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Halloween Idioms

5 min read
21 October, 2020
students with their halloween pumpkins

There's something amazing about Halloween time. Whether it's the crisp autumn air or the idea of coming up with a bizarre and slightly terrifying Halloween costume, it's hard not to get into the festive holiday spirit. So how does Halloween-related terminology factor into our every day English language conversations? We use spooky idioms all the time, even when we aren't aware of it! When learning English, it helps to have a strong understanding of what these sorts of idioms mean so you can use them effectively in day-to-day conversation. Read our list of 10 Halloween idioms and see how many of these Halloween sayings you already know and how many are completely new to you! 


Blood run cold

Meaning: This means you are so frightened that you can feel it all over.

Example: "That documentary has made my blood run cold!"


Devil's advocate

Meaning: Someone who plays "devil's advocate" is a person who argues an unpopular opinion for the sake of the argument.

Example: "I'll play devil's advocate for a moment to get an idea of what our opposition will say."


Dig one's grave

Meaning: You are 'digging your own grave' when you do something which you know will cause you trouble or cause further problems or ruin.

Example: "You'll dig your own grave if you cheat in the exams."


In cold blood

Meaning: To do something "in cold blood" is to act in a purposefully ruthful manner.

Example: "The man committed the murder in cold blood, without any remorse." 


Like a bat out of Hell

Meaning: This term is used to describe something that happens very quickly or suddenly.

Example: "She ran down the street like a bat out of hell."


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Over my dead body

Meaning: This is used when you refuse to let someone do something, doing everything you can to prevent it from happening.

Example: "She thinks she's buying a brand new car. Over my dead body."



Meaning: Used to describe someone as being very timid or scared about something.

Example: "James refuses to walk in the woods alone. He's a scaredy-cat."


Skeleton in the closet

Meaning: Someone with "skeletons in their closet" is someone who has something they don't want to tell you about.

Example: "Everyone has at least one skeleton in the closet."


Stab in the back

Meaning: This common phrase refers to a friend or acquaintance betraying you for their own personal gain. The most famous depiction of this comes from the assassination of Julius Caesar, in which he is literally stabbed in the back.

Example: "I told her to keep it a secret, but she told everyone. To be honest, it feels like a stab in the back."


Witch hunt

Meaning: The deliberate harassment of people with opposing views. This term comes from the literal hunts that towns used to take part in to uncover people believed to be practicing witchcraft or dark magic in the Middle Ages and up into the late 1800s.

Example: "The public are going after them like a witch hunt."



Did any of these phrases surprise you? Have you heard of any others? Let us know in the comments below!

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