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10 Common and Popular English Idioms

What Is an Idiom?

An idiom is a group of words who form a common expression that has a different meaning to that of the literal words. The English language is rich in idioms. Here are 10 common idioms and popular idioms in the English language and their meaning:

A blessing in disguise

Meaning: Something that seems bad or unlucky but turns out to be good

Example: Getting fired from that job was actually a blessing in disguise

Bite the bullet

Meaning: To get a difficult task over with now

Example: I hate taking exams, but I’ll just have to bite the bullet

Caught between a rock and a hard place (1)

Meaning: Having to make a choice between two unpleasant choices

Example: I hate my job but can’t quit because I have to pay my house mortgage. I’m stuck

between a rock and a hard place

Costs an arm and a leg

Meaning: Something very expensive (2)

Explain: I really want a new house but it may cost me an arm and a leg

Giving the benefit of the doubt

Meaning: Believing something even though it may seem unbelievable

Example: Let’s assume that he is right and give him the benefit of the doubt

Killing two birds with one stone

Meaning: Accomplishing two different tasks in the same undertaking

Example: I am going to pick up Hannah from school, and on the way back, I'll pick up the groceries too, killing two birds with one stone.

Once in a blue moon

Meaning: Something that happens very rarely

Example: Hurricanes hit once in a blue moon in this part of the world, we never feel it

Pulling someone’s leg

Meaning: Joking around

Example: Don’t take it too seriously, I’m just pulling your leg

Straight from the horse’s mouth (3)

Meaning: Hearing something directly from the source itself

Example: I know it’s true, Jenny told me herself. I got my info straight from the horse’s mouth

You can’t judge a book by its cover

Meaning: Not judging something by how it appears to be

Example: It’s misleading to have an opinion about a person based on his appearance – you can’t judge a book by its cover (4)

Now that you’ve learned some common English idioms, which one do you like the most?






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