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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions

Lists of well-known English idioms with their meaning.


What are idioms?

Idioms are words, phrases or expressions commonly used in everyday conversation by native speakers of English. Learning the most well-known idioms will help make your English sound more fluent.

Idioms are often metaphorical and make the language more colourful. People use them to express something more vividly and often more briefly. They serve as an image or mental picture.

Example: Let the cat out of the bag:   If you let the cat out of the bag, you reveal a secret.

N.B. It is important to remember that idiomatic expressions are used when speaking informally. They are not used in formal exchanges.

The idioms below are categorised by theme or categories that relate to the same subject matter.
Alphabetical lists will be found on the next page.

Lists of idioms categorised by theme :

→ next page:  alphabetical lists

detailed alphabetical lists  proverbs  back to homepage