English idioms can be confusing when translated literally, but they are essential for native speakers to convey their thoughts and emotions. There are even some funny idioms that can help lighten the mood and make conversations more enjoyable.
If you’re still learning the language, hearing someone use an idiom can be entertaining and frustrating. Although English idioms can be challenging to comprehend, it is crucial to understand their meanings to enhance your English language skills. The key to feeling confident while using or interpreting English idioms is to expand your knowledge by learning as many of them as possible and practicing with native speakers whenever feasible.
41 Funny Idioms To Use To Sound Like a Native English Speaker
Here are 41 funny English idioms every English language learner should know:
To take a rain check
The idiom means to turn down an invitation but accept it for another time. You can use the idiom to respond when someone offers you something you can’t accept immediately.
Here are two examples of using the idiom:
- I can’t go out tonight but I will take a rain check.
- We were invited to dinner, but we took a rain check.
To let the cat out of the bag
To let the cat out of the bag means to reveal something that was supposed to be kept a secret. You can use it to say you have revealed something not meant for anyone to know.
Here are two ways to use the idiom:
- I let the cat out of the bag, and now everyone knows.
- Don’t tell anyone, or you’ll let the cat out of the bag.
To have ants in your pants
This idiom is often used to describe someone who is restless and can’t sit still. The idiom is ideal when you want to politely let someone know that they are being too fidgety.
Here are two examples:
- He can’t stop moving; he must have ants in his pants!
- She was so excited; she had ants in her pants all morning.
To be on the same page
The phrase means to be in agreement or understanding with someone else’s thoughts or ideas.
You can use the phrase when you want to make sure that everyone agrees with a plan or idea.
Here are two ways of using it:
- Are we on the same page about this?
- We need to ensure we’re all on the same page before proceeding.
To let sleeping dogs lie
The phrase means to leave certain matters alone and not stir up trouble. The phrase is ideal when encouraging someone to stop digging into a subject. Here are two examples:
- It’s best just to let sleeping dogs lie.
- Let’s try to leave this issue alone and let sleeping dogs lie.
To pull someone’s leg
This phrase means to tease or joke with someone. You can use the term to make someone laugh or feel comfortable by making fun of them. Here are two examples:
- He was just pulling my leg; he didn’t mean it.
- Don’t worry; I’m only pulling your leg!
A piece of cake
The idiom means something very easy to do. The idiom is best used when you want to let someone know that a task or challenge is relatively easy.
Here are two examples of using the idiom:
- The test was a piece of cake; I finished it quickly.
- Cleaning the house is a piece of cake for her; she does it quickly.
A blessing in disguise
The phrase means something that initially appears negative but has a positive outcome. You can use the phrase when you want to talk about a good outcome from a bad situation. Here are two ways to use it:
- The accident was a blessing in disguise; I found my dream job afterward.
- My broken phone was a blessing in disguise; I got an even better one with more features.
To eat humble pie
This idiom means to apologize or accept humiliation graciously. The idiom can be when you want to let someone know they need to accept criticism and apologize. Here are two examples:
- He had to eat humble pie after making a mistake.
- She had no choice but to eat humble pie and apologize for her wrongdoings.
To have your head in the clouds
This phrase means to be too absorbed in your own world, often daydreaming about unrealistic things. You can use the term to describe someone too distracted by their thoughts. Here are two examples of using it:
- Stop having your head in the clouds and focus on the task.
- He always has his head in the clouds; he doesn’t pay attention to reality.
To know the ropes
The phrase means understanding how something works or being familiar with all aspects of a situation. The phrase is best used when you want to talk about someone experienced or knowledgeable. Here are two examples:
- She knows the ropes when it comes to marketing strategies.
- He’s a pro; he knows the ropes and gets the job done quickly.
To be in deep water
The idiom means to be in trouble or have difficulties. You can use the idiom to let someone know they are in a difficult situation. Here are two examples:
- He’s in deep water for lying about his qualifications.
- She was in deep water when she couldn’t deliver what she had promised.
To have the last laugh
This phrase means to win or triumph, usually over who has been mocking or teasing you. The phrase is ideal when you want to give someone hope that a difficult situation will turn out right. Here are two examples:
- He thought he had won, but I had the last laugh.
- She laughed at me at first, but I got the last laugh when I proved her wrong.
To get cold feet
This idiom means suddenly having doubts or fears when faced with a challenge. The idiom is ideal when explaining why someone has changed their mind or backed out of a plan. Here are two examples of using the idiom:
He was about to take the job but got cold feet at the last minute.
She was going to propose but got cold feet and changed her mind.
To be in a pickle
The phrase means to be in a difficult situation or to have a problem that is hard to solve. You can use the phrase to let someone know they have a complex issue to resolve. Here are two examples:
- He’s in a pickle and doesn’t know how to escape it.
- She found herself in a pickle; she had no choice but to ask for help.
Add fuel to the fire
The idiom means to make a situation worse. The idiom is best used when describing how an action has had a bad outcome, making the situation worse. Here are two examples of using it:
- He was already angry, so don’t add fuel to the fire.
- Don’t say anything else; you’ll just add fuel to the fire.
To be in hot water
This phrase describes someone who is in trouble or has gotten into a difficult situation. You can use the phrase to let someone know they are in a lot of trouble. Here are two examples:
- He landed himself in hot water for messing up the project.
- She’s been in hot water ever since she missed the deadline.
To turn a blind eye
The phrase means to ignore something and pretend not to notice it. Using the phrase is ideal when you want to let someone know they are purposely avoiding an issue. Here are two ways of using it:
- He turned a blind eye to the negative comments and kept going.
- The teacher chose to turn a blind eye to their behavior.
To be on thin ice
This idiom means to be in a risky or precarious situation, usually because one has done something wrong. You can use the idiom to let someone know they have done something wrong and must be careful. Here are two examples:
- She is on thin ice for not following the company’s rules.
- He’s been on thin ice since he made a mistake at work.
To bite off more than one can chew
The phrase means taking on too much responsibility or a task beyond someone’s capabilities. The ideal way to use the phrase is when you want to let someone know that they are trying to do too much. Here are two ways of using it:
- He bit off more than he could chew when he took on the extra project.
- She realized she had bitten off more than she could chew when faced with the task.
To bring home the bacon
The idiom means to earn a living or provide for one’s family. You can use the idiom when congratulating someone for financially providing for their family. Here are two examples:
- He’s been bringing home the bacon since he got the job.
- She’s been bringing home the bacon for her family since she was a teenager.
To have your feet on the ground
The phrase means to be practical and realistic about something. The best way to use the phrase is when you want to let someone know that they are being too optimistic or idealistic. Here are two examples of using it:
- He always has his feet on the ground; he doesn’t get carried away.
- She’s the kind who always has her feet on the ground and notices the small details.
To be a wet blanket
This idiom means to ruin or dampen someone else’s enthusiasm or mood. You can use the idiom when you want to let someone know that they are being too pessimistic. Here are two examples:
- He is such a wet blanket; he ruins everyone’s fun.
- Don’t be a wet blanket, and join in the fun!
To have your head in the sand
The phrase means to ignore or deny something that is happening. You can use the phrase when you want to let someone know they are being too oblivious or need to face reality. Here are two examples of using it:
- He had his head in the sand and refused to face reality.
- She has had her head in the sand since she was told the truth.
To pull someone’s hair
This idiom means to tease or joke with someone in a playful manner. The idiom is ideal for use to make someone laugh or feel relaxed. Here are two examples:
- She was just pulling my hair; she didn’t mean it.
- Don’t worry; I’m only pulling your hair!
To be green with envy
The phrase means to be jealous of someone else’s success or good fortune. You can use the phrase to let someone know they are jealous of another person. Here are two examples:
- She was green with envy when she saw her friend’s new car.
- He was so green with envy that he couldn’t even congratulate his friend.
To have a bee in your bonnet
This idiom means to have an obsession or a single-minded focus on something. Using the idiom is ideal when you want to let someone know they are too fixated on a particular subject or idea. Here are two examples:
- He has a bee in his bonnet about getting that job.
- She’s always had a bee in her bonnet when traveling.
To be under the weather
The phrase means to feel ill or not well. You can use the phrase when you want to let someone know that they are not feeling well. Here are two examples of using it:
- He was under the weather, so he stayed home from school.
- She’s been feeling under the weather since yesterday.
To have a chip on your shoulder
The idiom means to be angry and resentful towards someone or something. The idiom is best used when you want to let someone know that they are being too defensive or hostile. Here are two ways to use it:
- He has had a chip on his shoulder since losing the game.
- She always has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to her sister.
A dime a dozen
The phrase means that something is common or easily available. You can use the phrase to tell someone that a task is not difficult to find or complete. Here are two examples of using it:
- Cheap shoes are a dime a dozen in this store.
- Good ideas are a dime a dozen; finding the right one matters.
To be dressed to the nines
This idiom means to dress up in your best clothes. Using the idiom is ideal when you want to let someone know they are looking their best. Here are two examples:
- She was dressed to the nines for her graduation ceremony.
- He always dresses to the nines when he goes out.
Barking up the wrong tree
The phrase means making the wrong assumptions or following a mistaken lead. You can use the phrase to let someone know they are on the wrong path. Here are two examples of using it:
- He was barking up the wrong tree when he thought that was the right answer.
- She realized she had been barking up the wrong tree when she didn’t find what she was looking for.
To feel like a fish out of water
This idiom means to feel awkward or uncomfortable in a certain situation. You can use the idiom to let someone know they are feeling uneasy or out of place. Here are two examples:
- She felt like a fish out of water when she had to give the presentation.
- He always feels like a fish out of water when he has to make small talk at parties.
To hit the nail on the head
The phrase means to get something right or accurately identify the solution. Using the phrase is ideal when you want to let someone know they have figured out the answer. Here are two ways of using it:
- He hit the nail on the head when he answered the question correctly.
- She always hits the nail on the head when it comes to problem-solving.
To jump down someone’s throat
This idiom means to criticize someone harshly and suddenly. The idiom is best used when you want to let someone know that they are being too critical or harsh. Here are two examples:
- He jumped down my throat for making a small mistake.
- She always jumps down people’s throats when she’s angry.
To make a mountain out of a molehill
The phrase means to exaggerate the importance or severity of something minor. You can use the phrase to let someone know that they are being too dramatic or making a big deal out of something small. Here are two examples:
- Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill; it’s not worth getting worked up about.
- Stop making a mountain out of a molehill and focus on the task.
A penny for your thoughts
The idiom means to ask someone what is on their mind or what they are thinking about. You can use the idiom to tell someone you are curious about their thoughts. Here are two examples of using the phrase
- I noticed you were quiet; a penny for your thoughts?
- She asked me a penny for my thoughts, and I told her everything on my mind.
To be in seventh heaven
The phrase means to be extremely happy or in a state of bliss. Using the phrase is ideal when you want to let someone know that they are feeling elated or delighted. Here are two examples:
- He was in seventh heaven when he got accepted into the college.
- She was always in seventh heaven when she was with her family.
To take the bull by the horns
This idiom means to confront a difficult situation directly and with courage. The idiom is best used when you want to encourage someone to take charge and face a daunting situation. Here are two examples:
- He took the bull by the horns and presented his ideas to his boss.
- She finally decided to take the bull by the horns and ask for help.
To throw in the towel
The phrase means to give up or surrender. You can use the phrase to let someone know they are too exhausted or overwhelmed to continue. Here are two ways of using it:
- He threw in the towel when he couldn’t figure out the problem.
- She had no choice but to throw in the towel and admit defeat.
To open a can of worms
This idiom means to create problems or cause complications that were not intended. You can use the idiom to let someone know they have started something that could cause more issues than it solves. Here are two examples:
- He opened a can of worms when he decided to investigate further.
- Be careful, or you’ll open a can of worms that you won’t be able to close.
Learning these 41 funny idioms will help you to understand native English speakers better and engage with them more easily. Practice using these in your conversations; you will sound more natural and native-like!
What are idioms, and why are they important in English language learning?
English idioms are phrases or sayings commonly used in everyday conversation to express particular ideas or opinions. Knowing the meanings of these idioms is crucial as they demand a greater understanding of the English language to comprehend what someone is trying to convey while using them in communication.
New Way to Express Yourself
Idioms have meanings that vary based on the situation. In America, the phrase ‘break a leg’ doesn’t mean to break a leg but is a way of wishing someone good luck, typically before a performance. Likewise, when someone advises you to ‘think outside the box,’ they suggest you use a different approach than your usual one. Learning and understanding these unique phrases is a great way to sound more natural when speaking English. Additionally, it gives you the ability to express yourself more creatively, making your conversations more interesting.
Using Idioms in Context
Idioms also provide an interesting way to spice up your conversations with native English speakers. When used correctly, idioms can add color and fun to your sentences. For example, instead of saying, ‘I’m very angry,’ you can say, ‘I’m seeing red!’. This instantly adds more emotion to your statement, making it much more interesting for the person listening.
How can I incorporate funny idioms into my everyday conversations?
Idioms can enhance your expression as they provide a creative way to convey your message. Instead of saying ‘You’re correct,’ you can use a phrase like ‘You hit the nail on the head,’ which is a more compelling expression. Furthermore, idioms inject humor into your speech, enabling you to communicate more authentically and showcase your personality and wit.
Improving Conversational English Skills
Idioms are commonly used in both spoken and written communication. Mastering idioms can enhance your conversational skills by demonstrating your understanding of the cultural context and meaning associated with your idiom. With practice during your English language learning classes, you can feel more confident and at ease in your conversations.
Starting with a simple idiom like “break a leg” can also help make a more meaningful connection during your conversation without using the most complex ones immediately. Being able to use idioms in your conversations will help you sound more natural and make it easier to hold a conversation with native English speakers. With practice, funny idioms can be used confidently and without hesitation!
Are funny idioms used more in casual or formal settings?
Funny idioms are commonly used in casual settings since they create light-hearted tones. In more formal contexts, however, simple idioms such as “think outside the box” or “bite off more than you can chew” can make your conversation more fluent and polished. With practice and experience, you can find the most suitable idioms for formal and casual conversations. As you become more familiar with these phrases, it will be easier to incorporate them naturally into your speech.
Funny idioms can brighten your conversations and help you express yourself more accurately. With the right amount of practice, you can effortlessly use idioms in any situation to convey a range of emotions and messages. Start using these unique phrases today to take your English language learning skills to the next level!
Are there any cultural considerations to remember when using funny idioms in English?
Using funny idioms in English conversation can be a great way to demonstrate an understanding of the cultural context and meaning associated with the idiom. However, some idioms may have different meanings in different cultures or be considered offensive in certain contexts. For example, “it’s raining cats and dogs” is widely used in English-speaking countries to describe heavy rain, but it could be seen as inappropriate in some cultures.
Consider Age and Cultural Background
Additionally, when using funny idioms in English, it is crucial to consider the other person’s age and cultural background. For example, if you speak with someone from an older generation or a different culture, they may need help understanding an idiom commonly used by younger generations. Using simpler and more straightforward language in this situation would be more appropriate.
Interpretation of Idioms
Finally, when using funny idioms in, it is important to remember that people may interpret the same phrase. For example, the phrase letting the cat out of the bag” has a different meaning in the US than it does in other English-speaking countries. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of cultural sensitivities and to use appropriate language when communicating with people from different cultures.
Therefore, using funny idioms in English can be a great way to add personality and flair to your conversations while demonstrating an understanding of the culture and language context. However, it is essential to be mindful of cultural sensitivities and the age and background of the person you speak with. With practice and patience, you can become an expert in using these phrases to make your English conversations more natural and engaging!
Where can I find additional resources or exercises to practice using funny idioms in English?
Many free online resources and exercises are available to help you learn and practice English idioms. These resources often include interactive activities, quizzes, and games to test your knowledge of idioms. You can also find online dictionaries with detailed definitions and examples of commonly used idioms.
One example is the Idiomatic Expressions quiz from the British Council, which provides a comprehensive list of idioms and their definitions and examples. The quiz also includes questions to test your understanding of the phrases.
Practice in Real-World Conversations
Additionally, you can practice using these idioms in real-world conversations by trying to use them in everyday life. This will help you build the confidence to use them correctly and naturally when speaking with native English speakers.
You can also find free printable worksheets online, such as the ESL Idioms Worksheet from Busy Teacher, specifically designed to help you practice and test your understanding of English idioms.
Finally, many books and websites provide fun and educational exercises for learning and practicing idioms in English. For example, The Everything Idioms Book by Ronald E. Feare is an excellent guide to mastering common expressions and phrases used in America.
Funny idioms are an integral part of English, and learning them can help you become a more confident speaker. With practice and patience, you can master these phrases to make your conversations sound natural and engaging! To get started on the right foot, take advantage of free online resources like quizzes or printable worksheets that test your understanding of common expressions in American English. As you continue to learn new idioms and incorporate them into everyday conversation with native speakers, you’ll become more comfortable speaking English in any setting. So go ahead – start using those funny idioms today!