Learning cultures and languages brings on a world of Idioms and customs foreigners may not understand. An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning conventionally understood by native speakers. You may go to a country like America and hear phrases and expressions that either don’t make sense or sounds strange. A lot of newcomers tend to get lost in conversations sometimes if English isn’t their mother tongue. See, there’s an idiom already for you! The term ” Mother Tongue ” means the native language of one’s home country.
Getting to understand idiom phrases and expressions can be very useful and helpful.
Best way to blend in with the natives and understand phrases spoken in movies and TV shows. Let’s discuss some popular idiom expressions that do not make sense and what they mean. If you hear the phrase, ” Break a Leg “, it means good luck to you. It’s commonly said to actors before they go on stage. For example; “Break a leg Jessica, I know your performance will be great.” That just simply means to have good luck on stage.
A phrase I love to use that is used a lot is, ” Kill 2 birds with one stone. ” That phrase means to solve 2 problems or tasks with only one action. Here is one example, ” I’m going to walk my dog to the park today to kill 2 birds with one stone by getting some exercise done and letting my dog enjoy herself at the park. ” Another example would be, ” I killed 2 birds with one stone this weekend when I went by my mom’s house knowing I have to study for exams Monday. I was able to spend time with her and she helped me study for the tests I am preparing to take Monday morning.” That phrase killing 2 birds with one stone dates back to the Roman era when they literally liked to kill 2 birds with one stone. It carried on for many years taking on a whole other meaning that’s not literal.
A couple more idioms I personally like are, ” when pigs fly”, ” blessing in disguise ” and ” speak of the devil.” Obviously pigs don’t actually fly so the meaning of the phrase ” when pigs fly ” is something that will never happen. It sounds like nonsense but most people are being funny or sarcastic when they use it. Here’s an example, ” I’ll lend you more money I know you won’t pay back when pigs fly. ” Another example is, ” Mike is so messy so he’ll clean his room when pigs fly. ” Now for the expression ” blessing in disguise “, it means something unfortunate that happened or is happening that will result in something good later on. At the moment when something bad is happening, it’s hard to think something good will come out of it but sometimes it does. Hence, that’s where that phrase came about. ” Speak of the devil ” means whatever person you were speaking about happens to appear in that moment. It’s usually a big coincidence when it happens but it’s funny when it does. An example of that expression is, ” Hey Joe, speak of the devil, I was just telling my friend Martin about you. ” You might think the expression sounds crazy or demonic but it’s been a popular idiom for quite some time.
4 more idioms you might enjoy are ” elbow grease “, ” jump on the bandwagon “, ” head over heels ” and ” last straw. ” The words ” elbow grease ” means hard physical work. “Jump on the bandwagon ” means joining in on an activity that become very popular. ” Head over heels ” means to have deep attraction, love, or admiration for something or someone. Last but not least, the phrase ” last straw ” means the last bad thing or event you will allow to happen. People use that term when they had a series of negative things happen and then one more bad thing happens so they have had enough of it.
All in all, idioms most times don’t make sense. Matter of fact, you might consider it nonsense actually, but it plays a huge role in everyday life for English speakers and the media. Learning some idioms couldn’t hurt and you might find some you grow to like and use daily.