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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
Syntax Academy, Bangalore Bangalore, India
Kaplan International San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA
Atlantic School of English & Active Leisure, Cork Cork, Ireland
NSL Mondial New York City, New York, USA
Kaplan International Colleges Dublin Dublin, Ireland
Focus Education Centre of Canada Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
The BSN Language Centre, The Hague The Hague, Netherlands
English Level Test Online Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Kickstart School, The Hague The Hague, Netherlands
Metropolitan College, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Irish College Of English, Dublin Dublin, Ireland
NSL Mondial, Boston Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Crossing Borders, Houston Houston, Texas, USA
NSL Mondial Santa Barbara, California, USA
Omnicom School of Languages Calgary, Alberta, Canada
ELS Universal English College, Sydney Sydney, NSW, Australia
ILSC - San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA
Kaplan International Seattle Seattle, Washington, USA
The Language Academy, Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Omnicom School of Languages, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada