Linguistic Terms

Idioms

Idioms?

Idioms are used very often in the everyday language of Anglo-Saxon speakers to convey a specific message highlighting feelings, ideas or a specific circumstance. By learning these expressions you can develop very naturally in almost all kinds of situations, be it a football game, having a beer, studying or having an appointment.

he knowledge of the most widespread sayings (also called idioms) and of the main English.expressions allows not only the deepening of the knowledge of the most used and colloquial English but also the understanding of often mysterious readings such as for example a web page in English  Some of these expressions are analogous to those used in the Spanish language, others however are so different that literally translating them would make no sense.

ORIGINS OF IDIOMATIC PHRASES

Many idioms originally had literal and relevant meanings that no longer apply today. For example, the phrase ” spill the beans “, which now means revealing a secret. It is said that this expression is derived from an old voting method in which each voter put a bean in a cup (instead of a ballot in an urn). If the cups were spilled before the final votes were counted, everyone could see who the winner was. However, some experts reject this theory.

The first recorded modern use of the phrase referred to a 1902 horse race, in which the one who “shed the grains” was the winning horse that everyone expected him to lose (the cover, for using another similar expression). Five years later, the phrase was adopted by baseball players. “Spill the beans” meant someone who was wrong during the game, allowing the other team to come back and end up winning. The meaning of this term had nothing to do with the disclosure of a secret until 1919.

Other idioms, such as “break a leg”, are intentionally figurative. In any context, breaking a leg would be considered bad luck. In the entertainment world, it is believed that wishing someone bad luck is supposed to make the opposite happen

WHY DO WE USE Idioms?

Idiomatic expressions and figurative phrases are an integral part of the way we communicate with each other. In a sense, they are a form of grammatical triviality, similar to the use of sarcasm, but it is much deeper than that. Some experts suggest that our language reflects the true complexity of our minds, indicating that we are not meant to function only on a logical and literal basis.

The way we talk is artistic in a way, and it can help bring people of the same culture together when there are certain phrases that only they understand. It can also help unite individuals from different cultures when they realize they have their own unique phrase for the same expression. In this way, language becomes more than a way of exchanging information, since it unites us in a human and personal way.

Some common Idioms in English

  1. Get the sack
    Literally means “take the sack” but in reality it means “to be fired.” Simon got the sack for not taking enough care with his work. If your boss finds out you make so many personal phone calls during office hours, you’ll certainly get the …
  2. Cut your teeth
    Literally means “cutting teeth” that can be translated into our “learn the basics” is the experience of learning ABC from something. She cut her teeth on a local newspaper before getting a job offer for the New …
  3. Hit the nail on the head
    Literally means “hitting the nail on the head” translates to our “hit” or better “say or do a fair thing”, “hit the target”. Paul really hit the nail on the head when he said the the company was going …
  4. Be on the same page
    Literally means “being on the same page”, and is used to translate our “being on the same wavelength,” or even “getting along”. Sally and I are really on the same page. Each of us has been busy with his own projects lately, …
  5. Better safe than sorry!
    “Better safe than sorry” translates to “better safe than sorry” … I’ll hold the ladder while you climb up. Better safe than sorry.
  6. Hit the roof
    “Hit the roof” means to be very angry or rather “ride a fuss”. I told Jason about seeing his girlfriend kissing another man and he really hit the roof. I told Jason that I saw …
  7. French leave
    “To take French leave” means “to leave without being seen, to leave a place without saying goodbye.” It is interesting to note that in French to refer to the idea of ​​”sneaking” is “filer à l’anglaise” …
  8. Keep an eye on
    “To keep an eye on something / someone” means “put an eye on something / someone.” Can you please keep an eye on the soup? I’m just going to make a few phone calls. Can you please put an eye on the soup? (control the soup) …
  9. Cold feet
    The meaning of the expression “to get cold feet” has nothing to do with its literal meaning (“having cold feet”). It’s really about “fear and backing down at the last moment.” James had been engaged for a …
  10. Icing on the cake
    The literal translation (“the icing on the cake”) is not very different from the meaning in Spanish, which is “the icing on the cake.” I had a big promotion at work and the company car they gave me was really the icing on the …
  11. Knock / blow your socks off
    It is used to describe something that will drive us crazy, or we will find it very nice. It is a colloquial expression. I’m going to take you to a new restaurant that will knock your socks off! I’m going to take you to a new restaurant …
  12. A storm in a teacup
    This is the equivalent in Spanish to “arm a storm in a glass of water”, which means that in a given situation noise is being made for nothing, it is being exaggerated so much that something serious can stop without. ..
  13. Split hairs
    This expression is not very different from the expression we use in Spanish: “three feet to the cat” in the sense of being very delicate and demanding, on the border with the pedantry. The problem with teaching that class is Lucy – …
  14. Put your foot in it
    means “screw up”, saying something wrong at the wrong time (and maybe … to the wrong person!). When you asked Susan about Tom you really put your foot in it! Don’t you know they got divorced last month? When you …
  15. Rack your brain
    Translate our “racking your brains”, that is, try to remember or think hard to find a solution to something. You can find this expression also in the plural (rack your brains). Come on, Sheila, rack your brain! We have to find a …
  16. Pay something through the nose
    Translate our “pay with one eye of the face”. Have you seen her new earrings? She paid through the nose for them! Have you seen his new earrings? She paid an eye of the face for them! If you want to drink wine in …
  17. Make up your mind
    This expression means “decide.” The verb is “separable”, you can say “make up your mind” or “make your mind up”. Make your mind up! We haven’t got the whole day to decide! Make up your mind! We don’t have all day to decide! I really cannot make …
  18. See the back of someone
    “To see the back of someone” literally means “to see someone’s back” and, in fact, this expression means “to be happy to see someone come out.” I was very happy to see the back of Tom. I couldn’t stand him! I was …
  19. Saved by the bell
    “Saved by the bell” was the title of a comedy that aired years ago. It literally means “saved by the bell” (comedy took place in a school) and is used to indicate that one is “saved” just …
  20. In the long run
    , “in the long run” means “in the long run, in the long run.” In the long run, you’ll realize that your bank investment was a good one. his banking investment was good. In the long run, …
  21. Talk through your hat
    Translated literally means “talk through your hat”, but it actually translates as “talking nonsense.” I don’t like Jennifer. She thinks she’s an expert in art but she’s always talking through her hat! No I like Jennifer. She thinks …
  22. Not to be one’s cup of tea
    “It’s not my cup of tea”, “It’s not my cup of tea” would be the literal meaning, but it actually translates as “not my forte, not for me”. Susan can you help me out with these flowers? Sorry, but gardening …
  23. As the crow flies
    “As the crow flies”. It means “in a straight line.” It’s only forty miles from here to my office as the crow flies, but it takes me more than an hour to go by car because of the heavy traffic. They are just …
  24. Go to the dogs It
    literally means “go to the dogs” and it translates to our “go to hell”, decay. This theater used to be very good but look at it now, it’s really gone to the dogs! This theater used to be very good, but look now, …
  25. Get wind of something
    This expression means “to find out something that should have remained a secret.” I got wind that our Director is leaving. I learned that our director is leaving. I don’t want my husband …
  26. For good
    This is complicated in that it can be misleading…. “For good” does not mean “for good” but “forever.” The stanza of the Backstreet Boys song “I want you back for good” is famous. We say it is a synonym …
  27. In a nutshell
    For me, this language is always smiling: it literally means “in a nut.” In fact, our results “In short, in a nutshell”, so few words in practice are contained in a nutshell … In a nutshell, he got home …
  28. Call it a day
    “Call it one day” says very little and in fact the meaning of this idiomatic phrase (little used) is “taking over the workday”. Here are some examples: Come on, it’s already 7 o’clock! Let’s call it a day and …
  29. Let the cat out of the bag
    “Leave the cat out of the bag?” What does it mean? Quiet, this time there is no need to call Animal Control, in fact, this expression means “verbosity a secret.” Here are some examples: It was Mary who let the cat …
  30. Be all thumbs
    Literally it would translate to “be all thumbs” and being the thumb the most protruding finger of the hand, if we had only thumbs we could not do many things with our hands, with what the idiom means to be non-skilled, little .. .
  31. Be under the weather
    Translated literally means “being under the weather”, but in reality, this expression means “being down” referring to humor, “not feeling very good.” I went out drinking last night with some friends and now I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I …
  32. Run in the family
    This idiomatic expression is literally translated as “run in the family” and, in fact, (for once!) The meaning is not very different … it means “it is carried in the family / a hereditary characteristic . ”We are all red-haired – it runs in the …
  33. Catch someone red-handed
    Do you think you can “anyone caught with red hands”? This is, in fact, the literal meaning of this expression! Actually it is “a person trapped in fraganti” or “red-hand”. The police caught me red-handed while I was …
  34. Let your hair down
    This means that “let your hair down ” “let go”, “relax”. Of course it can be used in all its forms, ie “Let your hair down”, “he let his hair down”, etc …) Come on, Susan! Let your hair down and join us …
  35. Tell someone where to get off
    This expression means “tell someone where to get off ” and is used on the bus to ask the driver or passengers in another way, “I’m sorry, for X place. Can you tell me where to get off? No be surprised if, of …
  36. Face the music
    Literally, “ Face the music “. This means dealing with the consequences, paying the consequences, of your actions. He has done nothing all day and tomorrow he has an exam at the University. He’s going to face the music and fail the …
  37. Drop a brick
    Literally “drop a brick,” it really means “screw up.” I really dropped a brick when I said to Susan that he can’t stand intellectuals! Doesn’t he know that she’s a lecturer at Oxford University He really screwed up …
  38. In the soup
    “To be in the soup” means “in trouble.” Look at what we have done !! When the teacher arrives we’re really going to be in the soup! Look what we have done! When the teacher really arrives we will have …
  39. As good as gold
    This is the way to say in English “worth what weighs in gold”! Since goodness is associated with wealth in Anglo-Saxon countries, this idiom is used. Your son is a very special pupil. He’s very …
  40. A drop in the bucket
    Literally translated this saying would be “a drop in the bucket” with which the Spanish expression is not very different, because in this language we say “a drop of water in the sea”. Intuitively we know what you want with this
  41. Safe and sound
    “To be safe and sound” means “safe and sound.” The most important thing is that after the car accident he’s now home safe and sound. The most important thing is that after the car accident he is now home healthy and …
  42. At the drop of a hat We
    would literally say “in the fall of the hat”, that is, when a hat is worn and it falls quickly and unexpectedly from our heads. In the same way this expression is used to indicate a decision that is …
  43. Word on the street It
    corresponds to ours, “they say …”, “it seems that …”, “rumor.” It is used in informal contexts. Word on the street is that Pamela is pregnant again. It is said on the street that Pamela is pregnant again.
  44. Be green
    “To be green” (literally “be green”) can be used in two expressions: 1) to be green with envy I got the first prize in the competition and Susan was green with envy. I won the first prize in the competition and …
  45. Donkey work
    “The donkey work” is literally donkey work, when it comes to heavy and unpleasant work. The boss always gives me the donkey work. I wish he could give me more responsability. My boss always gives me the job of a donkey. …
  46. Put your feet up
    “Put your feet up”, what a beautiful image … The exact translation is “put your feet up” and it is a very good idea: after a day of hard work what is better than getting home and putting the feet …
  47. Work your fingers to the bone
    Literally “work your fingers to the bone”, and “consume the fingers to the bone”, that is, work so hard that the fingers wear out and the bone is seen! Creepy but very effective, it translates our “leave your skin working”, “work hard”. I’ve …
  48. Have your hands full
    If you have “full hands” it means that you are very busy and there is no time for other things. Sorry, I’ve got my hands full right now. I cannot help you! I’m sorry, my hands are full now. I can not help you!
  49. At a loose end
    This is an idiomatic expression difficult to translate literally. “End” means “end” while “loose” has thousands of meanings. “A loose screw” for example is a screw that dances, that is well, that is not fixed, “loose hair” are the hair …
  50. Grease somebody’s palm It
    means giving someone some money under the table in exchange for favors. It literally means “grease the palm of someone’s hand.” I think he must have greased somebody’s palm in order to get permission to build this …
  51. Get on your nerves
    This expression does not need translation … in English as in Spanish a person who irritates us is said to “get on my nerves”. I can’t stand Pamela. She really gets on my nerves. I can’t stand Pamela really puts me on …
  52. Arm and a leg
    With this idiom one refers in English to something that is too expensive, in Spanish a very similar idiom is used when talking about “an eye of the face”. Instead of the eye and face in …
  53. Act of God
    Literally means “an act of God” or “divine act” and its meaning is that of a natural calamity. If a contract is read (for example, an insurance policy stamped on the reverse of the catalogs of the …
  54. To learn / know the ropes
    This expression goes back to when the British conquered the world. Of the people who sailed the sea, it is quite obvious to think that their phrases that had to do with the sea and the ships have become …
  55. The leopard never changes his spots
    The equivalent of our “leopard does not change its spots”. This expression is used to indicate the fact that a person’s character does not change, despite what they try to make us believe. Henry has always been selfish …
  56. Grasp the nettle
    In Spanish we can translate this expression as “taking a problem head on” although in English maybe the idea is even more effective. The literal translation is “grab the bull’s antler” and indicates very well the concept of “facing a …
  57. A foot in the door
    The literal translation is “a foot in the door” and it can be said that it is an idiom that expresses very well what it means: this saying is used to indicate the importance of entering a place even if it is .. .
  58. That’s the way the cookie crumbles
    It is the correspondent of the French “c’est la vie”. It is used to indicate a negative situation to which one must resign, that there is nothing to do and fault is useless. It literally means “this is how the cookie crumbles.” The expression …
  59. A tough cookie
    A “tough cookie” is what in Spanish we call “a hard nut to crack”, with which we mean that a person does not let themselves down by circumstances easily or that a problematic situation cannot be resolved with .. .
  60. Out of the blue
    This expression (literally “out of blue”) is used quite often to indicate something that happened unexpectedly or abruptly (or both, as unfortunately often happens …). The origin here is quite clear, if “blue” means night or …
  61. Easier said than done
    “Easier said than done” is the analogue of the Spanish expression “easier said than done”. Here are some examples that illustrate its use… I’ll try, but that’s easier said than done. I will try, but it is easier said than done. I should just …
  62. Over the moon
    This colloquial expression is widespread in the English language and its use feels very “British”! Now, literally “to be over the moon” means “to be on the moon”, but the expression is used to indicate that you are very happy …
  63. As busy as a bee
    The English expression “as busy as a bee” literally means “as busy as a bee” and that obviously denotes that you are very busy (bees are reputed to be very diligent).
  64. A piece of cake
    The expression a piece of cake indicates that something is really simple. The following are some examples of the uses of this popular idiom. It’s a piece of cake until you get to the top. You find you can’t stop …

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