Everyday Expressions & Idioms List

Check the following common expressions, idioms, and phrases and find out their meanings. (Free download available)

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Expression / IdiomMeaningExample sentence
A hot potatoAn issue which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed 
A penny for your thoughtsA way of asking what someone is thinking 
Actions speak louder than wordsPeople’s intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say. 
Add insult to injuryTo further a loss with mockery or indignity; to worsen an unfavorable situation. 
An arm and a legVery expensive or costly. A large amount of money.My Verizon plan cost an arm and a leg each month. 
At the drop of a hatWithout any hesitation; instantly.He will argue about politics at the drop of a hat.
Back to the drawing boardWhen an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over. 
Barking up the wrong treeLooking in the wrong place. Accusing the wrong person.One day he is going to get hurt because he is always barking up the wrong tree.
Be glad to see the back ofBe happy when a person leaves. 
Beat around the bushAvoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue. 
Best of both worldsAll the advantages. 
Best thing since sliced breadA good invention or innovation. A good idea or plan. 
Bite off more than you can chewTo take on a task that is way too big. 
Blessing in disguiseSomething good that isn’t recognized at first. 
Burn the midnight oilTo work late into the night. 
Judge a book by its coverJudge something primarily on appearance. 
Caught between two stoolsWhen someone finds it difficult to choose between two alternatives. 
Costs an arm and a legThis idiom is used when something is very expensive. 
Cross that bridge when you come to itDeal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before. 
Cry over spilled milkWhen you complain about a loss from the past. 
Curiosity killed the cat.Being Inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation. 
Cut cornersWhen something is done badly to save money. 
Cut the mustardTo succeed; to come up to expectations; adequate enough to compete or participate 
Play Devil’s AdvocateTo present a counter argument (although it might not be one’s own opinion). 
Don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched.Don’t make plans for something that might not happen. 
Don’t give up the day job.You are not very good at something. You could definitely not do it professionally. 
Don’t put all your eggs in one basketDo not put all your resources in one possibility. 
Drastic times call for drastic measures.When you are extremely desperate you need to take drastic actions. 
Elvis has left the building.The show has come to an end. It’s all over. 
Every cloud has a silver lining.Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days. 
Far cry fromVery different from. 
Feel a bit under the weatherFeeling slightly ill. 
Give the benefit of the doubtBelieve someone’s statement, without proof. 
Hit the nail on the headMeaning: to say something that is exactly.You hit the nail on the head! Jennifer is sad because she misses her boyfriend.
Let the cat out of the bagShare information that was previously kept a secret.Once he lets the cat out of the bag, his life will never be the same.
Off one’s rockerCrazy, demented, out of one’s mind, in a confused or befuddled state of mind, senile. 
On the ballWhen someone understands the situation well. 
Once in a blue moonSomething happens very rarely.I drink red wine once in a blue moon. 
A Picture paints a thousand words.A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words. 
Piece of cakeA job, task or other activity that is easy or simple. 
Put wool over other people’s eyesTo deceive someone into thinking well of them. 
See eye to eyeTwo (or more people) agree on something. 
Sit on the fenceSomeone does not want to choose or make a decision.I am still on the fence about this company.
Speak of the devil!When the person you have just been talking about arrives. 
Steal someone’s thunderTo take the credit for something someone else did. 
Take with a grain of saltNot to take what someone says too seriously.He is a little bit crazy, so you have to take whatever he says with a grain of salt. 
Taste of your own medicineSomething happens to you or is done to you, that you have done to someone else. 
The ball is in your courtIt is up to you to make the next decision or step.The ball is in your court! You decide how the company should be managed!
To hear something straight from the horse’s mouthTo hear something from the authoritative source. 
Whole nine yardsEverything. All of it. 
Wouldn’t be caught deadWould never like to do something. 
Your guess is as good as mine.To have no idea, do not know the answer to a question.I have no idea what he is talking about. Your guess is as good as mine. 

Bored to death
You’ve got to be kidding
Sick and Tired
Call it a day
Get on one’s nerves
Couch potato
Read one’s mind
Feel blue
Fender bender
Get foot in the door
Give somebody a hard time
Make up one’s mind
Go Dutch
Throw in the towel

Goose bumps
Stay in touch
Have the guts
Rain or Shine
I’m beat
Easier said than done
It’s about time
Jump to conclusions
Keep an eye on
Out of the blue
Know something inside out
Give someone a hand
Now and then
Nuke – Microwave
On the dot

Keeping my fingers crossed
Out of this world
Over one’s head
Pain in the ass
Piece of cake
Sooner or later
Pull someone’s leg
Put oneself in one’s place
I can eat a horse
Read between the lines
Rings a bell
Sleep on it
Play it by ear 
Speak of the devil

Grab a bite
Take it easy
Go with the flow
Twenty-four seven
Under the weather
Don’t sweat it
You can say that again

Beats Me
I Don’t Buy it
Keep Your Cool
Sort Of
Good For You
Good Luck

Who Cares
Big Deal
What a Small World
Now You’re Talking
Over My Dead Body
Coming Right Up
Good Thinking
Nothing Matters
Come On
Never mind
If You Insist
Stop It!
It’s Nothing

What gives?
Fair Enough
Cat Got Your Tongue
My Pleasure
It Totally Slipped My Mind
Give It to Me Straight
It’s written all over your face
Go For It
It’s a Deal
Don’t Be a Stranger
Let’s Go Fifty- Fifty
Good for Nothing
You’re Telling Me
Get a Life
Don’t Joke With Me

I Can’t Thank You Enough
My Two Cents
Just Name It
No Worries
Why so Blue?
Nature Calls
What’s Eating You?
Shame on You
Hang In There
I Owe You
Take a Hike
It’s a Piece of Cake
I’m On My Way
I’m Hosed
It’s a Long Story

Since When
Got It
You Wish
You’re Dressed to Kill
Behave Yourself
That Figures
Do Tell
No Sweat
I Blew It
I Messed Up
I Beg to Differ
Rise and Shine
You Bet
Pie in the Sky

No Strings Attached
Sleep Tight
It Can’t Hurt
I Couldn’t Agree With You More
Thank Goodness
You Made It
I’m Sick of It
Get Out of Here
You Made It Big
In Your Dreams
Hold On a Sec
That’s easier said than done
You Never Know
Back to the grind

It Serves You Right
I Can’t Wait
Lighten Up
Good Point
Just My Luck
It’s Up To You
I Told You So
You Know Better Than That
Has Been Burned
Keep Me in the Loop
I’ll Be Down
Get to the Point
Down to Earth
Sure Thing


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