Top 10 British and American English Idioms!
When learning a language, there are so many aspects to consider including accents social codes etc. and very importantly – idioms! They might not make sense literally i.e. talking the hind legs off a donkey even if you don’t happen to live on a farm or seaside resort, but they do in a cultural sense! Kaplan International have clubbed together to bring you some of the most used examples!
1. TALK THE HIND LEGS OFF A DONKEY
Meaning: this is less surgical than it sounds! This is basically a person who really talks too much.
Example: "Watch out for your phone bill when you call her - she can talk the hind legs off a donkey!"
2. POPPING OUT
Meaning: this is usually mentioned when someone is leaving their spot for a little while.
Example: "I’m just popping out for lunch."
3. RAINING CATS AND DOGS
Meaning: there are a few alternatives to this in other parts of the world – but whatever the animal used, you can assume that it’s raining a lot!
Example: "Don’t forget your umbrella when you go out, it’s raining cats and dogs out there!"
4. PIECE OF CAKE
Meaning: This is a simple way of saying something is easy – not requiring much effort.
Example: "I’m glad I used that guide for my revision – the exam was a piece of cake!"
5. A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORTH TWO IN THE BUSH
Meaning: this is a very interesting idiom – having one certain thing is better than having two possibilities that might not happen.
Example: "Do you really want to gamble all your money on the car and holiday? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!"
American English Idioms
1. LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG
Meaning: A secret or some hidden information has been revealed!
Example: "Why did he tell everyone? Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I’m in trouble!"
2. PULLING SOMEONE'S LEG
Meaning: You don’t need to grab anyone to do this – it’s a form of light hearted joke.
Example: "Don’t be so angry! She was only pulling your leg!"
3. BEND OVER BACKWARDS
Meaning: no yoga classes needed for this one – where someone goes out of their way or makes an exceptional effort.
Example: "He bent over backwards to get that phone number and in the end he’d written it down wrong!"
4. WHAT'S EATING YOU?
Meaning: Woah! Look behind you! Only kidding – this is a question of concern, asking if something’s bothering you.
Example: "She looked really worried after that class. “What’s eating you?” I asked."
5. SMELL A RAT
Meaning: No rodents required! Basically, this is when you suspect something not quite right.
Example: "I don’t like the sound of this idea – I smell a rat!"