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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.

The Language Academy, Fort LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Language Works English CoursesSingapore, Singapore
American Language Programs, FloridaMiddlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
NSL MondialSanta Barbara, California, USA
Syntax Academy, BangaloreBangalore, India
ABC Languages - Bronx, Westchester County NY & Southern CTWestchester County, New York, USA
Omnicom School of Languages, TorontoToronto, Ontario, Canada
Kaplan International Colleges AucklandAuckland, New Zealand
Stanford English Academy, Navi MumbaiMumbai, India
The International Language CentrePort of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
NSL Mondial, VancouverVancouver, BC, Canada
Heritage EnglishLymington, England, UK & England
Focus Education Centre of Canada, MississaugaToronto, Ontario, Canada
Kaplan International San DiegoSan Diego, California, USA
Kaplan International Colleges London - Covent GardenLondon, England, UK & England
Kickstart School, The HagueThe Hague, Netherlands
Arizona Language CenterPhoenix, Arizona, USA
Future Focus School Of EnglishFloriana, Malta
Australian International College of Language, Gold CoastGold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Focus Education Centre of CanadaMississauga, Ontario, Canada