English idioms

English idioms, proverbs, and expressions are an important part of everyday English. They come up all the time in both written and spoken English. Because idioms don't always make sense literally, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of each idiom. That may seem like a lot of work, but learning idioms is fun, especially when you compare English idioms to the idioms in your own language.

Learning to use common idioms and expressions will make your English sound more native, so it's a good idea to master some of these expressions. The tables below are organized by how common the idioms are in American English. You can start by learning the very common English idioms, since these are the ones you'll encounter regularly watching American movies or TV, or visiting the United States. When you've mastered those, move on to rest. None of the idioms on this page are unusual or old fashioned, so you can be confident using any of them with native English speakers from all English-speaking countries.

The most common English idioms

These English idioms are extremely common in everyday conversation in the United States. You will hear them in movies and TV shows and can use them to make your English sound more like that of a native speaker. 

Idiom Meaning Usage
A blessing in disguise a good thing that seemed bad at first as part of a sentence
A dime a dozen Something common as part of a sentence
Beat around the bush Avoid saying what you mean, usually because it is uncomfortable as part of a sentence
Better late than never Better to arrive late than not to come at all by itself
Bite the bullet To get something over with because it is inevitable as part of a sentence
Break a leg Good luck by itself
Call it a day Stop working on something as part of a sentence
Cut somebody some slack Don't be so critical as part of a sentence
Cutting corners Doing something poorly in order to save time or money as part of a sentence
Easy does it Slow down by itself
Get out of hand Get out of control as part of a sentence
Get something out of your system Do the thing you've been wanting to do so you can move on as part of a sentence
Get your act together Work better or leave by itself
Give someone the benefit of the doubt Trust what someone says as part of a sentence
Go back to the drawing board Start over as part of a sentence
Hang in there Don't give up by itself
Hit the sack Go to sleep as part of a sentence
It's not rocket science It's not complicated by itself
Let someone off the hook To not hold someone responsible for something as part of a sentence
Make a long story short Tell something briefly as part of a sentence
Miss the boat It's too late as part of a sentence
No pain, no gain You have to work for what you want by itself
On the ball Doing a good job as part of a sentence
Pull someone's leg To joke with someone as part of a sentence
Pull yourself together Calm down by itself
So far so good Things are going well so far by itself
Speak of the devil The person we were just talking about showed up! by itself
That's the last straw My patience has run out by itself
The best of both worlds An ideal situation as part of a sentence
Time flies when you're having fun You don't notice how long something lasts when it's fun by itself
To get bent out of shape To get upset as part of a sentence
To make matters worse Make a problem worse as part of a sentence
Under the weather Sick<