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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 Village Homestay East Sussex, England, UK & England
New York English Academy Manhattan, New York, USA
Omnicom School of Languages Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Language Works English Courses Singapore, Singapore
Kaplan International Miami Miami, Florida, USA
ABC Languages, New York New York City, New York, USA
Private English Teacher, London London, England, UK & England
NSL Mondial, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kaplan International Seattle Seattle, Washington, USA
Kaplan International San Diego San Diego, California, USA
F+U Academy of Languages, Heidelberg Heidelberg, Germany
Southern States University, San Diego & Orange County Newport Beach, California, USA
Crossing Borders Group, San Antonio San Antonio, Texas, USA
Heritage English Lymington, England, UK & England
Metropolitan College, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sol Schools Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
NSL Mondial Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Kaplan International Colleges UK London, England, UK & England
Kaplan International Washington DC Washington, Dist of Columbia, USA
Kaplan International New York – Midtown Manhattan New York City, New York, USA