Being a writer, I adore the English language and particularly the use of adverbs and adjectives. I am fascinated by how many different ways the same object can be described. For example, the word "apple”. It can be described as fruity, juicy, tart, firm, sweet, delicious, rancid, red, green or yellow, etc. But sometimes words or phrase do not mean exactly what they say. That's an idiom.

Idioms exist in every language and the words are not to be taken literally. For instance, if you say someone has "cold feet," it doesn't mean their toes are actually cold. Rather, it means they're nervous about something.

The examples below demonstrate how we use idioms constantly without thinking about them, The next time someone tells you they're feeling "under the weather," you'll know it has nothing to do with weather patterns, but that they are feeling sick.

*Getting fired turned out to be a blessing in disguise. - getting fired (normally a bad thing) turned out to be a good thing.

*These earrings are a dime a dozen. - These earrings are very common.

*After some reflection, he decided to bite the bullet. - After some reflection, he decided to do the undesirable thing he'd been avoiding.

*I'm going to call it a night. - I'm going to bed.

*Don't beat around the bush. - Say what you mean.

*He's got a chip on his shoulder. - He's holding a grudge that makes him angry or callous.

*Would you cut me some slack? - Don't be so hard on me.

*I go out once in a blue moon. - I rarely go out.

*He decided to let her off the hook. - He decided to release her from her responsibility.

*He missed the boat. - He missed an opportunity.

*Pull yourself together. - Calm down.

*She rubbed me the wrong way. - I did not like her at all.

*There he is, speak of the devil – There he is; we were just talking about him.

*That was the straw that broke the camel's back. - My patience has finally run out.

*Why are you so bent out of shape? - Why are you so upset?

*I'm sorry but I can't wrap my head around it. – I'm sorry but I can't understand it.

Some idioms refer to the arts. Actors, painters, performers and writers tend to use their own idioms, almost bordering on slang, to encourage each other and forge a sense of community. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

*Break a leg means good luck.

*Knock 'em dead means do a great job.

*Get the hook means it's time to pull an actor off the stage because he's performing horribly.

*If you're excited to sink your teeth into a good book, (Think “TRAPPED”) it means you're really excited to start reading it.

*If an artist breaks new ground, it means his work is innovative.

There are idioms in foreign languages too. Here are a few examples.

*In Polish...mustard after lunch means it's too late to do something.

*In Spanish...a lot of noise and no walnuts means someone's all talk and no action

*In French...when chickens have teeth means something's never going to happen

*In Italian... not all doughnuts come with a hole means you don't always get what you want.

Once you start thinking of idioms it's almost impossible to stop:

Apple of my eye, chew the fat, can't judge a book by its cover, actions speak louder than words, raining cats and dogs, close but no cigar, high as a kite, couch potato, save for a rainy day, bad to the bone, hit the hay and green-eyed monster. See, once you start, you can't stop thinking about them. It's addictive. I'm sure you have some favorite idioms of your own. I'd love to hear from you about them.

(The idea and even some direct quotes for this blog were taken from the website, Your Dictionary: Idiom Examples: Common Expressions and Their Meanings)

Until my next inspiration...ciao.


Piece of Cake Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Leave a comment