Familiar English Idioms

Familiar English Idioms

A little learning is a dangerous thing
Meaning: People who don’t understand something fully are dangerous

A snowball effect
Meaning: Events have momentum and build upon each other

A snowball’s chance in hell
Meaning: No chance at all

A stitch in time saves nine
Meaning: Fix the problem now because it will get worse later

A storm in a teacup
Meaning: A big fuss about a small problem

An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Meaning: Apples are good for you

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Meaning: You can prevent a problem with little effort. Fixing it later is harder.

As right as rain
Meaning: Perfect

Bolt from the blue
Meaning: Something that happened without warning

Burn bridges
Meaning: Destroy relationships

Calm before the storm
Meaning: Something bad is coming, but right now it’s calm

Come rain or shine
Meaning: No matter what; Regardless of the weather or circumstances.

Curiosity killed the cat
Meaning: Stop asking questions

Cut the mustard
Meaning: Do a good job

Don’t beat a dead horse
Meaning: Move on, this subject is over

Every dog has his day
Meaning: Everyone gets a chance at least once

Familiarity breeds contempt
Meaning: The better you know someone the less you like him

Fit as a fiddle
Meaning: In good health; to be very healthy and strong.

Fortune favors the bold
Meaning: Take risks

Get a second wind
Meaning: Have more energy after having been tired

Get wind of something
Meaning: Hear news of something secret

Go down in flames
Meaning: Fail spectacularly

Haste makes waste
Meaning: You’ll make mistakes if you rush through something

Have your head in the clouds
Meaning: Not be concentrating

He who laughs last laughs loudest
Meaning: I’ll get you back for what you did

Hear something straight from the horse’s mouth
Meaning: Hear something from the person involved

He’s not playing with a full deck
Meaning: He’s dumb

He’s off his rocker
Meaning: He’s crazy

He’s sitting on the fence
Meaning: He can’t make up his mind

It is a poor workman who blames his tools
Meaning: If you can’t do the job, don’t blame it on others

It is always darkest before the dawn
Meaning: Things are going to get better

It takes two to tango
Meaning: One person alone isn’t responsible. Both people are involved.

Jump on the bandwagon
Meaning: Follow a trend, do what everyone else is doing

Know which way the wind is blowing
Meaning: Understand the situation (usually negative)

Leave no stone unturned
Meaning: Look everywhere

Let sleeping dogs lie
Meaning: Stop discussing an issue

Like riding a bicycle
Meaning: Something you never forget how to do

Like two peas in a pod
Meaning: They’re always together

Make hay while the sun shines
Meaning: Take advantage of a good situation

On cloud nine
Meaning: Very happy

Once bitten, twice shy
Meaning: You’re more cautious when you’ve been hurt before

Out of the frying pan and into the fire
Meaning: Things are going from bad to worse

Run like the wind
Meaning: Run fast

Shape up or ship out
Meaning: Work better or leave

Snowed under
Meaning: Be extremely busy with work or things to do

That ship has sailed
Meaning: It’s too late

The pot calling the kettle black
Meaning: Someone criticizing someone else he is just as bad

There are clouds on the horizon
Meaning: Trouble is coming

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones
Meaning: People who are morally questionable shouldn’t criticize others

Through thick and thin
Meaning: In good times and in bad times

Time is money
Meaning: Work quickly

Waste not, want not
Meaning: Don’t waste things and you’ll always have enough

We see eye to eye
Meaning: We agree

Weather the storm
Meaning: Go through something difficult

Well begun is half done
Meaning: Getting a good start is important

When it rains it pours
Meaning: Everything is going wrong at once

You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar
Meaning: You’ll get what you want by being nice

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink
Meaning: You can’t force someone to make the right decision

You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs
Meaning: There’s always a cost to doing something

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