You are currently browsing the archives for the Idiom of the Day category.


Find me

Follow englishwithjo on Twitter

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Archive for the ‘Idiom of the Day’ Category

English Idiom of the Day – To Get Caught Red-Handed

Monday, April 2, 2012 @ 08:04 AM
posted by Jo

To Get Caught Red Handed

A person who is caught red-handed is discovered in the middle of committing a crime or doing something wrong. It is usually related to stealing but can also be used by a parent who finds their child eating their way through a box of chocolates.

Example: He tried to steal from the shop but he was caught red-handed.

Did you know...? This idiom originated in the 14th century when the act of killing another man's animal and selling the meat was a common crime. If a person was caught with the blood of a freshly killed animal on their hands this was considered proof of their guilt.


English Idiom of the Day – Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 08:03 AM
posted by Jo

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

The expression 'money doesn't grow on trees' means that money does not come easily or without effort; you should be careful how much money you spend because there is only a limited amount.

Example: 'Dad, can I have a new bike?' 'We can't afford one. Money doesn't grow on trees you know.'

When Tony was younger, his father told him that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that he would have to work hard if he wanted to be rich.'

Did you know...?  There is a Japanese proverb that states that, contrary to the above idiom, money can grow on trees. The proverb states: Money grows on the tree of persistence. In other words, if you keep trying and never give up, money will come to you.


English Idiom of the Day – Lump Sum

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 09:03 AM
posted by Jo

Lump Sum

A 'lump sum' is a large amount of money you pay or receive all at once rather than in increments over a period of time.

Examples: You will receive a tax-free lump sum of $50,000 at retirement age.

Would you like to repay the amount in installments or as one lump sum?

Did you know...? The origin of the phrase 'lump sum' comes from one of the meanings of the word 'lump', which is: 'not broken or divided into parts'.  If we 'lump' people together, it means we put them together in a single group.


English Idiom – Have your cake and eat it too!

Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 09:03 AM
posted by Jo

To have your cake and eat it too

If someone wants to 'have their cake and eat it too', they want everything their way. It sometimes suggests that someone is not willing to compromise even when conflicts exist.

Examples: I worked at home so I could raise my family and still earn money. It let me have my cake and eat it too.

This idiom is often used in the negative: 'you can't have your cake and eat it too'

Example: If you want a senior consultant to work here, you must pay the salary she demands. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Similar idiom: An idiom with a similar meaning is: 'You can't have it both ways'.


English Idiom of the Day – Win by a Nose

Thursday, March 15, 2012 @ 09:03 AM
posted by Jo

To Win by a Nose

To 'win by a nose' means to win by a very small amount.

Example: I ran the fastest race I could, but I only won by a nose.

Sally won the race, but she only won by a nose

Did you know...? This idiom comes from horseracing, where from about 1900 on it referred to a finish so close that only the tip of the horse's nose reached the finish ahead of the second horse.

There is a similar idiom with the same meaning - to 'win by a whisker'.


English Idiom of the Day – Raining Cats and Dogs

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 @ 08:03 AM
posted by Jo

It's Raining Cats and Dogs

It's 'raining cats and dogs' means it is raining very heavily.

Example: You should take an umbrella with you, it is raining cats and dogs out there!

The weather was horrible yesterday. It was raining cats and dogs all day.

Did you know...? This phrase originated in 17th century England. Very heavy rain would occasionally wash dead animals through the street. The animals didn't fall from the sky of course, but the sight of dead cats and dogs being washed down the street with the rain caused people to joke that it must have been raining cats and dogs.


English Idiom of the Day – Under the Weather

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @ 09:03 AM
posted by Jo

Under the Weather

If you are 'under the weather' it means you are sick or unwell.

Example: 'I think I will stay home from work today, I am feeling a bit under the weather'

'You should go to the Doctor, you look under the weather'

Did you know...? This idiom originated in the British Navy. When a sailor became sick, he was kept under the deck or 'under the weather' so he could get well.


English Idiom of the Day – A Pain in the Neck

Friday, March 18, 2011 @ 11:03 AM
posted by Jo

A Pain in the Neck

If someone is a pain in the neck it means they are very annoying and always disturbing you.
Example: My little sister won't leave me alone. She's a real pain in the neck.
Less polite variations! Pain in the butt/ass (American), Pain in the Arse (British)