30 Idioms and their meaning

30 Idioms and their meaning

Every language has an aspect of words used so that some hidden content is not made known to the other listeners. Idioms have so enriched the English Language. It is very useful in daily communication. One has to be rich with idioms for an easy understanding of certain discourse.

Idioms

Idioms are phrases that do not mean what the literary contents portray but are witty sayings that have more connotative meaning. They have an embodiment of meaning beyond their ordinary words. An idiom is a fixed group of words with a special meaning that cannot be guessed from the combination of the actual words used.

There are hundreds of Idioms in the English Language. Here are some

  1. Making hay while the sun shines – to take advantage of the favourable conditions.
    Example: The women advised the ladies to make hay while the sun shines.
  2. Give somebody his head – to give freedom to someone.
    Example: The king gave his troublesome son ahead.
  3. Light fingered – being clever in stealing.
    Example: Mary is light-fingered.
  4. Robbing Peter to pay Paul – borrowing money from someone to pay a debt.
    Example: She robbed peter to pay Paul to avoid embarrassment.
  5. Chicken feed – something of small importance.
    Example: The government palliative was a chicken feed to me.
  6. Pour oil on troubled waters – to calm a troubled situation.
    Example: Susan poured oil on troubled waters yesterday.
  7. An open secret – a hidden truth exposed.
    Example: The palliative was an open secret.
  8. A red lettered day – a memorable day.
    Example: Mary considers her wedding ceremony as a red-lettered day.
  9. Nipped the crisis in the bud – to avert something
    Example: The peace meeting nipped the crisis in the bud.
  10. Steal the show – to be a center of attraction
    Example: The young lady stole the show at the party.
  11. The tip of the iceberg – a little said from a mighty.
    Example: What you have seen is just a tip of the iceberg.
  12. Tread on someone’s toe – to offend someone.
    Example: As long as you want to work here, you must not tread on someone’s toe.
  13. Let the grass grow under your feet – wasting of time.
    Example: Mfoniso does not let the grass grow under her feet.
  14. Having a skeleton in a cupboard – to have a secret.
    Example: The Commissioner had a skeleton in his cupboard.
  15. Pulling the wool over my eyes – to deceive someone.
    Example: His business associate has been pulling the wool over the eyes of his clients.
  16. Hit the nail on the head – to go straight to the point.
    Example: The lecturer hit the nail on the head when the students asked him about their performance in the examination.
  17. Let sleeping dogs lie – to forget a misunderstanding.
    Example: The divorced wife refused to let the sleeping dog lie.
  18. At the sea – to find something difficult.
    Example: When it was time for Physics, Musa finds himself at the sea.
  19. To be between the devils and the deep blue sea – to be confused.
    Example: Maggie’s predicament threw her between the devil and the deep blue sea.
  20. Putting one’s back into one’s work – to work very hard.
    Example: The Manager was always known for putting his back into his work.
  21. Giving somebody a leg up – to help one in time of need.
    Example: True friendship entails giving a leg up.
  22. The backbone – to be the leader.
    Example: Without the backbone, the presentation would have been disastrous.
  23. To bury one’s head in the sand – to avoid facing realities or challenges and pretending that they do not exist.
    Example: The young man loves burying one’s head in the sand.
  24. Once in the blue moon – very rare.
    Example: In the slum, power supply is usually once in a blue moon.
  25. To give a cold shoulder – to ignore a person.
    Example: David’s girlfriend has been giving him cold shoulder because of what happened.
  26. To be in someone’s shoe – to be in someone’s situation.
    Example: The young lady vowed never to wish to be in someone’s shoe.
  27. Take someone to the task – to criticize someone.
    Example: The arrogant secretary was always fond of taking someone to a task.
  28. To make away with something – to destroy or steal.
    Example: The security made away with the company’s generator.
  29. Looking for a needle in a haystack – hopeless search.
    Example: Mercy’s search for a job in Nigeria was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

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