English lessons: “搞野”成語 (English idioms for idiots) (Part 2)

An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from their literal meanings.  As I have previously written, language is culture.  Idioms are used to convey values and meanings in colourful ways.  The following are some examples of English idioms which I find interesting, for which I will also provide examples.

“All ears”

Meaning : Listening intently; fully focused or awaiting an explanation.

Wife: “I’m so upset.”


Husband: “What’s wrong, honey?”


Wife: “Tiffany got the same necklace as me!  How dare she make a mockery of me!”


Husband: “I’m all ears.

“Have a cow”

Meaning : To get angry; have a fit.

John had a cow because his girlfriends didn’t behave.

“Elephant in the room”

Meaning : A problem or difficult issue that is very obvious, but is ignored for the convenience or comfort of those involved.

That their 35-year-old daughter was still unmarried was a big elephant in the room at every family gathering.

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”

Meaning : Other circumstances which seem more desirable than one’s own are often not.

Cindy: “I hate my boyfriend!  I hinted to him to buy me that limited edition Hermès bag but he got me a normal one instead!”


Samantha:  “The grass is always greener on the other side.  My boyfriend bought me a 2,000 sq. ft. flat.  It’s so big that it takes me half a minute just to walk to the bathroom.  Men these days are so irresponsible!”

“Hit the road”

Meaning : To leave a place; to go away.

My husband is coming home now, so you better hit the road.

“Letting the cat out of the bag”

Meaning : To reveal facts previously hidden.

Sam: “Matt planned to surprise his girlfriend Jane by proposing to her at her birthday party, but a girl friend of her’s let the cat out of the bag, so she knows already.”


Anna: “I thought Matt already broke up with Jane.  He’s dating Betsy now.”


Sam: “His secretary Betsy?  I thought that was just a fling!”

“Piss in someone’s cornflakes”

Meaning : To disappoint or irritate someone.

Waiter: “Sorry to piss in your cornflakes, but no smoking is allowed in this restaurant.”




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