What are Common Idioms in English for Kids? Definition, Meaning, Examples, List

What are idioms? Any idea! In this post, we are going to discuss English Idioms for kids along with the definition, meaning, a lot of examples, and a common list. So, let’s get started.

What are Idioms? Definition, Meaning, Examples?

Let’s understand idioms with the help of idioms definition as well as meaning.

Idioms Definition

Idioms in the English language are commonly used phrases that help create a contextual meaning. Just using them without the context doesn’t make much sense, but it shines like jewels when used in the proper place.

  • English idioms and other proverbs some of the most frequently used elements in our day-to-day conversations.
  • One of the best things about them is that they can both be used in written and spoken English.
  • As I mentioned earlier, idioms don’t make much sense literally or without context.

That’s why you need to know and understand the meaning of them before using them. We can define idioms as, ”a group of words which is used to have a meaning and can be different than the individual word.”

Idioms Meaning

Let’s try to understand the meaning of idioms with a simple example.

“See eye to eye” is an example of idioms. What do you think about the meaning of this idiom? Words are used,

  • See
  • eye

In general, the meaning of these idioms seems as someone has to see eye to eye, but it is not true! It means ”agreeing with someone on something”. For examples: Me and my sister, I don’t really see eye to eye on everything. Hence, from this example, the meaning of idioms is clear.

What are Examples of Idioms?

Let’s see few examples to have a better understanding.

Example-1: “The best of both worlds”

  • Meaning of Idioms: Managing two separate benefits at the same time.
  • Idioms Sentence Examples: She went to college and worked part-time at the record store. Best of both worlds – don’t you think?

Example-2: “Speak of the devil”

  • Meaning of Idioms: The person about whom you are talking appears suddenly.
  • Idioms Sentence Examples: Speak of the devil, and he appears! How are you, John?

Example-3: “Once in a blue moon”

  • Meaning of Idioms: Something that happens rarely.
  • Idioms Sentence Examples: I only get to have pizza once in a blue moon.

Example-4: “When pigs fly”

  • Meaning of Idioms: Something that can never happen.
  • Idioms Sentence Examples: She will agree to sit for studying when pigs will fly.

Example-5: “To feel under the weather”

  • Meaning of Idioms: To not feel well.
  • Idioms Sentence Examples: I can’t come to school; I am really feeling under the weather today.

Example-6: “To kill two birds with one stone”

  • Meaning of Idioms: Managing to solve two problems at once.
  • Idioms Sentence Examples: By asking John to babysit and me out with Rebecca, I managed to kill two birds at once.

Now, the list of idioms can be long and exhaustive but learning them can be fun, and with all these new expressions, you can add some variety to your speech easily, making it sound even more enjoyable. Adding idioms to your speech is a great way to sound more native. Now, idioms can differ a bit region-wise.

Like, for example, some of the idioms that you might find very frequently used in American TV shows or movies might be a bit different from the ones you might find on UK TV shows, news, or other broadcasting platforms. Here, in this post, we have tried to compile a list of some of the modern idioms that you can use anytime while conversing. But we will come to that further in the post.

List of Common Idioms 

When it comes to other usages of idioms, we must mention the English prepositional idioms. They are several in numbers and often tend to confuse both English language learners and native speakers alike. One of the most significant challenges in mastering these idioms is memorizing the use of prepositions they take. Since there is no rule by which you can apply them, the only possible way is to read a lot and slowly learn the pattern.

The more you will read, the more examples you will come across, and the usage will be imprinted inside your mind. Now, let’s look at some of the idioms that you can learn and add to your daily conversations.

“To cut corners”

  • Meaning: Doing something badly or in a cheap way.
  • Example: “They must have really cut corners while building this hotel – just look at the rooms!

To add insult to injury”

  • Meaning: To make something worse.
  • Example: I lost my watch today, and to add insult to injury, I ripped my jeans as well while returning.

You can’t judge a book by its cover

  • Meaning: Never judge a person or a thing based on their appearance.
  • Example: I never thought that weakling like Rick would stand up against bullying; after all, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

“Break a leg”

  • Meaning: Good luck.
  • (Often said to actors or players before getting on the stage or the field.)
  • Example: Go and break a leg out there Jordan, you’ve got this!

“A blessing in disguise

  • Meaning: What seemed bad at first turned out to be beneficial!
  • Example: Because of the rain we stayed indoors and have a lovely together, kind of like a blessing in disguise, isn’t it?

“A dime a dozen”

  • Meaning: Something common.
  • Example: He giving lectures on everything is like a time a dozen.

“Beat around the bush”

  • Meaning: Avoid speaking your heart out since it is uncomfortable.
  • Example: He beat around the bush for one hour straight before confessing.

“Better late than never”

  • Meaning: Instead of not coming at all, it’s better to come late.
  • Example: Oh, John! You are finally here! Better late than never!

“Bite the bullet”

  • Meaning: Trying to get something over with since it is bound to happen.
  • Example: There is no point in delaying when you will have to bite the bullet.

“Call it a day”

  • Meaning: Stop working on something.
  • Example: That’s enough for one day; let’s call it a day!

“Cut somebody some slack”

  • Meaning: Not being very critical about something.
  • Example: You shouldn’t be so harsh with him; sometimes, you ought to cut him some slack!

“Easy does it”

  • Meaning: Slow down or doing something slowly.
  • Example: There you go, Rony, easy does it; nice and easily lower the crane!

“Get out of hand”

  • Meaning: Get out of control.
  • Example: You need to stop him before things go out of hand.

“Get something out of your system”

  • Meaning: Do exactly what you needed to do for a long time to forget that and move on with your life.
  • Example: There’s no way, but you will have to get here out of your system.

“Get your act together”

  • Meaning: Perform your duties better or just leave.
  • Example: You should get your act together before they fire you from the job.

“Give someone the benefit of the doubt”

  • Meaning: Believing whatever someone is saying.
  • Example: At first, the judge gave him the benefit of doubt, but then the evidence was against him.

“Go back to the drawing board”

  • Meaning: Start over.
  • Example: After the plan failed, they went back to the drawing board.

“Hang in there”

  • Meaning: Don’t give up.
  • Example: Hang in there, Mikey; the police will be here any minute now.

“Hit the sack”

  • Meaning: Go to sleep.
  • Example: You know what? It’s already quite late, and I need to hit the sack.

“It’s not rocket science

  • Meaning: It’s not something difficult or complicated.
  • Example: Managing books in a grocery shop, it’s not rocket science at all!

“Let someone off the hook”

  • Meaning: Not to hold someone responsible for something.
  • Example: After much deliberation, he finally managed to let Cathy off the hook.

“Make a long story short”

  • Meaning: Tell something briefly.
  • Example: You know we don’t have all day to ourselves, make the long story short.

“Miss the boat”

  • Meaning: Too late to do something at present.
  • Example: You missed the boat, my friend; she left this place last night.

“No pain, no gain”

  • Meaning: You have to work for what you want/ you will have to take the chance to succeed.
  • Example: Always remember, no pain, no gain, you will have to take the chance.

“On the ball”

  • Meaning: Doing a good job.
  • Example: He is staying on the ball; it will be good for his promotion.

“Pull someone’s leg”

  • Meaning: To joke with someone.
  • Example: Whenever he met John, he used to pull his leg.

“Pull yourself together”

  • Meaning: Calm down.
  • Example: I know you are feeling sad, but you need to pull yourself together.

“So far so good”

  • Meaning: Things are going well so far.
  • Example: Nice job, Mr. Jones, so far so good.

“That’s the last straw”

  • Meaning: My patience has run out.
  • Example: When he misbehaved with me, I lost my last straw.

“Time flies when you’re having fun”

  • Meaning: When we are having fun, we fail to keep track of time.
  • Example: It was well past midnight when our party ended. Time really kind of flies when you are having fun, am I right?

“To get bent out of shape”

  • Meaning: To get upset.
  • Example: He was bent out of shape upon hearing the bad news.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”

  • Meaning: Avoiding talking about the problem at present.
  • Example: Why are you bickering now? Let us cross that bridge when we come to it, understood?

“Wrap your head around something”

  • Meaning: Understand something complicated.
  • Example: I need to wrap my head around this to fully understand its depth.

“You can say that again”

  • Meaning: Agreeing to something true!
  • Example: The rain is a relief! Well, you can say that again!

“Your guess is as good as mine”

  • Meaning: I have no idea.
  • Example: I am standing exactly where you are, so your guess is as good as mine.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

  • Meaning: You should count on what you already have rather than what is uncertain.
  • Example: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; always remember this, John.

“A penny for your thoughts”

  • Meaning: Expressing what one is thinking.
  • Example: Would you like a penny for your thoughts?

“A penny saved is a penny earned”

  • Meaning: The money you save today can be used tomorrow.
  • Example: It’s not a bad day at all; a penny saved is a penny earned, isn’t it?

“A perfect storm”

  • Meaning: Possibly the worst situation.
  • Example: His coming back to the school was a perfect storm for the students.

“A picture is worth 1000 words”

  • Meaning: Always better to show something rather than telling about it.
  • Example: Stop this blabbering. Don’t you know a picture is worth 1000 words?

“Actions speak louder than words”

  • Meaning: Letting the action convey the message.
  • Example: My actions always speak louder than words.

“Barking up the wrong tree”

  • Meaning: Having mistaken something.
  • Example: You are barking up the wrong tree there; he is not going to help you.

“Birds of a feather flock together”

  • Meaning: Like-minded people will always be friends.
  • Example: Of course, Jim and Tom are best friends; birds of a feather flock together, you see?

“Bite off more than you can chew”

  • Meaning: Doing something out of your capacity!
  • Example: He tried to bite off more than he can chew by attempting that test.

Check out a few worksheets for idioms for practice.

Idioms vs Cliché

The reason for including this section is that often idioms and cliché are used in each other’s place. However, they are not the same, and you need to know the context for both of them to use them appropriately. For example,

  • the cat who ate the canary” is a very famous instance of cliché.

This hackneyed expression is used and overused to such an extent that the phrase has lost its effectiveness. But in one aspect, they are just like idioms. You cannot make out their meaning by transposing them; instead, you must know the implicit meaning.

Like the cliché mentioned above has nothing to do with a canary or even a feline. Rather it indicates a person who manages to get away after committing mischief. Would you like another such example?

  • Here it is, “throw the baby out with the bathwater”.

Any guesses about what it means? Well, let me give you a hint, it has nothing to do with baby or bathwater. Actually, it means a state of hastiness where you wish to get rid of something very quickly, yet you throw out something else much more valuable while doing so. But this same kind of theory will not be applicable for every other idiom in existence.

  • Like if we take the idiom, “all of a sudden”.

While on the surface, we all know that it means suddenly. But the question why don’t we use suddenly instead of using “sudden” as a noun?

  • Do we often use “sudden” as a noun?

But when it comes to this idiom, this creates a specific impact and makes a different impression altogether. When used contextually, it doesn’t sound ridiculous anymore. Much like, “all of a sudden, everything starts to make sense now!” isn’t it?


So, there you go, all about idioms in the English language along with their examples. If you have any further questions regarding idioms and their uses, please feel free to mention them in the comments section. We will try our best to solve your queries and answer your questions as soon as possible. Further Study

What is an Adjective?

How to learn English

Parts of Speech

Spoken English

Common errors in English

Study Windows

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