What are the most commonly used Idioms in English?

An idiom is a wise saying with an underlying meaning that packs a punch with societal principles and cultural values packed into it. An idiom is a combination of words that have a figurative meaning yet express an idea with it. It is a word or phrase that is understood differently but actually means different from what it denotes.

The dictionary meaning of the words or phrases used in idioms is different from the contextual meaning that is denoted by idioms when used in speech. The meaning is contextual, informal and culturally understood.

There are thousands of idioms used in the English language. Let us examine a few of them here:

  • A penny for your thoughts…..This is a way of asking a person as to what is on his mind or what is he thinking of?

  • Cry over spilled milk …..when someone is complaining about a loss in the past he is said to be crying over spilled milk.

  • Couch potato…..this phrase is used to denote a lazy person.

  • Crocodile tears…..When someone is faking emotions or being melodramatic falsely he is said to shed crocodile tears.

  • Cold shoulder ….when someone shows aloofness, disdain or ignores you they are said to be giving you a cold shoulder treatment.

  • Call it a day…..when one has decided to end the matter or close a particular issue this phrase is used.

  • Bite off more than you can chew….when one takes on or shoulders a responsibility more than he or she can handle then this phrase is used to describe their plight.

  • Devil's advocate…..when one presents a counter-argument he is said to be the devil's advocate.

  • The ball is in your court …these words are used to suggest that the decision is in your hands or the onus lies on you to take the next step.

  • A bitter pill….an unpleasant situation that has to be accepted is described thus.

  • Actions speak louder than words …..peoples intentions are judged by what they do rather than by what they say

  • All ears ….when one is listening with attention and focus then he says he is all ears.

  • At the drop of a hat ……action was taken without any hesitation or doubt

  • Bed of roses …..when life is easy and comfortable it is said to be a bed of roses

  • Best of both worlds ……a situation where one enjoys the benefits of both ways and is in an advantageous position either ways then she is said to be having the best of both worlds

  • The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence ……when a person is never satisfied with his current position and is always longing for something other than what he has and thinks others are better off than him then this idiom is used to describe.

  • Face the music …to tell someone to face the consequences of his wrongdoings and accept punishment this idiom is used.

  • Rings a bell…….when someone’s name sounds familiar it is said to ring a bell

Idioms are best understood through usage and familiarity colloquially rather as per their dictionary meaning. The context in which it is used creates the effect intended only when the meaning is correctly understood.