Gritting and cutting your teeth (Idioms and phrases with ‘teeth’)

by Kate Woodford It might surprise you to learn that the noun ‘teeth’ features in a number of current English idioms. This post is a round-up of the most frequent and useful.

Tightening your belt and wearing the trousers (Clothes idioms, Part 2)

by Kate Woodford In Part 1 of this post, we looked at English idioms containing words for items of clothing that cover the top half of the body. This week, we’re working our way down the body with idioms that include words such as ‘belt’, ‘trousers’ and ‘shoe’. (Footwear features in a surprising number of current …

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Clearing the air and chopping and changing (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)

by Kate Woodford The idioms and phrases in today’s post were taken from a selection of national newspapers published on the same day. I write a newspaper idioms post like this every few months in order to provide you with a regular supply of common, contemporary English idioms.

Root and branch (Idioms with nature words, Part 3)

by Kate Woodford Today, in the third and final post of our nature idioms series, we look at idioms that feature the words tree, bush and hedge and also words for parts of these things, such as root and branch.

I take my hat off to you! (Clothes idioms, Part 1)

by Kate Woodford English has a number of really useful, current idioms and phrases that feature items of clothes. This week we’ll start by looking at idioms with the word ‘hat’ and we’ll work our way down the body to ‘shirt’ idioms. In Part 2, we’ll consider idioms containing words for clothes that cover the bottom …

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Shrinking violets and tall poppies (Idioms with nature words, part 1)

by Kate Woodford Like many people, I spent a good deal of 2020 out in nature, walking my dog along the local stream and through the woods. Surrounded by trees, hedges, and flowers, I started to think about all the nature idioms and phrases that we use. This week, we’re looking specifically at flower-related idioms. (By …

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The icing/frosting on the cake: differences between British and American idioms

by Liz Walter Differences between US and UK English are particularly pronounced in informal and idiomatic language. There are lots of idioms that are used in one variety but not the other, for example go pear-shaped (to fail or go wrong) is used in British but not American English and strike pay dirt (discover something valuable) …

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Hitting the ground running (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)

  by Kate Woodford The idioms and phrases in today’s post come from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We write a post like this every couple of months in order to provide you with a regular supply of contemporary, frequently used English idioms.

Green shoots and fertile ground (Idioms with nature words, part 2)

by Kate Woodford Part 1 of this ‘nature idioms’ post looked at flower idioms. Today, we’re lowering our gaze to the ground and looking at idioms that feature mud and grass. We’ll start, appropriately enough, with phrases that include the word ‘seed’, (= the tiny thing from which a plant grows).

On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)

by Kate Woodford It’s recently come to my attention that there’s a huge number of English phrases and idioms containing the word ‘face’. There are so many that this is the first of two posts, as ever focusing on the most frequent and useful. I hope you enjoy it!