In English, People Idioms are used to describe many different things – from relationships between people, to how a situation might affect someone.
Knowing these idioms means more than learning the language, and here’s is the list of most common people idioms in English, explaining their meaning and giving you an example of how to use them.
List of useful People Idioms in English with meaning and examples.
You can jump to any section of this lesson:
- 1 Idioms about Appearance
- 2 People Idioms | Body Idioms
- 3 Idioms with Children and Babies
- 4 Clothes Idioms
- 5 Idioms about Death
- 6 Food Idioms
- 7 Idioms for Going Crazy
- 8 Idioms about Happiness
- 9 Medical and Health Idioms
- 10 Idioms about Knowledge
- 11 Idioms about Love
- 12 Idioms about Mother
- 13 Personal Names Idioms
- 14 Idioms about Skills
- 15 States of Mind Idioms
- 16 Idioms about Thinking and Learning
(Not a) spring chicken
- Meaning: (No longer) young
- Example: She’s no spring chicken, but she’s still very good looking.
All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go
- Meaning: Prepared (with clothing or otherwise) for an event that does not occur
- Example: When my presentation was cancelled, I felt all dressed up with nowhere to go.
All Fur Coat And No Knickers
- Meaning: Superficially attractive, physically or otherwise
- Example: The candidate was popular during the campaign, but after she became Prime Minister, people realized she was all fur coat and no knickers.
All Talk and No Trousers
- Meaning: Prone to empty boasts
- Example: John is all talk and no trousers. He likes to talk about how he has big ideas, but I’ve never heard him propose one.
All The Rage
- Meaning: Very fashionable
- Example: A few years ago Uggs were all the rage, but now you don’t see them so much.
At the Drop of a Hat
- Meaning: Spontaneously, suddenly
- Example: Jacob is unpredictable. He won’t leave the office for weeks, but then he’ll take off for New York at the drop of a hat.
(A) Baker’s Dozen
- Meaning: Thirteen
- Example: Your order of a dozen doughnuts is ready. We’ll throw in one more to make it a baker’s dozen.
(A) Hard/Tough Nut to Crack
- Meaning: A difficult problem
- Example: The problem of how to motivate employees can be a tough nut to crack sometimes.
(Have) Egg on One’s Face
- Meaning: Be embarrassed, feel foolish
- Example: Fred had egg on his face after claiming he could climb the tree but then having to give up.
Be a barrel of laughs
- Meaning: To be fun, funny, and pleasant.
- Example: I always have so much fun when Katie’s around—she’s a barrel of laughs!
Be footloose and fancy-free
- Meaning: To be free of responsibilities, including romantic commitments
- Example: I love being a single woman, so I intend to be footloose and fancy-free for a long time.
Blow away the cobwebs
- Meaning: If something blows away the cobwebs, it makes you feel more lively and refreshes your ideas.
- Example: When was the last time you left the house? Come on, get out there and blow away the cobwebs!
- Meaning: A display of incompetence
- Example: It’s amateur hour down there. We need a quality-control department, and fast.
As Far as I Can Throw (someone)
- Meaning: Only slightly
- Example: Don’t lend her money. I trust her about as far as I can throw her.
Go to your head
- Meaning: To cause one to become arrogant. If success goes to your head, it makes you think that you are better or more important than you really are
- Example: Fame and fortune had gone to his head.
Have your wits about you
- Meaning: Be able to think quickly and make sensible decisions
- Example: She managed to keep her wits about her and escaped unharmed.
In the dark (about)
- Meaning: Not knowing very much about something, because other people are keeping it secret from you
- Example: We are still very much in the dark about how the money was lost.