English Idioms and Sayings

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RonBee

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I have decided that it would be useful to ESL learners for them to learn some idioms and popular sayings. Please feel free to post one or more yourself.

Re:
  • Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
"Don't count your chickens before they hatch" is a warning not to be overly optimistic. It is an admonition that you shouldn't make plans based on things you can't control.

Re:
  • I've got my work cut out for me.
"I've got my work cut out for me" comes from dressmaking. After the job of cutting out the pattern had been done the work of sewing the garment remained to be done. Thus, the seamstress had her work cut out for her. (She had plenty of work to do.)

Re:
  • Don't change horses in midstream.
"Don't change horses in midstream." Changing horses in midstream would be a difficult job indeed. Instead, it would be much better to wait until you get to the other side. You would be taking too much of a chance to change horses while you are in midstream. It would be better and safer to wait until present difficulties are over.

Re:
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is an admonition not to take unnecessary chances. If I were advising you not to put invest all your available money on one thing I might say that you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket.
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • He's running around like a chickken with its head cut off.

He doesn't know what to do. He's totally at a loss as to what to do. He's disoriented.

Re:
  • It's time to pay the piper.

It's time to face the consequences of your actions.
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • He has flown the coop.

That means the individual has left and is not expected to return.

Re:
  • It is a pie in the sky proposal.

That means it is a wholly unrealistic idea.
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • Stick out like a sore thumb.


Be embarrassingly obvious. Something that sticks out like a sore thumb is so obvious that it draws attention to itself.
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • I'm so hungry I could eat a horse.

Meaning: "I am very hungry.

Re:
  • It's raining cats and dogs.

Meaning: "It's raining very hard."
 

Tdol

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Look like the cat that got the cream.

Meaning to look very please with oneself.
 

RonBee

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tdol said:
Look like the cat that got the cream.

Meaning to look very please[d] with oneself.

Is that anything like the cat that swallowed the canary?

:wink:
 

Tdol

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The same. ;-)
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • Has the cat got your tongue?

Means: "Can't you talk?"
 

RonBee

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What about:
  • He's like a bull in a china shop.

Eh?

:?:
 

Tdol

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RonBee said:
What about:
  • He's like a bull in a china shop.

Eh?

:?:

A clumsy person who breaks things, or upsets people.

How about

A busman's holiday
;-)
 

RonBee

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tdol said:
RonBee said:
What about:
  • He's like a bull in a china shop.

Eh?

:?:

A clumsy person who breaks things, or upsets people.

How about

A busman's holiday
;-)

I think that's a holidy that a person takes that has something to do with his work. Am I close?

:)
 

Tdol

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You are 'bang on the money'.;-)
 

RonBee

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How about:
  • He's bitten off more than he can chew.
Or:
  • He has bitten off more than he can chew.

That means that that person has taken on more than he can handle in some area.
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • He was like a fish out of water.

That means that the person was in an unfamiliar environment and uncomfortable because he didn't know how to conduct himself (behave).
 

RonBee

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"Got up on the wrong side of the bed" = woke up grumpy and out of sorts.
Example:
  • Ron got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

:wink:
 

Tdol

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'Turn a blind eye'

Ignore some rule being broken.
 

RonBee

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tdol said:
'Turn a blind eye'

Ignore some rule being broken.

"He turned a blind eye to her staying out past curfew."

Eh?

:)
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • Like a house afire.

Meaning: performing at optimum level; doing astonishingly well

Example:
  • Michael Jordan played like a house afire, scoring 37 points.
 

Red5

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So tell me, what does the following mean (and why)? ;-)

"They get on like a house on fire"
 
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