32 Fun Idioms and Sayings you can Teach your Students

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Teach your students these fun idioms and expressions and keep your class going. 

fun idioms to teach your students

You want to expand their minds, stimulate their brain, massage their noggin(1620s, “small cup, mug,” later “small drink” (1690s), of unknown origin, possibly related to Norfolk dialectal nog “strong ale” (now chiefly in eggnog). Informal meaning “head” first attested 1866 in Amer.Eng.). I couldn’t help but add the historical bit in there. ūüôā I get carried away sometimes, forgive my digression.

Anyways, fun idioms and sayings are a good way to get the students thinking outside the box, and in my classes, well, the higher level ones, I either use as warm up to get the class going, a riddle or a fun idiom. They all do wonders I find.

And in my constant search for English material beyond the little bestowed upon me by my school, I came across this good list I will be using for a while. With no further nonsense, here it is…

32 Fun idioms and sayings for your students

1) as easy as pie: very easy.

“I thought you said this was a difficult problem. It isn’t. In fact, it’s¬†as easy as pie.”

2) be a piece of cake: be very easy.

A: “Bob said the test was difficult, but I thought it was¬†a piece of cake.””

3) be broke: be without money.

“No, I can’t lend you ten dollars. I’m¬†completely¬†broke¬†until payday.”

4) beat: exhausted; very tired (adj.).

“This has been a long day. I’m¬†beat!”

5) beat around the bush: evade an issue; avoid giving a direct answer.

“Quit¬†beating around the bush! If you don’t want to go with me, just tell me!”

6) Break a leg!: Good luck!

“I understand you have a job interview tomorrow.¬†Break a leg!”

7) break someone’s heart:¬†make someone feel very disappointed/discouraged/sad.

“Joe¬†broke his mother’s heart¬†when he dropped out of school.”

8) broke: without money.

A: “Can you lend me 10 dollars?”
B: “I’m afraid not. I’m¬†broke.”

9) call it a day: stop work for the day.

“It’s late and you’ve accomplished a lot. Why don’t you¬†call it a day?”

10) chicken (adjective or noun): cowardly.

“Fred will never ask Lucy for a date. He’s¬†chicken¬†/¬†a chicken.

11) Cool it!: calm down.

“There’s no need to be so upset. Just¬†cool it!”

12) cost (someone) an arm and a leg: cost a lot; be very expensive.

A: “Your new car is really nice.”
B: “It should be. It¬†cost (me) an arm and a leg!”

13) ditch class: skip class/play hookey.

You shouldn’t have¬†ditched class¬†yesterday. We had an unannounced test.

14) drag one’s feet: delay; take longer than necessary to do something.

“Joe should have finished his project a week ago. Why is he¬†dragging his feet?”

15) feel blue: feel sad and depressed.

“I’m¬†feeling blue¬†because I haven’t had any mail except bills for a long, long time.”

16) give someone a hand (1): help someone.

“I can’t do this alone. Can you¬†give me a hand?”

17) give someone a hand (2): applaud (to show respect or appreciation for someone/something).

“Dave’s done a wonderful job with The ESL Caf√© on the Web.:) Dave definitely deserves the hand but I don’t expect you would be clapping as you read this lol
Let’s¬†give him a hand!”

18) have one’s hands full:¬†be extremely busy.

A: “Will you be able to help us this afternoon?”
B: “I’m afraid not. I’ll¬†have my hands full¬†trying to finish my research paper.”

19) jump the gun:¬†do something before it’s time to do it.

A: “How did Marsha know about the party? It was supposed to be a surprise.”B: “Chuck¬†jumped the gun. Without thinking, he said, ‘I’m bringing the cake at your party;
I hope you like it!”

20)¬† keep one’s fingers crossed:¬†hope for the best.

A: “How did you do on the test?”

B: “I think I passed, but I won’t know until tomorrow.
I’m¬†keeping my fingers crossed!”

21) nuts: crazy.

A: “Stuart says some really strange things sometimes.”
B: “Sometimes? All the time! He’s¬†nuts!”

22) pooped: very tired; exhausted.

“I went to bed really early last night. I was¬†pooped!”

23) pull someone’s leg:¬†tease someone by trying to make her/him believe something
that’s exaggerated or untrue.

A: “Wow! Carl has done some really amazing things!”
B: “Don’t believe everything he tells you. He was probably¬†pulling your leg.”

24) rain cats and dogs: rain very hard.

“You can’t leave just now! It’s¬†raining cats and dogs
and you don’t have an umbrella or raincoat!”

25) Step on it!: Hurry up!

Step on it! The taxi will be here at any time and you’re not even dressed!”

26) tricky: easily confused or misunderstood.

“This problem is¬†tricky. I don’t really understand it.”

27) under the weather: ill; sick; unwell.

“Ted was feeling¬†under the weather¬†yesterday, so he decided not to go to work.”

28) wishy-washy:¬†uncommitted; without an opinion of one’s own.

“Don’t be so¬†wishy-washy. Tell us how you really feel.”

29) yucky: terrible; distasteful; very unpleasant.

“Don’t eat the soup at the cafeteria. It’s¬†yucky!”

30) Zip your lip!: keep something secret; promise not to tell what has just been said.

“What I told you is really important, so¬†zip your lip!”

31) macho: super masculine / masculine to an extreme (in appearance and behavior).

“Her husband would never agree to help with the housework;
he’s too¬†macho¬†to do that.”

32) run-down: (1) not well; weak; fatigued.

“Are you eating regularly and getting enough sleep? You look¬†run-down.”

33) run-down: (2) in poor condition; needing repair.

“This must be a poor neighborhood. All the buildings look really¬†run-down.”

34) ditch class: skip class and go play soccer.

You shouldn’t have¬†ditched class¬†yesterday. We had an unannounced test.

If you want the complete list of these 34 fun idioms and expressions in MS word file, feel free to download it below.


32 Fun Idioms and Expressions[restrict…]32 Idioms and expressions[/restrict]


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