Some A-Z Idiom Examples



A Bird in the hand is Worth Two In The Bush:                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.

A Blessing in Disguise:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Something good that isn’t recognized at first

A Chip on Your Shoulder:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Being upset for something that had happened in the past

A Dime A Dozen:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Anything that is common and easy to get.

A Drop in the Bucket:               

A very small part of something big or whole


Barking Up The Wrong Tree:       

A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve

Beat A Dead Horse:    

To force an issue that has already ended.

Beating around the Bush:    

Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.

Bend over Backwards:    

Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew:      

To take on a task that is way too big.


Close but no Cigar:                 

To be very near and almost accomplish a goal, but fall short.

Cock and Bull Story:         

An unbelievable tale.

Come Hell Or High Water:    

Any difficult situation or obstacle.

Crack someone Up:       

To make someone laugh.

Cross Your Fingers:                                                                                                                       

To hope that something happens the way you want it to.

Cry over Spilt Milk:                                                                                                                

When you complain about a loss from the past

Cry Wolf:                                                                                                                                 

Intentionally raise a false alarm.


Dark Horse:       

One who was previously unknown and is now prominent.

Dead Ringer:   

100% identical. A duplicate

Devil’s Advocate:       

Someone who takes a position for the sake of argument without believing in that particular side of the argument. It can also mean one who presents a counter argument for a position they do believe in, to another debater

Dog Days of summer:                                                                                                                                   

The hottest days of the summer season

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch:                                                                                 

Don’t rely on it until you’re sure of it.


Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining:                                                                                                           

Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.

Everything but The Kitchen Sink:   

Almost everything and anything has been included.

Excuse my French:                                                                                                               

Please forgive me for cursing.


Flea Market:              

A place where people gather to buy and sell inexpensive goods.

Flesh and Blood:                                                                                                                                  

This idiom can mean living material of which people are made of, or it can refer to someone’s family.

Foam at the Mouth:                                                                                                                            

To be enraged and show it

Fools’ Gold:              

Iron pyrites, a worthless rock that resembles real gold.


Go For Broke:                                                                                                                                        

To gamble everything you have.

Go Out On A Limb:                                                                                                                              

Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/something.

Go The Extra Mile:                                                                                                                         

Going above and beyond whatever is required for the task at hand.

Good Samaritan:                                                                                                                      

Someone who helps others when they are in need, with no discussion for compensation, and no thought of a reward

Great Minds Think Alike:                                                                                                           

Intelligent people think like each other.


He Lost His Head:                                                                                                                                

Angry and overcome by emotions.

Head Over Heels:       

Very excited and/or joyful, especially when in love

High Five:                                                                                                                                   

Slapping palms above each other’s heads as celebration gesture.

Hit the Books:                                                                                                                                       

To study, especially for a test or exam

Hit The Hay:                                                                                                                                            

Go to bed or go to sleep.


In The Heat of the Moment:                                                                                                   

Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment.

In Your Face:                                                                                                                                         

An aggressive and bold confrontation.

It Takes Two To Tango:

A two person conflict where both people are at fault.

It’s A Small World:                                                                                                                   

You frequently see the same people in different places.

It’s Anyone’s Call:                                                                                                                          

A competition where the outcome is difficult to judge or predict.


Knee Jerk Reaction:   

A quick and automatic response.

Knock On Wood:                                                                                                                         

Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid some bad luck.

Keep An Eye On Him:                                                                                                                 

You should carefully watch him.

Keep body and soul together:                                                                                                                   

To earn a sufficient amount of money in order to keep yourself alive .

Keep your chin up:                                                                                                                         

To remain joyful in a tough situation.


Last but not least:                                                                                                                               

An introduction phrase to let the audience know that the last person mentioned is no less important than those introduced before him/her.

Let Bygones Be Bygones:                                                                                                                       

To forget about a disagreement or argument

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie:                                                                                                                                       

To avoid restarting a conflict.

Let The Cat Out Of The Bag:                                                                                                                     

To share a secret that wasn’t supposed to be shared.


Make No Bones About:                                                                                                                       

To state a fact so there are no doubts or objections

Method to My Madness:                                                                                                              

Strange or crazy actions that appear meaningless but in the end are done for a good reason.

Mumbo Jumbo:                                                                                                                             

Nonsense or meaningless speech

Mum’s the word:                                                                                                                                     

To keep quiet. To say nothing


Nest Egg:                                                                                                                                      

Savings set aside for future use.

Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You:                                                                                              

Don’t hurt anyone that helps you.

New kid on the block:                                                                                                                                

Someone new to the group or area


On The Fence:                                                                                                                              


On The Same Page:                                                                                                                          

When multiple people all agree on the same thing

Out of the Blue:                                                                                                                       

Something that suddenly and unexpectedly occurs.

Off On The Wrong Foot:                                                                                                           

Getting a bad start in a relationship or a task

Over My Dead Body:                                                                                                                       

When you absolutely will not allow something to happen

Over the Top:                                                                                                                                      

Very excessive.


Practice Makes Perfect:                                                                                                                         

By constantly practising, you will become better.

Pull the plug:  

To stop something. To bring something to an end

Pulling Your Leg:      

Tricking someone or using a joke on them

Put a sock in it:

To tell a noisy person or a group to be quiet


Rain check:      

An offer or deal that is declined right now but willing to accept later.

Raining Cats and Dogs:    

A very loud and noisy rain storm

Rise and Shine:                                                                                                                                 

Time to get out of bed and get ready for work/school.

Rome Was Not Built in One Day:                                                                                                      

If you want something to be completely properly, then it’s going to take time.


Saved By The Bell:                                                                                                                                

Saved at the last possible moment


Someone else who takes the blame


To escape and not have to pay

Sick As a Dog:      

To be very sick (with the flu or a cold)


The Ball Is In Your Court:                                                                                                                      

It is your decision this time.

The Best of Both Worlds:                                                                                                         

There are two choices and you have them both.

The Bigger They Are The Harder They Fall:                                                                                     

While the bigger and stronger opponent might be a lot more difficult to beat, when you do they suffer a much bigger loss.

To steal someone’s Thunder:                                                                                                                 

To take the credit for something someone else did.


Humour, not to be taken seriously.

Turn A Blind Eye:                                                                                                                                  

Refuse to acknowledge something you know is real or legit.


Under the weather:                                                                                                                 

Feeling ill or sick

Up a blind alley:         

Going down a course of action that leads to a bad outcome


Variety Is the Spice of Life:                                                                                                             

The more experiences you try the more exciting life can be.


Water under the Bridge:                                                                                                                 

Anything from the past that isn’t significant or important any more.

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve:                                                                                                                  

To openly and freely express your emotions

When It Rains, It Pours:                                                                                                                      

Since it rarely rains, when it does it will be a huge storm.

When Pigs Fly:                                                                                                                                   

Something that will never ever happen


X marks the spot:                                                                                                                                              

A phrase that is said when someone finds something he/she has been looking for


You Are What You Eat:                                                                                                                                   

In order to stay healthy you must eat healthy foods.

You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover:                                                                                                             

Decisions shouldn’t be made primarily on appearance.

You can’t take it With You:                                                                                                             

Enjoy what you have, not what you don’t have. When you die you cannot take things (such as money) with you


Zero Tolerance:                                                                                                                                                  

No crime or law breaking big or small will be overlooked.

BEBC have many books on Idioms and they can be found by clicking on this link

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