Popular English Idioms and Their Meanings

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Mar 29, 2011 07:32 english and american phrases expressions sayings idioms
Hi everyone!
I don't have much to write about today, so I thought I would try something fun!
I've decided to compile a list of popular English expressions and their meanings. There are hundreds of 'English Idioms' like these, but I'm only going to list the ones that I commonly hear from my parents or from friends.

I hope you guys like this idea! Also, if you read this, please post phrases and sayings that you know from your language! I would love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!!

1.) Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
"I haven't seen my husband in a few days, but it's been good. Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
Meaning: spending time apart from your loved ones can make you miss and appreciate them more.

2.) You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can't Make it Drink
"I told my mom to get a dishwasher, but she never listens. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."
Meaning: You can show someone a better way, but it's up to them to choose to be better.

3.) Bringing Home the Bacon
"My husband works hard everyday so that he can bring home the bacon."
Meaning: To earn money and bring it home to your family.

4.) Christmas in July (I use this expression very often!)
"I never thought they would get so many gifts for us! It was like Christmas in July!"
Meaning: This expression is used sometimes when someone gets a lot of presents or money at a time during the year that isn't Christmas time.

5.) Digging Your Own Grave
"He should know better than to treat his mother like that! He's digging his own grave!"
Meaning: Don't get yourself into trouble by saying or doing bad things.

6.) Last Ditch Effort (I hear this a lot in sports.)
"They were losing by 20 points, but they made one last ditch effort before calling it a game."
Meaning: To try really hard one last time before giving up altogether.

7.) Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire
"I thought my last job was hard. And then I started working here and I don't even have time to sit down!"
Meaning: To get out of a bad situation, only to find yourself in a worse one than before!

8.) Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
"I wanted to ask her how her sick mother was doing, but I thought it would be better to let sleeping dogs lie."
Meaning: To not bring up something negative or bad that's happened in the past.

9.) Too Much Sugar for a Cent
"I spent an hour fixing my hair for our big date and he didn't even notice! It was too much sugar for a cent."
Meaning: To work really hard for something that doesn't pay off well enough or at all.

10.) Bite off More Than You Can Chew
"I thought I'd be able to handle all this work, but I think I've bitten off more than I can chew, after all."
Meaning: To take on more work or responsibility than you can handle.

11.) Barking Up the Wrong Tree
"I looked all over the house for the remote, but I was barking up the wrong tree."
Meaning: to look for something in the wrong place.

12.) A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush
"My boss invited me to dinner. But I'm not going to go, in case my husband finds out. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Meaning: Keep what you already have and don't be greedy for more.


Thanks everyone for reading! Feel free to ask questions if you have any or contribute phrases and sayings from your country or language!

Tess