What is an idiom?

Idioms are phrases that have a different figurative meaning than the actual literal meaning of the words placed together.

For instance, He's in hot water doesn't literally mean that someone is in hot water. Rather, it figuratively means that they're in trouble.

Likewise, We're in the same boat doesn't actually mean that two people are in a boat together. It means that they're in the same situation.

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Examples of common idioms

Here are some other common idioms and their meanings:

  • Rip-off: too expensive
  • Down to the wire: at the last minute
  • Drawing a blank: can't remember something
  • Give it a shot: trying to do something
  • Having second thoughts: having doubts
  • Getting your act together: starting to behave properly
  • Second to none: the best
  • Getting cold feet: feeling nervous
  • Playing it by ear: improvising
  • A bull in a china shop: someone who is clumsy
  • Crying crocodile tears: faking being upset
  • Busy as a bee: working hard at something
  • Birdbrain: not very smart
  • Hold your horses: wait a minute
  • Let the cat out of the bag: tell a secret
  • Mumbo jumbo: nonsense, something that's hard to explain
  • See eye to eye: agree on something
  • Fish out of water: feelling like you don't belong
  • Night owl: staying up late
  • Pigging out: eating a lot

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