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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
Crossing Borders - Katy TX (Houston area) Katy, Texas, USA
Kaplan International Washington DC Washington, Dist of Columbia, USA
Sol Schools Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Australian International College of Language (AICOL) Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Harvest English Institute, Newark Newark, New Jersey, USA
English Level Test London, England, UK & England
The English Language Institute at Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Australian International College of Language, Gold Coast Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
ELS Universal English College, Sydney Sydney, NSW, Australia
The BSN Language Centre, The Hague The Hague, Netherlands
Free Online English Level Test Madrid, Spain
NSL Mondial, Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Rose Mount's Institute of English Language, Dehradun Dehradun, India
American Language Programs, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Kaplan International Chicago Chicago, Illinois, USA
New York Language Center Queens, New York, USA
Language Loop English Classes, Chicago Chicago, Illinois, USA
Kaplan International Center Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Spring College International Singapore, Singapore
Language Works English Courses Singapore, Singapore