English Lessons Idioms and Phrases

50+ Communication Idioms with Meanings

50+ Communication Idioms with Meanings
Written by Abdul

This article explains what more than 50 communications idioms mean and how to utilize them. Idioms are phrases that mean something other than what the individual words say. Some are very popular, such as “Speak Your Mind” or “Break the Ice,” while others are more unusual, such as “Paint the Town Red” or “Air One’s Dirty Laundry.” Understanding and using colorful language in your talks might be aided by learning these idioms. This lesson is a handy reference to the world of communication idioms, whether you want to improve your English, grasp figurative terms, or simply make your conversation more fascinating.

Communication Idioms List

  • Break the ice
  • Speak your mind
  • Read between the lines
  • Drop a hint
  • Keep someone in the loop
  • Talk the talk
  • Get the message
  • Clam up
  • A penny for your thoughts
  • The ball is in your court
  • Keep your ear to the ground
  • To talk one’s ear off
  • Chew the fat
  • Talk the hind leg off a donkey
  • Face the music
  • Jump on the bandwagon
  • Get the ball rolling
  • Air one’s dirty laundry
  • Go the extra mile
  • Keep it under your hat
  • A piece of one’s mind
  • Butter someone up
  • Get on the same page
  • Keep a stiff upper lip
  • To put it in a nutshell
  • In hot water
  • Sugarcoat something
  • Hear it on the grapevine
  • Have a chip on one’s shoulder
  • Be in someone’s good books
  • Pass the buck
  • Keep something at bay
  • The ball’s in your court
  • The elephant in the room
  • A wolf in sheep’s clothing
  • Get off one’s chest
  • Break a leg
  • Up in the air
  • Burn the midnight oil
  • Let the cat out of the bag
  • A blessing in disguise
  • In the same boat
  • Paint the town red
  • Hit the nail on the head
  • Take the bull by the horns
  • Cry over spilled milk
  • Don’t beat around the bush
  • Read the room
  • Break a sweat
  • Open a can of worms

Communication Idioms With Meanings and Examples

Break the ice

  • Meaning: To start a conversation or social interaction in a friendly manner.
  • Example: “He told a joke to break the ice at the party.”

Speak your mind

  • Meaning: To express your thoughts and opinions honestly and directly.
  • Example: “I always encourage my students to speak their minds during class discussions.”

Read between the lines

  • Meaning: To understand a deeper or hidden meaning in what someone is saying or writing.
  • Example: “Her tone was so sarcastic; I had to read between the lines to grasp her true feelings.”

On the same wavelength

  • Meaning: To be in agreement or have a similar understanding with someone.
  • Example: “We always seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to our creative ideas.”

Drop a hint

  • Meaning: To subtly suggest something without directly stating it.
  • Example: “She dropped a hint about her favorite restaurant, hoping someone would take her there for her birthday.”

Keep someone in the loop

  • Meaning: To keep someone informed or updated about a situation or project.
  • Example: “Make sure to keep the team in the loop about any changes to the project schedule.”

Talk the talk

  • Meaning: To speak convincingly or confidently about a subject, often without having the corresponding actions or experience.
  • Example: “He talks the talk about fitness but rarely goes to the gym.”

Get the message

  • Meaning: To understand or comprehend what someone is trying to communicate.
  • Example: “After multiple warnings, she finally got the message that she needed to improve her performance.”

Clam up

  • Meaning: To become silent and stop talking, often due to shyness or unwillingness to share information.
  • Example: “He clammed up when asked about his personal life.”

A penny for your thoughts

  • Meaning: A polite way to ask someone what they are thinking or feeling.
  • Example: “You’ve been quiet all day. A penny for your thoughts?”

The ball is in your court

  • Meaning: The responsibility or decision now rests with someone.
  • Example: “I’ve made my offer; the ball is in your court now.”

Keep your ear to the ground

  • Meaning: To stay informed and aware of the latest developments or information.
  • Example: “In the world of finance, it’s essential to keep your ear to the ground for market trends.”

To talk one’s ear off

  • Meaning: To talk excessively or for an extended period, often boring or exhausting the listener.
  • Example: “He talked my ear off about his latest vacation for hours.”

Chew the fat

  • Meaning: To have a casual and lengthy conversation, often about various topics.
  • Example: “We sat in the café, chewing the fat for hours.”

Talk the hind leg off a donkey

  • Meaning: To talk incessantly or exhaustively.
  • Example: “He can talk the hind leg off a donkey when he gets excited about a subject.”

Face the music

  • Meaning: To confront the consequences of one’s actions, especially when they are negative.
  • Example: “After breaking the vase, he knew he had to face the music and tell his mother.”

A picture is worth a thousand words

  • Meaning: Visual images can convey complex ideas more effectively than words.
  • Example: “The chart illustrated the data so clearly; it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Get the ball rolling

  • Meaning: To start a process or activity.
  • Example: “Let’s get the ball rolling on our project by scheduling a meeting.”

Air one’s dirty laundry

  • Meaning: To publicly discuss or reveal private, embarrassing, or unpleasant information.
  • Example: “I can’t believe he aired his dirty laundry in front of everyone at the family gathering.”

Go the extra mile

  • Meaning: To make an additional effort or do more than what is expected.
  • Example: “She always goes the extra mile to help her coworkers.”

Keep it under your hat

  • Meaning: To keep a secret or not share information with others.
  • Example: “I heard a rumor, but I’ll keep it under my hat for now.”

A piece of one’s mind

  • Meaning: To express one’s disapproval or anger directly to someone.
  • Example: “I gave him a piece of my mind when he was consistently late for meetings.”

Butter someone up

  • Meaning: To flatter or compliment someone to gain their favor.
  • Example: “She buttered up the boss to secure a promotion.”

Get on the same page

  • Meaning: To have a shared understanding or agreement with someone.
  • Example: “We need to get on the same page before we present the proposal.”

Keep a stiff upper lip

  • Meaning: To remain calm and composed in the face of adversity or difficulty.
  • Example: “Even in tough times, she keeps a stiff upper lip and continues to work hard.”

To put it in a nutshell

  • Meaning: To express something in a concise and summarized manner.
  • Example: “To put it in a nutshell, the project is behind schedule, and we need to make changes.”

In hot water

  • Meaning: In trouble or facing difficulties or consequences.
  • Example: “He found himself in hot water after missing an important deadline.”

Sugarcoat something

  • Meaning: To make something appear less harsh or more pleasant than it is.
  • Example: “She tried to sugarcoat the bad news to soften the blow.”

Hear it on the grapevine

  • Meaning: To hear information or rumors from unofficial or indirect sources.
  • Example: “I heard it on the grapevine that they might be getting married soon.”

Give someone a piece of one’s mind

  • Meaning: To express one’s anger or disapproval directly to someone.
  • Example: “I gave my noisy neighbors a piece of my mind about their loud parties.”

Have a chip on one’s shoulder

  • Meaning: To be easily provoked or to have a confrontational attitude.
  • Example: “Ever since he lost the game, he’s had a chip on his shoulder.”

Be in someone’s good books

  • Meaning: To be in someone’s favor or have a positive standing with them.
  • Example: “She’s in the boss’s good books after completing the project ahead of schedule.”

Pass the buck

  • Meaning: To shift responsibility or blame to someone else.
  • Example: “Instead of taking responsibility for the mistake, he tried to pass the buck to his colleague.”

Keep something at bay

  • Meaning: To prevent or control something from causing harm or trouble.
  • Example: “Regular exercise can help keep health problems at bay.”

The ball’s in your court

  • Meaning: The responsibility or decision now rests with someone.
  • Example: “I’ve made my offer; the ball is in your court now.”

The elephant in the room

  • Meaning: An obvious and significant issue or problem that everyone is ignoring.
  • Example: “The budget deficit is the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss.”

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

  • Meaning: Someone who appears harmless or friendly but is actually dangerous or deceitful.
  • Example: “He seemed so trustworthy, but he turned out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Get off one’s chest

  • Meaning: To express one’s feelings or concerns that have been bothering them.
  • Example: “She needed to get her grievances off her chest by talking to a friend.”

Break a leg

  • Meaning: A common phrase to wish someone good luck, especially before a performance.
  • Example: “Before going on stage, the actor’s friend said, ‘Break a leg!'”

Up in the air

  • Meaning: Uncertain or undecided; plans or situations that are not yet resolved.
  • Example: “The date for the meeting is still up in the air.”

Burn the midnight oil

  • Meaning: To work late into the night or early morning hours.
  • Example: “He had to burn the midnight oil to complete his term paper.”

Let the cat out of the bag

  • Meaning: To reveal a secret or information that was supposed to be kept hidden.
  • Example: “She accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.”

A blessing in disguise

  • Meaning: Something that initially appears to be negative but turns out to be beneficial.
  • Example: “Losing his job turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he found a better opportunity.”

In the same boat

  • Meaning: Facing the same challenges or circumstances as others.
  • Example: “We’re all in the same boat when it comes to dealing with this difficult project.”

Paint the town red

  • Meaning: To go out and have a great time, often involving partying and celebrations.
  • Example: “After the successful launch of the product, they decided to paint the town red.”

Hit the nail on the head

  • Meaning: To describe or identify something accurately.
  • Example: “Her analysis hit the nail on the head when she pinpointed the main issue.”

Take the bull by the horns

  • Meaning: To face a difficult or challenging situation directly and with determination.
  • Example: “She decided to take the bull by the horns and confront her fears.”

Caught between a rock and a hard place

  • Meaning: To be in a difficult situation with no good options to choose from.
  • Example: “He was caught between a rock and a hard place when he had to choose between two job offers.”

Cry over spilled milk

  • Meaning: To dwell on past mistakes or misfortunes that cannot be changed.
  • Example: “There’s no use crying over spilled milk; let’s focus on finding a solution.”

Don’t beat around the bush

  • Meaning: To be direct and straightforward in communication, without unnecessary details.
  • Example: “Please don’t beat around the bush; just tell me what you need.”

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

  • Meaning: To not rely on a single source or plan, as it may lead to greater risk if it fails.
  • Example: “She diversified her investments to avoid putting all her eggs in one basket.”

Jump on the bandwagon

  • Meaning: To join a popular trend or activity because it is currently fashionable.
  • Example: “Many people jumped on the bandwagon of adopting a healthy lifestyle.”

Read the room

  • Meaning: To understand the social dynamics and emotional atmosphere of a situation or group.
  • Example: “He didn’t read the room well and made an inappropriate joke.”

Break a sweat

  • Meaning: To exert physical effort or engage in strenuous activity.
  • Example: “To stay fit, it’s important to break a sweat during your workouts.”

Open a can of worms

  • Meaning: To introduce a complicated or problematic issue that leads to more difficulties.
  • Example: “Bringing up the topic of budget cuts opened a can of worms in the meeting.”

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50+ Communication Idioms with Meanings

Communication Idioms with Meanings

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Abdul

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