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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
American Language Programs, Florida Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Australian International College of Language, Gold Coast Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Kaplan International Colleges UK London, England, UK & England
New York Language Center Queens, New York, USA
Private English Teacher, London London, England, UK & England
Oxford Elite in London and Oxford Oxford, England, UK & England
ELS Universal English College, Sydney Sydney, NSW, Australia
ABC Languages, San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA
NSL Mondial, Miami Miami, Florida, USA
English Level Test London, England, UK & England
English Language Level Test Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
NSL Mondial Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Kaplan International Vancouver Vancouver, BC, Canada
Kaplan International Miami Miami, Florida, USA
Test Your English Level Online London, England, UK & England
St Brelade's College, Jersey Saint Helier, Jersey, UK & England
Free English Level Test Online Dubai, UAE
International House Johannesburg - Language Lab Johannesburg, South Africa
Free Online English Level Test Madrid, Spain
The English Language Institute at Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, Maryland, USA