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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
International House Vancouver Vancouver, BC, Canada
A F International College, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California, USA
JE Educational College Singapore, Singapore
Omnicom School of Languages, Toronto & Calgary Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kaplan International Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kaplan International Chicago Chicago, Illinois, USA
Metropolitan College, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Language Skills English Center, Boston Boston, Massachusetts, USA
ABC Languages, Westchester County & Southern Connecticut Westchester County, New York, USA
ABC Languages, San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA
The International Language Centre Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
English Village Homestay Valletta, Malta
Eton Institute, Dubai Dubai, UAE
English Village Homestay East Sussex, England, UK & England
English Language Company, Sydney Sydney, NSW, Australia
Language Works English Courses Singapore, Singapore
English Village Homestay Valletta, Malta
British Council Singapore Singapore, Singapore
Uptrend College Singapore, Singapore