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English Idioms Book 2

English Idioms Book 2

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Published by Poljkan

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Published by: Poljkan on Aug 14, 2009
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David W. Miller americanidioms@gmail.comLearn English Idioms II
Introduction
Congratulations!You are beginning a journey that will enhance your knowledge of English as well as your knowledge of American idioms. Youwill learn a great deal about American culture and how Americans think from this ebook. If you have read this far, you knowthat this ebook is for advanced language learners
.
I’ve tried to make this ebook as small as possible so that it could make its rounds in emails. Therefore there are no pictures toaccompany the text.It is impossible to overstate the importance of idioms in a language. They are all around us in everyday use. I created thisebook not as a final reference to American language idioms but as a handy guide to using them. It will help you understand theways in which Americans use idioms (and we use them often, and most of the time without realizing we are using them). Youwill need to ask a native English speaker for additional ways to use these phrases. I have tried to be as clear as possible indefining them. Sometimes the best way to define them was to use them in situations instead of using a dictionary definition.I have used most of the idioms at one time or another during my life. Others were sent to me by well-meaning individuals whoknew about this project.
 
I have separated the idioms into a few categories but many fit into two or more.So, without any further introduction, read these and try to hear them. Since there are 1000 to choose from, you should have notrouble hearing them. Soon you may actually be using them too! I am including a ‘frequency of usage’ field to indicate whichidioms are used every day and which are seldom used. You may even be able to surprise your American friends.The categories I’ve chosen for ‘frequency of usage’ are as follows:frequentlyoftensometimesrarelyObviously phrases might be used more in different situations. ‘often’ and ‘sometimes’ were difficult categories. Why did Ichoose often and sometimes? In reality, those two categories are sometimes blurred. I could have used 6 or 7 categories andstill not be as accurate as I’d like. The other two, ‘frequently’ and ‘rarely’ are extremes. You either hear them or you don’t.Another small note: I have tried to create ‘real world’ examples of the idioms. In some cases, the explanation is the example.By the way, there is a full color, full size (23”x35”) poster that accompanies this ebook. There is a link to it on my website,http://www.squidoo.com/idioms Enjoy this book. I know I enjoyed writing it. Email me atamericanidioms@gmail.comand tell me what you think. I’d really liketo know. My hope is that this will be passed on to the entire ESL community. It’s free!
© 2007http://www.squidoo.com/idiomsPage
1
 americanidioms@gmail.com 
 
David W. Miller americanidioms@gmail.comLearn English Idioms II
ANIMALS
These idioms deal with animals in some way. I am using a broad meaning of the word ‘animals’ because birds, fish, andinsects are also included. Perhaps non-humans is a better category for these idioms. Non-humans doesn’t work that well on aposter.
A bird in hand is better than two in the bush 
The phrase ‘a bird in hand is better than two in the bush’ means that something you have now is better than something thatmay or not be better later. A sure thing now is better than something hoped for later.Example: The prince gave me 10 pieces of gold. The king, however, has promised to give me 50 pieces of gold if I will wait amonth. A bird in hand is better than two in the bush. I’ll take the 10 pieces of gold now.Frequency of usage: often
A dog is a man's best friend 
This phrase means that even when friends and loved ones fail you, a dog will always be loyal to you. It is usually stated after adog does something to warrant praise from its master. It can be said by the owner or someone observing the dog.Example: That dog pulled the child out of the frozen ice. It just goes to prove that a dog is a man’s best friend.Frequency of usage: often
A fox smells his own hole 
In a broad sense, this phrase means that a person may know precisely what happened during a particular incident becausehe’s the guilty one. This phrase is occasionally crude as it could refer to someone noticing the smell of a fart. If he smells itfirst, someone might accuse him of being the person who actually ‘passed gas.’Example: It was very interesting to know that Charles knew every detail about the incident and still maintains that he isinnocent. I say, a fox smells his own hole.Frequency of usage: sometimes
A little bird told me 
This phrase means that (jokingly) someone anonymously revealed some information that was secret. It is often an answer tothe question, ‘who told you about that?’ A little bird told me. You might also hear ‘birdie.’ It is playful because often the personrevealing the secret is known to the person asking the question.Example: I heard that you’re going on vacation soon. ‘Who told you?’ Oh, a little birdie told me. ‘What else did that little birdietell you?’Frequency of usage: frequently
A monkey on your back 
‘A monkey on your back’ is an unnecessary burden you are carrying. You can’t seem to get it off of you. Even if you shake it, itwill remain on your back. Normally, you will have to solve a problem for the monkey to be ‘shaken free.’Example: I think I finally got this monkey off my back. I’ve got a steady job now.Frequency of usage: rarely
A pig in a poke 
A poke is a bag. Many years ago, baby pigs were sold on an open market. If you received a ‘pig in a poke’ you were receivinga pig that you knew nothing about. It might be a very healthy pig, but because it was in a poke, you had no way of verifying itshealth or condition. Today, you do not want to buy something that you have not first checked.Example: Before you buy that car, you’d better take a look at it first. It’s not very wise to buy a pig in a poke.Frequency of usage: sometimes
All bark and no bite 
This phrase means that a person is all talk and very little action to followup the talk. He mostly makes a lot of noise and isharmless. He sounds like he might harm you or your ideas but in the end he will not hurt you.
© 2007http://www.squidoo.com/idiomsPage
2
 americanidioms@gmail.com 
 
David W. Miller americanidioms@gmail.comLearn English Idioms IIExample: Don’t mind him. He’s all bark and no bite.Frequency of usage: sometimes
Ants in your pants 
Someone who has ‘ants in his pants’ cannot sit still for long. Usually this refers to a child, but not always. He is considered‘antsy.’Example: Little Davey just cannot sit still during church service. It’s like he has ants in his pants.Frequency of usage: sometimes
Are you a man or a mouse? 
This phrase is usually given as a challenge regarding a person’s courage. The implication is that either you are brave or youare cowardly. The phrase’s popularity peaked in the 70’s but occasionally you’ll hear it.Example: When I didn’t want to speed down the highway at 100 miles per hour, Joe asked if I was a man or a mouse. What achoice! In this case I was a mouse. Oh well.Frequency of usage: rarely
Birdbrain 
If someone calls you a birdbrain, it means that he thinks you are stupid. Usually, we use this phrase about someone and not tosomeone face to face.Example: I can’t believe he thought I was too young to do that. What a birdbrain!Frequency of usage: rarely
Birds and the bees 
If you encounter a discussion about ‘the birds and the bees,’ it is related to the basics of sex and where babies come from. Ibelieve the phrase originated from parents who didn’t want to mention sex so they masked it with the phrase ‘birds and thebees.’Example: Have you had your ‘birds and the bees’ talk with your teenager yet? It’s never too early for that.Frequency of usage: often
Birds of a feather flock together 
‘Birds of a feather flock together’ means that people who think alike often do things in the same manner. They belong in thesame group together. Often we shorten this phrase to ‘birds of a feather…’ It has the same idea as ‘two peas in a pod.’Example: When Punk Rock was the ‘rage,’ all the punk rockers hung out together. Now the same is true with youth who areinto ‘Goth.’ Birds of a feather….Frequency of usage: sometimes
Black sheep of the family 
The ‘black sheep of the family’ is usually one person in the family who is very different from the rest of the family. Typically thisperson will spend time in jail for criminal behavior. The rest of the family obeys the law but ‘the black sheep’ definitely, by hisbehavior, separates himself from the family.Example: Every family seems to have its black sheep, and the Cartona family is no different. Everyone graduated from Yale or Harvard, but not Timothy. He’s been in and out of jail since he was 16.Frequency of usage: often
Bookworm 
A ‘bookworm’ is someone who reads and studies books a lot. It is a slightly derogatory term.Example: Tony spends every waking hour reading those Physics books and he’s not even taking a Physics class. He eventakes the books with him on vacation. He’s clearly a bookworm.Frequency of usage: sometimes
© 2007http://www.squidoo.com/idiomsPage
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 americanidioms@gmail.com 

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