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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
Sol Schools Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kaplan International Miami Miami, Florida, USA
International House Vancouver Vancouver, BC, Canada
The Language Academy, Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
BSN Language Centre, The Hague The Hague, Netherlands
Spring College International Singapore, Singapore
Crossing Borders Group, Katy (Houston area) Katy, Texas, USA
Kaplan International Colleges New Zealand Auckland, New Zealand
Stanford English Academy, Navi Mumbai Mumbai, India
Kaplan International Colleges Oxford Oxford, England, UK & England
Language Loop English Classes, Chicago Chicago, Illinois, USA
Irish College Of English, Dublin Dublin, Ireland
Crossing Borders Group, San Antonio San Antonio, Texas, USA
Kaplan International San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA
Future Focus School Of English Floriana, Malta
English Village Homestay Valletta, Malta
Le Tutor Language School, Phoenix AZ area Mesa, Arizona, USA
English Village Homestay East Sussex, England, UK & England
Stanford English Academy, Navi Mumbai Navi Mumbai, India
Rose Mount's Institute of English Language, Dehradun Dehradun, India