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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
New York English Academy Manhattan, New York, USA
Kaplan International New York – Midtown Manhattan New York City, New York, USA
Kaplan International Washington DC Washington, Dist of Columbia, USA
Free Online English Level Test Madrid, Spain
Amity College London Merton, England, UK & England
Kaplan International Colleges Dublin Dublin, Ireland
Private English Teacher, London London, England, UK & England
Kaplan International New York - Empire State New York City, New York, USA
Australian International College of Language (AICOL) Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Focus Education Centre of Canada, Mississauga Toronto, Ontario, Canada
English Level Test Online Manila, Philippines
Language Works English Courses Singapore, Singapore
Crossing Borders, Houston Houston, Texas, USA
House Of Tutors - Intensive American English Institute Austin, Texas, USA
English Village Homestay East Sussex, England, UK & England
Rose Mount's Institute of English Language, Dehradun Dehradun, India
The International Language Centre Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Southern States University, San Diego & Orange County Newport Beach, California, USA
Kickstart School, The Hague The Hague, Netherlands
NSL Mondial Santa Barbara, California, USA