What Is an Idiom? (with Examples)

An idiom is a commonly used expression whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words.

Some Common Examples of Idioms

Here are some common idioms:
  • He's been pushing up the daisies for a year.
  • (He's been dead for a year.)
  • Let's paint the town red.
  • (Let's have a good time in town.)
  • She has a bun in the oven
  • (She is pregnant.)

An Idiom Is a Form of Figurative Language

Idioms are classified as figurative language, which is the use of words in an unusual or imaginative manner.

Figurative language includes the use of metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, euphemisms, and pun.

More Examples of Idioms

Here are some more examples of idioms:
  • He was just a flash in the pan.
  • (The idiom a flash in the pan means something which shows potential at the start but fails thereafter.)
  • He is trying to be a good Samaritan.
  • (A good Samaritan is a person who helps someone in need with no thought of a reward.)

  • Does he have an axe to grind?
  • (To have an axe to grind means to have a dispute with someone. )
  • We should let sleeping dogs lie.
  • (To let sleeping dogs lie means to o avoid restarting a conflict.)
We have a library of 10,000+ idioms. Here are our "top 50" lists:

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