Posted by Mary Daniels 25 February

What is an English idiom?

This is a little trick to sound a little smarter. An idiom is a regular word or an expression that makes no sense when taken in the literal sense. However, when taken less seriously and more figuratively, one may get the right meaning easily. Your imagination may help you understand the hidden interpretation. But some phrases can give you a hard time looking for an accurate explanation.

The list of English idioms is endless. There are terms that emerged centuries ago and haven’t lost their significance up to this day. There are terms that were brought to life just a few years ago. And there are phrases that are currently in the making and will become our daily regulars in no time.

Why is it so important to learn English-language idioms? Besides enriching your vocabulary they’ll save you from getting into embarrassing situations. Although idioms are a part of cultural and historical legacies, they are also a vital part of our everyday communication. If you don’t want to get caught by surprise and make a fool of yourself, it is about time to expand your vocabulary.

Below, we have listed the most popular English idioms. We hope that they’ll be both interesting and helpful to you.

“To Cut Corners”

Have you ever done something wretchedly just to arrive at the final result faster? Well, that’s the case with this idiom.

One of the most common idioms in English, this phrase has a hidden meaning that’s lies on the surface. Imagine you’re in a race. You need to get to the final destination by taking a long and challenging road along with fellow competitors. Or you have another option: cut the corner and get to the destination right away. It is cheating but it is also easier, faster, and less stressful. And that’s how you “cut corners”, literally.

Just like many other American English idioms, this expression has been in use for centuries now. Its ironical and usually negative undertone has earned it an unsavory reputation. Whenever you want to do something superficial to save time, money, or effort, you basically want “to cut corners”. So be careful. Don’t call out people accusing them of cutting corners for nothing.

“Call It a Day”

There are plenty of English idioms in use but this one is a big-name performer. We bet you’ve been introduced to it multiple times. Allow us to introduce you to it properly.

What is a day? A day is a time you spend from the morning till the evening. But for this expression, the day has slightly different limits. It stops the moment you think it is the right time to stop. Speaking of work, it means it is time to go home. Speaking of progress, it means it is time to stop or to take a break for a while. Speaking of anything else, it means that this anything requires intermittence. So you can use the idiom whenever you want to stop doing something.

As there are many English idioms and phrases with a similar meaning, this one is commonly used as professional slang. Although it won’t be a mistake to “call it a day” a non-professional engagement. For example, you’re tired of reading a book. You can call it a day and go chase your beauty night sleep.

“We Are in the Same Boat”

Having seasickness won’t save you from this idiom. Because its figurative meaning has no connection to boats or whatsoever. A boat means a specific situation, a particular position, an experience, or a circumstance. And you along with other people share this so-called boat.

Popular English idioms offer a wide variety of choices to express the same meaning. However, “be in the same boat” is definitely the most known one. Over the many years of existence, the expression has gained a negative underlying message. It is usually used to highlight that the boat’s in trouble and the situation poses a challenge.

But let’s focus on something more positive. There are funny English idioms, and we’re about to discuss one next.

“No Pain, No Gain”

You may be thinking “what’s so funny in pain?” You’re right. Pain isn’t funny. But the gain can be exciting, don’t you agree?

Hard work always pays off. However, hard work can be painful at times. It requires a lot of effort to achieve something truly great. So, evidently, without the pain, there’s usually no gain. English idioms dictionary gives a variety of other smart expressions with the same meaning. For example:

  • A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.
  • A going foot is aye getting.
  • Nothing seek, nothing find.
  • No work, no money.
  • No bees, no honey.
  • You snooze, you lose.
  • A cat in gloves catches no mice.
  • And many others.

As there are many life occasions to use this phrase, we recommend you to learn several synonyms for a change. Try English idioms with examples to streamline the learning process. It is always easier to learn a phrase or a word by heart if you use visuals for memorizing.

“The Last Straw”

Let’s call it a day with old English idioms. After all, we live in a world that changes faster than you read this article. Humankind has never been so united, so close. New idioms emerge from social media channels, from Netflix TV shows, from YouTube vlogs, etc. It is hard to keep up with the trends. While trends may come and come, some idioms become legendary.

Once upon a time, “the last straw” expression was nothing but one of many weird English idioms. But unlike its contemporaries, it has managed to survive and stick to our everyday vocabulary. If you don’t know the meaning behind the words, here’s a simple explanation.

Have you ever been on the verge of giving up everything? Whenever you’re fed up with something, you’re literally having “the last straw”. It is the point of no return. It means you can’t continue with the matter and need to drop it. For example, your boss is intolerable. You’ve been putting up with him for way too long. Lately, you had a rough argument. It was the last straw. You want to quit your job and have a fresh start.

Why You Need to Know Famous Idioms

Perfect writing isn’t an unattainable dream. You can master your writing skills with a little effort and a lot of time. Great writers aren’t born as great writers. They study hard, work harder, and practice their skills day after day.

Enriching your vocabulary with common English idioms is the least you can do to write better texts. Although, there is another option. An easier and less stressful option. You can order a custom essay from a professional writer. An experienced wordsmith knows how to use idioms appropriately and make your essay sound smarter. Use our service to find a reliable writing company. Hire a trusted professional and let your essays sparkle with brilliant English idioms.

Nevertheless, don’t give up on your vocabulary so easily. Try learning one English idiom per day. Make it a habit, and it’ll stick with time. Within weeks, you’ll see how exciting both writing and speaking can be if you know even a handful of stellar expressions.