English language idioms

Here are 10 English language idioms, that you might find useful to know.

bitter-pill

A bitter pill (to swallow)

A situation or information that is unpleasant but must be accepted.

Example:

Losing to a younger player was a bitter pill to swallow.

Not winning the Premiership was a bitter pill to swallow for a team that was used to winning every year.

its-raining-cats-and-dogs

It’s raining cats and dogs!

Something that you could say when it is ​raining ​heavily.

Example:

Charlie: How’s the weather in London?

Mary: Oh, it’s raining cats and dogs.

Arm-and-leg

An Arm and a Leg

Very expensive, a large amount of money.

Example:

Everything the restaurant offers tastes good, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

iPhones cost an arm and a leg.

piece-of-cake

Piece of cake

Something that is very easy to do.

Example:

When you know what you’re doing, it’s a piece of cake. 

That exam was a piece of cake!

Piece of cake!

all-ears

All ears

Listening intently; fully focused or awaiting an explanation.

Example:

Well, hurry up and tell me. I’m all ears.

She was all ears after her name was announced.

hot-potato

A hot potato

Speak of an issue (mostly current) which many people are talking about and which is usually causes a lot of disagreement.

Example:

The EU debate is a political hot potato in the United Kingdom.

salt

Take with a grain of salt

To understand that something is likely to be untrue or incorrect.

Example:

I’ve read the article, which I take with a grain of salt.

She always takes survey findings with a grain of salt.

barking-up-the-wrong-tree

Barking up the wrong tree

To be wrong about the reason for something or the way to achieve something.

Example:

He had nothing to do with the robberythe police are really barking up the wrong tree this time.

She ​thinks it’ll ​solve the ​problem, but I ​think she’s ​barking up the ​wrong ​tree.

under-the-weather

Under the weather

Feel sick or poorly.

Example:

I feel sort of under the weather today.

Whatever I ate for lunch is making me feel a bit under the weather.

Call it a day

To declare the end of a task. To quit work and go home or to say that a day’s work has been completed.

Example:

I’m tired. Let’s call it a day.

The boss was mad because Tom called it a day at noon and went home.

Let’s call it a day on this article.