Idiom Examples Figurative Language, Meaning, How to Write, Tips

idiom examples figurative language

Explore the fascinating world of idioms and figurative language with our comprehensive guide. From vivid examples to the meanings behind these expressions, we’ve got you covered. Elevate your writing and conversational skills by learning how to craft your own idioms. Our top-notch tips will make you an idiom aficionado in no time. Dive in to enrich your vocabulary and make your language as colorful as a rainbow. Ideal for students, writers, and anyone looking to add a creative spark to their communication.

What is an Idiom Figurative Language? – Definition

An idiom is a phrase or expression whose meaning is different from the literal sense of the individual words it contains. In figurative language, idioms are used to add spice and depth to communication, making phrases more impactful and easier to remember.

What is an example of an Idiom Figurative Language?

One classic example of an idiom in figurative language is “break the ice.” Literally, this would mean to physically break ice, but the idiom has nothing to do with frozen water. Instead, it means to initiate a conversation or activity, generally making people more relaxed and amiable. For example, a host at a party might play a game to “break the ice” among guests who are meeting for the first time.

100 Idiom Examples Figurative Language, Meaning, Usage, Sentences

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Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of idiomatic expressions with our ultimate list of 100 idiom examples. Perfect for language lovers, writers, and students, our carefully curated list dives deep into the nuances of idioms in figurative language. Learn the meaning behind each idiom, how to use them, and see them in action through contextual sentences. Spice up your vocabulary and make your conversations and writings more impactful. Let’s delve in!

Idiom Meaning Usage Sentence Example
Break the ice Make people feel more comfortable Social Gathering She told a joke to break the ice at the meeting.
A piece of cake Something very easy Work Finishing the project on time was a piece of cake.
Spill the beans Reveal a secret Conversational He spilled the beans about the surprise party.
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right Problem-solving Your explanation hit the nail on the head.
Beat around the bush Avoid getting to the point Communication Stop beating around the bush and tell me what happened.
The ball is in your court It’s your turn to take action Decision-making I’ve done all I can, now the ball is in your court.
Paint the town red Enjoy oneself flamboyantly Entertainment They decided to paint the town red after the exams.
Let the cat out of the bag Reveal a secret unintentionally Social Situation She let the cat out of the bag about the engagement.
A penny for your thoughts Asking someone what they are thinking about Conversational You look deep in thought, a penny for your thoughts?
An arm and a leg Very expensive Shopping This dress costs an arm and a leg.
Hit the sack Go to sleep Daily Routine I’m really tired, I’m going to hit the sack.
Cry over spilled milk Complain about something that can’t be changed Emotional There’s no use crying over spilled milk.
Cut to the chase Get to the point Communication Enough backstory, cut to the chase.
Let sleeping dogs lie Avoid disturbing a situation Problem-solving He decided to let sleeping dogs lie and not ask her about it.
Throw in the towel Give up Sports He threw in the towel in the final round.
Up in the air Uncertain Planning Our vacation plans are still up in the air.
Head over heels Deeply in love Relationships She’s head over heels in love with him.
The last straw The final problem in a series Stress This was the last straw, I can’t take it anymore.
At the drop of a hat Immediately Timing He’s ready to go at the drop of a hat.
Through thick and thin In both good and bad times Relationships They’ve been together through thick and thin.
An arm and a leg Very expensive Shopping This dress costs an arm and a leg.
Back to the drawing board Start over Planning The project failed; it’s back to the drawing board.
Don’t cry wolf Don’t give false alarms Caution He’s always complaining, but don’t cry wolf.
When pigs fly Something that will never happen Unlikely Yeah, I’ll clean my room when pigs fly.
In hot water In trouble Relationships He got in hot water for forgetting their anniversary.
A penny for your thoughts Asking what someone is thinking Conversational You seem quiet, a penny for your thoughts?
A taste of your own medicine Get treated the way you’ve been treating others Justice He was always playing pranks, and got a taste of his own medicine.
Break a leg Good luck Encouragement You have an exam tomorrow? Break a leg!
A dime a dozen Something very common Commonality These kind of t-shirts are a dime a dozen.
Beat around the bush Avoid answering a question Conversational Stop beating around the bush and get to the point.
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right Accuracy You hit the nail on the head with that explanation.
Paint the town red Go out and have a good time Recreation It’s Friday night, let’s paint the town red.
Bite the bullet Face a difficult situation bravely Courage I hate going to the dentist, but I’ll just have to bite the bullet.
Go the extra mile Do more than what’s required Effort She always goes the extra mile to make her customers happy.
Kill two birds with one stone Accomplish two things at once Efficiency I killed two birds with one stone by picking up dinner on my way.
Take it with a grain of salt Be skeptical Skepticism Take his advice with a grain of salt, he’s not an expert.
Burn the midnight oil Work late into the night Work I had to burn the midnight oil to finish the project.
Put all your eggs in one basket Risk everything on one endeavor Risk Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; diversify your investments.
Read between the lines Find the hidden meaning Understanding If you read between the lines, you’ll see what she really means.
Get out of hand Become unmanageable Control The party got out of hand and the police were called.
Cut to the chase Get to the point Communication Stop beating around the bush and cut to the chase.
Break a leg Good luck Wishing Break a leg in your performance tonight!
Pull someone’s leg Joking with someone Humor I’m just pulling your leg, I didn’t really forget your birthday.
A penny for your thoughts What are you thinking? Inquiry You look puzzled, a penny for your thoughts?
Out of the blue Unexpectedly Surprise She called me out of the blue after years of no contact.
Get your act together Become organized Organization You need to get your act together if you want to succeed.
It’s not rocket science It’s not complicated Simplicity Come on, it’s not rocket science, just add the two numbers.
Barking up the wrong tree Pursuing a misguided course of action Mistake If you think I took your book, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Piece of cake Very easy Simplicity The exam was a piece of cake.
Cry over spilled milk Regret a situation that can’t be changed Regret There’s no use crying over spilled milk, just move on.
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right Accuracy You hit the nail on the head with that explanation.
A picture is worth a thousand words A visual presentation is more descriptive Explanation No need to explain, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Take the bull by the horns Face a problem head-on Courage Stop avoiding the issue, take the bull by the horns and solve it.
Put all your eggs in one basket Rely on a single solution Risk Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; diversify your investments.
When pigs fly Something that will never happen Improbability I’ll clean my room when pigs fly.
Jump on the bandwagon Follow a trend Conformity Everyone is buying the new phone, so I might as well jump on the bandwagon.
Let the cat out of the bag Reveal a secret Disclosure He let the cat out of the bag and told her about the surprise party.
Through thick and thin In both good and bad times Loyalty We’ve been best friends through thick and thin.
The ball is in your court Your move or decision Responsibility I’ve done all I can; now the ball is in your court.
Go the extra mile Make a special effort Effort She always goes the extra mile to make her guests feel welcome.
Break the ice Initiate a conversation or ease tension Social Skills He broke the ice with a joke at the meeting.
Beat around the bush Avoid getting to the point Evasion Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you want.
Barking up the wrong tree Pursuing a mistaken or misguided course of action Mistake He’s barking up the wrong tree by blaming her.
A penny for your thoughts Asking for someone’s opinion Inquiry You look puzzled, a penny for your thoughts?
An arm and a leg Very expensive Cost This dress costs an arm and a leg.
Get out of hand Lose control Chaos The party got out of hand, and the police were called.
In hot water In trouble Difficulty You’ll be in hot water if you don’t submit the project on time.
Hold your horses Slow down Patience Hold your horses, we haven’t won yet!
A piece of cake Easy task Simplicity The test was a piece of cake.
The ball’s in your court It’s your decision or turn to act Responsibility I’ve done all I can; now the ball’s in your court.
Hit the nail on the head Be exactly correct Accuracy You hit the nail on the head with that explanation.
Go down in flames Fail spectacularly Failure His proposal went down in flames.
Out of the frying pan into the fire From a bad situation to a worse one Dilemma I thought changing jobs would solve my problems, but it was out of the frying pan into the fire.
Turn over a new leaf Make a fresh start Renewal He turned over a new leaf and started exercising.
A penny saved is a penny earned Saving money is as good as making money Thriftiness Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned.
Cut to the chase Get to the point Directness Enough small talk, let’s cut to the chase.
You can’t judge a book by its cover Don’t judge something by its appearance Non-judgment He may look intimidating, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Up in arms Angry, upset Anger The community was up in arms about the new development.
Pull someone’s leg Joke or tease someone Humor I’m just pulling your leg; of course I’ll help you.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush It’s better to have a certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one Caution Don’t give up your day job for a risky venture; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Through thick and thin In both good and bad times Loyalty They’ve been best friends for years, through thick and thin.
Jump on the bandwagon To join a popular activity or trend Conformity When the team started winning, everyone jumped on the bandwagon.
Raining cats and dogs Raining very heavily Weather Take an umbrella, it’s raining cats and dogs out there.
Give someone the cold shoulder To ignore someone Indifference She gave me the cold shoulder at the party last night.
Don’t cry over spilled milk Don’t waste time worrying about things you can’t change Optimism There’s no use crying over spilled milk; just move on.
A picture is worth a thousand words An image can tell a story better than words Expression This photograph of the sunset is stunning—a picture is worth a thousand words.
Let the cat out of the bag Reveal a secret Honesty Who let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party?
It takes two to tango Actions or communications need more than one person Cooperation You can’t blame it all on her; it takes two to tango.
Hold your horses Be patient Patience Hold your horses; we’ll get there soon.
Put all your eggs in one basket Rely on a single solution or plan Risk Investing all your money in one stock is like putting all your eggs in one basket.
Beat around the bush Avoid getting to the point Communication Stop beating around the bush and tell me what you want.
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right Accuracy You hit the nail on the head with that explanation.
Pull someone’s leg To joke with someone Humor Are you pulling my leg, or did you really win the lottery?
Off the record Something said in confidence that the one speaking doesn’t want attributed to him/her Trust Let’s talk off the record; I don’t want this to get out.
Break a leg Good luck Encouragement You have an exam today? Break a leg!
Spill the beans Reveal a secret Honesty Come on, spill the beans! What’s the big news?
Out of the blue Unexpectedly Surprise I got a call out of the blue from an old friend.
Blow off steam Release pent-up emotion Emotional relief I went for a run to blow off steam after our argument.
Cut to the chase Get to the point Communication Enough with the preamble, let’s cut to the chase.
The ball is in your court It’s your decision or turn to act Responsibility I’ve done all I can; now, the ball is in your court.
Jump on the bandwagon Join a popular trend or activity Popularity Everyone is buying that phone; I might as well jump on the bandwagon.
Hit the hay Go to bed Sleep It’s late, time to hit the hay.
Through thick and thin In both good and bad times Loyalty She stood by her husband through thick and thin.
Get your act together Improve your behavior or performance Improvement You need to get your act together if you want to pass the course.
Piece of cake Something that is easy Simplicity Finishing that project was a piece of cake.
The elephant in the room An obvious problem that is being ignored Ignorance No one mentioned Bob’s affair, it was the elephant in the room.
Don’t cry over spilled milk Don’t waste time worrying over past mistakes Regret You lost your job, but don’t cry over spilled milk. Focus on the future.
Burning the midnight oil Working late into the night Hard work She was burning the midnight oil to finish her assignment.
Hit the road Begin a journey Starting We should hit the road early to avoid traffic.
Under the weather Feeling unwell Sickness She couldn’t attend the meeting because she was feeling under the weather.

Idiom Examples for High Schoolers with Meaning & Sentence

For high school students, idioms can be a fun and challenging way to master the English language. Here’s a list tailored for you, featuring idioms commonly encountered in literature, conversations, and even exams.

Idiom Meaning Usage Sentence Example
A chip on your shoulder Holding a grudge Emotion Sarah has had a chip on her shoulder since she didn’t make the team.
Hit the books Study hard Academics I need to hit the books; exams are just around the corner.
Burning the midnight oil Working late into the night Studying Tim was burning the midnight oil to finish his project on time.
Jump on the bandwagon Join a popular trend Socializing Everyone’s wearing those shoes; time to jump on the bandwagon.
Push the envelope Test the limits Challenges To succeed, you sometimes need to push the envelope.

Idiom Examples for Middle Schoolers with Meaning & Sentence

Middle school is a time of change and new experiences. To express these unique situations, idioms can come in handy. Here are some that you might find useful in your daily life.

Idiom Meaning Usage Sentence Example
Under the weather Feeling sick Health Jane is under the weather today, so she won’t be coming to school.
Piece of cake Very easy Tasks The math homework was a piece of cake for her.
Cry over spilled milk Worry about things that can’t be changed Emotion There’s no point crying over spilled milk; let’s find a solution.

Idiom Examples for Primary School Students with Meaning & Sentence

Learning idioms at a young age can boost vocabulary and understanding of the language. These idioms are simple yet impactful, great for primary school students to learn and use.

Idiom Meaning Usage Sentence Example
Hit the hay Go to bed Sleep It’s past your bedtime; time to hit the hay.
The ball is in your court Your turn to take action Responsibility You have to make the decision now; the ball is in your court.

Idiom Examples for College Students with Meaning & Sentence

College is a transformative period full of new experiences and challenges. These idioms can help you navigate through academic and social situations with ease.

Idiom Meaning Usage Sentence Example
Break a leg Good luck Encouragement You have a big exam tomorrow, break a leg!
Hit the sack Go to bed Sleep It’s late, and I have class tomorrow; I need to hit the sack.

What is an idiom in figurative?

In the realm of linguistics, an idiom is a fixed expression that has a figurative meaning distinct from the literal interpretation of its individual words. Essentially, the phrase as a whole signifies something entirely different than the sum of its parts. For example, “break a leg” doesn’t literally mean to break your leg; instead, it is a way to wish someone good luck. Idioms are an essential component of figurative language, enriching text and speech by adding an extra layer of meaning and color.

What is an example of an idiom in literary devices?

In literature, idioms serve as powerful tools for conveying ideas or emotions in an unconventional way. One commonly used idiom in literature is “the apple of my eye,” which is employed to describe something or someone that one cherishes above all others. Shakespeare’s use of idioms, like “star-crossed lovers,” also demonstrates how idiomatic expressions can add depth and flavor to a narrative, making it more engaging and relatable. Therefore, idioms function as impactful literary devices that go beyond mere ornamentation; they provide a means of nuanced expression that resonates with readers or listeners.

What is an idiom in figurative language for kids?

For younger audiences, idioms can be both entertaining and educational. These quirky phrases introduce kids to the concept of figurative language, emphasizing that words can have meanings beyond the literal. For example, the idiom “raining cats and dogs” doesn’t mean that pets are falling from the sky; it simply illustrates that it’s raining heavily. Teaching idioms to children can be a fun way to expand their vocabulary and cognitive skills, while also equipping them with a more in-depth understanding of language nuances. This foundational knowledge can serve them well as they progress through more advanced levels of reading and writing.

How to Write an Idiom Figurative Language? – Step by Step Guide

Creating an idiom in figurative language is an art that involves a blend of creativity and cultural understanding. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master it:

  1. Identify the Message: Determine the specific message or sentiment you want to express. Whether it’s about luck, love, or a life lesson, having a clear idea will guide your process.
  2. Brainstorm Keywords: List down words that are directly related to the message you want to convey. These keywords will serve as the building blocks for your idiom.
  3. Think Figuratively: Use metaphors or analogies to convey your message. Remember, the literal meaning of the words should be different from the idiomatic expression as a whole.
  4. Be Concise: An effective idiom is usually short and to the point. Aim for an expression that is easily memorable.
  5. Cultural Relevance: Make sure your idiom makes sense within the cultural context it will be used. Some idioms may not translate well across different cultures.
  6. Test It Out: Share your newly created idiom with friends or family to gauge its effectiveness. Is it easy to understand? Does it accurately convey the message you intended?
  7. Refine: Based on the feedback, make any necessary adjustments to the wording or structure of your idiom.
  8. Finalize: Once you’re satisfied with the idiom, it’s time to finalize it. Use it in your writings or everyday conversations to make sure it stands the test of time.

How to Use Idiom Figurative Language?

Utilizing idiomatic expressions in your speech or writing can add a layer of depth and creativity. Here are some tips:

  1. Understand the Context: Make sure you know the exact meaning and appropriate usage of the idiom. Misusing an idiom can convey the wrong message.
  2. Be Relevant: Use idioms that are relevant to the topic or theme you are discussing. Irrelevant idioms can distract from your main points.
  3. Don’t Overdo It: While idioms can enrich your language, using too many can make your text confusing or hard to follow.
  4. Introduce Gradually: If you’re introducing a new or complex idiom, consider providing a brief explanation or context to ensure your audience understands.
  5. Practice Makes Perfect: The more you use idioms, the more natural they will feel. Practice incorporating them into your everyday language carefully and thoughtfully.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively integrate idiomatic expressions into your language, enriching both your vocabulary and your ability to communicate nuanced messages.

Tips for Using Idiom Figurative Language

Figurative idiomatic expressions are a powerful tool to embellish your language and add a layer of depth to your communication. However, their effective use requires a nuanced approach. Below are some invaluable tips for successfully incorporating idioms in figurative language into your daily conversations and writings:

  1. Know Your Audience: Understanding your audience’s background and familiarity with idioms is crucial. This helps you choose idioms that resonate and make sense to them.
  2. Context is King: Always use idioms in the right context. An idiom can have multiple meanings and can easily be misunderstood if not presented within a clear context.
  3. Less is More: Although idioms can enrich your language, it’s essential not to overuse them. Too many idioms can make your text or speech confusing and muddled.
  4. Be Culture-Sensitive: Remember that idioms often have cultural implications. Be cautious when using idioms in diverse settings as they might not translate well across different cultures.
  5. Test the Waters: If you’re unsure how an idiom will be received, you can always introduce it and then immediately explain its meaning. This strategy is particularly useful in formal settings or written documents.
  6. Maintain Clarity: Always make sure that the idiom you’re using doesn’t dilute the main message you’re trying to convey. Clarity should always be the priority.
  7. Review and Revise: Especially in written communications, you have the luxury of reviewing your work. Take this opportunity to ensure that the idioms you’ve used enhance rather than detract from your message.
  8. Learn Continuously: Idioms evolve over time, and new ones come into existence. Keep your idiom arsenal updated by reading widely and paying attention to evolving language trends.
  9. Practice, Practice, Practice: The more you use idioms, the more naturally they will come to you. However, practice doesn’t mean forcing idioms into every sentence but rather understanding when and how to use them appropriately.
  10. Seek Feedback: If possible, seek feedback on your use of idioms, particularly from native speakers or those who have a strong grasp of the language. This will help you understand if you’re using idioms effectively and appropriately.

By following these tips, you can elevate your language skills, making your conversations and written texts more engaging and impactful.

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