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English Idioms, American & British Idiomatic Expressions

Learn American English Idioms in Texas.

An idiom is a phrase understood by many people in a specific culture or subculture, and that phrase has a different meaning from the meaning it appears to have.

A very good example of this is “to bend over backwards.” This phrase is understood in English speaking culture to mean “to work very hard to do / get something.” The meaning it appears to have (the literal meaning), however, is the physical act of bending over in the opposite direction. Very few people can actually do this physical act.

Idioms are used in both spoken and written English, and often appear in newspaper articles.

Idioms with the same meanings and use in your own language may use a different word than the English idiom. Do not try to change any word / vocabulary in an English idiom!  Also be careful when you use idioms in your writing exercises. They can be very effective if used carefully and sparingly, but the writing becomes very unnatural if too many idioms are used in one paragraph or essay.

Definitions and Examples (We have made lists of some very popular idioms for you. See below.)

Choose a group of idioms below, to see definitions and examples for idioms in this collection. (For example, choose “Animal” for all animal idioms)


We recommend the following English Idioms Books for further study or the ESL schools below.

English language schools & courses: Location
The Language Academy, Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Kaplan International Colleges UK London, England, UK & England
International Language Institute, Gaithersburg MD Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA
NSL Mondial Santa Barbara, California, USA
Kaplan International USA New York City, New York, USA
Amity English School, London London, England, UK & England
Sol Schools Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A F International School of Languages, Thousand Oaks Ventura County, California, USA
Online English Level Test Mexico City, Mexico
St Brelade's College, Jersey Saint Helier, Jersey, UK & England
International House Johannesburg - Language Lab Johannesburg, South Africa
American Language Programs, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Kaplan International Colleges Auckland Auckland, New Zealand
Oxford Elite in London and Oxford Oxford, England, UK & England
Institute Of Intensive English, Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Omnicom School of Languages Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Kaplan International Seattle Seattle, Washington, USA
English Village – MALTA Valletta, Malta
Eton Institute, Dubai Dubai, UAE
Kaplan International Colleges Oxford Oxford, England, UK & England