100 Idioms and their Meanings

An IDIOM is a group of words or a phrase that differs from their literal meaning. Idioms enrich the language.

In this post, we present you the top 100 Idioms and their Meanings with Examples.

100 Idioms and their Meanings

100 Idioms and Their Meanings


ABC basic knowledgeShe doesn’t have the ABC of cooking.
Above allmost importantlyAbove all, we need to prioritize safety in this project.
Above boardcompletely transparent and honestThe financial records of the company are always above the board.
All Greekcompletely incomprehensibleThe instructions in the manual were all Greek to him.
Apple of one’s eyea person or thing that is cherished above all othersHis dog is the apple of his eye.
Apple of discorda source of conflictThe inheritance became an apple of discord among the siblings.
At one’s fingertipseasily accessibleThe lawyer always has the latest legal information at his fingertips.


Bad bloodill feelingLet’s try to resolve our issues and avoid any bad blood between us.
Bag and baggagewith all belongingsShe left the apartment with her bags and baggage.
Be-all and end-allultimate goalFor him, achieving success in his career is the be-all and end-all.
Birds of a featherpeople with similar interestsThey are birds of a feather, both passionate about environmental conservation.
Bosom frienda very close friendMy childhood friend is my bosom friend; we share everything.
Build castles in the airindulge in unrealistic dreamsInstead of building castles in the air, let’s focus on our goals and work hard to achieve them.
By hook or by crookby any means necessaryShe was determined to win the competition by hook or by crook.


Call a spade a spadeto speak the truthLet me call a spade a spade and tell you that you’re not doing your job well.
Carry the daywin victoryThe home team carried the day with their last-minute goal.
Cats and dogsraining very heavilyIt’s been raining cats and dogs all day.
Cock and bull storyabsurd storyI don’t believe his cock and bull story about being abducted by aliens.
Cold waterdiscouragementThe negative comments threw cold water on his idea.
Crocodile tears fake tearsI don’t trust her crocodile tears, she’s just trying to manipulate us.


Dead againststrongly opposed toI’m dead against the proposal to build a highway through the national park.
Dead languageno longer in use as a spoken languageLatin is a dead language but is still used in academic settings.
Dead of nightmidnightThe burglars broke into the store at the dead of night.
Die in harness die while workingThe burglars broke into the store in the dead of night.
Dark horserelatively unknownThe political newcomer surprised everyone by winning the election, he was a real dark horse.


End in smokefail to materializeThe company’s plans to expand overseas ended in smoke due to lack of funding.
Every now and then occasionallyThe company’s plans to expand overseas ended in smoke due to a lack of funding.
Eke outmanage to survive with difficultyThe family was able to eke out a living by farming a small plot of land.
Every inchcompletelyShe’s every inch a professional with her confident demeanour and attention to detail.


Far cryvery different from somethingThe new restaurant is a far cry from the old one.
Far and awayby far or significantlyShe was far and away the best singer in the competition.
Fish out of water feeling uncomfortable in a new or unfamiliar situationBeing the only vegetarian at the barbecue, she felt like a fish out of water.
Fool’s paradisea false or unrealistic sense of happiness or securityIf you think you can get rich quick without any effort, you’re living in a fool’s paradise.
For goodpermanently or foreverShe left the city for good and moved to the countryside.
French leaveleaving without telling anyone or without permissionHe took French leave from the party early, without saying goodbye.


Gala daya special or festive occasionThe wedding was a gala day, with lots of music, dancing, and food.
Get by heartto memorize somethingIn order to pass the exam, she had to get the formulas by heart.
Give one’s wordto make a promise or give an assuranceHe gave his word that he would always be there to support her.
Gain the dayto win or be victoriousDespite the odds against them, the underdog team gained the day and won the championship.
Go without sayingto be obvious or not need to be statedIt goes without saying that he loves his family very much.


Hair-breadth escapea narrow or close escapeHe had a hair-breadth escape from the burning building, just managing to get out in time
Hard nut to cracka difficult problem or challengeFinding a cure for cancer is a hard nut to crack, but scientists are working tirelessly to achieve it.
Herculean taskvery difficult taskStarting a new business from scratch is always a Herculean task.
Hold goodremain validThe contract between the two parties will only hold good if both parties fulfil their obligations.
Hue and crya loud outcry or protestThe citizens made a hue and cry against the government’s decision to raise taxes.
Hush moneymoney paid to keep someone quietThe politician offered hush money to the journalist to suppress a negative story.


In a fixin a difficult situationAfter losing his job, he found himself in a fix and unable to pay his rent.
In black and whitein writingWe need to have the contract in black and white before we proceed.
In cold blooddone intentionally and without emotionThe murder was committed in cold blood and shocked the community.
In the good booksin favour with someoneAfter completing her project on time, she was in the good books of her boss.
In voguecurrently popularThis style of clothing is currently in vogue among teenagers.
In a nutshellbriefly summarizing something.In a nutshell, the company’s profits have been declining for the past year. 


Jail Birda repeat criminalThe detective recognized the suspect as a jail bird who had been in and out of prison for years.
Jack of all tradesskilled in many areasHe’s a jack of all trades and can fix anything around the house.
Jaundiced eye a biased attitudeThe employer viewed all candidates with a jaundiced eye, assuming they were all unqualified.
jot or littlethe smallest amountHe didn’t know even a jot or little about the subject.


Kith and kinnear and dear onesShe prefers to spend time with her kith and kin.
Keep pace withmatch the speed ofHe had to run faster to keep pace with his athletic friend.
Kill timeengage in leisurely activitiesShe watched TV to kill time before her flight.
Know no boundsbe limitlessThe love a mother has for her child knows no bounds.
Knock at the doorannounce arrival or opportunityA new opportunity was knocking at his door, and he had to decide whether to take it or not.


Lame excuseweak argumentHis explanation for the late submission of the report was a lame excuse.
Laughing stockobject of amusementHis clumsy dancing made him the laughingstock of the party.
Lion’s sharethe major partThe CEO took the lion’s share of the company’s profits.
Loaves and fishesspiritual benefitsHe volunteers at the shelter not for the loaves and fishes, but to give back to the community.
Lead a cat and dog lifehave a tumultuous relationshipThe couple had been leading a cat and dog life for years, but they still loved each other.
Long and shortbottom lineThe long and short of the matter is that we need to increase our sales revenue.


Make both ends meetlive frugallyThey had to make both ends meet after losing their jobs.
Maiden speechfirst public addressThe newly elected representative gave her maiden speech at the town hall.
Man of strawan insignificant personThe small-time crook was a man of straw compared to the big-time criminals.
Moot point an irrelevant matterWhether or not to have dessert after dinner is a moot point when you’re on a diet.
Make up one’s mind come to a decisionShe couldn’t make up her mind about which dress to wear to the party.
Man in the street the average personThe politician’s speech was meant to appeal to the man in the street rather than the elite.
Make boldto take a risk or do something courageous He made bold to propose to his girlfriend in front of a large crowd.


Now and theninfrequentlyI only indulge in sweets now and then, as I am trying to eat healthier.
Null and voidhaving no legal or binding effectThe contract became null and void when one of the parties breached the terms.
Narrow escapea close call or lucky avoidance of dangerI had a narrow escape from a car accident yesterday.
Nip in the budto stop something at an early stageThe company nipped the security breach in the bud before any sensitive information was compromised.
Near at handclose or imminentThe deadline for the project is near at hand and we need to speed up the work.


Of laterecently or latelyOf late, I have been experiencing a lack of motivation towards my work.
Out of doorsoutside or in the open airWe decided to have a picnic out of doors to enjoy the beautiful weather.
Out of ordernot functioning or brokenThe elevator is out of order and we need to take the stairs.
Out of temperin a bad mood or irritableThe boss was out of his temper today due to the delays in the project.
Out of the woodno longer in a difficult or dangerous situationThe patient is out of the woods and is expected to make a full recovery.
Out and outcompletely or thoroughlyThe team played an out and out aggressive game.


Palmy daysa period of prosperity and successThe company enjoyed its palmy days during the economic boom of the early 2000s.
Pick a quarrelintentionally start an argument or fightI could tell he was trying to pick a quarrel with me, but I refused to engage.
Plain sailingeasy or smooth goingThe project was plain sailing, thanks to the efficient team management.
Play ducks and drakeswaste or squander something valuableDon’t play ducks and drakes with your money if you want to save for a secure future.


Rank and fileordinary membersThe management should listen to the opinions of the rank and file of the company.
Red-tapeexcessive bureaucracyThe red tape in the government system is causing delays in the implementation of policies.
Red-letter day special occasionWinning the championship was a red-letter day for the team.
Red-handedcaught in the actThe robbers were caught red-handed by the police.
Root and branchcompletely eradicateThe government needs to uproot corruption root and branch from the country.


Salt of the eartha good and honest personMy grandfather was the salt of the earth, always helping others in need.
Smell a ratsense something suspiciousI smell a rat in his story about why he was late for the meeting.
Square dealfair and honest treatmentThe company offered a square deal to all its employees, ensuring equal opportunities and fair wages.
Stone’s throwa short distance awayThe grocery store was just a stone’s throw from his apartment.


Take heartto gain confidenceAfter a string of rejections, he took heart and continued to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.
Three R’sbasic literacy skillsMany schools in underdeveloped countries focus on teaching the three R’s.
To the backbonecompletelyShe is a feminist to the backbone and fights for women’s rights.
To the contraryto express the opposite opinionDespite what many people believe, to the contrary, cats can be trained.
Turning pointa critical momentGraduating from college was a turning point in her life, as it marked the beginning of her career.


Up and doingto be active and energeticIf you want to succeed in life, you must be up and doing.
Ups and downsthe highs and lows of lifeMarriage is a journey with its ups and downs.
Under agenot yet of legal ageHe couldn’t join the army because he was still under age.
Under the circumstancesconsidering the situationUnder the circumstances, it’s best to postpone the event.
Up and downhither and thitherThe waves of the ocean were moving up and down.


Vexed question a complex and much-debated issueClimate change remains a vexed question among policymakers.


Wild goose chasean unsuccessful pursuitSearching for the lost ring in the park proved to be a wild goose chase.
White elephantan expensive and unprofitable possessionThe luxurious yacht he bought turned out to be a white elephant.
Weal and woeboth joy and sorrow in lifeThe couple had experienced their fair share of weal and woe during their long marriage.
Widow’s mitea small but meaningful contributionThe donation of a single dollar may seem small, but it can be a widow’s mite to someone in need.
Well and goodsatisfactory and acceptableIt’s well and good that you want to help, but we need a more concrete plan.


Yeoman’s servicediligent and valuable workThe volunteer organization provided yeoman’s service to the community after the natural disaster.


Zenith of powerthe peak of one’s authority or influenceThe president’s approval ratings were at the zenith of power after his successful foreign policy initiative.

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