Know Your Idioms!

An idiom is an expression with a figurative meaning that differs from the literal meaning. We hear idioms every day – both in conversation and in the media. Used correctly, idioms can amplify messages in a way that draws readers in and helps to awaken their senses.

We need idioms because they were coined to communicate a specific and usually quite precise meaning for which there is no exact word. The clever or creative ones tend to be memorable, and what's memorable gets repeated in meme-like fashion. Idioms are a type of figurative language that plugs the gaps in our vocabulary.

Here are a few idioms that will help us improve our basic vocabulary.


about-face: a sudden and complete change of someone's ideas, plans, or actions.

  • example- In an about-face on the morning of his trial, the accused changed his plea to guilty.

accord ( of your own accord): if you do something of your own wish, you do it without being asked to do it.

  • example- She left of her own accord even when I asked her to stay.

airy-fairy: not practical or not useful in real situations

  • example- She's talking about selling her house and buying a castle. It sounds airy-fairy to me.


baby boomer: someone who was born between 1945-1965, a period in which a lot of babies were born.

  • example- Clinton was the first baby boomer in the White House.

billet-doux: a love letter.

  • example- They have been exchanging billet-doux since earlier this May.

a busman's holiday: time away from work that is spent doing something that is similar to your usual job.

  • example- Going to the beach is too much of a busman's holiday from him as he is a lifeguard.


cruel (you have to be cruel to be kind): something that you say when you do something to someone that will upset them now because you think it will help them in future.

  • example- I was honest about my review as sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

curry favour: to try to make someone like you or support you by doing things to please them.

  • example- The government has promised lower taxes in an attempt to curry favour with the voters.

cut the cord: to stop needing someone else to look after you and start acting independently.

  • example- In order to achieve true independence, one must cut their cords from lecturers who spoon-feed lesson.

This post doesn't even cover one per cent of the total idioms that exists. This is just a level one idioms that can be used in daily conversations. More parts of this article will be put up with level two idioms. If you know any idioms that you'd like to share, then comment below!

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