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Common English idioms

An important part of learning a language is being able to communicate with native speakers.

In English there are a lot of idioms that native speakers use when talking to one another. An idiom is a phrase with a particular meaning, often taking the form of an analogy or metaphor.

Here are a few you can use when you are speaking in English.

Pitch in

Meaning: to contribute.

“Would you please pitch in to dad’s birthday present?”

Face the music

Meaning: to accept a punishment or bad consequence.

“My mother is angry with me. It is time to go home and face the music.”

Blow off steam

Meaning: to get rid of stress or negative feelings.

“I am going to a party tonight to blow off steam.”

My cup of tea

Meaning: something that is a personal preference.

“I love your dress. It is exactly my cup of tea.”

Go with the flow

Meaning: to agree with what is happening and to copy what others are doing.

“I do not have a preference of where we go for dinner. I will go with the flow.”

Piece of cake

Meaning: something is easy.

“My science homework was a piece of cake!”

Up in the air

Meaning: things are inconclusive or unfinished.

“Our group project is not yet done. It is totally up in the air.”

Cool as a cucumber

Meaning: to be relaxed or calm.

“I am not nervous for the exam. I am as cool as a cucumber.”

Stab in the back

Meaning: to betray someone.

“He stabbed me in the back!”

Sit tight

Meaning: to wait patiently.

“There is no rush. You should sit tight.”

Hit the sack

Meaning: to go to bed.

“I am tired so I am going to hit the sack.”

Smart cookie

Meaning: someone who is clever.

“You have scored highly in the test. You must be a smart cookie.”

On the ball

Meaning: to be ready for something or to be ahead of something.

“I have completed all of my chores already. I am on the ball this morning!”

Break the bank

Meaning: something is very expensive.

“I cannot buy this car because it will break the bank.”

Run a mile

Meaning: To be scared or displeased by something and want to leave.

"Every time I was around him I wanted to run a mile."

Get over

Meaning: to recover from something.

"It was sad but think I have now gotten over the death of my goldfish."

Learn English from native English speakers with a General English course.

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