30 Idioms for People

Idioms, those quirky phrases that convey a deeper meaning beyond their literal interpretation, are like hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of idioms for people, unraveling their meanings and unraveling the stories behind them.

30 idioms for people

Idioms for People

Break a Leg

Meaning: Used to wish someone good luck, often said to performers before they go on stage.

In a Sentence: As the actor stepped onto the stage, his friend whispered, “Break a leg!”

Bite off More Than You Can Chew

Meaning: To take on a task that is too big or difficult for one to handle.

In a Sentence: She decided to organize the event alone but soon realized she had bitten off more than she could chew.

Add Fuel to the Fire

Meaning: To make a bad situation worse by adding to the problem.

In a Sentence: Bringing up past grievances only served to add fuel to the fire during the heated argument.

Barking up the Wrong Tree

Meaning: To pursue a mistaken or misguided course of action or pursuit of a mistaken goal or person.

In a Sentence: Accusing the quiet neighbor of the theft proved to be barking up the wrong tree; the real culprit was caught later.

Behind the Eight Ball

Meaning: To be in a difficult or disadvantageous position.

In a Sentence: Failing the crucial exam left her behind the eight ball in her academic journey.

Bend Over Backwards

Meaning: To make a great effort to please or accommodate someone.

In a Sentence: Despite the challenges, the team bent over backwards to meet the tight project deadline.

Bury the Hatchet

Meaning: To make peace after a disagreement or conflict.

In a Sentence: After years of rivalry, the two competitors decided to bury the hatchet and collaborate on a new project.

Cut to the Chase

Meaning: To get to the point without wasting time.

In a Sentence: Instead of small talk, let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main issues at hand.

Cry over Spilt Milk

Meaning: To be upset or grieve over something that cannot be changed or undone.

In a Sentence: Rather than cry over spilt milk, she focused on finding a solution to the problem at hand.

An Arm and a Leg

Meaning: Used to indicate that something is very expensive.

In a Sentence: Buying a new car can cost an arm and a leg, so she opted for a more budget-friendly option.

In the Doghouse

Meaning: To be out of favor or in trouble with someone.

In a Sentence: Forgetting their anniversary left him in the doghouse for weeks.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Meaning: Used to say that a visual image can communicate more than written or spoken words.

In a Sentence: The impactful photograph told a story that words could never capture; truly, a picture is worth a thousand words.

A Dime a Dozen

Meaning: Common and easily found, can be replaced easily.

In a Sentence: With smartphones becoming more advanced, basic models have become a dime a dozen.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Meaning: Something you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get in the future.

In a Sentence: He chose to accept the job offer rather than wait for a potential, but uncertain, promotion elsewhere – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

An Axe to Grind

Meaning: To have a personal or selfish motive, a hidden agenda.

In a Sentence: It was clear that the politician had an axe to grind when he brought up the controversial topic during the debate.

Throw in the Towel

Meaning: To give up or quit.

In a Sentence: After numerous failed attempts, she decided to throw in the towel and pursue a different career path.

Hit the Nail on the Head

Meaning: To do or say something exactly right or correct.

In a Sentence: Her analysis of the situation hit the nail on the head, addressing the core issue at hand.

A Drop in the Bucket

Meaning: An insignificant or small amount in relation to the whole.

In a Sentence: Donating a few dollars may seem like a drop in the bucket, but collectively, it can make a significant impact.

Head over Heels

Meaning: To be deeply in love or very enthusiastic about something.

In a Sentence: Ever since he got into photography, he’s been head over heels, capturing every moment with passion.

Raining Cats and Dogs

Meaning: To rain very hard.

In a Sentence: The sudden storm had everyone running for cover as it started raining cats and dogs.

Take with a Grain of Salt

Meaning: To view something with skepticism or to not fully believe it.

In a Sentence: Considering his tendency to exaggerate, I always take his stories with a grain of salt.

A Rough Road

Meaning: A difficult or challenging path or situation.

In a Sentence: Starting a business can be a rough road, but the rewards are worth the effort.

A Piece of Cake

Meaning: Something that is very easy to do.

In a Sentence: Completing the assignment was a piece of cake for the experienced writer.

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Meaning: A way of asking someone what they’re thinking about.

In a Sentence: Lost in thought, she finally looked up and said, “A penny for your thoughts?”

Off the Hook

Meaning: To be free from responsibility or blame.

In a Sentence: Apologizing sincerely got him off the hook for the misunderstanding.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Meaning: Taking care of a small problem early on can prevent larger problems later.

In a Sentence: Fixing the leaky roof may seem insignificant now, but it’s a stitch in time that saves nine in the long run.

A Wild Goose Chase

Meaning: A futile pursuit of something unattainable.

In a Sentence: Searching for the legendary treasure turned out to be a wild goose chase, leading nowhere.

Behind the Scenes

Meaning: Hidden or unseen actions or workings.

In a Sentence: While the performance captivated the audience, the tireless efforts behind the scenes ensured its success.

A Red Flag

Meaning: A warning sign or something that indicates trouble.

In a Sentence: The sudden drop in sales was a red flag, prompting the company to reevaluate its marketing strategy.

Out of Left Field

Meaning: Something that comes as a complete surprise or seemingly unrelated to the current situation.

In a Sentence: His unexpected resignation came out of left field, leaving everyone in shock.

Summary

IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Break a LegWish for good luck, especially to performers going on stage.“As the actor stepped onto the stage, his friend whispered, ‘Break a leg!'”
Bite off More Than You Can ChewTake on a task too big or difficult to handle.“She decided to organize the event alone but soon realized she had bitten off more than she could chew.”
Add Fuel to the FireMake a bad situation worse by adding to the problem.“Bringing up past grievances only served to add fuel to the fire during the heated argument.”
Barking up the Wrong TreePursue a mistaken or misguided course of action.“Accusing the quiet neighbor of the theft proved to be barking up the wrong tree.”
Behind the Eight BallBe in a difficult or disadvantageous position.“Failing the crucial exam left her behind the eight ball in her academic journey.”
Bend Over BackwardsMake a great effort to please or accommodate someone.“Despite the challenges, the team bent over backwards to meet the tight project deadline.”
Bury the HatchetMake peace after a disagreement or conflict.“After years of rivalry, the two competitors decided to bury the hatchet and collaborate on a new project.”
Cut to the ChaseGet to the point without wasting time.“Instead of small talk, let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main issues at hand.”
Cry over Spilt MilkBe upset or grieve over something that cannot be changed or undone.“Rather than cry over spilt milk, she focused on finding a solution to the problem at hand.”
An Arm and a LegIndicate that something is very expensive.“Buying a new car can cost an arm and a leg, so she opted for a more budget-friendly option.”
In the DoghouseBe out of favor or in trouble with someone.“Forgetting their anniversary left him in the doghouse for weeks.”
A Picture is Worth a Thousand WordsSay that a visual image can communicate more than written or spoken words.“The impactful photograph told a story that words could never capture; truly, a picture is worth a thousand words.”
A Dime a DozenCommon and easily found, can be replaced easily.“With smartphones becoming more advanced, basic models have become a dime a dozen.”
A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the BushSomething you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get in the future.“He chose to accept the job offer rather than wait for a potential, but uncertain, promotion elsewhere – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
An Axe to GrindHave a personal or selfish motive, a hidden agenda.“It was clear that the politician had an axe to grind when he brought up the controversial topic during the debate.”
Throw in the TowelGive up or quit.“After numerous failed attempts, she decided to throw in the towel and pursue a different career path.”
Hit the Nail on the HeadDo or say something exactly right or correct.“Her analysis of the situation hit the nail on the head, addressing the core issue at hand.”
A Drop in the BucketAn insignificant or small amount in relation to the whole.“Donating a few dollars may seem like a drop in the bucket, but collectively, it can make a significant impact.”
Head over HeelsBe deeply in love or very enthusiastic about something.“Ever since he got into photography, he’s been head over heels, capturing every moment with passion.”
Raining Cats and DogsRain very hard.“The sudden storm had everyone running for cover as it started raining cats and dogs.”
Take with a Grain of SaltView something with skepticism or not fully believe it.“Considering his tendency to exaggerate, I always take his stories with a grain of salt.”
A Rough RoadA difficult or challenging path or situation.“Starting a business can be a rough road, but the rewards are worth the effort.”
A Piece of CakeSomething that is very easy to do.“Completing the assignment was a piece of cake for the experienced writer.”
A Penny for Your ThoughtsA way of asking someone what they’re thinking about.“Lost in thought, she finally looked up and said, ‘A penny for your thoughts?'”
Off the HookBe free from responsibility or blame.“Apologizing sincerely got him off the hook for the misunderstanding.”
A Stitch in Time Saves NineTaking care of a small problem early on can prevent larger problems later.“Fixing the leaky roof may seem insignificant now, but it’s a stitch in time that saves nine in the long run.”
A Wild Goose ChaseA futile pursuit of something unattainable.“Searching for the legendary treasure turned out to be a wild goose chase, leading nowhere.”
Behind the ScenesHidden or unseen actions or workings.“While the performance captivated the audience, the tireless efforts behind the scenes ensured its success.”
A Red FlagA warning sign or something that indicates trouble.“The sudden drop in sales was a red flag, prompting the company to reevaluate its marketing strategy.”
Out of Left FieldSomething that comes as a complete surprise or seemingly unrelated to the current situation.“His unexpected resignation came out of left field, leaving everyone in shock.”

Conclusion

As we wind down this journey through the vivid expressions of idioms for people, it’s clear that language is a dynamic, ever-evolving landscape. These idioms, deeply rooted in culture and history, add a layer of richness to our everyday conversations.

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