60+ Famous American Idioms You Must Know | PDF

In this lesson, we will look at around 60+ well-known American idioms that are frequently used in everyday conversations. Idioms are phrases that do not always mean what they look like, giving them an original and entertaining part of the English language.

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Throughout this class, you will learn the meanings of common idioms, how to use them in context, and why they are so important in American communication. From “hit the hay” to “kick the bucket,” we’ll cover a wide range of idioms that will not only increase your understanding of American English but also make you look like an expert speaker. Download the complete PDF Book from the bottom of this page.

What Are American Idioms?

American idioms are like secret language codes. They are phrases that mean more than the words they contain. Consider them colorful terms that liven up a regular conversation while highlighting the unique culture and ways Americans express themselves. These sayings frequently have a cool twist to them, which adds interest and humor to conversations. Learning idioms is akin to receiving the key to understanding informal conversations. It’s not only a fun way to communicate with native speakers, but it also improves the simplicity of your English. Are you ready to explore the world of American idioms? It’s like enhancing your language skills with a dash of cultural knowledge!

List of American Idioms with Meanings

A piece of cake: Very easy.

Hit the hay: Go to bed.

Bite the bullet: Face a difficult situation with courage.

Break the ice: Initiate a conversation in a social setting.

Burn the midnight oil: Work late into the night.

Cost an arm and a leg: Very expensive.

Cry over spilled milk: Regret something that has already happened.

Cut to the chase: Skip the small talk and get to the point.

The ball is in your court: It’s your turn to take action.

Jump on the bandwagon: Join others in doing something popular.

Kick the bucket: Pass away or die.

Let the cat out of the bag: Reveal a secret.

Throw in the towel: Give up or surrender.

Burn bridges: Damage relationships beyond repair.

Caught between a rock and a hard place: Facing a difficult decision with no easy solution.

Hit the nail on the head: Describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.

Hitch your wagon to a star: Attach yourself to a person or cause with great potential.

Jumping on the bandwagon: Joining others in doing something popular.

Spill the beans: Reveal a secret.

Take the bull by the horns: Confront a problem directly.

Under the weather: Feeling unwell or sick.

Burn the candle at both ends: Overwork oneself.

Bite off more than you can chew: Take on a task that is way too big.

Cut the mustard: Succeed or meet expectations.

Hit the nail on the head: Understand a complex issue perfectly.

Hit the road: Begin a journey or leave a place.

Bite your tongue: Refrain from speaking to avoid offending someone.

Cost a pretty penny: Expensive.

Cut corners: Do something poorly to save money.

A dime a dozen: Very common and not valuable.

Burn one’s bridges: Destroy one’s path, connections, reputation, opportunities, etc., particularly intentionally.

Burning the midnight oil: Working late into the night or early morning hours.

Bury the hatchet: Make peace; end a conflict.

Chew the fat: Have a casual conversation.

Cold turkey: Suddenly stop doing something harmful.

Cry over spilled milk: Complain about a loss from the past.

Curiosity killed the cat: Being too inquisitive can lead to trouble.

Cut the cheese: Pass gas.

Cut to the chase: Get to the main point.

Hit the sack: Go to bed.

Hit the spot: Satisfy a need or desire perfectly.

Jump ship: Abandon a project or activity.

Keep an eye on the ball: Stay focused on the main issue.

Let the cat out of the bag: Reveal a secret.

Miss the boat: Miss an opportunity.

Off the hook: No longer in trouble or no longer required to do something.

On the ball: Alert, competent, and efficient.

Out of the blue: Unexpectedly.

Play it by ear: Decide on a course of action as you go along.

Pull someone’s leg: Tease or joke with someone.

Raining cats and dogs: Pouring rain.

Rub someone the wrong way: Irritate or annoy someone.

Rule of thumb: General guideline.

See eye to eye: Agree on something.

Sit on the fence: Refuse to take sides or make a decision.

Spill the beans: Reveal a secret.

The ball is in your court: It’s your turn to take action.

The whole nine yards: Everything, all the way.

Through thick and thin: In good times and bad times.

Time flies when you’re having fun: Time seems to pass quickly when you’re enjoying yourself.

Under the weather: Not feeling well.

Up in the air: Uncertain or unresolved.

Wrap your head around something: Understand something complicated.

Your guess is as good as mine: I don’t know.

Zip one’s lips: Keep quiet; don’t say anything.

Common American Idioms with Examples

  • A piece of cake: Learning to ride a bike was a piece of cake for him.
  • Hit the hay: After a long day at work, she decided to hit the hay early.
  • Bite the bullet: Despite the pain, he decided to bite the bullet and get the injection.
  • Break the ice: A good joke is a great way to break the ice at a party.
  • Burn the midnight oil: Before the exam, she had to burn the midnight oil to finish studying.
  • Cost an arm and a leg: Buying a new car can sometimes cost an arm and a leg.
  • Cry over spilled milk: There’s no use crying over spilled milk; let’s find a solution.
  • Cut to the chase: Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main points of the proposal.
  • The ball is in your court: You’ve been given all the information; now the ball is in your court.
  • Jump on the bandwagon: Many people are jumping on the bandwagon and trying the new fitness trend.
  • Kick the bucket: He hopes to travel the world before he kicks the bucket.
  • Let the cat out of the bag: She accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.
  • Throw in the towel: After struggling for hours, he decided to throw in the towel.
  • Burn bridges: Quitting a job in anger may burn bridges with colleagues.
  • Caught between a rock and a hard place: With two job offers, she’s caught between a rock and a hard place.
  • Hit the nail on the head: Your analysis hit the nail on the head; that’s exactly what went wrong.
  • Hitch your wagon to a star: Always aim high and hitch your wagon to a star.
  • Jumping on the bandwagon: Everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon of sustainable living.
  • Spill the beans: Come on, spill the beans about the surprise party plans!
  • Take the bull by the horns: If you want a promotion, you need to take the bull by the horns and ask for it.
  • Under the weather: I won’t be at the meeting today; I’m feeling a bit under the weather.
  • Burn the candle at both ends: Working two jobs means burning the candle at both ends.
  • Bite off more than you can chew: Don’t bite off more than you can chew with this project.
  • Cut the mustard: Her performance in the play cut the mustard.
  • Hit the nail on the head: Your explanation hit the nail on the head; now I understand.
  • Hit the road: It’s getting late; I need to hit the road.
  • Bite your tongue: Even though she disagreed, she chose to bite her tongue during the meeting.
  • Cost a pretty penny: That designer handbag must have cost a pretty penny.
  • Cut corners: You can’t cut corners when it comes to quality.
  • A dime a dozen: Common smartphones are a dime a dozen these days.
Popular American Idioms | Picture
60+ Famous American Idioms You Must Know
60+ Famous American Idioms You Must Know

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