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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
Kaplan International Colleges London - Leicester Square London, England, UK & England
Crossing Borders, Spring / The Woodlands Spring, Texas, USA
Pro-language Institute - PLI Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Kaplan International Colleges New Zealand Auckland, New Zealand
Future Focus School Of English Floriana, Malta
NSL Mondial, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Online English Level Test Mexico City, Mexico
Kaplan International Colleges Auckland Auckland, New Zealand
The International Language Centre Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
F+U Academy of Languages, Heidelberg Heidelberg, Germany
English Village – MALTA Valletta, Malta
Arts University Bournemouth, English Summer Courses Bournemouth, England, UK & England
American Language Programs, Inc. Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
The Language Academy, Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
NSL Mondial, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California, USA
New York English Academy Manhattan, New York, USA
Stanford English Academy, Navi Mumbai Navi Mumbai, India
The English Language Institute at Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Omnicom School of Languages, Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A F International College, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California, USA