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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
Stanford English Academy, Navi Mumbai Mumbai, India
Kaplan International San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA
Eton Institute, Dubai Dubai, UAE
Test Your English Level Online London, England, UK & England
Kaplan International Colleges Cambridge Cambridge, England, UK & England
Language Loop English Classes, Chicago Chicago, Illinois, USA
International House Johannesburg - Language Lab Johannesburg, South Africa
International House Vancouver Vancouver, BC, Canada
House Of Tutors - Intensive American English Institute Austin, Texas, USA
Crossing Borders Group, LLC, Texas Bexar County, Texas, USA
Crossing Borders - Katy TX (Houston area) Katy, Texas, USA
Metropolitan College, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
English at St Andrews, Scotland St Andrews, Scotland, UK & England
English Language Company, Sydney Sydney, NSW, Australia
Kaplan International Washington DC Washington, Dist of Columbia, USA
New York Language Center Bronx, New York, USA
American Language Programs, California Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Kaplan International Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kaplan International Colleges Auckland Auckland, New Zealand
New York Language Center New York City, New York, USA