Ok, so by now I’m sure you’ve heard of idioms, right? Idioms are those tricky, sometimes weird, sayings that have a meaning, but their meaning isn’t really deducible from the actual words in the phrase. Trust me, I know just exactly how confusing that sounds. So, let me break it down a little better for you. Idioms cannot be dissected and understood just by looking at the meanings of its words. However, the phrase as a whole, has a totally different meaning. For example, I can say “It’s raining cats and dogs.” This doesn’t literally mean it’s raining cats and dogs. That would be crazy! It simply means that it is raining extremely heavy. Do you have a little bit of a better understanding of it now? Good. Now, idioms are a little complicated even for native English speakers. Most of the time, we just have to survey the scenario and interpret the meaning ourselves. Don’t worry! Idioms will get easier for you to understand as you learn more and more English. However, there are a few very common idioms that you can use in real life. These are what we are are going to learn today!
Every dog has its day
Definition: everyone will have good luck or success at some point in their lives
How to use it: This idiom is sometimes used when you need to encourage someone who is not having any success or luck.
- Every dog has its day, and every man has his hour.
- Shirley! You shouldn’t say things like that and lose hope; every dog has its day.
- Every dog has its day, so we just need to wait for that day to come.
- She was overweight, but now, she became a personal trainer that makes over 100K a year. I guess every dog has its day.
- There comes a time when you need to stop, every dog has its day, and I think mine has come to an end.
Cry over spilled milk
Definition: to feel sorry or sad about something that has already happened; used to emphasize that this is not helpful
How to use it: We use this idiom to point out that being upset over something that has already happened, and cannot be changed, is pointless because we can’t change the past, we can only be better in the future.
- While it’s sad that you haven’t been doing as well as you expected, there is no use crying over spilled milk.
- James was unable to accept the reality of his divorce; he’s crying over spilled milk.
- I lost $200,000 in stocks. Of course I am angry, but there is no use crying over spilled milk.
- At first, Dennis was uncontrollably angry about the car accident, but then, his girlfriend quickly reminded him that there was no reason to cry over spilled milk.
- Just try harder next time, and stop crying over spilled milk.
Once in a blue moon
Definition: not very often.
How to use it: This idiom refers to the occurrence of a “blue moon” which actually only occurs about once every thirty-two months. Which, as you can see, is not very often. So, we use this when we wish to say that something doesn’t happen often.
- He only calls our mom every once in a blue moon.
- Sadly, she only has time to read every once in a blue moon.
- We will have chances to raise our holdings, but only every once in a blue moon.
- I enjoying traveling, however, due to my schedule, it only happens every once in a blue moon.
- Clara only wears makeup every once in a blue moon, but when she does, she’s gorgeous!
Weather the storm
Definition: to deal with a difficult situation without being harmed or damaged too much
How to use it: We use this idiom when referring to someone or something that has successfully dealt with a very difficult problem.
- All eyes are on the president to see if he can weather the storm or not.
- After the death of their infant daughter, I can say that my brother and sister-in-law weathered the storm and came out a stronger couple than ever before.
- It is said that only the strong willed are able to weather the storm.
- He hired an expensive lawyer, and tried to weather the storm.
- The chairman insists on weathering the storm, instead of resigning.
Cost a fortune
Definition: to cost a lot of money
How to use it: This idiom is an exaggeration. If you look up the definition of a “fortune”, you will see that it means “a large amount of money or assets”. That being said, when someone says that something costs a fortune, it may not exactly cost a lot for you, as that person’s budget may be different than yours. You may think $1,000 USD is a lot of money, but someone else may think $500 USD is a lot of money. It all just depends on the person. However, for this idiom’s sake, usually, things that are said to “cost a fortune” are just overly priced, not necessarily a whole fortune.
- I used to buy coffee everyday, until I realized it was costing me a fortune.
- My son’s school tuition costs a fortune, but at least I know he is getting the best care.
- I know my rent is costing me a fortune right now, but I couldn’t find anything cheaper in the area.
- Megan wants to open up her own restaurant, but she knows it will cost her a fortune.
- This purse costs a fortune! Why did you buy it for me?
To sum up, idioms as a type of figurative language that can be used to add dynamism and character to your conversation or writing. In other words, we use idioms to express ourselves. Sometimes, idioms can give a perfectly accurate depiction of an abstract idea in a way that it easy to understand. However, on the other hand, as an English language learner, idioms can be quite complicated. I recommend starting with these idioms that you learned here today. Begin to use these idioms in your day to day conversation, then move on to looking for the use of idioms from others. It may take years of practice to grasp most of the idioms we use these days, but trust me, it shouldn’t be hard at all! After all, idioms are supposed to be easier ways to express ourselves.