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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
English Language Company, Sydney Sydney, NSW, Australia
English Village – MALTA Valletta, Malta
Kaplan International San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA
Metropolitan College, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
ABC Languages, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California, USA
NSL Mondial Santa Barbara, California, USA
Heritage English Lymington, England, UK & England
Focus Education Centre of Canada, Mississauga Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Institute Of Intensive English, Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
English Village Homestay East Sussex, England, UK & England
Future Focus School Of English Floriana, Malta
Spring College International Singapore, Singapore
The International Language Centre Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Kaplan International Chicago Cook County, Illinois, USA
The English Language Institute at Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Language Skills English Center, Boston Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Irish College Of English, Dublin Dublin, Ireland
Kaplan International USA New York City, New York, USA
Kaplan International Boston Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Kaplan International Colleges Auckland Auckland, New Zealand