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
apple of one’s eye
a person liked or adored by someone
I am the apple of my father’s eye so he fulfills all my wishes
to spill the beans
to reveal secret
He spilled the beans about his affairs at the press conference
as cool as cucumber
calm and not nervous in any situation
She remained as cool as cucumber even when all were against her in a family dispute.
hold out/offer an olive branch
something offered in peace or goodwill
They offered an olive branch by releasing the prisoners of the enemy country.
a person who watches TV for a long time
I was a couch potato during my college days
hard nut to crack
difficult problem to solve
Passing the IELTS exam is a hard nut to crack for many vernacular medium students
youthful period of one’s life
I enjoyed my salad days to the fullest and would cherish it a lifetime.
to produce or give result
They worked very hard on the project and ultimately it bore fruit after 3 years.
compare apple and oranges
to compare two completely different things
To compare the remuneration of movie stars and television stars are like comparing apple and oranges
to choose the most beneficial from what is available
I am very good at cherry-picking, especially from the flea market
to be like two peas in a pod
to be very similar
I and my best friend are like two peas in a pod.
Idiom using Fruits and Vegetable
Idiom using Food
to butter up
to flatter someone
He never leaves a chance to butter up his boss to seek a promotion.
a piece of cake
something easy or pleasant
Teaching English is a piece of cake for me.
to sell like hotcakes
to sell quickly or in large quantities
His recently released book is selling like hot cakes.
icing on the cake
an extra benefit that makes a good situation even better
On top of promotion getting a company car was an icing on the cake for me
bread and butter
one’s income or earning
My teaching job is my only bread and butter as of now
put all your eggs in one basket
depends on one plan or one source of income
A good businessman will never put all his eggs in one basket.
no use crying over a spilt milk
useless to complain or have a regret about something that is done and cannot be changed
My new purse is stolen and it was my favourite one but now there is no use crying over spilt milk.
one’s cup of tea
field of one’s skill
Handling small kids is not my cup of tea.
Idiom using Food
Idiom using Animals and Birds
a person who having lots of friends and likes to move from one social event to another
My friend is a social butterfly so I always catch her up in one or the other social events
shed false tears
Though she was not hurt, she shed crocodile tears to gain sympathy of people around
feeling something suspicious
This new deal sounds fishy to me as they are not ready to reveal much information
wild goose chase
a foolish and fruitless search
The police tried to find the culprit but ended up with a wild goose chase
Product 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 share
the greatest percentage
The lion’s share from his property was donated to charity.
fish out of water
feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar surrounding
In large crowds, I always feel like fish out of water
take the bull by horn
to 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
a person whois habitually active at night
My friends call me night owl as I usually complete my work during night time
something that is not useful costs lots of money to maintain
His collaboration with a new company proves to be white elephant to him
Idiom using Animals and Birds
Idioms on Nature
a drop in the ocean
very insignificant amount
My share of donation is just a drop in the ocean toward helping mankind
a ray of sunshine
bringing happiness to someone
Her young son is the only ray of sunshine in her life
confused about something
When it comes to solve a maths problem I am totaly at sea.
into deep water
in difficult situation
We will be in deep water if bank refuse to sanction our loan
nip in the bud
stop in the begining itself
Bad habits in children should b nipped in the bud
beat around the bush
avoid getting to the point
Stop beating around the bush and come to the point
make mountain out of molehill
make small problem look much bigger
some peaple have the habit of making mountain out of molehill
under the weather
not feeling well
I am under the weather due to sudden change of season
move heaven and earth
make extra ordinary effort
I moved heaven earth to fulfill my dream of becoming pilot
in the air
all about, prevalent
As soon as I entered the office I sensed tension in the air.
become more important or popular
Alternative therapies in field of medicine are gaining ground in the last decade
go with tide
accepting decision taken by majority
I generally prefer to go with tide in my company decisions.
spread very fast
The news of ministers death in town spread like wildfire
Idioms using Color
roll out the red carpet
to give a warm and big welcome to a person
When the chief minister visited our town, we rolled out the red carpet for him
when someone is feeling ill or uneasy
She looked off color at the party
to show one’s true color
to reveal one’s true nature
When he got angry in front of everyone he showed his true color
put something down in black and white
to write down on paper for confirmation or evidence
I wanted him to put all the conditions down in black and white so that there no dispute in future
try to achieve impossible
Many people thought he was chasing rainbows when he was struggling to become an actor.
to be kept in the dark
keeping secret from someone
He was kept in the dark about his family history all these years.
something that is not clearly defined
There are a lot of grey areas in the company policy which needs to be clarified
to be in red
to be in debt
After the failure of his project, he was in red
to be out of red
to be out of debt
After five years of continuous hard work, the company managed to settle all the bills and was out of red
catch someone red-handed
to catch someone in the act of committing a crime
police caught him red-handed taking the bribe
born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
born in a rich family
All the star kids are born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
Idioms on Emotion and Feelings
Idioms on Happy Emotions
music to your ears
some news or information that makes you happy
When students praised my teaching skill it was music to my ears
to do something too much or with excessive enthusiasm
The boss went overboard about his tie-ups with a new company and threw a big party not only for employees but also for clients.
to laugh a lot
I was in stitches when I watched the latest episode of my favorite comedy show.
very enthusiastic and delighted
I was in rapture about my new car
over the moon / On top of the world / in seventh heaven / on cloud nine / walking on air
I was over the moon on my day of engagement
strong intuition about something
I have a gut feeling that I will be promoted this year.
Thrilled to bits or pieces
extremely pleased about something
I was thrilled to bits when I got a new i phone as a surprise gift
make my day
something that makes you happy
His compliments for my performance made my day.
Idioms on Sad Emotion
go to pieces/ have a nervous breakdown/ go out of one’s mind/ fall apart
be upset or distressed due to terrible shock that one can not lead his normal life
Julia nearly went to pieces when her son died in a car crash
open/reopen old wounds
revive unpleasant memories
I did not want to talk about her husband’s death and open old wounds
strike a raw nerve
to upset someone by taking out a subject sensitive to him
He struck his raw nerve by taking out the subject of his divorce.
reduce someone to tears
to cause a person to cry
The teacher scolded him for his misbehavior in front of the whole class so he was reduced to tears
feel blue/ have the blues
feel depressed or sad
After 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.
sit on the fence/ in two minds/ in dilemma
to avoid or delay in making decision or choice
I was sitting on the fence when it comes to choose between my friendship and my love.
get cold feet
to begin to hesitate or be frightened about something
I was getting cold feet as my marriage date was coming near
up in the air
The new project is up in the air
horns of dilemma
Faced with the choice between two equally undesirable alternatives or a difficult choice
I 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 Nervousness
Difficulty in expressing yourself due to nervousness
At 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 mouth
in a state of anxious suspense or excitement
I was on pin and needles before the announcement of my result
bundle of nerves
very nervous or worried
She was bundle of Nerves when called by her boss.
hold someone’s breath
to wait for something
I was holding my breath when the result were getting announced
Idioms on Anger and Irritation
make the blood boils
make someone very angry
Seeing 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 crazy
This new student in my class is getting in my nerve
look daggers at
look or glare angrily at
I was looking daggers at my colleague due to his irritational behavior
Idioms on surprise
out of blue
to appear out of nowhere without any indication
One day out of the blue, I got a call from my childhood friend.
a bolt from the blue
a sudden and unexpected event
The news of his resignation to the company was a bolt from the blue.
drop a bombshell
to make an unexpected announcement that can change the situation
She dropped the bombshell by announcing her marriage at the party
take someone by surprise
to surprise someone
His sudden visit took us by surprise.
to cause surprise or shock
The sudden announcement of the new policy raised the eyebrows of many employees
Idioms on Feelings about Others
expressing a reaction very clearly with no need for words
Her eyes spoke volumes for her feeling for Jhon.
no hard feeling
no bitter feeling
I do not carry any hard feelings for you.
wear one’s heart on one’s sleeves
easily allowing others to see one’s feeling or emotion
My friend wears her heart on her sleeves so can I easily judge her feeling by looking at her.
to read between the lines
to infer something which is not written or try to find hidden meaning from what others say or write
Though 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 People
disreputable member of a group or family
He is the black sheep in my family
a person unwilling to settle for a long time in one place
My colleague is a rolling stone as it is his fifth job in 3 years.
snake in the grass
a treacherous person
He proved to be a snake in the grass
do snow job
a deceptive story trying to hide the truth
Don’t try to fool me with your snow job all the time
dose something stupid which makes other laughs
He became the laughing stock in the party because of his funky dressing.
stubborn as mule
very obstinate and unwilling to listen to other
My partner is stubborn as mule in her decision and at times it becomes very difficult to deal with her
wet blanket/ spoilsport
a person who discourages fun or enjoyment for other people
My friend always proves to be a wet blanket in the party
a person who worries constantly and excessively
My sister is a worrywart and worries about every little thing.
someone who hates to spend money even when it os required
My neighbor is a cheapstake and fights with small vendors for a penny.
Idioms on Positive Qualities of People
ambitious and once decided they would go out to get it
In today’s competitive age one has to have go-getter attitude to be successful
someone who is highly energetic and full of enthusiasm
My mother is live wire even at the age of 60 and takes active participation in all the social gathering
full of beans
a person who is lively, active, and healthy
Though he entered his 60s he is still full of beans
a person who is secretive and little is known of his abilities
Though 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 trades
have knowledge of the different field
It is required to be a jack of all trades in this age of high competition
call spade a spade
a person who is frank and speak openly and truthfully
I do not hesitate in calling spade a spade for which at times I am criticized
to be in someone’s good books
the person having a positive and good impression of yours
He was doing his best to be in the good books of his boss
nerves of steel
great patience and courage
Only people with nerves of steel can join the army force.
an open book
some who doesn’t keep any secret and easy to judge
My friend is an open book
Idioms on Fashion
to have the sense of style
to 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 fashion
to 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 occasion
to wear something in right place at the right time
It is very important to dress for the occasion in today’s age as our clothes reveal our personality.
to be slave of fashion/ fashion victim
blindly follows fashion
I am fashionable but I avoid becoming the slave of fashion
to be dressed to the nines
I was dressed to the nine in my brother’s wedding for which I received many compliments.
Idioms using Clothing
below the belt
beyond what is fair or socially accepted
His comment about my friend was below the belt
work extra hard
I have to finish my project before the deadline so I need to buckle down this week
pull one’s socks
I pulled my socks to get the project
put oneself in someone else’s shoes
to see how it feels putting yourself in someone’s place
First, put yourself in my shoes and then give the opinion
roll up one’s sleeves
prepare to work hard
I informed my staff to roll up their sleeves to achieve the target
a feather in one’s cap
a symbol of honor and achievement
Getting the best employee award was one of the feathers added to my cap
to wear a thinking cap
to start thinking seriously about solving the problem
I seriously need to wear a thinking cap for the solution of this mathematical sum
Idioms on Business
give someone a run for their money
Give others the strong competition
After 30 years in film indusatry he can still give young actors a run for their money
go out of business
business closes down or go bankrupt
A lot of company went out of business during the economic recession
most important point or practical details
I need to work on nitty gritty of the project befor finalizing the deal.
in the pipeline
plan currently in progress
A metro project is still in the pipeline for my city.
a practice or formula kept secret by a company
The recipe of this dish is secret
rag to riches
a person rise from a state of proverty to being wealthy
I was highly inspired by his rags to riches journey
person investing in the business without taking active part in the managment
I got sleeping partner to invest in my business.
seal of approval
formal suppurt from highr authorites
I could carry out my plans as I have got seal of approval from my boss
doing very sucessful business
Fast food company are doing a roaring trade in my city.
leaps and bound
in fast progress
My city is progressing leaps and bounds
keeps head above water
try to survive by staying out of debt
Due to high competition, many newly opened fast food joints are just able to keep their heads abov water.
get a foothold
to get a strong position that provide base further advancement
Many foreign companies are trying to get foothold in indian market.
corner the market
to have a greatest market share or success in a perticular industry
Local companies have yet to corner their market in the field of technology.
carve out niche
to successfully create a position in a perticular segment
He has carved out a niche in the fashion industry.
come a long way
to have advanced much
She has come a long way in her career.
Idioms on Job and Ambition
having very low salary
The representative are paid peanuts in the marketing field
skilled worker migrating to other countries
In this age of globalization, brain drain has become an accepted trend
to be sacked from the job
to be fired from the job
He was sacked from the job due to his misconduct to ward junior staff
easy and pleasant or desirable job that pays well
I 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.
reducing the staff either due to lack of cash, work or that job is no longer needed
Due to economic downturn, last year, there was a high ammount of job redundancy in many big compnies.
job 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 table
to become familiar with and confident in a new job or situation
I 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 ends
to work whole day and till late night
My friend burnt the candle at the both end to clear her CA finals
to pull a few strings
to 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 situation
In absense of the director I had o call the shots and take a major decision.
Idioms on Money
to cost an arm and leg
to be very expensive
The holiday’s package taken during the vacation period cost us an arm and a leg
to pay through the nose
to pay too much money for something
we paid through the nose for out of court settlement
to splash out on something
so spend a lot of money on luxury which is not needed
We splashed out 50,000 rupees just on a weekend getaway
sitting on a goldmine
possess or in control of something really valuable
My neighbor has her ancestor’s land on her name so one can say she is sitting on a goldmine.
to have money to burn
to 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 broke
to be left with little or no money
I am broke this month so I am not going to a movie
dead broke, flat broke
completely broke and having no money at all
He cannot even pay his electricity bill for the month. He is flat broke.
make a fast buck or quick buck
money that is earned quickly and easily
He tried to make fast bucks by investing in some shares
pay the price
accept the unpleasant result of something that is done
I am paying a heavy price for my one wrong decision.
to find or do something that makes you rich
Our company was able to strike gold with its new product.
rolling in money
have a large amount of money to spend
Once my new book is released, I will be rolling on money.
make ends meet
just have enough money to live on
With the increasing cost of living it is getting hard for common people to make their ends meet
live from hand to mouth
can just satisfy basics needs due to lack of enough money
The major percentage of rural population still lives from hand to mouth
at all costs/ at any costs
regardless of any effort needed or price paid
At all costs, I want this project
head over hills in debt
to be completely in debt
The production company went head over heels in debt by investing in the wrong project.
Idioms on Relationship
friends of only good times
In my time of difficulty, I realized that most of them were fair-weather friends.
keep someone at arm’s length
do not allow to be too friendly with them
My boss keeps his staff at arm’s length to maintain the office decorum
to disagree strongly with someone
The two political parties were at loggerhead regarding the passing of new bill.
on the same wavelength
understand each other very well
As I and my partner are on the same wavelength it becomes very easy to make him understand my viewpoint
know someone inside out
know the person very well
As we are childhood friends, I know my friend inside out
through thick and thin
through the good times and bad times
Our relations have survived through thick and thin
kith and kin
friends and relation
In my times of difficulty, only my kith and kin were at help
Just have hi and hello relations
As I am new at the flat, I just have nodding terms with my flatmates.
to get chance and opportunity to meet a wealthy and famous person
As my friend is a film Journalist, she often gets a chance to rub shoulders with some big celebrities.
a lot of arguments and disagreements in a relationship
He decided to separate after a four-year-long stormy relationship.
speake the same language
have similar ideas or opinions
I and my best friend speak the same language so we hardly have any difference of opinion
We can not stand each other for even a minute.
Idioms on Time
a matter of time
sooner or later bound to happen
I will fulfill my dream. It just matter of time.
at the eleventh hour
He changed the plans at the eleventh hour
once in blue moon
After my marriage I could meet my friends once in blue moon.
in long run
over a long period of time
My present investment in the current scheme will pay off in the long run
paas the time
I killed my time playing video gameas there was no one at home.
in the nick of time
at last possible time
The train was about to depart and he just managed to catch the train in the nick of time.
crack of down
very early in the morning
In the past people used to get up at the crack of down
in the blink of an eye
something that happens very quickly
The recently launched app can transfer data in the blink of an eye
hit the big time
to become successfully
When he hit the big time, he got so busy that he did not have time for his old friend.
beat the clock
perform the task within a fixed time limit
I managed to beat the clock and finished the target befor the time.
in due course, in the course of time
in the expected ammount of time
We were bringing major changes in the management in due course
the length of time for which an item remains unusable
Nuclear technology has helped to increase the shelf life of fruit and vegetable
run out of time
to have no time left
I ran out of time and could not finish my paper
have a lot of times on your hand
to have a lot of free time
I have lot of time on my hand in the evening
stand the test of time
remain popular last for long time
Mr. and Mrs Patel celebrated their 50th anniversary . Their marriage stood the test of time
need of an hour
most urgent thing to do at that point of time
It is the need of an hour to fight the problem of global warming.
Idioms on Celebration, Success, Good Times
a memorable day, Day with pleasant memories
My eighteenth birthday was a red-letter day for me
whale of a time/ Have a ball
a very enjoyable experience
We had a whale of the time on our last trip to Goa.
have the time of your life
have a wonderful experience
I had a time of my life on my first foreign trip.
paint the town red
to go out and really have good times
They decided to paint the town red on their first anniversary
with flying colors
to complete something with distinction or getting an excellent result
She passed her board exam with flying colors.
in full swings
with a lot of activity and preparation
The marriage preparation of my sister is going in full swing
sail through something
to succeed easily
He sailed through his CA Final in his first attempt
Idioms on failure, Difficult Situation, Bad Times
bear the brunt
one has to suffer the most when something goes wrong
Due to his one wrong decision, the whole family had to bear the brunt
I have already made some savings for a rainy day
swim against tide
going against the popular opinion
He has the habit of swimming against tide and taking financial risks all the time
get your fingers burnt
to have bad results from something like the loss of money
He got his fingers burnt by investing in few new stocks
bone of contention
a subject or issue of continuous disagreement
The 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