50 Examples of Idioms Commonly Used in Daily Conversations

If you’re reading this, you’re probably searching for examples of idioms in English. Good news, you’ve come to the right place! Your spouse cooks dinner for your birthday and you say it is “killer”. Or you go out with friends, and after a fun evening, you tell them you need to “bounce”. Idioms are fun for a lot of reasons. One reason might be the way people freeze in mid-sentence and stare, wondering whether they ought to do something.

Your spouse, who cooked the killer meal, might be wondering whether to call the doctor. Your friends might wonder whether to call your therapist. But there is no doubt about it, idioms add a whole new facet to language, and English is full to the rafters of more idioms than it knows what to do with.

Examples of Idioms

Examples of Idioms | Top 50 Common English Idioms and Their Meanings

List of 50 Common English Idioms and Meanings

1. Will you choose the carrot or the stick?

To offer someone a choice between a reward (carrot) and a punishment (stick) to motivate them to do something.

2. She acts like she just fell off the turnip truck

Someone is naive or gullible as if they just arrived in the city from the countryside.

3. He is cool as a cucumber

Someone is very calm and composed, even in a stressful situation.

4. He is a carrot top.

This idiom means that someone has red hair.

5. Don’t be such a sad sack

Someone is being overly negative or depressed, and should try to be more positive.

6. Cut off at the Knees

To stop someone from achieving their goals or plans, often by taking away their resources or opportunities.

7. Shoot, I forgot.

An expression of frustration or disappointment when one realizes they have forgotten something important.

8. Bingo, bango, bongo

An expression used to indicate the completion of a task or achievement of a goal.

9. The Banana Republic

A term used to describe a politically unstable country, often characterized by corruption and economic dependence on a single export.

10. One-trick pony

A person or thing that is only capable of doing one thing well and lacks versatility or adaptability.

11. Apple polisher

A person who flatters or ingratiates themselves with someone in authority in order to gain favor or advantage.

12. Kissing up

Similar to apple polishing, this refers to the act of seeking favor or approval through flattery or excessive praise.

13. Try to weasel out

To try and avoid responsibility or consequences by using deceitful or evasive tactics.

14. You are the apple of my eye

An expression of affection or endearment, often used to describe someone who is very important or cherished.

15. Gets a wild hair

An expression used to describe someone who suddenly becomes impulsive or unpredictable.

16. Just take some hair of the dog

An expression used to suggest that the best way to cure a hangover is to have another drink.

17. Started out on the wrong foot.

An expression used to describe a situation where things did not begin well or got off to a bad start.

18. Take the lion’s share.

To take the largest or most significant portion of something.

19. That really gets my goat.

An expression used to indicate annoyance or frustration.

20. Don’t let the cat out of the bag

To keep a secret or confidential information from being revealed.

21. Pulling my hair out over this

An expression used to describe a situation that is causing great frustration or stress.

22. Ankle biters

A term used to describe young children, often in a derogatory or dismissive way.

23. It’s a nail biter

An expression used to describe a situation that is very tense or suspenseful, often used in reference to a sporting event or competition.

24. One way or the other

Regardless of the method or outcome, it will happen.

25. They froze him out.

To deliberately exclude someone from a group or activity.

26. Mudslinger

A person who spreads negative rumors or gossip about someone else.

27. Whether you like it or not

The situation is going to happen regardless of your opinion or feelings about it.

28. Take it or leave it

The offer is non-negotiable; either accept it as it is or decline it.

29. Dance faster than a cat on a hot tin roof

To be very nervous or agitated.

30. Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

To be very nervous or jumpy.

31. He’s got one foot on a banana peel

To be in a precarious or dangerous situation.

32. One foot in the grave.

Someone is very old or very sick and close to death. It implies that the person’s life is nearing its end and they may not have much time left

33. He always has his foot in his mouth.

To say something inappropriate or embarrassing.

34. Get a toe in the water

To try something new or to test the waters before fully committing to a new situation or opportunity.

35. Get a foot in the door.

To establish a small opportunity or connection that may lead to further opportunities or progress in the future.

36. A real bird brain.

A person who is not very intelligent or smart.

37. Sure as God made little green apples.

A statement indicating certainty or truth.

38. I saw the light

To have a sudden realization or understanding.

39. Fighting like an old married couple

To argue or bicker in a long-term, familiar manner.

40. Pass the olive branch

To offer peace or reconciliation.

41. Nectar of the gods

A very delicious or satisfying drink.

42. Too good for words

Something is so wonderful or amazing that words cannot describe it.

43. Gate swings both ways

A situation where both parties are equally responsible or at fault.

44. Has his foot on their neck

To have complete control or dominance over someone else.

45. I will get out of your hair

To leave someone alone or stop bothering them.

46. Let sleeping dogs lie

To avoid stirring up old problems or conflicts.

47. It is a lemon

Something that is defective or doesn’t work properly.

48. I don’t give a fig

To not care about something.

49. I consider it sour grapes

To view someone’s negative opinion as being motivated by jealousy or envy.

50. The assignment was a plum assignment.

An especially desirable or sought

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