Commonly Used Social Life Idioms in English

Learn Commonly Used Social Life Idioms in English that are illustrated with pictures below.

Idioms about Conflict

(To Have) Been Through The Wars

  • Meaning: Hardened, having much experience of difficult conditions, worn out
  • ExampleFrank will be a good leader on this project. It’s going to be difficult, but he’s been through the wars.

(To Open Up a) Can of Whoop-Ass

  • Meaning: To attack another person physically (very casual, slightly vulgar)
  • ExampleWe’ll discuss the problem. And if we don’t reach agreement, I’ll open up a can of whoop-ass.

Add Fuel To The Fire

  • Meaning: Worsen already existing tension
  • ExampleSally was already angry, and Kim’s criticism of her work on the project just added fuel to the fire.

Social Life Idioms

Daily Routines Idioms

(Come) Down to the Wire

  • Meaning: (Be uncertain) all the way to the last minute
  • ExampleThis project is coming down to the wire – I think we can finish, but I’m not sure.

Note: This comes from racing, in which a winning racer (horse or human) breaks a small wire at the end.

(Having an) Ace Up One’s Sleeve

  • Meaning: To have a secret strength or surprise plan
  • ExampleThe coach has an ace up his sleeve – he has a new forward rested and totally ready to go.

Note: “Card up one’s sleeve” is also used.

(The) Die Is Cast

  • Meaning: The decision has been made; there is no going back.
  • Example: If the invasion begins, the die is cast: there will be war.

Note: This is said to have first been used (in Latin) by Julius Caesar.

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Social Life Idioms

Social Life Idioms: Drinking Idioms

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

  • Meaning: To have a pessimistic (optimistic) perspective
  • Example: Mark is a glass half full kind of person. He’s always convinced that things are going to get better.

Note: These images are used in sentences with various constructions. The phrase can be an adjective or the object of the

110 Proof

  • Meaning: Stronger than strong, very strong, pure
  • ExampleBob is a 110-proof Conservative – I’ve never seen him vote for a Labor candidate.

Amber Nectar

  • Meaning: Beer
  • ExampleThe beer market used to be controlled by large companies, but now many small firms are producing the amber nectar.

Note: This idiom is British.

Social Life Idioms

Social Life Idioms: Family

Social Life Idioms

Gambling Idioms

(Come) Down to the Wire

  • Meaning: (Be uncertain) all the way to the last minute
  • ExampleThis project is coming down to the wire – I think we can finish, but I’m not sure.

Note: This comes from racing, in which a winning racer (horse or human) breaks a small wire at the end.

(Having an) Ace Up One’s Sleeve

  • Meaning: To have a secret strength or surprise plan
  • ExampleThe coach has an ace up his sleeve – he has a new forward rested and totally ready to go.

Note: “Card up one’s sleeve” is also used.

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Social Life Idioms

Idioms for Music

Social Life Idioms

Idioms about Sexuality

Social Life Idioms

Sport Idioms

(The) Ball’s in Your Court

  • Meaning: It’s your turn to make an offer or decision.
  • ExampleWe’ve lowered the price as much as we can. Now the ball’s in your court.

Note: This is from the game of tennis and is often used in negotiations.

(To Not Have) a Horse in This Race

  • Meaning: To have no preference in the outcome of a competition
  • ExampleI’m fine with either Olivia or Jason as president. I don’t have a horse in this race.

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Social Life Idioms: Idioms about Sport

Social Life Idioms

Utterance Idioms

(A) Far Cry from

  • Meaning: Very different from; a very different thing from
  • ExampleI know you’ve been working out at the gym, but that’s a far cry from being ready to enter an MMA competition.

(A) Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted

  • Meaning: Stupid people make bad financial decisions or are easily cheated.
  • ExampleIn the opinion of the speaker, a person has just spent money unnecessarily and is, therefore, a fool. Dave got a really bad deal on his new car. A fool and his money are soon parted.

Note: This is a proverb.

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Social Life Idioms

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