Idioms and Phrases with Meanings and Examples

Definition of Idiom

An idiom is a group of words that refers to the meanings of which are different from the meanings of the individual words. Idioms are compound words that combined to give a new sense that is opposite individually in meanings. Idioms play an important part in language and language learning. Many verbs, when followed by a preposition or adverbs acquire idiomatic sense.

For Example

Break Down, Cast Away, Come By, etc.

Let us define an idiom.

Far and Wide

Far and wide is an idiom, we often use. It means everywhere. We use idioms in the sentences to convey the meanings forcefully. This only to give you an idea about idioms. Let us discuss some important and mostly used idioms in daily life. We’ll discuss it categorically. Let us learn about some important idioms that we use in daily life. 

Why Learn Idioms?

The people make use of idioms on daily basis and repeatedly speak English more fluently like native speakers of the English language. The idioms also help the speakers to enhance their vocabulary. Sometimes, the writers use the idioms in their writings to make them attractive. Sometimes, idioms give the best expression of the situations rather than the normal or general words or phrases. 

Remember: There is an ocean of idioms in the bucket of English Grammar but we will learn those idioms which are important from the examination point of view. On the other hand, as a professional, we also use to speak some occasional idioms. So, such idioms are also discussed below.

Categories Wise Idioms

Colorful Idioms (Red Color)

In colorful idioms, we will discuss red color. As we know red color represents/expresses love, passion, energy, anger, danger, etc.

Red Alert → Warning

The troops were on red alert.

A Red Letter Day → Important Day

The day he got selected for the national cricket team, was a red-letter day of his life.

To Paint the Town Red → To Celebrate, Rejoice

After the exams, the students decided to paint the town red.

Red Handed → Caught while Committing a Crime

The thief was caught red-handed by the people of the street.

Red Carpet Welcome → Warm Welcome, Grand Welcome

The teacher was given a red carpet welcome. 

In Red Ink /In the Red → Lose

Even after hard work, his business was in red ink.

Red Tape → Excessive Official Formalities

Due to red tape in the house-lone scheme, the rate of customer interest fell down.

Colorful Idioms (Blue Color)

A Bolt from the Blue → A Sudden/ Unexpected/ Unpleasant Incident

The news of the failure in the exam of his son was a bolt from the blue.

Once in a Blue Moon→ Rarely Happening Thing/ Occasionally

He visits his constituency once in a blue moon.

Blue Blood → Belonging to a Royal Family

The blue blood would never understand the sufferings of the poor.

Feel Blue → Sad/ Depressed

Whenever I feel blue, I use to gossip with my friends.

Beat Black and Blue → Hurt Physically or Mentally

Unfortunately, he beat his parents black and blue.

Blue Eyed → Favourite/ One Who gets Special Attention

Smith is my blue-eyed teacher.

Blue Collar → Lower Working Class

In recent complex circumstances, the blue-collar live hands to mouth.

Out of the Blue → An Unexpected Event without any Warning

The employees got the suspension letter out of the blue.

Colorful Idioms (White Color)

White Elephant → Costly but Useless

The orange train project is a white elephant for underdeveloped countries. 

Black and White → Written in Clear and Straightforward Manner

The conditions of the contract must be in black and white.

To Show, White Feather → To Behave Cowardly 

Do not show white feather when the matter is for your rights.

White Lie → A lie for an Unimportant Matter

A told a white lie for not attending the event.

White Collar Job → Working in Office with High Pay

I like a white-collar job in an insurance corporation.

Wave a White Flag → To Surrender/ To Accept Own Defeat

When the commanders realized losses, they waved a white flag instead of a continuation.

As White as Ghost/ As White as Sheet → Turn Pale with Fear or Shock

She looked as white as a ghost/sheet on seeing a snake on her way.

Colorful Idioms (Green Color)

The green color is generally associated with life but surprisingly, it is also associated with jealousy. 

Green-Eyed → Jealous/ Envious

We should get rid of green-eyed friends.

Be Green → In Experienced/ Inexpert 

He is rather green and will not be able to control the market trends.

Get the Green Light → Getting Permission

I got the green light to start a project on an insurance organization.

Green Belt → An Area of Fields and Trees

My house is situated in an attractive green belt.

Green Thumb → A Person Skilful in Gardening

He is a green thumb and everyone wants him to be his gardener.

Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side → A person who is always dissatisfied considering others satisfied.

This is a fact that grass is always greener on the other side. 

Fruitful Idioms (Apple Based)

Apple of One’s Eye → Dearest/ Favourite

The youngest child is the apple of their parent’s eyes.

Apple Pie Order → Something Arranged Properly

The books were in apple-pie order in books fair. 

Apple of Discord → A Cause of Problem

The property division was an apple of discord between the two brothers.

Comparing Apples and Oranges → Comparing Two Different Things

My responsibility is different from yours; it is just like comparing apples and oranges.

An Apple Does Not Fall Far from the Tree → A Child Inherits His Parent’s Qualities

Adam’s Apple → Voic Box → A Floating bone of Throat from the Front which is also called the Larynx. 

Bad Apple → A Negative Impact by a Person/Thing on other

To brighten your future, beware of the bad apples.

Idioms (Fish Based)

A Big Fish →  An Important Person/ A Valued Person

He is a big fish for the organization.

To Fish in Troubled Water → To be Involved in Taking Risk

He is fishing in troubled water to get a share of the multinational insurance company.

Fish Out of Water → Unfamiliar in Surroundings

In the event, he was feeling like a fish out of water.

Drink Like a Fish → Drinker

He is suffering from bad health because he drinks like a fish.

A Cold Fish → Lacking in Emotion, Unconcerned

He is a cold fish and does not talk to his classmates.

A Fishy Story A Big Lie

We do not believe him because he tells fishy stories.

Some More Idioms

Fish For a ComplimentAttempt to Get Appreciated/Praised
Shooting Fish in a BarrelVery Easy Task
Neither Fish nor FowlUnclear, Ambiguous
To Have Other Fish to FryTo-Do More Important Things/Task 
To Have A Bigger Fish to FryDoing More Important Things/Task 

Man Related Idioms

Here man means human including man as well as woman. 

A Man Of Few WordsA Person Who Does not Speak excessively/too much
A Man of WordsWho fulfills/Keeps other’s promises
A Man of LettersScholar
A Man in the StreetA man Who is Common or Ordinary
A Man of StrawA Person Who is Weak
A Man of SubstanceA man Who is Rich, Wealthy and Influential
A Man of PartsRenaissance, Rebirth
Matchet ManA Man Who does unpleasant Things
Ladies ManA Man Who likes to enjoy the company of Ladies
Man of HourWho is honored and appreciated by the people

Idioms of ‘Sea and Ocean’

A Drop in the OceanA Small Amount of X-thing
A Spit in the OceanA Small Amount of Something
An Ocean of SomethingA lot of X-thing (X-thing may be anything)
Boil the OceanTo Try to Do impossible Task
At SeaIn a State of Confusion
A Sea ChangingA Big Change
Between the Devil and the Deep SeaIn a Very Difficult Situation

You may also learn:

Punctuations and Its Uses/Applications

Parts and Kinds of Sentence/Speech

Adverbs and Its Kinds

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