“An idiom is an expression consisting of a combination of words that have a figurative meaning” (Wikipedia). Native speakers use idioms to make their speech more colorful and alive. They use them much more than they are actually aware of. If you want to speak English fluently, you need to learn some English idioms.
You may want to read our free e-book A day at the zoo. It is packed with idioms.
Some examples are:
You nailed it! You hit the nail on the head. The idiom actually means that you were absolutely right.
Yeah, of course, when pigs fly. In other words, it is impossible, it is not going to happen. Curiosity kills the cat, but it also leads us to new paths. “Curiosity killed the cat” is an idiom-proverb used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation. It implies that being curious can sometimes lead to danger or misfortune, so it is often invoked to stop people from being inquisitive.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. What the idiom actually means is that you should not take on more than you can handle, in other words, you should know and accept your limitations.
She looks as awkward as a cow on roller skates (clumsy, out of place), as quiet as a mouse (shy), as stubborn as a mule (very stubborn), as fat as a pig/cow (overweight -it’s very rude!).
I put my foot in my mouth. The idiom means that I have said something foolish, tactless, or offensive that I regret.
The boy who cried wolf. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is one of Aesop’s Fables. It teaches about the importance of not raising false alarms and of telling the truth.
“It’s raining cats and dogs” means “it is raining very heavily”.
Have you ever spilled the beans on someone else’s secret? The idiom is another way of asking “Have you ever given away a secret?”
The old fellow kicked the bucket means “the man died or passed away.”