Have you ever been in a gathering small or large trying to fit in, making small talk with a bunch of people, and then someone says something weird something like “that’s a cock and bull story” you see everyone nod but you’re wondering what in the name of all things wonderful are they saying? As an ESL (by ESL I mean English as a Second Language) speaker there’s nothing you want more than to be heard and understood, to be fluent and sound totally like a native speaker. Trust me — I know! And I have a great tip for you. This article is going to teach you ten fun English Idioms that make you sound more like a native speaker and less like an English as a Second Language speaker!
First thing first, how can I teach you ten fun English idioms when you’re probably wondering what idioms are.
What Is An Idiom?
An idiom is an expression word or phrase that has a figurative meaning mostly understood by native speakers. This means there’s a hidden meaning behind every Idiom and this meaning is only understood by native speakers.
Ten Fun English Idioms
Now let’s get to it.
1. Spill the Beans!
No there’s no beans anywhere about to meet its tragic end, to spill the beans simply means to tell someone a secret, to let someone in on secret information.
Example: Sally looks like she’s hiding something I am going to trick her into spilling the beans.
Example 2: We were planning a surprise bridal shower for Sally but we didn’t tell Phoebe because we knew she would spill the beans!
2. Cock and Bull Story
You just told your boss at work why you came late, and he goes ‘that’s a cock and bull story’. You are wondering where in your speech you mentioned a cock and a bull, well a cock and bull story means a story that is usually extra boastful or used as an excuse simply put it’s a robust lie.
Example: Natasha didn’t make it to the birthday party, she gave me some cock and bull story about her car getting stuck in a ditch.
3. Go Bananas
This idiom was coined from the behavior of monkeys when offered bananas. It is usually used to describe extreme emotions such as love, crazy excitement, and happiness.
Example: When they blew the final whistle, Liverpool fans went bananas they had won the cup for the football season.
4. Pot Calling Kettle Black
We know pots and kettles don’t talk except in some alternate cartoon universe, this idiom is one way to point out hypocrisy. It means to call out someone for a fault that you also have.
Example: Kennedy telling Chrissy her dress was too seductive is the pot calling kettle black because her dress was even shorter.
5. Got Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed
To get up on the wrong side of the bed is to wake up grumpy, easily annoyed, and with a bad temper.
Example: The cashier at the bank is being unnecessarily rude this morning, he must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.
6. Armed to The Teeth
Picture an armed robbery scene in a movie, the police all covered up with helmets, bulletproof jackets, sheen guards, and all that stuff. To be armed to the teeth means to be overly equipped, completely ready for whatever may come.
Example: Taya came armed to the teeth for her presentation, she accurately answered all the questions they threw at her.
7. There’s a Fat Chance/Slim Chance
It simply means there’s no chance for a particular thing to happen. Fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing, don’t ask me how that’s English for you, although ‘fat chance’ is used sarcastically.
Example 1: Does Jude think I’m going to share my burrito with him? Fat chance!
Example 2: Ruth told me that there’s a slim chance she would make it to my wedding.
8. Bite the Dust
To bite the dust means to die! To meet an end, to fail.
Example: She thought her dad would bite the dust but thankfully he got a donor.
9. A Wet Blanket
This has absolutely nothing to do with laundry day, a wet blanket is known to be an effective way to put out a fire. In this situation, a wet blanket is someone who spoils fun or reduces people’s enthusiasm by disproving activities.
Example: Tasha is such a wet blanket; she was on the phone throughout the party.
10. Hold Your Horses
I know you don’t have a horse, or do you? Horses tend to get dangerously excited when faced with a scary situation like a fire. to hold your horses means you should wait, be patient, hold on. It is used to calm someone who is getting overly excited about something to stop and reconsider their decision.
Example: Hold your horses! I never said you could take me out for dinner.
Example 2: We still have a long way to go, hold your horses until we finish the project before you celebrate.
There you have it. Ten fun English idioms ESL speakers can start using today to make everyday conversations more colorful and engaging while making them sound like native speakers of English.
We hope this was helpful — continue learning and prosper in your English learning endeavors!