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27 Most Common English Idioms and Phrases with Meaning

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What are Idioms?

Most Common English Idioms and Phrases with Meaning

As far as idioms are concerned, they are basically related to the expressions which can convey the meanings beyond the literal interpretation of the individual words. There are lots of commonly used idioms in everyday language in the English language and these idiomatic expressions certainly add imagery, colour and depth to the way people engage in communication.

Idioms are basically related to historical or cultural roots and when it comes to understanding them, it requires the understanding of the culture of a particular place and the depth of the particular language and in this case, it is English. Idiomatic expressions can emerge from a particular origin in terms of place or culture.

When it comes to literal language, idiomatic expressions don’t work like that as they are unlike literal language where words exactly mean the same thing but in idiomatic expressions, they simply rely on the shared understanding of how the words are being used borrowed from a particular culture. In terms of meaning, idiomatic expressions can be allegorical, metaphorical as well as figurative. It is always best to practice using idioms in real life conversations. To practice idioms and improve your spoken English, you can download the AceFluency App where you get 20 minutes of daily FREE practice talk time to connect with co-learners.

27 Most Common English Idioms and Phrases with Meaning

Also Check : Common English Questions for Students With Answers

Understanding idiomatic expressions

When it comes to understanding idiomatic expressions, they are not going to be as per the words or the expressions but the meanings can be different completely. For example, “kick the bucket” means “to die” and there is no any related meaning either with a bucket or kicking. Hence, its origin is different and it is an old-fashioned method of hanging oneself by standing on a bucket and then pushing or kicking it away to die. This origin clearly states how “kick the bucket” really means to die.

As per the regions and languages, idiomatic expressions can differ and when it comes to having mastery over these expressions, it takes great learning and if you really want to enrich your communication, you will have to work hard using the Idiomatic expressions and that can be related to emotions and other words used in idioms.

These days it is also true that in academic or formal writing, the usage of idioms has increased a lot and this shows that when it comes to giving proper emotions to the meaning of the source, many writers have started engaging in the usage of idiomatic expressions and that’s what adds to the beauty of a particular language.

Most common English idioms

Although there are lots of idioms present in the English language, below is a list of 27 most common English idioms which you can learn and make sure that your English improves with these. You can learn these idioms and understand them quite well through the examples given below each of the idioms and these examples will help you to use them in a proper manner and in a proper context. So, let’s start learning these idioms one by one:

1. Break the ice: to initiate conversation

For example: He attempted to break the ice with some light banter about this issue.

2. Bite the bullet: to endure a painful situation

For example: Facing the challenge head-on, she decided to bite the bullet and confront her fears of going for this job.

3. Cost an arm and a leg: to be very expensive

For example: Renovating the house can cost an arm and a leg, but it is going to be worth it.

4. Hit the nail on the head: to precisely identify or say something right

For example: Her analysis hit the nail on the head regarding the company’s declining sales.

5. Piece of cake: very easy to do

For example: Don’t stress about the exam; it’s going to be a piece of cake if you’ve studied.

6. A blessing in disguise: initially perceived as negative but ultimately beneficial

For example: Losing his job turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it pushed him to pursue his passion along with earning.

7. Burning the midnight oil: working late till late night

For example: She’s been burning the midnight oil to meet the project deadline otherwise she may lose this client.

8. Cry over spilled milk: to dwell on mistakes or misfortunes

For example: There’s no point crying over spilled milk, you better focus on finding a solution.

9. Under the weather: feeling unwell

For example: I won’t be coming to the office today; I’m feeling a bit under the weather.

10. Hit the hay: to go to bed

For example: It’s very late; I’m going to hit the hay as I have to wake up early in the morning.

11. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: to not risk everything

For example: Invest wisely and diversify your portfolio; don’t put all your eggs in one basket otherwise you will be left with nothing to back yourself up.

12. Jump on the bandwagon: to join a popular trend

For example: After seeing her friends joining music classes, she decided to jump on the bandwagon.

13. Cost a fortune: to be extremely expensive

For example: Buying a house in a metropolitan city can cost a fortune.

14. Break the bank: to spend more money than one can afford

For example: Let’s find a vacation that won’t break the bank because we’ve limited savings.

15. Cut to the chase: to get to the point

For example: Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main issues of the classroom.

16. Get cold feet: to become nervous

For example: He had planned to propose to that girl but he got cold feet at the last moment.

17. Hit the jackpot: to achieve great success

For example: She hit the jackpot with her latest business venture as it’s quite successful and it has become one of the favourites of the customers.

18. Spill the beans: to reveal a secret

For example: I promised not to tell but she spilled the beans about the surprise party which is going to take place tomorrow.

19. Once in a blue moon: very rarely

For example: I only see my old friends once in a blue moon as everyone is busy in their lives.

20. The ball is in your court: it’s your turn now

For example: I’ve made my offer; now the ball is in your court and you can say or do whatever you want.

21. Cut corners: to do something poorly

For example: They cut corners on the construction and now the condition of the building is falling apart.

22. All ears: fully listening or attentive

For example: Tell me what happened at that party with all friends; I’m all ears.

23. Beat around the bush: avoid the main topic

For example: Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you really think of this issue.

24. Bite off more than you can chew: to take on more than one can handle.

For example: I bit off more than I could chew by accepting all those projects at once.

25. A dime a dozen: very common

For example: Those trinkets are nice, but they’re a dime a dozen as you can find them everywhere in the market.

26. Go the extra mile: to put in additional effort

For example: She always goes the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction because she wants to have quality products for her business.

27. Hit the road: to leave or start a journey.

For example: It’s getting late; let’s hit the road together and catch the train on time.

Also Check : 17 Ways To Say Thankyou In English


Idioms are definitely going to be indispensable elements of the English language as they can enhance the way you speak or write this particular language and this will also enhance your level of understanding of the language. If you really want to get rid of literal speaking, you will have to include idiomatic expressions in your English which will not only make your English better but you will also sound good every time you speak this language. For deeper nuances, vivid imagery along with cultural insights, going through idiomatic expressions definitely conveys a deeper understanding of what exactly you want to say with emotions and proper feelings. 

These idiomatic expressions mentioned above can certainly help you in adding richness to your language which will further facilitate the expression and understanding of a particular idea using the suitable term. You can use idiomatic expressions to make sure that you say anything in a concise and engaging manner. Idiomatic expressions can certainly help in enhancing your communication because you are infusing your communication with depth of the language and you are adding more expressions to it. Keep learning more idioms and practice them in real life conversations on the AceFluency App to get better at it. Use your daily FREE talk time to connect with co-learners and practice idioms every day.

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