Hi! I'm a Chinese student, interested in learning English. In China, idioms are often used by Chinese, often in the form of Chengyu(a fixed four-character expression). I wonder if the idioms in English are used frequently by English speakers or not. Is there any wonderful English dictionary that collects all the currently used English idioms (at least from 1970s to 2000s)? What are the differences between English idioms and other English words and expressions? Thanks a lot! Have a happy Christmas season!
We use a huge number of idioms. Proverbs are not used as much as they used to be, but are still a feature of language. The most complete selection would probably be in the Oxford English Dictionary, which has ust about everything ever used in the English language. It costs a fortune in book form, but much less in electronic forms. The Cambridge Dictionary of Idioms is pretty good too.
Online you can access the Cambridge dictionary here:
We have a growing collection on the site:
There's also the excellent www.onelook.com that searches hundreds of online dictionaries.
These should be able to find any idiom for you.