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Household Idioms

3 min read
17 December 2020
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Think about all the items you have in your house, from furniture to tableware. How often do you talk about these things in your everyday English conversations? They come up more than you’d think, especially in idioms! If you’re interested in improving your English, knowing what these household idioms mean can be very useful in the development of your conversation skills.

Take a look and see which ones you’ve seen before and which ones are entirely new to you, then challenge yourself to incorporate them into your every day English. Have you seen any of these before? Take a look!


1. Brightest bulb in the box

Meaning: To be extremely smart or witty; the negative use is also very popular to refer to someone who is not smart. 

Example: “She's not the brightest bulb in the box, is she?”


2. Bun in the oven

Meaning: to have a baby growing in your belly, like how a bun rises in an oven while it cooks.

Example: "Did you see Karen the other day. She has a bun in the oven now." 




3. Bring to the table

Meaning: to provide something that adds benefit to a situation, especially in a group.

Example: "I want everyone to bring their ideas to the table tomorrow in the meeting." 


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3. Have a lot on one plate

Meaning: having many things – if not too many things – to deal with at the same time.

Example: "I hope I have time to go to the party Friday evening, but I've got so much on my plate." 


4. Lift on the curtain

Meaning: to make something public or to reveal something that a person wasn’t previously aware of

Example: "They looked like the perfect family, but now they are getting a divorce. Seems like a curtain has been lifted."


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5. Sweep it under the carpet

Meaning: to ignore a problem in the hope that it will eventually be forgotten

Example: "If you still remember my terrible singing at karaoke night, please forget that memory - sweep it under the carpet."


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