagne taste on a beer budget and struggles to keep up with her friends’ lavish lifestyles.

Do 12-Ounce Curls

  • Meaning: To drink beer, often in large quantities.
  • Example: He spent the evening doing 12-ounce curls at the bar.

Drink the Kool-Aid

  • Meaning: To blindly follow or believe in something, often to one’s detriment.
  • Example: He drank the Kool-Aid and invested all his money in the company, only to lose it all.

Dutch Courage

  • Meaning: The false sense of bravery or confidence that comes from drinking alcohol.
  • Example: He needed some Dutch courage before asking her out on a date.

Go Cold Turkey

  • Meaning: To abruptly stop doing something, often a bad habit or addiction.
  • Example: He decided to quit smoking and went cold turkey.

Hair of the Dog (That Bit You)

  • Meaning: To drink more alcohol to cure a hangover.
  • Example: He had a bad hangover, so he drank a Bloody Mary as the hair of the dog that bit him.

Hold One’s Liquor

  • Meaning: To be able to drink alcohol without getting drunk or losing control.
  • Example: He can hold his liquor better than anyone I know.

In His Cups

  • Meaning: To be drunk or under the influence of alcohol.
  • Example: He was in his cups and couldn’t walk straight.

On the Wagon

  • Meaning: To abstain from drinking alcohol, often as part of a commitment to sobriety or health.
  • Example: He’s been on the wagon for six months and feels much better.

One for the Road

  • Meaning: A final drink before leaving a party or establishment.
  • Example: He ordered one for the road before saying goodbye to his friends.

Paint the Town Red

  • Meaning: To go out and have a wild and exciting time, often involving drinking and partying
  • Example: They decided to paint the town red on their last night in the city.

Wet Your Whistle

  • Meaning: To have a drink, often to quench one’s thirst.
  • Example: He stopped at the bar to wet his whistle before continuing on his journey.

Drugs Idioms

On Steroids

  • Meaning: An exaggerated or intensified version of something.
  • Example: The new car is like the old one on steroids, with more power and features.

Pipe Dream

  • Meaning: An unrealistic or impossible goal or idea.
  • Example: His dream of becoming a professional athlete was just a pipe dream.

Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It

  • Meaning: A challenge to accept or consider a statement or idea.
  • Example: I’m right, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Slip Someone a Mickey

  • Meaning: To secretly give someone a drug or alcohol without their knowledge or consent.
  • Example: He suspected that someone had slipped him a Mickey at the party.

Up to Snuff

  • Meaning: Meeting a certain standard or expectation.
  • Example: The new employee’s work was not up to snuff, so he was let go.

High as a Kite

  • Meaning: To be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and experiencing strong effects.
  • Example: After drinking too much, he was high as a kite and couldn’t walk straight.

Gambling Idioms

(Come) Down to the Wire

  • Meaning: To be decided at the last moment or in the final moments of a competition or event.
  • Example: The race came down to the wire, with the winner crossing the finish line just ahead of the others.

(Having an) Ace Up One’s Sleeve

  • Meaning: To have a hidden advantage or resource that can be used to gain an advantage.
  • Example: He always has an ace up his sleeve when negotiating contracts.

(The) Die Is Cast

  • Meaning: A decision or action has been taken that cannot be undone or changed.
  • Example: After he quit his job, the die was cast and he had to find a new one.

(To) Play One’s Ace

  • Meaning: To use one’s best or most effective strategy or resource.
  • Example: He decided to play his ace and bring in his top salesperson to close the deal.

According To Hoyle

  • Meaning: According to the rules or standards.
  • Example: He played the game according to Hoyle and didn’t cheat.

Ace In The Hole

  • Meaning: A secret or hidden advantage or resource that can be used to gain an advantage.
  • Example: He kept his ace in the hole until the last minute and surprised everyone.

All Bets Are Off

  • Meaning: A situation in which the normal rules or expectations no longer apply.
  • Example: After the storm hit, all bets were off and people had to fend for themselves.

All The Marbles

  • Meaning: A situation in which everything is at stake or on the line.
  • Example: The championship game was for all the marbles, with the winner taking home the trophy.

Behind the Eight (or 8) Ball

  • Meaning: In a difficult or disadvantaged position.
  • Example: After losing his job, he was behind the eight ball and struggled to make ends meet.

Bet the Farm

  • Meaning: To risk everything on a single decision or action.
  • Example: He bet the farm on the stock market and lost everything.

Break the Bank

  • Meaning: To win all the money or resources available in a game or competition.
  • Example: He broke the bank at the casino and walked away with a fortune.

Busted Flush

  • Meaning: A poker hand that appears strong but is actually weak or worthless.
  • Example: He thought he had a winning hand, but it turned out to be a busted flush.

Call a Spade a Spade

  • Meaning: To speak frankly or bluntly, without euphemism or exaggeration.
  • Example: He called a spade a spade and told them exactly what he thought.

Cash In One’s Chips

  • Meaning: To die or pass away.
  • Example: After a long illness, he finally cashed in his chips.

Have a Lot Riding On (Something)

  • Meaning: To have a lot at stake or dependent on the outcome of a situation.
  • Example: He had a lot riding on the success of his new business venture.

Have an Ace Up One’s Sleeve

  • Meaning: To have a hidden advantage or resource that can be used to gain an advantage.
  • Example: She always has an ace up her sleeve when negotiating contracts.

Have Hand of Aces/Hold All the Aces

  • Meaning: To have all the advantages or resources in a situation.
  • Example: He held all the aces and was able to negotiate the best deal for himself.

Hit the Jackpot

  • Meaning: To win a large amount of money or have a great success.
  • Example: She hit the jackpot with her new invention and became a millionaire overnight.

In the Cards

  • Meaning: Likely or possible to happen in the future.
  • Example: It’s in the cards that he will be promoted soon.

Play the Percentages

  • Meaning: To make decisions based on what is most likely to happen or be successful.
  • Example: He decided to play the percentages and invest in a stable company with a good track record.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

  • Meaning: To back up one’s words or beliefs with action or financial commitment.
  • Example: If you think you can do it, put your money where your mouth is and show us.

Roll the Dice On

  • Meaning: To take a risk or chance on something.
  • Example: He decided to roll the dice on the new business venture and invest all his savings.

Run the Table

  • Meaning: To win all the games or competitions in a series or tournament.
  • Example: He ran the table and won the championship, beating all his opponents.

Shell Game

  • Meaning: A deceptive or fraudulent activity in which a small object is hidden under one of several containers and moved around, with the aim of tricking the participant into guessing which container it is under.
  • Example: He fell for the shell game and lost all his money.

Show Your Cards

  • Meaning: To reveal one’s true intentions or position in a situation.
  • Example: He decided to show his cards and tell them the truth about what had happened.

Sweeten the Pot

  • Meaning: To add something extra or valuable to a deal or offer in order to make it more attractive or appealing.
  • Example: He sweetened the pot by offering a discount and free shipping to customers who ordered before the end of the month.

The Deck Is (The Cards Are)

  • Meaning: The situation is fixed or rigged in someone’s favor.
  • Example: He suspected that the deck was stacked against him and that he had no chance of winning.

Play the Ponies

  • Meaning: To bet on horse races.
  • Example: He likes to play the ponies on the weekends and watch the races.

The Only Game in Town

  • Meaning: The only option or opportunity available.
  • Example: After the factory closed, the new restaurant was the only game in town for job seekers.

Throw the Game

  • Meaning: To intentionally lose a game or competition for personal gain or to benefit someone else.
  • Example: He was accused of throwing the game and accepting a bribe to lose.

Tip One’s Hand

  • Meaning: To reveal one’s intentions or strategy, often unintentionally.
  • Example: He tipped his hand and revealed that he was planning to quit his job.

Play Your Cards Right

  • Meaning: To make wise decisions or take the right actions in order to achieve success or a desired outcome.
  • Example: If he plays his cards right, he could be promoted to manager within a year.

Up the Ante

  • Meaning: To increase the stakes or level of risk or commitment in a situation.
  • Example: He upped the ante by investing all his savings in the stock market.

When the Chips Are Down

  • Meaning: When a situation becomes difficult or challenging.
  • Example: When the chips are down, you have to stay focused and keep working hard.

Throw the Match

  • Meaning: To intentionally lose a match or competition for personal gain or to benefit someone else.
  • Example: He was caught trying to throw the match and was banned from the sport for life.

Throw the Fight

  • Meaning: To intentionally lose a boxing match for personal gain or to benefit someone else.
  • Example: The boxer was accused of throwing the fight and accepting a bribe to lose.

Sexuality Idioms

Social Life Idioms and Expressions - Image 2

Bat/Play for Both Teams

  • Meaning: To be bisexual or to have sexual relationships with both men and women.
  • Example: He’s been known to bat for both teams and doesn’t care about gender when it comes to dating.

Bat/Play for the Other Team

  • Meaning: To be homosexual or to have sexual relationships with people of the same gender.
  • Example: He came out as gay last year and now bats for the other team.

Fu** (Or Screw) The Dog (Pooch)

  • Meaning: To waste time or engage in unproductive or pointless activity
  • Example: He spent the whole day screwing the dog instead of working on his project.

Babe Magnet

  • Meaning: A man who is attractive to women and has a lot of romantic or sexual attention.
  • Example: He’s always been a babe magnet and has never had trouble getting dates.

Bedroom Eyes

  • Meaning: A seductive or flirtatious expression or look, often involving half-closed or heavy-lidded eyes.
  • Example: She gave him bedroom eyes and he knew she was interested in him.

Boy Toy

  • Meaning: A young man who is attractive to older women and often used for sexual pleasure or companionship.
  • Example: He was her boy toy for a while, but eventually they both moved on.

Come Out of the Closet

  • Meaning: To reveal one’s homosexuality or sexual orientation to others.
  • Example: He came out of the closet to his family and friends and was relieved to be accepted.

Have the Hots for (Somebody)

  • Meaning: To have a strong sexual attraction or desire for someone.
  • Example: She’s had the hots for him for years but has never told him how she feels.

Knock Up

  • Meaning: To impregnate a woman or become pregnant.
  • Example: She got knocked up by her boyfriend and they decided to keep the baby.

Make Love

  • Meaning: To have sexual intercourse lovingly or romantically.
  • Example: They made love for the first time and it was a special moment for both of them.

Red-Light District

  • Meaning: An area of a city where prostitution and other sexual activities are common or legal.
  • Example: He visited the red-light district while on vacation and was shocked by what he saw.

Sugar Daddy

  • Meaning: An older man who financially supports a younger woman in exchange for companionship or sexual favors
  • Example: She’s dating a sugar daddy who pays for all her expenses and treats her well.

The Birds and the Bees

  • Meaning: A euphemism for sex education, typically given to children.
  • Example: He had to give his son the talk about the birds and the bees when he asked where babies come from.

Rob the Cradle

  • Meaning: To date or marry someone significantly younger than oneself.
  • Example: He’s robbing the cradle by dating a woman half his age.

Wandering Eye

  • Meaning: A tendency to be attracted to or look at other people in a romantic or sexual way, even when in a committed relationship.
  • Example: He had a wandering eye and couldn’t help checking out other women, which caused problems in his relationship.