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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions
Lists of idioms used in everyday conversational English, with their meaning.


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πŸ“” Nip something in the bud



πŸ“‹Meaning
  To stop a bad situation from becoming worse by taking action at an early stage of its development.


πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œWhen the kid shows the first signs of misbehaving, you should nip that bad behavior in the bud.”
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πŸ“” cat's pajamas


πŸ“‹Meaning
Something or someone highly enjoyable, desirable, or impressive, especially in a fancy or elaborate way. Primarily heard in US.

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£Tom's new Cadillac is really the cat's pajamas!

πŸ—£Boy, that singer last night was the cat's pajamas, wasn't she?
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πŸ“” Between a rock and a hard place



πŸ“‹Meaning
  In difficulty, faced with a choice between two unsatisfactory options.


πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œI can understand why she couldn’t make up her mind about what to do. She’s really between a rock and a hard place.”
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πŸ“” (someone) is endgame


πŸ“‹Meaning
slang In fandom, the idea that a particular romantic couple (or potential romantic couple) is meant to be together (and, in the context of a fictional work, that one thinks should be in a relationship when the work ends). The term is usually used by fans who are very invested in the pairing. Often, a portmanteau of the characters' names precedes the verb, which is singular (despite alluding to multiple people).

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£Although Jackson and April on Grey's Anatomy had a rocky relationship over the years, Japril is still endgame for many fans.

πŸ—£Klaine was always endgame to me, so I'm not surprised they ended up together on Glee.

πŸ—£Really, Daenerys and Jon Snow were endgame for you? I guess I just didn't see it.
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πŸ“” As cold as stone



πŸ“‹Meaning
  Being very cold and unemotional.



πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œIn the Victorian times, many women were told to suppress their feelings and, thus, appeared as cold as stone.”
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πŸ“” false friend


πŸ“‹Meaning
A phrase, word, or letter that sounds or looks similar to one in another language or dialect but has a significantly different meaning.

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£I used the word "embarazada" to tell my Spanish friend I was embarrassed, not knowing that it was a false friend and actually means "pregnant"β€”now I'm even more embarrassed!
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πŸ“” Clear as mud



πŸ“‹Meaning
  Not clear at all, not easy to understand.



πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œHe’s a great scientist, but I find his explanation of bacteria and microbes as clear as mud.”
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πŸ“” farmer's tan


πŸ“‹Meaning
A tan or sunburn on the neck and lower arms that results from wearing a T-shirt during prolonged sun exposure and that is clearly demarcated from the pale skin of the chest and upper arms that remained covered.

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£It was so warm that I only wore a T-shirt on the four-hour hike, but I had a pretty gnarly farmer's tan by the end of the day.
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πŸ“” Let the dust settle



πŸ“‹Meaning
  To allow a situation to become calm or normal again after something exciting or unusual has happened.


πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œYou just had big news yesterday, let the dust settle and don’t make any decisions yet.”
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πŸ“” close the barn door after the horse has bolted


πŸ“‹Meaning
To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done.

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£It isn't worth replacing the oil filter on the engine nowβ€”you can't close the barn door after the horse has bolted.
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πŸ“” Sell ice to Eskimos



πŸ“‹Meaning
  To be able to sell anything to anyone; to persuade people to go against their best interests or to accept something unnecessary or preposterous.



πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œHe’s a gifted salesman, he could sell ice to Eskimos."
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πŸ“” flip (one's) wig



πŸ“‹Meaning
To react to something, good or bad, with strong emotion.

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£I had to talk to Mr. Myers about the botched report today, and boy, did he flip his wig.

πŸ—£I figured Aunt June would be excited to hear I'm getting married, but she totally flipped her wig!
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πŸ“” Break the ice



πŸ“‹Meaning
  To attempt to become friends with someone.



πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œHe made a weather joke to break the ice.”
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πŸ“” cool customer


πŸ“‹Meaning
Someone who remains even-tempered, especially in stressful situations.

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£Brad is such a cool customer. Nothing ever seems to bother him.
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πŸ“” Salt of the earth



πŸ“‹Meaning
  Being honest and good.


πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œMy father is the salt of the earth. He works hard and always helps people who are in need.”
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πŸ“” fine print


πŸ“‹Meaning
The details of a contract or other document that are important but easily overlooked (often due to very small size of the text.)

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ If you had read the fine print, we wouldn't be going to court over this, now would we?

πŸ—£ Be sure to read the fine print before you sign any contracts!
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πŸ“” Down to earth



πŸ“‹Meaning
  To be practical and sensible.


πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œIt’s a stereotype, but Dutch people are known for being down to earth.”
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πŸ“” drive (one's) pigs to market


πŸ“‹Meaning
To snore.

πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£I can't get any sleep with Will driving his pigs to market every nightβ€”I think it's time for him to see a doctor about his snoring.
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πŸ“” Castle in the sky



πŸ“‹Meaning
  A daydream, a hope, especially for one’s life, that’s unlikely to come true.



πŸ€”For example ⬇️

πŸ—£ β€œWorld traveling used to be a castle in the sky for most people a few decades ago, but with cheap flight tickets and the global use of English, many youngsters are living that dream.”
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