100 Common English Idioms with Examples

An idiom is a group of words that don't always mean what they seem to mean. They have hidden meanings that are not literal. For example, "raining cats and dogs" doesn't mean that cats and dogs are falling from the sky, but rather it's raining very heavily. Idioms make language more interesting and can add emotion and extra meaning to what people say.

Idioms are commonly used in language because they can convey a lot of meaning in just a few words. They add depth and nuance to language and can help speakers express themselves in a more colorful and interesting way.

Throughout this series of lessons, you will become familiar with frequently used English idioms. Each idiom will be presented with a definition, five examples of its usage, and audio recordings featuring different speakers. This approach will help you understand the meaning of each idiom and how to appropriately use it during a conversation.


  • Cut corners
  • Think outside the box
  • Get the ball rolling
  • Hit the ground running
  • To make a long story short
  • Put all your eggs in one basket
  • Play hardball
  • In the black/red
  • Go the extra mile
  • Get down to business


  • Dream team
  • Be in a dream world
  • A Dream Come True
  • In your dreams
  • Beyond your wildest dreams
  • Daydream


  • Blood is thicker than water
  • Like father, like son
  • The apple doesn't fall far from the tree
  • A chip off the old block
  • Skeleton in the closet
  • At each other's throats
  • Falling out
  • Bury the hatchet


  • Make ends meet
  • Save for a rainy day
  • Tighten one's belt
  • Be in the red
  • Be in the black
  • Put one's money where one's mouth is
  • To make a killing
  • Have money to burn
  • Money talks


  • Spill the beans
  • Be in the soup
  • Salt of the earth
  • Take something with a grain of salt
  • Cherry on top


  • Be thick as thieves
  • To have each other's back
  • A shoulder to cry on
  • On the same wavelength
  • In someone's good books
  • Go way back
  • Break bread
  • Be there for someone
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed


  • Be on cloud nine
  • Be over the moon
  • Have a heart of gold
  • Tickled pink
  • On top of the world
  • Be all smiles


  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • Be fit as a fiddle
  • Be the picture of health
  • On the mend
  • Be in good shape
  • Under the weather
  • Safe and sound


  • Head over heels
  • Swept off one's feet
  • Tie the knot
  • Match made in heaven
  • Love at first sight


  • As free as a bird
  • Go with the flow
  • Under the weather
  • Be on cloud nine
  • Be a rolling stone
  • A breath of fresh air


  • Down in the dumps
  • Be in a funk
  • Have the blues
  • Be under a cloud


  • To throw in the towel
  • Be a slam dunk
  • Be on the ball
  • To take the ball and run with it


  • Be pressed for time
  • Time heals all wounds
  • Time and tide wait for no man
  • Time after time
  • At the eleventh hour
  • Time flies
  • Better late than never


  • Wild goose chase
  • A fish out of water
  • Be in the driver's seat
  • To go with the flow
  • Hit the road
  • Go the extra mile
  • To travel light
  • Off the beaten path
  • A road warrior


  • Work your fingers to the bone
  • Burn the midnight oil
  • In the hot seat
  • Against the clock
  • Work your way up/work your way to the top
  • Work like a dog