100 idioms and their meanings and examples - part 1

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

The use of idioms and proverbs in a language adds colour to it and makes it more interesting for the listeners.

In this video on improving English communication, we are going to deal with some common idioms used in the language which you can use in your day to day conversation to make it more effective and interesting.

We will learn 25 idioms in Part I of our video. I will explain you the meaning of each Idiom and then give you an example to use it.

To practice them further, try to make your own sentences using each of them and read them aloud. Gradually, you will find that you are abosulutely comfortable in using them in your day to day talks.

Let's begin:

1. Acid Test:

Meaning - Acid test proves the effectiveness of something.

Example - I practiced hard at the dance sessions but the acid test will come when the master will assess our solo performances.

2. Cut the ground from under feet :

Meaning - When you cut the ground from under someone's feet, you do something which weakens their position.

Example - When team India hit more than 350 runs in the ODI, they cut the ground from under the opponent's feet.

3. Chase your tail:

Meaning - Spending a lot of time and energy doing a lot of things but actually achieving too little.

Example - He's been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready

4. Whole bag of tricks -

Meaning - Means trying all the clever means to achieve something.

Example - It was really difficult to find the information even after applying the whole bag of tricks.

5. Deliver the goods -

Meaning - Do what is expected or promised.

Example - I have given my car to a new mechanic for repair, hope he delivers the goods.

6. Fine-tooth comb -

Meaning - Examining something carefully to not miss out any details.

Example - The boss examined my report with a fine tooth comb before submitting it to the senior management.

7. Explore all avenues

Meaning - Trying out every possibility to get a result.

Example - It is a difficult thing to do but if we really want it done, we must explore all avenues.

8. Fast track something -

Meaning - Rating something higher on your priority list to achieve the desired result.

Example - In view of the seriousness of the crime, the civil society is pressing up on a fast track decision from the court.

9 . Get ducks in a row -

Meaning - Getting your things well organized.

Example - To ensure a successful product launch, we must get our ducks in a row.

10. Get the show on the road -

Meaning - Putting up a plan or idea into action.

Example - Now that we have compeleted all the legal formalities, let's get the show on the road.

11. Keep your fingers on the pulse -

Meaning - Being constantly aware of the most recent developments.

Example - An entrepreneur must keep his fingers on the pulse of the market to be successful.

12. Mean business -

Meaning - Being serious about what you announce.

Example - Now that all our policies about work are put up on intranet, we mean business.

13. Think on your feet -

Meaning - Adjusting quickly to changes and making fast decisions.

Example - A good sales man must be able to think on his feet to close the deal.

14. Sail through something -

Meaning - Being successful in doing something without difficulty.

Example - The presentation at the national conference was extremely important for the company. We sailed through it.

15. Tricks of the trade :

Meaning - Clever or expert way of doing something.

Example - Being into the construction business for last 10 years, I know all tricks of the trade.

16. Not let grass grow under feet -

Meaning - Don't delay in getting something done.

Example - As soon as he finished all the registration formalities, he put the house on sale. He doesn't let the grass grow under his feet.

17. Work like a charm -

Meaning - Works very well or has the desired effect.

Example - I had cloves from my sore throat and they worked like a charm.

18. Back-room boys -

Meaning - People who perform important work but have no contact with the public.

Example - Our back room boys deserve an applause for the success of this advertisement.

19. Dead wood -

Meaning - People or things which are no longer useful or necessary.

Example - The company bought in a lot of new computers. They no longer want the dead woods.

20. Get the axe -

Meaning - lose the job.

Example - The projects team was undergoing a major restructuring, recruitment executives were the first to get the axe.

21. Plum job -

Meaning - Desirable position which is well-paid and considered relatively easy .

Example - This looks like a plum job but it has its own bunch of complications.

22. Shape up or ship out -

Meaning - This expression is used to warn someone that if they do not improvetheir ways, they will have to leave their job.

Example - When Tom started neglecting the customers, he was told to shape up or ship out.

23. Golden handshake -

Meaning - Big sum of money given to a person when they leave a company or retire.

Example - The management of various PSUs wanted to cut down on the man power. They offered a golden hand shake to many of their aged employees.

24. Separate sheep from goats -

Meaning - Examining a group of people and deciding their suitability

Example - Audition test was conducted by the director to separate sheep from goats.

25. Waiting in the wings -

Meaning - Waiting for an opportunity to take action, mostly to replace someone else in their job.

Example - The senior manager is going to retire in next 2 months. Two of his juniors who are waiting in the wings will have a fierce competition.  

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Discussion Board
idoms and phrases

i have heard this following idiom almost all my life but still i just dont understand it but i know when it should be used

madhu 04-1-2015 10:47 AM


really helpfull

Jesus Cortes 03-19-2015 04:32 PM

"preaching to the choir" meaning

Claire, The choir is in church (usually) because they already are active believers. It doesn't really pay to preach a sermon about the importance of attending church to those who are already there - the message needs to go to those who are not at church. "Preaching to the choir" has come to mean the same as telling people what they already know.

Randi 03-18-2015 12:52 PM


i have heard this following idiom almost all my life but still i just dont understand it but i know when it should be used,"preach to the choir"

claire 03-17-2015 06:34 AM


from the innermost soul of my heart i thank u a lot.

shreyanka s 03-6-2015 04:01 AM


what is the idiomatic expression of i am puzzled withour friend

janus 03-3-2015 04:51 AM


Thanks for the idioms it help me in my homework :)

Dean 03-2-2015 07:58 AM

i got my home work

i got my home work

7 03-1-2015 10:11 AM


nice one.i wish to see more of this.

olasupo sodiq 03-1-2015 01:30 AM

catching my attentiion

i have the following five idioms that are am really finding hard to crack
1. to pack bag and baggage
2. all that glitters are not gold
3. let bygones be bygones

prince 02-23-2015 04:24 AM

very helpful

thanks a lot!!!!! You have helped me in my homework.

Deven 02-22-2015 06:48 AM


Is "he felt like teeth rattling in his head" an idiom

Lisa 02-20-2015 08:53 AM

Very Helpful

Thanks a lot it very helpful

Marty Boyd 02-18-2015 05:43 PM


Thanks. This really helped alot

melisa 02-18-2015 02:16 PM


Thank you for making this wonderful Site it had finish my assignment Thank you very much

Akshay kumar B S 02-17-2015 07:48 AM

Idiomatic Expressions

Hi ! :) This site do really help me . It enhance my vocabulary as well . Great job ! Thumbs up for this :)) Effort appreciated .

Sabrina 02-17-2015 12:28 AM


Tnx, a lot......! I must BC diz to my fwends

EL-charmz 02-11-2015 07:47 AM

English (Idiom)

Whats the meaning of 1. rather than lose my cow let me has it tail 2. A man who is not beating by sun will be beating by poverty.

Egbus A 02-8-2015 10:04 AM


tengk yeu vewry mach it let mee get dei A prus yulow - P.S. I am very grateful of the awesome work you guys have done. It would be better if it had more idioms. THANKS GYS!!!

Jolol 02-3-2015 09:01 AM


XD idoms....awesumness

XxWolfiexX 01-27-2015 03:44 PM


I have read this with a fine tooth comb and felt it was creative .(lol)

english school 01-27-2015 09:21 AM

idioms and english

ur piece z very helpful, thumps up

faith ekpenyong 01-11-2015 05:02 AM

idomatic expressions

i like this keep it up :) :) :) :) :-P

noor fatima 01-8-2015 12:29 AM


Project done! Thanks!

Patch 01-7-2015 05:41 AM

English Language

This Is A Very Encouraging English Language,i Pray For More Of It. Cos I Score Above Average In My Assignment.

Fisayomi 01-6-2015 01:09 PM


I really enjoy this. I hope for more of these.

Charles 01-4-2015 07:48 AM


Its quit hard to find the idioms or proverbs from the given group..there should be a search option for this.
then this site is the best ..
still its very helpful :)

juuuly 01-3-2015 12:56 AM



TITU JI 12-28-2014 04:50 AM


it was quite useful for me ,i need many more examples and idioms as well.it is my humble advice for you to add more examples with the idioms .as now every idiom has one example try to provide more example option ............thanks

kaushal 12-15-2014 05:42 AM


thx really does did my assignment it was all piece of cake

Don 12-11-2014 09:36 AM


Idioms Makes Somebody Feel Proud And Big When He/she Speaks In People

Eddy 12-9-2014 12:01 PM


I want u people to give me the meaning of this, to take a frech leaf?

James 12-6-2014 12:58 AM


Thanks a lot.!.. i got my homework..

charm 12-2-2014 09:17 AM


Wow i am so happy to get the Idiomatic expressions as well as
their meaning and examples
thanks again and keep it up!

Olami simon 11-30-2014 10:51 PM


is good but stupid

anais piobli 11-29-2014 02:37 PM


Yahoooo got my assignment done this site is really helpfull me thnx...!!!

dolly 11-27-2014 12:59 PM

i have a question

What would you call "I don't believe this". plzzzzzzzz help

Maariyaah 11-22-2014 06:54 AM

Fig lang


Luigi 11-21-2014 10:31 AM


I love ? this I got a 100% and my project wow ?? thanks??

Ariana 11-12-2014 03:27 PM


iam a phillipine girl@13 and dis is the bst.dis has helped me a lot,i luv it more than the regular english, i recomend because i got a 100% in my test you are brighter than i thought

Endakrage cowson 11-11-2014 03:53 PM

idiomatic expression

I really really want the idiomatic's Expression the other part is very fun and I also really like the effort to whom person wrote this idio matic expression.

GrenLee 11-7-2014 05:09 AM


At least the rioters fell back

Nonsy 11-3-2014 04:01 AM


I'm an Ethiopian person. I like your idiomatic pharases very much. I appreciate all of your efforts.

nikodimus asmare 10-31-2014 06:44 PM


Tnx a lot . . . I ws vry hpy by learning thid idioms . .

Thoufi 10-31-2014 09:06 AM


it is very big help to me to done my project

hannah terese boone 10-31-2014 04:15 AM


Thanks got my homework done

rahul Sharma 10-26-2014 05:39 AM


thats great for my test

yvonne 10-15-2014 04:58 PM


what is the idiom for something that was potrayed exaggrate or to much or to good but in reality it worse that the description ?

khairul fadhli saadon 10-15-2014 06:11 AM


Good assistance 4 my assignments thx. ! ;)

Elepond 10-13-2014 11:40 PM


I found this website really helpful
. Good job! Thanks .......

joshua 10-13-2014 11:19 PM


thanx a lot... it really helped me ....

Kaustuki roy 10-13-2014 07:40 AM


Great help. Thank you

CARE 10-13-2014 01:07 AM


Thanks a lot..it really helped me..:)

Goodness 10-11-2014 07:35 AM

feed back

its very useful ...learned lot... superb.. thank u...

ronal 10-10-2014 10:00 AM



JEFFREY 10-6-2014 12:49 PM


wow this has really increased my understanding.thanks a lot and God bless

Praise Ntekim 09-15-2014 05:02 PM


Very good n educative

John s 09-1-2014 10:19 AM


Wow! It was awesome and helpful..added to my knowledge

Nerissa odili 08-28-2014 03:34 AM


Nice! Nice!

Vishal p. 08-26-2014 11:15 AM

about ideoms

I read all ideoms
really I m so happy from these all ideoms when I read it
BC its very nice
and I also written it in my note book

Memon abdulallam A. 08-18-2014 10:58 AM

About the website

I found this website really helpful. Good job! Thanks

Anu 08-17-2014 08:41 AM

Appreciating the site

As far as am concerned this site is the best as am seeing every site So God wil continue to bless the site so that every question ask there should be answer for it

Zoko james 08-13-2014 01:17 PM


had no axe to grind

onejemengozi 08-13-2014 05:06 AM


ALLAH will reward you abundantly good work keep it up. From Lawal a.k.a Lawizzy.

lawal Lawizzy 08-10-2014 12:03 PM


thanks i've got so many example of idioms thanks!!!!!!

fionah olos 08-4-2014 03:48 AM

Thanks giving

It was very very helpful and supportive ..Thank you )

CME 07-13-2014 11:59 AM

Idiomatic expression

very good job i think we always need you.

anonymous philippines 07-7-2014 10:47 PM


really commend your affort and the work done on these idiomatic expression.welldone and more power to your elbow.

Aashish Sehrawat 06-12-2014 08:29 AM

idiomatic Expression

To kill two birds with one stone, I love this because it make know something more and moer

john favour 06-1-2014 04:54 AM


Why every meaning has a job word in it? Are this idioms meant 4 profesionals only??

Anonymos 05-21-2014 02:29 AM


Very helpful keep it up;-)

Rabiu yinka 05-13-2014 12:15 PM

Idiomatic expression

Very helpful. Excellent

Allen 04-15-2014 04:43 PM


I really commend your affort and the work done on these idiomatic expression.welldone and more power to your elbow.

chijioke obike joseph 04-12-2014 08:47 AM

idiomatic expressions

gud wrk proved 2 b helpful thx ppl <3

hannah williams 04-12-2014 02:02 AM

idiomatic expresion

i like using it, rather than the common English word

rodolfo manzano 04-11-2014 08:06 PM


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