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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
Private English Teacher, London London, England, UK & England
Le Tutor Language School, Phoenix AZ area Mesa, Arizona, USA
Heritage English Homestay Courses Lymington, England, UK & England
Metropolitan College, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Harvest English Institute, Newark Newark, New Jersey, USA
Rose Mount's Institute of English Language, Dehradun Dehradun, India
American Language Programs, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Kaplan International Colleges Oxford Oxford, England, UK & England
Kaplan International San Diego San Diego, California, USA
Irish College Of English, Dublin Dublin, Ireland
Crossing Borders, Katy (Houston area) Katy, Texas, USA
Kaplan International Colleges Dublin Dublin, Ireland
Kaplan International Center Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Stanford English Academy, Navi Mumbai Mumbai, India
Language Skills English Center, Boston Boston, Massachusetts, USA
St Brelade's College, Jersey Saint Helier, Jersey, UK & England
Kaplan International USA New York City, New York, USA
American Language Programs, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Kaplan International Colleges UK London, England, UK & England
International Language Institute, Washington DC Washington, Dist of Columbia, USA