If you’re looking for some of the best American English idioms, then you’re definitely in the right place. I’ll share my 1o favourite English idioms so you can level up your English and sound like a native English speaker.
Top 10 American English Idioms
Let’s talk about my top 10 English idioms. If you want to sound professional, use these idioms. People will think, oh wow you speak English very well! It’s actually one of my top tips for learning English if you want to become fluent and I’m happy to share it with you.
Bite the Bullet
The first American English idiom is bite the bullet. That means you just do something that you don’t want to do. For example, if you have people coming over to your house for dinner and your house is very dirty, you have to clean your house. Let’s just bite the bullet. Let’s just clean the house right now. That means you do it. You get it over with and it’s finished.
A Dime a Dozen
The second iidiom is a dime a dozen. This means something that is very common. So the car that I have here in Vancouver is a Toyota Corolla. They are a dime a dozen. That means a million people in Vancouver have Toyota Corollas. You can see them everywhere if you go to a shopping mall. I almost think half the cars in the parking lot are this one car. So that is a dime a dozen.
Break a Leg
My third idiom is break a leg. You don’t actually want someone to break their leg. It means, good luck. You can say this to someone who’s an actor or an actress, in most cases.
Number four is cutting corners. Or, cut corners. This is when you do something to save time or money but you don’t do a quality job. For example, if someone is painting the inside of your house and they do it very, very quickly, too quickly but they did a terrible job, they were cutting corners.
Get Out of Hand
My next idiom is get out of hand. Get out of hand means it gets crazy, out of control, or something like that. Maybe someone is having a big house party. There are more and more and more people, more and more alcohol. It gets out of hand and finally, the neighbours call the police.
Hang in There
My next American English idiom is hang in there. It means you can overcome it. Stay strong. You got it. So if someone is studying for a very difficult test, maybe they’re sad, they’re tired, they’re not happy, they don’t want to study. You can say, hang in there. It’s almost done.
Miss the Boat
My next idiom is, miss the boat. Miss the boat means you’ve done something too late or you haven’t really understood something. For example, maybe there was a stock. A stock is a share from a company that went very, very low and you should have bought that stock when it was very low. It was on sale. However, the price went up. It’s high now. So you’ve missed the boat. You’ve missed your chance to buy that thing at a very low price. It’s too late now.
The Last Straw
The next one is the last straw. That means the last thing. You have no more patience, you are finished. So for example, if you have kids and they are fighting, fighting, fighting, fighting. It’s summer vacation. All kids fight with their brothers and sisters on summer vacation I think and you’ve been very patient, and very kind and they are fighting and then they break your cell phone. You might start yelling at them. That was the last straw. You have no more patience and you are finished.
Under the Weather
Okay, the next one is under the weather. Under the weather means feeling sick or not well. You could say, I have a bit of a cold and I’m feeling under the weather.
Bent Out of Shape
My final idiom is bent out of shape. Bent out of shape is not actually bending something. Bent out of shape means you feel a bit grumpy, a bit angry, a bit unhappy about something. For example, if you’re at work and your boss tells you that you didn’t do a good job on this project, you might feel a bit bent out of shape. You’re a little bit angry. A little bit grumpy.
Need More Idioms?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 325 Pages - 03/28/2022 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so! Who doesn’t right? Then you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of this book: 365 American English Idioms. Master one new idiom a day for a year and at the end, you’ll be a pro for sure!
Pick up a copy of the book today and get ready for better results on the IELTS, TOEFL, or TOEIC exams. Understand more of what you read and hear:
American English Idioms FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about using English idioms. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What are the most common American idioms?
Some of the most common American idioms include: playing hardball, a dime a dozen, piece of cake, hit the books, costs and arm and a leg, and get your ducks in a row.
What is an idiom?
An idiom is an expression where the group of words means more than the individual ones. For example, “piece of cake” actually has nothing to do with eating a piece of cake. It means something easy to do.
What is a cliche idiom?
A cliche idiom is something that is used so commonly that it’s lost all meaning and has no impact on the person who reads or hears it.
How can I Learn English Idioms?
Learning idioms can be a fun and enriching experience that helps you understand and communicate in a more natural and idiomatic way. Here are some steps you can follow to learn idioms:
Start with common idioms
Begin by focusing on frequently used idioms in everyday conversations. These idioms are more likely to be encountered in various contexts. Some examples include “break a leg,” “kick the bucket,” or “hit the nail on the head.”
Study idiom meanings
Idioms often have figurative meanings that may not be immediately obvious. Use reputable idiom dictionaries, online resources, or idiom-specific books to understand the meanings behind each idiom. Pay attention to the context in which idioms are used.
Analyze the origin and history
Exploring the origins and history of idioms can help you remember them more effectively. Some idioms have interesting stories behind them, and understanding the background can make them more memorable.
Idioms are usually used in specific contexts, so it’s important to understand when and how to use them appropriately. Pay attention to the situations or conversations in which you come across idioms and take note of the context to grasp their usage correctly.
Practice in context
Use idioms in your own conversations and writing. Practice incorporating idioms into sentences to reinforce your understanding and remember their meanings. Engage in language exchange programs, conversation groups, or online forums where you can interact with native speakers who use idioms naturally.
Read and listen extensively
Immerse yourself in materials such as books, newspapers, magazines, podcasts, movies, and TV shows that feature idiomatic language. Exposure to authentic content will familiarize you with idioms in various contexts, allowing you to absorb their usage naturally.
Keep a journal
Maintain a journal or notebook specifically for idioms. Whenever you come across a new idiom, write it down along with its meaning and an example sentence. Review your journal periodically to reinforce your learning.
Play games and quizzes
Engage in activities that make learning idioms enjoyable, such as playing idiom-based games, solving puzzles, or participating in quizzes. Online platforms and apps dedicated to learning idioms can provide interactive and engaging experiences.
Create flashcards with idioms on one side and their meanings on the other. Regularly review the flashcards to test your knowledge and reinforce your memory of idioms.
Be patient and persistent
Learning idioms takes time and exposure. It’s normal to encounter unfamiliar idioms along the way. Stay persistent, embrace the learning process, and gradually expand your idiom repertoire.
Remember, idioms are cultural expressions, so be mindful of their cultural context and appropriateness when using them. Enjoy the journey of learning idioms and have fun incorporating them into your language skills!
American English Idioms: Join the Conversation
Do you have a favourite English idiom that you’d like to share? Leave a comment here and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API