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|
|Australian International College of Language, Gold Coast||Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia|
|Stanford English Academy, Navi Mumbai||Navi Mumbai, India|
|Kaplan International Seattle||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|PC TECH ESL School New York||New York City, New York, USA|
|English Language Company, Sydney||Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|Kaplan International Colleges Toronto||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Eton Institute, Dubai||Dubai, UAE|
|English Village Homestay||Valletta, Malta|
|Omnicom School of Languages, Toronto & Calgary||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Kaplan International New York - Empire State||New York City, New York, USA|
|ELS Universal English College, Sydney||Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|Metropolitan College, Toronto||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|English Language Institute, Paris American Academy||Paris, France|
|BSN Language Centre, The Hague||The Hague, Netherlands|
|Kaplan International Colleges Canada||Vancouver, BC, Canada|
|Kaplan International New York - SoHo, Lower Manhattan||New York City, New York, USA|
|Harvest English Institute, Newark||Newark, New Jersey, USA|
|Kaplan International Miami||Miami, Florida, USA|
|Future Focus School Of English||Floriana, Malta|
|Kaplan International Colleges Cambridge||Cambridge, England, UK & England|