Results 1 to 4 of 4

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 1

    ambiguous idiomatic expressions

    I want some sentences in English which use idiomatic expressions that are ambiguous. I mean the expressions can give literal meaning and figurative meaning at the same time. So, the sentences can be understood both ways literally and figuratively. I appreciate your prompt cooperation.

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886

    Re: ambiguous idiomatic expressions

    Open this link and you will see one:
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 394

    Re: ambiguous idiomatic expressions

    I hope these are the sort of thing you're looking for:

    1. Tony's a real lady-killer.
    If you call a guy a lady-killer, you mean he is probably very handsome and charming and has the ability to attract women. After he successfully entices a woman into a romantic relationship, however, he promptly abandons her and seeks another "conquest." Literally, it would mean that Tony has a nasty habit of, well, murdering women.

    2. Judith is a bit of an iceberg.
    If you call a woman an iceberg, you mean she is coldly unresponsive to the romantic overtures of men. (The above example might be used, for example, by a man who asked Judith out on a date and was flatly refused.) Literally, it would mean that she is a huge mass of ice floating in the ocean.

    3. You missed the project deadline?! Oh man, your name is mud!
    If you say someone's name is mud, you mean they are in big trouble; they have made a big mistake or done something to anger someone in authority, etc. Literally, it would be like "Hi Mud, how's it going?"

    4. I have to answer the call of nature. If you have to answer the call of nature, you have to go to the bathroom (#1 and/or #2 ). Literally, this would sound like you have the burning desire to go hiking in the woods or go camping or something.

    5. They'll never fire Smith; he's a sacred cow.
    If someone is a sacred cow, that person is untouchable; they cannot be attacked or criticized; they have attained a special status through their long and distinguished performance, or by otherwise gaining the favor of those in higher positions of authority, etc. Literally, that person is a holy bovine.

    Hope this helps.


  1. Offroad's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Brazilian Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 2,817

    Re: ambiguous idiomatic expressions

    In my opinion, Greg, only sentences 1 and 3 meet the OP's requirements.

    [I am not a teacher]

Similar Threads

  1. Idiomatic Expressions
    By YayMePuzzle in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-May-2009, 15:57
  2. [Idiom] Idiomatic expressions
    By reneflor in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Oct-2008, 19:17
  3. Idiomatic expressions
    By Preminiser in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-Mar-2007, 12:08
  4. I need Idiomatic expressions
    By Unregistered in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 08-May-2005, 22:43
  5. I need Idiomatic expressions
    By Unregistered in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-Mar-2005, 14:01


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts