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Idioms in English

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, September 10, 2012

In many languages spoken words can have a completely different meaning than their dictionary definitions, and English is no different! These discrepancies come from how English has evolved as it is actually spoken day to day. Some words or phrases may begin to deviate, or completely change, from the strict dictionary definition. The general term for this spoken version of English is “conversational English,” and linguists call it “colloquial language”. This spoken English includes oddities like slang, jargon and idioms that aren’t included in the dictionary. Learning a new language can be so complicated!

An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definition of the individual words. Learning idioms can be a fun conversation starter with your visitor! Here is a list of some of the commonly used idioms in the English language.

To be “green with envy” --  to be jealous

“In so many words” -- a short definition or summary

“You’re pulling my leg” -- to joke or lie

“Let’s get to the bottom of the situation” -- to figure something out

“Give the contestants a big hand” -- to clap loudly

We’ll “play this by ear” -- we don’t have a plan or schedule

He “drives me up the wall” -- he exasperates or annoys you

I “feel like a million dollars” – you feel good

We’re almost “out of the woods” – a problem or bad situation has been solved

That sounds “fishy” – that sounds suspicious

“Hang on” – wait

He’ll “tag along” – he’ll come with us  

There are literally thousands of idioms in the English language! Can you think of any more unusual ones? Here is a full list of interesting idioms, pick your favorites and share them with Global Immersions! 

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