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.  

Write your comment - Share Knowledge and Experience

Discussion Board

Thank you very much because this is very helpful to my project in english because when I did'nt passed my project my grades going down so thank you very much indeed. i am filipino sa thanks AMERICAN thanks a lot :).

rosette tobato 11-26-2015 05:40 AM


It is an acid test to remember it...

Protsahan Bastola 11-8-2015 11:29 PM

English language

With this my assignment is a piece of cake for me.

Melody Udochukwu 11-4-2015 02:36 PM


what is a metaphor?

kiran kumar 10-23-2015 05:08 AM


What is the idiom of turn down?

Hannah 10-20-2015 05:31 AM

Sweep under carpet

This idiom help Me too much in my education pls help me breaking it down.

Jerry fwangmun 10-18-2015 06:51 AM


In a idioms period i need to know

Abba umar isma'eel 10-14-2015 11:48 AM


I'am done in my homework tnxx a lot thank you very much..

Noelle 10-13-2015 07:38 AM


Can you please tell me the definition of "it takes two to tango"

Caleb S. 10-12-2015 05:00 PM


pls help me with this idiomatic expressions . 1) break the ice 2) put your best foot forward 3)cold feet 4)a ray of hope 5)on the go 6) too big for his boots 7) tread on my toes 8) pulling my leg 9) blow his top 10) bite one's lip 11) toe the line 12)on the rocks 13)fall on deaf ears 20) break someone's heart
It will very helpful if u could tell me the meaning of these expressions for my upcoming exam ...

lisa 10-10-2015 07:51 AM


powerful idioms
it helps me a lot

King Richard 10-7-2015 06:09 AM

Thank you

It's very helpful for me in my studies

Maryam 10-5-2015 08:02 PM

Thank you

It's very helpful for me in my studies

Maryam 10-5-2015 08:02 PM


What is the meaning of "to go through a bit of rough patch"? It is a idiomatic expression.

khymsanchez 10-5-2015 02:39 AM



xyz 09-30-2015 03:04 PM

Assign on my english

Pls help ,me make a hugot line by using a idioms just only one plssss

Lawrence 09-30-2015 08:50 AM


i do my homework guyzz

jerome 09-29-2015 05:19 AM


pls help me with my homework :
what do these idioms mean
1.to be in sixes and sevens
2.a bull in a china shop
3.a green eyed monster
4.a black sheep
5.a pretty kettle of fish
6.In black and white
7.to have blue blood
8.to be yellow at heart
9.to put the cart before the horse
10.a white elephant

michelle 09-27-2015 05:18 AM


It is much useful to studies thanxxx

Sruthi 09-26-2015 07:52 AM

meanings and examples of some idioms

1.take what someone says with apinch /grain of salt
2.to climb the bandwagon
3.bury the hatchet
4.to have a chip on one's shoulder
5.a close shave
6.dot the i's and cross the t's
7.the pot calling the kettle back
8.to shed crocodile tears
9.clean bill of health
10.cut from the same cloth
11.it takes two to tango

sri teja 09-25-2015 01:18 PM


Please help me with my assignment. What is the meaning of the following IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS: BREAK THE ICE, CRACK OF DOOM, ELBOW ROOM,FORTY WINKS, FULL OF HOT AIR, GIFT OF GAB, GIVE HIM THA WILLIES, WORK HAND-IN-GLOVE, EASY ON THE EYES, AD LIB. Thank you very much. Hoping you could help me.

Julia 09-20-2015 01:02 PM


Now that have gotten them , i will improve as soon as possible .thank you

daniel asuquo 09-19-2015 02:32 PM


i really love them and thanks

m.aman. 09-15-2015 07:23 AM

love them

my student wangari is going to reap big from these treasure.

E-jay 09-9-2015 04:06 AM


super insightful and flowery...kudos

E-jay 09-9-2015 04:03 AM


awsome luv it:)

rimk12 08-26-2015 07:11 AM


awsome luv it:)

rimk12 08-26-2015 07:11 AM

english 1

it was my project

suraj 08-24-2015 10:58 AM


great idioms which are not common
almost all were unfamiliar

shubh 08-14-2015 08:27 AM


pls help me in our assignment
give 10 sentence about idioms

maricar 08-12-2015 08:02 AM


pls help me in our assignment
give 10 sentence about idioms

maricar 08-12-2015 08:02 AM


its my project :)

ivan 08-12-2015 03:53 AM



Durga 08-10-2015 11:21 AM


Thank you for this I can do my assignment correctly tnx:-)

Jho Regis 08-3-2015 04:47 AM


an awesome way to get to know about idioms with their meanings and examples!!!!!!!!

ananya.m 08-1-2015 10:25 PM


what is the meaning its raining cats and dogs?

Elijah 07-29-2015 06:47 AM

Answers for a student

1. Save his face To take an action or make a gesture intended to preserve one's reputation or honour. He tried to make reparations to those he had injured, partly to save face.
2. In the same boat to be in the same unpleasant situation as other people She's always complaining that she doesn't have enough money, but we're all in the same boat
3. Keep an eye on To watch over attentively; mind. Keep under careful observation
4. Heart of gold a kind, compassionate, or caring attitude; kindheartedness. Don't let her rough exterior fool you; underneath that grumpy disposition beats a heart of gold.
5. In the pink of health in very good health; in very good condition, physically and emotionally.
6. Black sheep of the family Is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family.
7. Apple of my eye One's favourite person; the one you love most. Refers to something or someone that one cherishes above all others.
8. Almost hit the ceiling to be explosively angry. To lose one's temper. When my dad found out I had failed the exams, he just hit the ceiling.
9. Bring home the bacon to earn a salary; to bring home money earned at a job. I've got to get to work if I'm going to bring home the bacon.
10. A feather in my cap This would signify he has done something worthy of recognition, like completing a goal or winning something.
11. With flying colours If you do something such as pass an exam with flying colours, you do it very successfully.
12. Raining cats and dogs something that you say when it is raining heavily

William 07-28-2015 06:31 AM



alyssa jacildo 07-17-2015 01:33 AM


I got full marks.

tanay 07-15-2015 07:25 AM


it's really a good idioms
good examples!!!!

irish mae umadhay 07-15-2015 03:48 AM

african proverb that means thank you

Kusatenda uroyi.

TAFADZWA KWENDA 07-11-2015 07:16 PM


100 example of idioms ,,,, ? oh my its hard 2 memorise ???!!

florily 07-7-2015 06:09 AM


Save one,s skin

Blessing 07-1-2015 02:08 PM

idioms uses

It is very helpful, intresting and amazing than the normal way of communication. I like it!!!

scotts seths 06-24-2015 04:34 AM


Pleasee anyone could share me the meaning of throwaway price and enhanced price

vivian 06-22-2015 07:15 AM


wow,,,,, so helpful but you that 100 idioms di bah??????????????

bla bla 06-22-2015 06:59 AM

idiomatic expression

Nice one, this page was so helpful to me thanks.

Emmanuel Onyedika 06-16-2015 08:47 AM

English language

Well done

Jhoannah Zres 06-15-2015 08:24 PM


I like it

Pretty jhozza 06-15-2015 08:21 PM


I like it

Pretty jhozza 06-15-2015 08:21 PM


its really amazing,educative,heplfu and brilliant....it hepled me alot understanding idioms

alecia 06-15-2015 06:03 AM

English language

It's really helped me In my project worked English teacher saw it nd she was proud of me

philip 06-11-2015 03:30 PM

example of odioms

Very rich and educative. I treasure the sight.

maiko simiyu 05-27-2015 12:37 PM


i like it.... it is very usefull for me.

sarita 05-22-2015 11:44 PM


very useful, my academic essay will improve from now on. I call them English spices.

Pilesther 05-22-2015 08:33 PM


pls I dnt understand e meaning of ' hit e nail on the head '. kimbelin - 0268080033

kimbelin 05-21-2015 04:06 AM


This really helped me but I don't understand "to pack bag and baggage

Adebi Appiah Andrea 05-13-2015 02:30 PM

please solve this idiom for me

1. That young man is a chip off the old block 2. He is a dog in the manger 3. The irate man was told to bury the hatchet 4.

wole adegbola 05-11-2015 01:53 PM


Thanks alot 2 this page it really helped me in my project

Hanson 05-5-2015 05:29 PM


help me with this idioms 1 to beat about the bush 2 a black and white 3 rome was not built in a day 4 a skeleton in one's cupboard 5 to turn the table 6 to be cut red handed

toby 05-3-2015 03:40 AM


It helped me a lot.... But I can't find the idiom 'curiosity killed the cat'....

Cherry Ng 05-1-2015 11:35 PM

english / idioms

thanks a lot , i can do my assignment wih ease

ajoke 04-28-2015 06:17 PM


Nice collection ...was very helpful..tnx once again

Pradeep 04-27-2015 03:18 PM


its vry helpful fr me thxxxxx....a....lot

kirti singh 04-24-2015 03:32 PM

idioms and phrases

well done, you helped me a lot for better comprehension of meanings of some idioms

TAFADZWA KWENDA 04-21-2015 11:25 AM


well done

TAFADZWA KWENDA 04-21-2015 11:16 AM


Tank alot wit dis i was able 2 do my assignment and learn new idioms

Rejoice 04-18-2015 04:53 AM


super fun. :)

alexandra 04-15-2015 11:38 AM


Thanks alot,you have enabled me to do my homework with alot of ease.

James kariuki 04-13-2015 04:29 AM

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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