200+ Best Idioms with Using Various Category | Best Idiom List with Example

Best Idioms: Here is a list of some important idioms with an example that will be very helpful for your English language skills.

What is Idiom?

Idiom means "an expression whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words in it"

Any one, two or more words, or a set of words when it has been used for a specific meaning instead of its original meaning is called an idiom.

For Example: “to spill the beans” is an Idiom. The general meaning of “to spill the beans” is different but it is used as an idiom so as an idiom it means “to reveal a secret”.

Why Idiom is so important?

To learn any language at a high level, it is necessary to have knowledge of various forms of language and depth of grammar. Knowledge of the grammar of the language along with its idiom, idiom, etc. can enhance the personal beauty of speaking or writing the language.

Here we have given you a list of some very common and used idioms in the language of everyday life, their examples, and meanings. Using such idioms, sayings, or expressions in speaking or writing a language will strengthen one’s personal grip on the language.

Usually, even in TV shows, movies, etc. idioms, sayings, or expressions are used in abundance, it is difficult to enjoy them if their knowledge is not enough.

Idiom List with Example

Here we bring you various categories like Fruit and Vegetable, Food, Animal and Bird, Nature, Color, Emotion, and Feeling, etc. I have shared Idiom with you, bookmark the table below to make it easier to read again.

Idiom using Fruits and Vegetable

IdiomMeaningExample
apple of one’s eyea person liked or adored by someoneI am the apple of my father’s eye so he fulfills all my wishes
to spill the beansto reveal secretHe spilled the beans about his affairs at the press conference
as cool as cucumbercalm and not nervous in any situationShe remained as cool as cucumber even when all were against her in a family dispute.
hold out/offer an olive branchsomething offered in peace or goodwillThey offered an olive branch by releasing the prisoners of the enemy country.
couch potatoa person who watches TV for a long timeI was a couch potato during my college days
hard nut to crackdifficult problem to solve Passing the IELTS exam is a hard nut to crack for many vernacular medium students
salad daysyouthful period of one’s lifeI enjoyed my salad days to the fullest and would cherish it a lifetime.
bear fruitto produce or give resultThey worked very hard on the project and ultimately it bore fruit after 3 years.
compare apple and orangesto compare two completely different thingsTo compare the remuneration of movie stars and television stars are like comparing apple and oranges
cherry-pickto choose the most beneficial from what is availableI am very good at cherry-picking, especially from the flea market
to be like two peas in a podto be very similar I and my best friend are like two peas in a pod.
Idiom using Fruits and Vegetable

Idiom using Food

IdiomMeaningExample
to butter upto flatter someoneHe never leaves a chance to butter up his boss to seek a promotion.
a piece of cake something easy or pleasantTeaching English is a piece of cake for me.
to sell like hotcakesto sell quickly or in large quantitiesHis recently released book is selling like hot cakes.
icing on the cake an extra benefit that makes a good situation even betterOn top of promotion getting a company car was an icing on the cake for me
bread and butterone’s income or earningMy teaching job is my only bread and butter as of now
put all your eggs in one basketdepends on one plan or one source of incomeA good businessman will never put all his eggs in one basket.
no use crying over a spilt milkuseless to complain or have a regret about something that is done and cannot be changedMy new purse is stolen and it was my favourite one but now there is no use crying over spilt milk.
one’s cup of teafield of one’s skill Handling small kids is not my cup of tea.
Idiom using Food

Idiom using Animals and Birds

IdiomMeaningExample
social butterflya person who having lots of friends and likes to move from one social event to anotherMy friend is a social butterfly so I always catch her up in one or the other social events
crocodile tearsshed false tearsThough she was not hurt, she shed crocodile tears to gain sympathy of people around
sounds fishyfeeling something suspiciousThis new deal sounds fishy to me as they are not ready to reveal much information
wild goose chase a foolish and fruitless searchThe police tried to find the culprit but ended up with a wild goose chase
cash cowProduct and service which is a regular source of income for a company The newly launched product has proved to be a cash cow for the company.
the lion’s sharethe greatest percentageThe lion’s share from his property was donated to charity.
fish out of waterfeel uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundingIn large crowds, I always feel like fish out of water
take the bull by hornto take a difficult situation in your hand to solve the problem.When the manager put the wrong blame on me I decided to take the bull by horn and inform the boss
night owla person whois habitually active at nightMy friends call me night owl as I usually complete my work during night time
white elephantsomething that is not useful costs lots of money to maintainHis collaboration with a new company proves to be white elephant to him
Idiom using Animals and Birds

Idioms on Nature

IdiomsMeaning Example
a drop in the oceanvery insignificant amountMy share of donation is just a drop in the ocean toward helping mankind
a ray of sunshinebringing happiness to someoneHer young son is the only ray of sunshine in her life
at seaconfused about somethingWhen it comes to solve a maths problem I am totaly at sea.
into deep waterin difficult situationWe will be in deep water if bank refuse to sanction our loan
nip in the budstop in the begining itselfBad habits in children should b nipped in the bud
beat around the bushavoid getting to the pointStop beating around the bush and come to the point
make mountain out of molehillmake small problem look much biggersome peaple have the habit of making mountain out of molehill
under the weathernot feeling wellI am under the weather due to sudden change of season
move heaven and earthmake extra ordinary effortI moved heaven earth to fulfill my dream of becoming pilot
in the airall about, prevalentAs soon as I entered the office I sensed tension in the air.
gain groundbecome more important or popularAlternative therapies in field of medicine are gaining ground in the last decade
go with tideaccepting decision taken by majorityI generally prefer to go with tide in my company decisions.
like wildfirespread very fastThe news of ministers death in town spread like wildfire

Idioms using Color

IdiomsMeanings
roll out the red carpetto give a warm and big welcome to a personWhen the chief minister visited our town, we rolled out the red carpet for him
off-colorwhen someone is feeling ill or uneasyShe looked off color at the party
to show one’s true colorto reveal one’s true natureWhen he got angry in front of everyone he showed his true color
put something down in black and whiteto write down on paper for confirmation or evidenceI wanted him to put all the conditions down in black and white so that there no dispute in future
chase rainbowstry to achieve impossibleMany people thought he was chasing rainbows when he was struggling to become an actor.
to be kept in the darkkeeping secret from someoneHe was kept in the dark about his family history all these years.
grey areasomething that is not clearly definedThere are a lot of grey areas in the company policy which needs to be clarified
to be in redto be in debtAfter the failure of his project, he was in red
to be out of redto be out of debtAfter five years of continuous hard work, the company managed to settle all the bills and was out of red
catch someone red-handedto catch someone in the act of committing a crimepolice caught him red-handed taking the bribe
born with a silver spoon in one’s mouthborn in a rich familyAll the star kids are born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

Idioms on Emotion and Feelings

Idioms on Happy EmotionsMeaningsExamples
music to your earssome news or information that makes you happyWhen students praised my teaching skill it was music to my ears
go overboardto do something too much or with excessive enthusiasmThe boss went overboard about his tie-ups with a new company and threw a big party not only for employees but also for clients.
in stitchesto laugh a lotI was in stitches when I watched the latest episode of my favorite comedy show.
in rapturesvery enthusiastic and delightedI was in rapture about my new car
over the moon / On top of the world / in seventh heaven / on cloud nine / walking on air
extremely happyI was over the moon on my day of engagement
gut feelingstrong intuition about somethingI have a gut feeling that I will be promoted this year.
Thrilled to bits or piecesextremely pleased about somethingI was thrilled to bits when I got a new i phone as a surprise gift
make my daysomething that makes you happyHis compliments for my performance made my day.
Idioms on Sad EmotionMeaningsExamples
go to pieces/ have a nervous breakdown/ go out of one’s mind/ fall apartbe upset or distressed due to terrible shock that one can not lead his normal lifeJulia nearly went to pieces when her son died in a car crash
open/reopen old woundsrevive unpleasant memoriesI did not want to talk about her husband’s death and open old wounds
strike a raw nerveto upset someone by taking out a subject sensitive to himHe struck his raw nerve by taking out the subject of his divorce.
reduce someone to tearsto cause a person to cryThe teacher scolded him for his misbehavior in front of the whole class so he was reduced to tears
feel blue/ have the bluesfeel depressed or sadAfter meeting the victims of the disaster, I was having blues and I could not sleep for the whole night.
Idioms on Confusion, Choice, and Hesitation.MeaningsExamples
sit on the fence/ in two minds/ in dilemmato avoid or delay in making decision or choiceI was sitting on the fence when it comes to choose between my friendship and my love.
get cold feetto begin to hesitate or be frightened about somethingI was getting cold feet as my marriage date was coming near
up in the airuncertainThe new project is up in the air
horns of dilemmaFaced with the choice between two equally undesirable alternatives or a difficult choiceI am on the horn of a dilemma as I have got a lucrative job in my city and have also got a work visa for the other country.
Idioms on Fear and NervousnessMeaningsExample
tongue-tiedDifficulty in expressing yourself due to nervousnessAt the start of the interview, I was completely tongue tied
on pins and needles/ on tenterhooks/ with one’s stomach in knots/ have one’s heart in one’s mouthin a state of anxious suspense or excitementI was on pin and needles before the announcement of my result
bundle of nervesvery nervous or worriedShe was bundle of Nerves when called by her boss.
hold someone’s breathto wait for somethingI was holding my breath when the result were getting announced
Idioms on Anger and IrritationMeaningsExamples
make the blood boilsmake someone very angrySeeing corruption in public sectors make my blood boils
get on someone’s nerves/ try someone’s patience/ get under someone’s skin/ drive mad or crazyirritate someonesThis new student in my class is getting in my nerve
look daggers atlook or glare angrily atI was looking daggers at my colleague due to his irritational behavior
Idioms on surpriseMeaningsExamples
out of blueto appear out of nowhere without any indicationOne day out of the blue, I got a call from my childhood friend.
a bolt from the bluea sudden and unexpected eventThe news of his resignation to the company was a bolt from the blue.
drop a bombshellto make an unexpected announcement that can change the situationShe dropped the bombshell by announcing her marriage at the party
take someone by surpriseto surprise someoneHis sudden visit took us by surprise.
raise eyebrowsto cause surprise or shockThe sudden announcement of the new policy raised the eyebrows of many employees
Idioms on Feelings about OthersMeaningsExamples
speak volumesexpressing a reaction very clearly with no need for wordsHer eyes spoke volumes for her feeling for Jhon.
no hard feelingno bitter feelingI do not carry any hard feelings for you.
wear one’s heart on one’s sleeveseasily allowing others to see one’s feeling or emotionMy friend wears her heart on her sleeves so can I easily judge her feeling by looking at her.
to read between the linesto infer something which is not written or try to find hidden meaning from what others say or writeThough she did not react to my announcement of the new policy, I was able to read between the lines from the way she spoke.

Idioms Describing People

Idioms on Negative Qualities of PeopleMeaningsExamples
black sheepdisreputable member of a group or familyHe is the black sheep in my family
rolling stonea person unwilling to settle for a long time in one placeMy colleague is a rolling stone as it is his fifth job in 3 years.
snake in the grassa treacherous personHe proved to be a snake in the grass
do snow joba deceptive story trying to hide the truthDon’t try to fool me with your snow job all the time
laughing stockdose something stupid which makes other laughsHe became the laughing stock in the party because of his funky dressing.
stubborn as mulevery obstinate and unwilling to listen to otherMy partner is stubborn as mule in her decision and at times it becomes very difficult to deal with her
wet blanket/ spoilsporta person who discourages fun or enjoyment for other peopleMy friend always proves to be a wet blanket in the party
worrywarta person who worries constantly and excessivelyMy sister is a worrywart and worries about every little thing.
cheapskatesomeone who hates to spend money even when it os requiredMy neighbor is a cheapstake and fights with small vendors for a penny.
Idioms on Positive Qualities of People MeaningsExamples
go-getterambitious and once decided they would go out to get itIn today’s competitive age one has to have go-getter attitude to be successful
live wiresomeone who is highly energetic and full of enthusiasmMy mother is live wire even at the age of 60 and takes active participation in all the social gathering
full of beansa person who is lively, active, and healthyThough he entered his 60s he is still full of beans
dark horsea person who is secretive and little is known of his abilitiesThough he was not good at studies in school days he proved to be a dark horse and made a fantastic career in acting
jack of all tradeshave knowledge of the different fieldIt is required to be a jack of all trades in this age of high competition
call spade a spadea person who is frank and speak openly and truthfullyI do not hesitate in calling spade a spade for which at times I am criticized
to be in someone’s good booksthe person having a positive and good impression of yoursHe was doing his best to be in the good books of his boss
nerves of steelgreat patience and courageOnly people with nerves of steel can join the army force.
an open booksome who doesn’t keep any secret and easy to judgeMy friend is an open book

Idioms on Fashion

IdiomsMeaningsExample
to have the sense of styleto know what looks good on you.Over the years of grooming, now I can say that I have developed a Good sense of style
to have an eye for fashionto have a good taste of fashion and knows the latest trend.My friend has a good eye for fashion so mostly I rely on her for the choice of my clothes
dress for the occasionto wear something in right place at the right timeIt is very important to dress for the occasion in today’s age as our clothes reveal our personality.
to be slave of fashion/ fashion victimblindly follows fashionI am fashionable but I avoid becoming the slave of fashion
to be dressed to the ninesperfectly dressedI was dressed to the nine in my brother’s wedding for which I received many compliments.

Idioms using Clothing

IdiomsMeaningsExample
below the beltbeyond what is fair or socially acceptedHis comment about my friend was below the belt
buckle downwork extra hardI have to finish my project before the deadline so I need to buckle down this week
pull one’s sockstry harderI pulled my socks to get the project
put oneself in someone else’s shoesto see how it feels putting yourself in someone’s placeFirst, put yourself in my shoes and then give the opinion
roll up one’s sleevesprepare to work hardI informed my staff to roll up their sleeves to achieve the target
a feather in one’s capa symbol of honor and achievementGetting the best employee award was one of the feathers added to my cap
to wear a thinking capto start thinking seriously about solving the problemI seriously need to wear a thinking cap for the solution of this mathematical sum

Idioms on Business

IdiomsMeaningsExample
give someone a run for their moneyGive others the strong competitionAfter 30 years in film indusatry he can still give young actors a run for their money
go out of businessbusiness closes down or go bankruptA lot of company went out of business during the economic recession
nitty grittymost important point or practical detailsI need to work on nitty gritty of the project befor finalizing the deal.
in the pipelineplan currently in progressA metro project is still in the pipeline for my city.
trade secreta practice or formula kept secret by a companyThe recipe of this dish is secret
rag to richesa person rise from a state of proverty to being wealthyI was highly inspired by his rags to riches journey
sleeping partnerperson investing in the business without taking active part in the managmentI got sleeping partner to invest in my business.
seal of approvalformal suppurt from highr authoritesI could carry out my plans as I have got seal of approval from my boss
roaring tradedoing very sucessful businessFast food company are doing a roaring trade in my city.
leaps and boundin fast progressMy city is progressing leaps and bounds
keeps head above watertry to survive by staying out of debtDue to high competition, many newly opened fast food joints are just able to keep their heads abov water.
get a footholdto get a strong position that provide base further advancementMany foreign companies are trying to get foothold in indian market.
corner the marketto have a greatest market share or success in a perticular industryLocal companies have yet to corner their market in the field of technology.
carve out nicheto successfully create a position in a perticular segmentHe has carved out a niche in the fashion industry.
come a long wayto have advanced muchShe has come a long way in her career.

Idioms on Job and Ambition

IdiomsMeaningsExamples
pay peanutshaving very low salaryThe representative are paid peanuts in the marketing field
brain drainskilled worker migrating to other countriesIn this age of globalization, brain drain has become an accepted trend
to be sacked from the jobto be fired from the jobHe was sacked from the job due to his misconduct to ward junior staff
plum jobeasy and pleasant or desirable job that pays wellI am in the field of soft skill training which i consider a plum job as i earn good respect and name along with handsome money.
job redundancyreducing the staff either due to lack of cash, work or that job is no longer neededDue to economic downturn, last year, there was a high ammount of job redundancy in many big compnies.
dead-end jobjob in which there is little or no chance of progression I am searching a new jib as I no longer want to continue with dead end job.
to get feet under the tableto become familiar with and confident in a new job or situationI took around a year to get feet under the table in my new job and then there was no looking back.
to burn the candles at both endsto work whole day and till late nightMy friend burnt the candle at the both end to clear her CA finals
to pull a few stringsto use your influence over important peopleto get the work done.I need leagle approvement for my new project so I had to pull few strings to get the work done.
call the shots/
set the record straight
to take the charge or control of a perticular situationIn absense of the director I had o call the shots and take a major decision.

Idioms on Money

IdiomsMeaningsExample
to cost an arm and legto be very expensiveThe holiday’s package taken during the vacation period cost us an arm and a leg
to pay through the noseto pay too much money for somethingwe paid through the nose for out of court settlement
to splash out on somethingso spend a lot of money on luxury which is not neededWe splashed out 50,000 rupees just on a weekend getaway
sitting on a goldminepossess or in control of something really valuableMy neighbor has her ancestor’s land on her name so one can say she is sitting on a goldmine.
to have money to burnto have a lot of money that you can spend any way you want.I have got a good bonus this time so I have enough money to burn on shopping
to be broketo be left with little or no moneyI am broke this month so I am not going to a movie
dead broke, flat brokecompletely broke and having no money at allHe cannot even pay his electricity bill for the month. He is flat broke.
make a fast buck or quick buckmoney that is earned quickly and easilyHe tried to make fast bucks by investing in some shares
pay the priceaccept the unpleasant result of something that is doneI am paying a heavy price for my one wrong decision.
strike goldto find or do something that makes you richOur company was able to strike gold with its new product.
rolling in moneyhave a large amount of money to spendOnce my new book is released, I will be rolling on money.
make ends meetjust have enough money to live onWith the increasing cost of living it is getting hard for common people to make their ends meet
live from hand to mouthcan just satisfy basics needs due to lack of enough moneyThe major percentage of rural population still lives from hand to mouth
at all costs/
at any costs
regardless of any effort needed or price paidAt all costs, I want this project
head over hills in debtto be completely in debtThe production company went head over heels in debt by investing in the wrong project.

Idioms on Relationship

IdiomsMeaningExamples
fair-weather friendfriends of only good timesIn my time of difficulty, I realized that most of them were fair-weather friends.
keep someone at arm’s lengthdo not allow to be too friendly with themMy boss keeps his staff at arm’s length to maintain the office decorum
at loggerheadsto disagree strongly with someoneThe two political parties were at loggerhead regarding the passing of new bill.
on the same wavelengthunderstand each other very wellAs I and my partner are on the same wavelength it becomes very easy to make him understand my viewpoint
know someone inside outknow the person very wellAs we are childhood friends, I know my friend inside out
through thick and thinthrough the good times and bad timesOur relations have survived through thick and thin
kith and kinfriends and relationIn my times of difficulty, only my kith and kin were at help
nodding termsJust have hi and hello relationsAs I am new at the flat, I just have nodding terms with my flatmates.
rub shouldersto get chance and opportunity to meet a wealthy and famous personAs my friend is a film Journalist, she often gets a chance to rub shoulders with some big celebrities.
stromy relationshipa lot of arguments and disagreements in a relationshipHe decided to separate after a four-year-long stormy relationship.
speake the same languagehave similar ideas or opinionsI and my best friend speak the same language so we hardly have any difference of opinion
cannot standhate someoneWe can not stand each other for even a minute.

Idioms on Time

IdiomsMeaningsExamples
a matter of timesooner or later bound to happenI will fulfill my dream. It just matter of time.
at the eleventh hourlast momentHe changed the plans at the eleventh hour
once in blue moonvery rarelyAfter my marriage I could meet my friends once in blue moon.
in long runover a long period of timeMy present investment in the current scheme will pay off in the long run
kill timepaas the timeI killed my time playing video gameas there was no one at home.
in the nick of timeat last possible timeThe train was about to depart and he just managed to catch the train in the nick of time.
crack of downvery early in the morningIn the past people used to get up at the crack of down
in the blink of an eyesomething that happens very quicklyThe recently launched app can transfer data in the blink of an eye
hit the big timeto become successfullyWhen he hit the big time, he got so busy that he did not have time for his old friend.
beat the clockperform the task within a fixed time limitI managed to beat the clock and finished the target befor the time.
in due course, in the course of timein the expected ammount of timeWe were bringing major changes in the management in due course
shelf lifethe length of time for which an item remains unusableNuclear technology has helped to increase the shelf life of fruit and vegetable
run out of timeto have no time leftI ran out of time and could not finish my paper
have a lot of times on your handto have a lot of free timeI have lot of time on my hand in the evening
stand the test of timeremain popular last for long timeMr. and Mrs Patel celebrated their 50th anniversary . Their marriage stood the test of time
need of an hourmost urgent thing to do at that point of timeIt is the need of an hour to fight the problem of global warming.

Idioms on Celebration, Success, Good Times

IdiomsMeaningsExample
red-letter daya memorable day, Day with pleasant memoriesMy eighteenth birthday was a red-letter day for me
whale of a time/ Have a balla very enjoyable experienceWe had a whale of the time on our last trip to Goa.
have the time of your lifehave a wonderful experienceI had a time of my life on my first foreign trip.
paint the town redto go out and really have good timesThey decided to paint the town red on their first anniversary
with flying colorsto complete something with distinction or getting an excellent resultShe passed her board exam with flying colors.
in full swingswith a lot of activity and preparationThe marriage preparation of my sister is going in full swing
sail through somethingto succeed easilyHe sailed through his CA Final in his first attempt

Idioms on failure, Difficult Situation, Bad Times

IdiomsMeaningsExample
bear the bruntone has to suffer the most when something goes wrongDue to his one wrong decision, the whole family had to bear the brunt
rainy daydifficult timeI have already made some savings for a rainy day
swim against tidegoing against the popular opinionHe has the habit of swimming against tide and taking financial risks all the time
get your fingers burntto have bad results from something like the loss of moneyHe got his fingers burnt by investing in few new stocks
bone of contentiona subject or issue of continuous disagreementThe new policy in the parliament has become a bone of contention for the opposing political parties

***We will update this article in the future and add new idioms

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