List of idioms in English! Here is the list of all important and most common conversational idioms in English grammar. You can download the PDF of these idioms. A list of idioms in English is a great resource for learners of the language. Idioms are phrases or expressions that are not taken literally, but instead have a figurative meaning that conveys an emotion or idea. Commonly used in everyday speech and writing, using idioms helps to make conversations more interesting as well as expressing unique perspectives.
List of Idioms in English
- Null and void:
Meaning: (of a legal agreement) no longer effective or valid
Sentence: The contract was declared null and void.
- Root and branch :
We cannot root out corruption from Pakistan root and branch.
- Odds and ends:
Please try to pick up the odds and ends of this story.
- Safe and sound:
Safe, not hurt or harmed
The missing child reached home safe and sound.
- Spick and span:
Clean, tidy and fresh
The nurses look spick and span in their white dress in the hospital.
- Through thick and thin:
In good and bad times, in spite of difficulties
He stood by me through thick and thin.
- Through and through
He is a gentleman through and through.
- To all intents and purposes:
Almost exactly in all important ways
The two plans are the same to all intents and purposes.
- Ups and downs:
Time of good and bad luck
I have seen many ups and downs of life.
- Ways and means:
The police have various ways and means to get information about people.
- At home in:
Feeling comfortable and relaxed, as if you are in your own home
I am quite at home in new business.
- Around or round the corner:
very near , soon to happen
The new drug for cancer is round or around the corner.
- By dint of:
He got through the examination by dint of hard work.
- At a stretch:
(Of periods of time) without stopping
She works at the computer for hours at a stretch.
- By virtue of:
an account of
He passed the B.A examination by virtue of hard work.
- Be a by word:
to be well known for a quality
Our political system has become a by word for fraud.
- For God’s sake:
In the name of God
For God’s sake, give me a loaf of bread.
- For the sake of:
He laid down his life for the sake of his country.
- In accordance with:
He refused to work in accordance with my orders.
- In addition:
Lee received a pencil in addition to a pen.
Must Read: Noun and its types
- In consequence of:
As a result of
He will not take the examination in consequence of his illness.
- In defiance of:
He went to Murree in defiance of my orders.
- In honor of:
A party was given in honors of the Chief Guest.
- In keeping with:
Your actions are not in keeping with your words.
- In lieu of:
We shall get a holiday tomorrow in lieu of Sunday.
- In the light of:
The facts stated above
The application for the grant of scholarship is rejected in the light of above discussion.
- In the nick of time:
Just in time
He reached the hospital in the nick of time.
- In quest of:
In search of
The police man is in quest of the thief.
- In spite of:
In spite of the noise, I kept on studying.
- In the teeth of:
He showed rare courage in the teeth of difficulties.
- On touch with:
I am on touch with the happenings in the country.
- On the verge of:
On the brine
This bank was on the verge of ruin.
- On the whole:
On the whole, he is quite good at studies.
- Owing to:
An account of
Owing to illness, he could not come to college.
- With reference to:
I have nothing to say with reference to his character.
Most Common Idioms In English
- Hit the nail on the head – Accurately identify or describe.
“You hit the nail on the head with that analysis.”
- In a nutshell – Summing up concisely.
“In a nutshell, the project was a success.”
- Keep your chin up – Remain positive and hopeful.
“Things will get better. Keep your chin up.”
- Kill two birds with one stone – Achieve two things at once.
“By studying during my commute, I killed two birds with one stone.”
- Let the cat out of the bag – Reveal a secret.
“Don’t let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.”
- Like a fish out of water – Uncomfortable in a situation.
“At the party, I felt like a fish out of water.”
- Make a long story short – Summarize briefly.
“To make a long story short, I ended up winning the competition.”
- Miss the boat – Miss an opportunity.
“I missed the boat by not investing in that company.”
- No pain, no gain – Effort is necessary for success. Example:
“If you want to get fit, remember: no pain, no gain.”
- On cloud nine – Extremely happy.
“After winning the championship, she was on cloud nine.”
- Barking up the wrong tree – Accusing the wrong person.
“If you think I stole your wallet, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”
- Beat a dead horse – Waste time on a lost cause.
“Trying to convince him is like beating a dead horse.”
- Break the ice – Initiate conversation or friendship.
“To break the ice, I complimented her on her outfit.”
- Cost an arm and a leg – Very expensive.
“Buying that luxury car would cost an arm and a leg.”
- Cross that bridge when you come to it – Deal with a problem when it arises.
“I’m not worried about the exam. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”
- Cut corners – Take shortcuts.
“He cut corners to finish the project quickly.”
- Drive someone up the wall – Irritate or annoy someone.
“The constant noise from the construction site is driving me up the wall.”
- Get a taste of your own medicine – Experience the same treatment you’ve given others.
“He’s always making fun of people. It’s time he gets a taste of his own medicine.”
- Go down in flames – Fail spectacularly.
“The business venture went down in flames, resulting in significant losses.”
- Go with the flow – Accept things as they come.
“Instead of stressing, I decided to go with the flow.”
- Grain of salt – Be skeptical or doubtful.
“Take his advice with a grain of salt; he’s not always reliable.”
- Have a chip on your shoulder – Be easily offended or defensive.
“He always has a chip on his shoulder, ready to argue with anyone.”
- Hit the jackpot – Find great success or luck.
“She hit the jackpot with her new business idea.”
- In hot water – In trouble or facing difficulties.
“He found himself in hot water after missing the deadline.”
- It’s raining cats and dogs – Heavy rain.
“Don’t forget your umbrella; it’s raining cats and dogs outside.”
- Keep your fingers crossed – Hope for good luck or success.
“I have a job interview tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me!”
- Let sleeping dogs lie – Avoid stirring up trouble.
“Don’t bring up their past; let sleeping dogs lie.”
- Make ends meet – Manage finances with limited resources.
“With the low salary, it’s challenging to make ends meet.”
- Out of the frying pan and into the fire – Going from a bad situation to a worse one.
“I thought quitting my job would solve my problems, but I ended up jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.”
- Pull someone’s leg – Tease or joke with someone.
“I’m just pulling your leg; I didn’t actually eat all the cookies.”
- Put all your eggs in one basket – Rely on a single plan or option.
“Investing all your money in one stock is risky; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
- Rome wasn’t built in a day – Complex tasks take time.
“Learning a new language takes time. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
- Sit on the fence – Be undecided or neutral.
“She can’t make up her mind; she’s sitting on the fence.”
- Steal the show – Attract the most attention or praise.
“With her stunning performance, she stole the show.”
- Take a rain check – Postpone a plan or invitation.
“I can’t make it to the party tonight, but can I take a rain check?”
- The ball is in your court – It’s your turn to take action or make a decision.
“I’ve done my part; now the ball is in your court.”
- The early bird catches the worm – Acting promptly brings advantages.
“I always wake up early; the early bird catches the worm.”
- Throw in the towel – Give up or surrender.
“After multiple failed attempts, he decided to throw in the towel.”
- Under the weather – Feeling unwell or sick.
“I won’t be able to come to work today; I’m feeling under the weather.”
- You can’t judge a book by its cover – Appearance can be deceiving.
“He may seem quiet, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
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