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Idioms List with Examples and Usage

IdiomExplanationExample usage
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. 
   
   
   

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