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The English Idioms That Everyone Should Know

“If you want to know the intricacies of the English language, start with idioms.”

- Olga Smith

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Australian Idioms

Barking up the wrong tree: This means that you have come to the wrong place for information, or you are asking the wrong person.

Mouth like the bottom of a cocky's cage: A dry mouth, often as a result of heavy drinking and or smoking.

Beat around the bush: When someone takes ages to say something and doesn’t get to the point.

Sitting on the fence: When you can’t make up your mind about something, or can’t choose a side.

Missed the boat: It means you have missed your chance or it is too late to do something.

Bloody bastard: Usually used to show displeasure with an action or dislike of a person.

Hit the nail on the head: To be right about something or do something efficiently.

Macca's Run: Late night trip to McDonald's, usually after a few alcoholic drinks.

Kangaroos loose in the top paddock: To be foolish, nonsensical, crazy.

Fair suck of the sauce bottle: To be treated fairly or reasonably.

Little Aussie battler: someone bravely overcoming hardship.

Popular as a rattle snake in a lucky dip: Unpopular person.

Last straw: When you’ve had enough of something.

Flat out like a lizard drinking: To be very busy.

No worries: Don’t worry about it. It’s OK.

American Idioms

Stab someone in the back: It means to hurt someone who was close to us and trusted us by betraying them secretly and breaking their trust.

You can’t judge a book by its cover: The figurative meaning of the expression is, acquire information before making a snap judgement.

Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth: Someone who comes from a wealthy and successful family.

Blow off steam: It means that you will blow off steam by doing something such as exercising to get rid of the stress.

Hang in there: to keep going, keep moving forward, and to not give up with things get difficult.

Better late than never: doing something a week late is better than to never do it at all.

All bets are off: It means that the agreements that have been made no longer apply.

Break a leg: is used to wish someone good luck, typically regarding a performance.

Costs an arm and a leg: If something is so expensive that it shocks you.

To go from rags to riches: To go from being poor to having a lot of money.

Hit the books: This means that you need to learn a lot.

When pigs fly: It means that it will never happen.

Big Apple: The Big Apple is New York.

To have sticky fingers: To be a thief.

Kick back: to relax and take it easy.

British Idioms

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves: If you take care not to waste small amounts of money, then it will accumulate into something more substantial.

Don't wash your dirty laundry in public: When couples argue in front of others or involve others in their personal problems and crises.

Itchy feet: This refers to when you want to stray from one's routine try or do something new, such as travelling.

Another string to your bow: A saying used to imply adding another skill to a good set of already acclaimed skills.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: Don't concentrate all your resources in one place, or you could lose everything.

All talk and no trousers: Someone talks about doing big, important things, but doesn't take any action.

Taste of your own medicine: It means that you get treated the way you've been treating others.

Box clever: You use your intelligence to get what you want, even if you have to cheat a bit.

Banana skin: It is something that is an embarrassment or causes problems.

The ball is in your court: It means that you have to make the next move.

Kill two birds with one stone: When you accomplish two tasks in one go.

Leg it: means to run quickly, usually away from something or someone.

Easy-peasy (Easy peasy lemon squeezy): Extremely easy or simple.

See eye to eye: When two or more people agree on something.

Cheap as chips: It means extremely cheap.


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