School Idioms

Are you a bookwork or a copycat? School idioms are popular with students and teachers alike. You may already know some of these school idioms if you have studied in an English-speaking country, but it's always good to remind yourself of them.

Discover how to use these school idioms in everyday conversation by checking out the example sentences below:


1. Boffin (uk) / EGGHEAD (US)

A geek, someone who is very clever at school, but less so for non-academic pursuits.

Example: "You're such a boffin, all you do is study." 


2. Bookworm

Someone who reads a lot. 

Example: “Chase spent all day in the library revising for the big exam. He’s turned into such a bookworm!” 




3. Brainstorm 

When you try to develop a new idea or think of new ideas.

Example: “The marketing team sat down for a brainstorm as they need some new ideas for their next campaign.”


4. bunk (uk) / Cut class (Us)

To skip a lesson or day at school. 

Examples: "Most people cut class yesterday to go to the beach. It was the first hot day of the summer after a long, cold winter." 

"I'm going to bunk biology class, I haven't done my homework for it."


5. Copycat 

When used in school, it describes someone who copies the work of another. It can also be used more generically when a person copies someone else's ideas, hobbies and opinions on a topic.

Example: “Hazel was accused of being a copycat when the teacher saw her looking at Rob’s exam answers.” 


6. Crack open a book

To open a book to study (usually used in the negative). 

Example: Marc didn't crack open his biology book all semester. It's no surprise he needed to cram. 


Students in class
How many of these school idioms have you heard before?


7. Dropout

When someone discontinues or abandons their studies to pursue something else.

“Mike studied extra hard for his exams because he did not want to be a high school dropout.” 


8. Hit the books 

When you begin to study hard.

Example: “Jonas hit the books when he realized that he had a very important exam the next day.” 


9. Pass with flying colors 

To easily succeed; to do very well on an exam. 

Example: “Julian was uncertain about the important exam even though his teacher told him that he would pass with flying colors!” 


10. Skip class 

When you don't turn up to your scheduled class.

“Martin was tempted to skip class because his next lesson involved a difficult maths test.” 


11. Teacher's pet

The one pupil in class favored by the teacher.

Example: “Candida didn’t mind being the teacher’s pet because she always got good grades.” 



School idioms are great to learn as most of these aren't just limited to school situations - they can be used at college and work too. How many can you remember?



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