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American Idioms
Inspiration Mastering the Alphabet Uncategorized

Commonly used American Idioms


American idioms

apply some elbow grease – put some physical effort into what you’re doing

armed to the teeth – in possession of a lot of weapons

bare bones – a very basic model or version, with no extras or add-ons

bundle of nerves – very nervous or anxious about something

by the skin of your teeth – just barely

get it off your chest – share information about something that has been bothering you

give me a hand – please help or assist me with something

go behind one’s back – to sneak and do something without telling someone who should be aware

go belly up – go out of business; to lose everything

green thumb – to be good at gardening; having good skills or luck with growing flowers or vegetables

I’m all ears – the person is prepared and ready to listen to what you have to say

it’s like pulling teeth – something that requires a lot of effort

itchy feet – someone is getting restless; being ready to move on to the next activity

joined at the hip – people who seem to be together all the time

keep at arm’s length – to deliberately not let someone get too close

long in the tooth – old; of advanced years

need elbow room – to prefer to have plenty of space between you and other people

no skin off my nose – something isn’t going to affect you, so you don’t really care

pick your brain – to ask questions to find out someone’s thoughts or opinions on a topic

play it by ear – to move forward without a specific plan; to figure things out along the way

slap on the wrist – a minor caution against doing something rather than an actual punishment

stick your neck out – to take a chance on another person in a way that could impact your reputation

wet behind the ears – doesn’t have very much experience; isn’t very skilled

your neck of the woods – the general area where someone lives

American idioms

ants in your pants – can’t sit still

barking up the wrong tree – having the wrong impression of a person or situation

bats in the belfry – indicates that someone is behaving in an eccentric or less than sane manner

beef up – to strengthen something

eager beaver – someone who is very eager or excited to do something

earworm – thinking about a song or lyrics from a song over and over

elephant in the room – something that everyone in the room is aware of that probably needs to be addressed

for the birds – something that is silly, ridiculous or ludicrous

get your ducks in a row – make proper plans; get things in order

gets my goat – something that really bothers or annoys someone

hair of the dog that bit you – whatever caused you to be in the situation you’re in, go get more of that

hold your horses – slow down; stop and think about what you’re doing

on a fishing expedition – trying to get information out of someone without being fully aware of what you’re looking for

monkey business – silliness or goofing off; breaking the rules

plenty of fish in the sea – there are plenty of other dating prospects out there

put lipstick on a pig – if you dress up ugly, there’s still ugly underneath

quit cold turkey – to give up something all at once rather than gradually weaning off it

running around like a chicken with your head cut off – being confused, disorganized, or unsure of where to get started or what to do next

sh** eating grin – a snarky, knowing smile

smell a rat – to get a sense that there is a problem with something

straight from the horse’s mouth – got information directly from the most knowledgeable source

to be a fly on the wall – to wish to witness what is going on without anyone being aware that you are there

zebras don’t change their stripes – don’t expect anyone to be anything other than who they really are

Idioms on mixed topics.

a dime a dozen – refers to something that’s very common, so it doesn’t have much value or worth

bang for your buck – get the most benefit possible out of the money you spend

bought the farm – to die unexpectedly

don’t let the inmates run the asylum – those who are in charge should make the decisions rather than those in subordinate rolls

freeze someone out – to deliberately leave someone out; to choose not to include someone who would expect to be included

go Dutch – to pay your own way when going somewhere with another person or a group of people

going forward – the next time or on a future occasion

graveyard shift – working through the overnight hours

jump on the bandwagon – to do something because everyone is doing it

hold the line – to stay on the telephone to wait for the party you are calling to become available

give something a fair shake – to try something for a while before deciding that it isn’t for you

looney tunes – someone who may not be mentally healthy

party pooper – someone who puts a stop to the fun

pass the buck – blame someone else for something or make someone else responsible for a difficult or unpleasant task

put a pin in this – stop discussing or working this now, with plans to come back to it later

reach out to someone – ask someone for information

riding shotgun – riding in the front passenger seat of a car or truck

shoot the breeze – make small talk; have a casual conversation

spill the beans – to reveal information you were not supposed to share

stick to something like white on rice – to cling tightly with no possibility of letting go

that really knocked my socks off – to be really impressed by something

to take a rain check – to say no to an invitation when it is given, but suggest that it is likely to be accepted in the future

top of the line – the best possible version of something; the most luxurious or expensive options

touch base – to communicate with someone regarding future plans

up my alley – something that you really like, or something that is within your skillset

wet blanket – someone who is dull and keeps others from having fun

your John Hancock – your official signature

aces – If something is “aces,” that means that it is great or fantastic. (We have a substitute teacher today in history class? Aces!)

bae -The slang term bae is used to refer to one’s sweetheart of any gender. This slang term is an example of an acronym; it stands for the phrase “before anyone else.” (Come on, bae, let’s go watch the sun come up at the beach.)

basic – One who is “basic” is unimpressive or boring, typically conforming to mainstream trends like pumpkin spice. (He comes to every party in the exact same outfit. He’s so basic.)

canceled – Likely derived from cancel culture, the slang term “canceled” indicates that something is no longer popular. (After that drunk video surfaced, the prom queen is canceled.)

capper – The slang term capper refers to someone who tells lies. It’s related to the slang word capping (or cappin’), which means to lie. (Don’t believe anything he says. That guy is a capper.)

chillax – Chillax is a portmanteau that fuses the words “chill” and “relax.” The combination means just to calm down. (Don’t worry about the exam; just chillax and come to the party.)

destroy – In modern American slang, “destroy” means the opposite of the literal meaning of the word. To destroy a thing means to do very well. (I destroyed that exam! A plus, baby!)

extra – To be “extra” is to be flamboyant or over the top. It’s not a compliment, but more of a snarky put-down. (Coming to the prom in white tie, tails and a top hat? He’s so extra.)

finna – Akin to “fixin’ to” in redneck slang, the slang term “finna” is modern slang for the phrase “about to.” (I’m finna be done with school.)

flexing – Showing off or being a braggart is what the modern American slang term “flexing” means. (Look at him flexing in his fancy new car.)

goat – The slang term is an acronym for the phrase “greatest of all time.” It can also be written as g.o. a. t or GOAT. This slang word is often used to refer to people or places that are outstanding. (Which NFL quarterback is the goat

More on American idioms

boo-boo – mistake or injury

cooler – jail, detention

garbage – nonsense

hood – the juvenile delinquent

neck – hug or kiss

Some Old American Slang
bread – money

chill – take it easy

crib – where you live

far out – amazing

spacey – odd, eccentric

vibes – feelings
bad – good

bounce – to leave, to depart

grody – disgusting

psyche – as an exclamation, “Not really!” or “I fooled you!”

rad – fun, exciting

word – “I agree,” or, as a question, “Really?”

bad – good

American idioms

bounce – to leave, to depart

grody – disgusting

rad – fun, exciting

word – “I agree,” or, as a question, “Really?”

as if – no way

bangin’ – awesome, exciting

bling – glitter, wealth

loot – money

po-po – police

senior moment – memory loss

cougar – older woman dating younger man

holla – call on the phone

paper – money

peeps – friends, people

ride or die – a friend or partner who’s with you no matter what

tat – tattoo


American idioms


American idioms


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Commonly used American Idioms

American idioms apply some elbow grease – put some physical effort into what you’re doing armed to the teeth – in possession of a lot of weapons bare bones – a very basic model or version, with no extras or add-ons bundle of nerves – very nervous or anxious about something by the skin of your teeth – just barelyContinue reading “Commonly used American Idioms”

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