Native English speakers love to use them in conversation, and you’ll often find them popping up in books, TV shows, and movies as well. To perfect your English, you really need to be confident in using idioms and know the difference between breaking a leg and pulling someone’s leg.
Here are 20 English idioms that everyone should know:
1. Under the weather
Meaning: Not very well
Example: Your wife’s under the weather, but you didn’t want to miss it.
2. The ball is in your court
Meaning: it is up to you
Example: The ball is in your court. What you do now is up to you.
3. Spill the beans
Meaning: To give away a secret
Example: I’m not telling you the details because I know you’ll spill the beans.
4. Break a leg
Meaning: good luck!
Example: Someone’s going to break a leg in this.
5. Pull someone’s leg
Meaning: deceive someone playfully
Example: I panicked when he said the test was tomorrow, but then I realized he was just pulling my leg.
6. Sat on the fence
Meaning: avoid making a decision or choice.
Example: They are sitting on the fence and refusing to commit themselves.
7. Through thick and thin
Meaning: through difficult times and situations
Example: Through thick and thin, no matter what happens at my trial.
8. Once in a blue moon
Meaning: very rarely; almost never
Example: The love that transforms in magic, Once in a blue moon.
9. It’s the best thing since sliced bread
Meaning: It’s really, really good
Example: I’ve bought a new touchscreen computer, it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, I can’t believe I ever worked without it.
10. Take it with a pinch of salt
Meaning: regard something as exaggerated
Example: You have to take everything she says with a pinch of salt, because she tends to exaggerate.
11. Come rain or shine
Meaning: No matter what
Example: I don’t know about you, but I plan to go out with my friends tomorrow come rain or shine.
12. Go down in flames
Meaning: be destroyed by fire.
Example: As your best friend, I cannot, in good conscience, watch you go down in flames anymore.
13. You can say that again
Meaning: That’s true
Example: A: “The weather is so hot and humid today.” B: “You can say that again.”
14. See eye to eye
Meaning: be in full agreement.
Example: My sisters don’t see eye to eye with me about the arrangements.
15. Jump on the bandwagon
Meaning: Following a trend
Example: Which is why so many politicians and union bureaucrats are trying to jump on the bandwagon.
16. As right as rain
Meaning: completely healthy and normal
Example: Couldn’t wake him up for a week, but now he’s as right as rain.
17. Beat around the bush
Meaning: discuss a matter without coming to the point.
Example: I shan’t beat around the bush, and I shall thank you to be absolutely blunt with me.
18. Hit the sack
Meaning: go to bed.
Example: Oh, actually, I’d love to, but I gotta hit the sack early tonight.
19. Miss the boat
Meaning: be too slow to take advantage of an opportunity.
Example: You can either get on board now, or you can miss the boat.
20. By the skin of your teeth
Meaning: only just
Example: You got away with that by the skin of your teeth.