Learning a new language is always a challenge, and for those practicing English, idioms can be particularly challenging. Idioms are phrases or expressions that mean something different than the literal sense of the words. Idioms are used in all languages and can be very confusing for non-native speakers. For those practicing English, learning idioms is a fun way to expand your vocabulary. There are all sorts of commonly used idioms in English – some kind of make sense, and some seem totally weird. Try and guess what the following ten idiomatic phrases might mean, then scroll to the bottom for the answers!
1. Raining Cats and Dogs
2. Piece of Cake
3. Let the Cat out of the Bag
4. Break a Leg
5. Bite the Bullet
6. (Not) My Cup of Tea
7. Couch Potato
8. Off the Hook
9. Under the Weather
10. Spill the Beans
1. Raining cats and dogs is an expression used to mean it is raining very heavily.
2. If a task is referred to as a piece of cake, it means that it is very easy. For example, “that test was a piece of cake!”
3. If someone lets the cat out of the bag, they shared a secret or ruined a surprise.
4. You say “break a leg” to someone if you are wishing him or her good luck, especially if they are an actor about to perform on stage. People in the theater are superstitious and think the term “good luck” brings bad luck, so they say “break a leg” instead.
5. Bite the bullet means to do something unpleasant that you have to do. For example, “I guess I’ll bite the bullet and finish my calculus homework.”
6. If something is your cup of tea, it is something you like or enjoy. If something is not your cup of tea, it does not meet your taste or interests.
7. A couch potato is someone lazy, usually who likes to sit on the couch all day in front of the TV.
8. To be off the hook means to no longer be obligated to do something. For example, “Sally finished our English project, so I’m off the hook and can go to a movie tonight instead.”
9. To be under the weather means you are sick or not feeling well.
10. Just like ‘let the cat out of the bag,’ to spill the beans means to share a secret, or ruin a surprise.
English is a language full of idiomatic expressions and slang. Using idioms like these is great for practicing English, and a fun way to increase your vocabulary. There are so many idioms and common expressions in the language that it can seem overwhelming at times. Don’t worry! By practicing English and trying to use some of these phrases, your skills are sure to improve.