Learning English idioms in practice

Idioms in English

English іdioms: Popular phrases and their meanings

The English language is rich with idioms – phrases whose meanings cannot be understood literally, as they often have a figurative sense. Idioms are frequently used in everyday conversation, so knowing them will help you better understand native speakers and express your thoughts more vividly. In this article, we will examine some popular idioms and examples of their usage. Mastering idioms makes language richer and more interesting, allowing you to better convey emotions and thoughts. In this article, we will look at some popular idioms and examples of their use, and at the end of the article, complete an exercise using the idioms covered to reinforce your new or review your existing knowledge of English.

Learning popular phrases and their meanings

“A bit”

Used to indicate a small amount of something

  • Example: “Can you give me a bit of sugar?”

“About time”

Used when something long-awaited finally happens.

  • Example: “It’s about time you arrived!”

“Across the board”

Means a comprehensive approach that includes everyone or everything.

  • Example: “The new policy affects everyone across the board.”

“Act up”

Describes a situation where someone misbehaves or something malfunctions.

  • Example: “The children started to act up during the long trip.”

“After my own heart”

Used to describe someone who has similar interests or tastes to you.

  • Example: “She’s a woman after my own heart.”

“Against the clock”

Describes a situation where you need to do something very quickly within a limited time.

  • Example: “We are racing against the clock to finish the project.”

“All along”

This phrase means “the whole time” or “from the beginning.”

  • Example: “I knew the answer all along.”

“All hours”

Means irregular or any time.

  • Example: “He works all hours of the night.”

“Along in years”

Used to describe the aging process.

  • Example: “He’s getting along in years, but he’s still very active.”

“And then some”

This phrase means “and even more”.

  • Example: “The project will cost $10,000 and then some.”

“Babe in the woods”

Describes an innocent or naive person.

  • Example: “He’s like a babe in the woods when it comes to business.”

“Back down”

Means to retreat or abandon one’s position.

  • Example: “She refused to back down in the argument.”

“Back out”

Signifies withdrawing from participation or backing out of a deal.

  • Example: “He decided to back out of the deal at the last minute.”

“Bad trip”

Often used to describe an unpleasant experience, especially related to drugs.

  • Example: “He had a bad trip after taking the drug.”

“Bat an eye”

Means not to show any reaction or remain indifferent.

  • Example: “She didn’t bat an eye when she heard the shocking news.”

“Bear in mind”

Used to mean “remember” or “take into account”.

  • Example: “Bear in mind that it might rain today.”

“Beat around the bush”

Used when someone avoids answering a question directly.

  • Example: “Stop beating around the bush and answer the question.”

“Beef up”

Means to strengthen or make something stronger.

  • Example: “We need to beef up our security measures.”

“Behind the scenes”

Describes what happens backstage or privately.

  • Example: “A lot of work was done behind the scenes.”

“Below the belt”

This phrase is used to describe unfair or unethical treatment.

  • Example: “That comment was really below the belt.”

To check how well you understand these idioms, move on to the exercise below. You can find more idioms in our article: 50 Common English Idioms You Need to Know

Exercise – Practice with the idioms covered

Idiom Definition & Meaning

Practice. Idioms (quiz, test)

"Behind the scenes" means _____.

"Against the clock" means _____.

"He didn't bat an eye" means the same as _____.

To "back out" means _____.

"A bit" means _____.

"About time" means _____.

To "beat around the bush" means _____.

A "babe in the woods" means _____.

To "beef up" means _____.

To "act up" means _____.

"All along" means _____.

To "bear in mind" means _____.

To "back down" means _____.

A "bad trip" means _____.

A man "after my own heart" means _____.

"And then some" means _____.

"All hours" means _____.

"Across the board" means _____.

"Along in years" means _____.

"Below the belt" means _____.

Your score is


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