Geographical Idioms! Learn useful idioms about geographical features in English with meaning, ESL picture and example sentences.
Idioms about Geographical Features
List of idioms about Geographical Features
- (It’s a) Small World!
- (The) Grass Is (Always) Greener in the Next Pasture (on the Other Side)
- Across The Pond
- Back Forty
- Back Of Beyond
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
- Beyond the Pale
- Go with the Flow
- King of the Hill
- Living Under a Rock
- Make a Mountain out of a Molehill
- Man Cave
- Out in the Sticks
- Over the Hill
- Over the Moon
- Set the Thames on Fire
- Slippery Slope
- Stem the Tide
- Swim Against the Tide
- Test the Waters
- The Coast Is Clear
- Tip of the Iceberg
- Too Busy Fighting Alligators to Drain the Swamp
- Up a Creek
- Virgin Territory
- Water Under the Bridge
Geographical Idioms with Meaning and Examples
(It’s a) Small World!
- Meaning: It is surprising to encounter connections with familiar people in unexpected places.
- Example: I went all the way to Indonesia, and I met someone from my hometown. Small world!
(The) Grass Is (Always) Greener in the Next Pasture (on the Other Side)
- Meaning: A different situation may often seem better than one’s own
- Example: Yes, it may look as though things would be better if you changed jobs, but remember, the grass is always greener in the next pasture.
Note: This is a proverb.
Across The Pond
- Meaning: On or to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Example: Across the pond, you’ll find that the English language changes quite a bit!
Note: Generally refers to the UK and the USA.
- Meaning: Remote, inaccessible land
- Example: We have lots of land that we’re not doing anything with. We could at least put in some paths through the back forty.
Note: This idiom is American.
Back Of Beyond
- Meaning: A remote location
- Example: We’re so far out in the back of beyond that I can’t even get a cell phone signal.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
- Meaning: Caught between two undesirable options
- Example: We’re between a rock and a hard place: if we keep Arnold on the payroll he’ll continue to screw up, but if we fire him he’ll take our secrets to others.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
- Meaning: In a difficult position
- Example: The new law has put cellular phone companies between the devil and the deep blue.
Note: Between a rock and a hard place” is more common in the USA.
Beyond the Pale
- Meaning: Too morally or socially extreme to accept
- Example: Lady Gaga’s stage shows are beyond the pale for authorities in some conservative countries.
Go with the Flow
- Meaning: To accept the way things naturally seem to be going
- Example: It’s best to go with the flow for a while after you start a new job. Later, after you’ve been there a while, you can challenge established procedures.
King of the Hill
- Meaning: At the top of one’s field; the most influential person in a given field or area
- Example: Jeff is king of the hill among the chess players around here.
Living Under a Rock
- Meaning: Ignorant of imporant events. Usually used as a question: “”Have you been living under a rock?”
- Example: You don’t know that the mayor lost the election? Have you been living under a rock?
Make a Mountain out of a Molehill
- Meaning: To take something too seriously; to make too much of something
- Example: Barbara, you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. Yes, Joe was wrong, but what he did doesn’t really matter much.
- Meaning: A part of the house, often the basement, that is left to the man of the household, perhaps with a workshop, a television for watching sports, etc.
- Example: Let’s make sure we buy a house with a finished basement. I need a man cave where I can relax.
Note: This idiom is North American.
Out in the Sticks
- Meaning: In a remote location; far from a city
- Example: That restaurant is way out in the sticks. It takes an hour to drive there, but it’s worth it.
Over the Hill
- Meaning: Past one’s prime
- Example: Our striker is over the hill – we need to start bringing along a replacement for him.
Over the Moon
- Meaning: Extremely happy
- Example: Gina was over the moon when Don proposed to her.
Note: This is rather old-fashioned.
Set the Thames on Fire
- Meaning: Do something amazing. Usually used in the negative.
- Example: Tony will never set the Thames on fire, but he comes to work on time every day and gets a lot done.
- Meaning: A series of undesirable effects that, one warns, could result from a certain action
- Example: Marijuana may not seem to be a strong drug, but some argue that it can put you on the slippery slope to addiction.
Stem the Tide
- Meaning: To stop or control the growth of something, usually something unpleasant.
- Example: To try to stem the tide of intolerance, the president named a racially and religiously diverse cabinet.
Swim Against the Tide
- Meaning: Do something contrary to a trend or usual opinion
- Example: Honda is swimming against the tide, continuing to put emphasis on small cars even though gas prices are low.
Test the Waters
- Meaning: Experiment with something cautiously
- Example: Let’s test the waters in the European market with sales in three cities. If it goes well, we’ll roll out the product everywhere.
The Coast Is Clear
- Meaning: We are unobserved; it is safe to proceed.
- Example: You can come out from under the bed now. The coast is clear!
Tip of the Iceberg
- Meaning: A small, visible part of a much larger problem
- Example: The problems with the sales team are just the tip of the iceberg. This company has deep management failings.
Too Busy Fighting Alligators to Drain the Swamp
- Meaning: So occupied with multiple challenges that one can’t keep the big picture in mind
- Example: Lately we’ve been having so many problems in sales that I haven’t been able to work on the new plan-”I’m too busy fighting alligators to drain the swamp.
Note: Commonly this is given in the form: “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it does no good to remember that you should have drained the swamp.
Up a Creek
- Meaning: In a very bad situation
- Example: Right now, with the buses not running and no money for a taxi to get home, I’d say were up a creek.
Note: Up shit creek is obscene.
- Meaning: Something that has never been explored, physically or intellectually
- Example: Twenty years ago the field of neurobiology was virgin territory, but now it’s a very hot speciality.
Water Under the Bridge
- Meaning: Something in the past that’s no longer worth worrying about
- Example: I’m really sorry about losing your necklace. “That’s water under the bridge. It’s gone now, and we can’t bring it back. Don’t worry about it.
Geographical Idioms in English | Image
Useful idioms about Geographical Features in English