Popular English Idioms & Their Interpretation - SYL

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Popular English Idioms and Their Interpretation

Posted on: February 27, 2021 by admin

English is not extremely hard to learn unlike many other languages like Chinese or Arabic, but the common slang, expressions and idioms can sometimes be hard to understand or translate word-to-word. When you hire a professional interpreter or translator, they should understand these as they are usually native speakers of the languages, but other translators or online translation tools might fail.


But what is an idiom?

An idiom is a phrase that is used as a common expression, but its interpretation is different from the meaning of words in the praise.

As a leading translation company in Australia, we have put together some popular idioms in the English language along with their interpretation.


A blessing in disguise
Interpretation: Something that seemed bad at the start while it actually is good.

A dime a dozen
Interpretation: A quite common thing to happen. Not unique.

Adding insult to injury
Interpretation: When a situation is bad, and you do something that makes it worse.

Beat around the bush
Interpretation: Fail to get to the point.

Flogging a dead horse
Interpretation: Putting effort into something that will just not work.

Bite the bullet
Interpretation: To deal with a situation that is uncomfortable so that it will eventually come to an end.

Best of both worlds
Interpretation: A solution that combines the advantages of two contrasting options.

Biting off more than you can chew
Interpretation: Taking on too much work.

By the skin of your teeth
Interpretation: Barely getting away something.

Don’t judge a book by its cover
Interpretation: Not judging someone or something by their looks alone.

Doing something at the drop of a hat
Interpretation: Doing something without hesitation or good reason.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
Interpretation: Don’t plan based on assumptions.

Caught between a rock and a hard place
Interpretation: Having to choose between two unfavourable options.

Costs an arm and a leg
Interpretation: A high priced item or service.

Cutting corners
Interpretation: to do something in the easiest, cheapest, or fastest way, perhaps unwisely.

Devil’s advocate
Interpretation: Being on the side of the counterargument to defend the alternative point of view.

Feeling under the weather
Interpretation: Not feeling the best.

Fit as a fiddle
Interpretation: In a healthy state.

Getting a taste of your own medicine
Interpretation: Being treated back the same way as you have been treating others.

Getting a second wind
Interpretation: Regaining energy again after being drained.

Giving the benefit of the doubt
Interpretation: Trying to believe someone without proof.

Giving someone the cold shoulder
Interpretation: Ignoring someone on purpose.

Going on a wild goose chase
Interpretation: Doing something that is meaningless.

Heard it on the grapevine
Interpretation: Overheard rumours.

Hit the nail on the head
Interpretation: To precisely defining a situation.

Killing two birds with one stone
Interpretation: Achieve two goals or completing two different tasks with one action.

Letting the cat out of the bag
Interpretation: Sharing confidential information.

No pain, no gain
Interpretation: If you do not work harder, you won’t achieve your goals.

Once in a blue moon
Interpretation: An event that does not often recur.

Piece of cake
Interpretation: A very easy task.

Pulling someone’s leg
Interpretation: Having a joke with someone

Speak of the devil
Interpretation: When you mention someone and he or she shows up.

Stealing someone’s thunder
Interpretation: Claiming credit for someone else’s work.

Straight from the horse’s mouth
Interpretation: Getting the news or statement from the original source.

The last straw
Interpretation: The final difficulty that breaks the entire situation.

The elephant in the room
Interpretation: An issue, person, or problem that someone is trying to avoid mentioning.

Your guess is as good as mine
Interpretation: To be clueless about something.