Idiom (Latin: idioma, “special property”, f. Greek: ἰδίωμα — idiōma, “special feature, special phrasing”, f.

Greek: ἴδιος — idios, “one’s own”) is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made. There are estimated to be at least 25,000 idiomatic expressions in the English language. In linguistics, idioms are usually presumed to be figures of speech contradicting the principle of compositionality; yet the matter remains debated. John Saeed defines an “idiom” as words collocated that became affixed to each other until metamorphosing into a fossilised term.[3] This collocation — words commonly used in a group — redefines each component word in the word-group and becomes an idiomatic expression. The words develop a specialized meaning as an entity, as an idiom. Moreover, an idiom is an expression, word, or phrase whose sense means something different from what the words literally imply. When a speaker uses an idiom, the listener might mistake its actual meaning, if he or she has not heard this figure of speech before.[4] Idioms usually do not translate well; in some cases, when an idiom is translated into another language, either its meaning is changed or it is meaningless.

An idiom is a word which means something different than what it says - it is usually a metaphor. Only people who are very good at speaking English will know what an idiom means in a sentence. There are about 4000 idioms used in American English, and at least as many in British English. To even explain what they mean requires about 2000 words of defining vocabulary. This is about the same as the most complex Simple English we use here, which is between Basic English (for the simplest articles) and 2000 words (which definition of an idiom requires). An example of an idiom would be 'break a leg' which means to put so much into something that you hurt yourself, or to 'shed crocodile tears' which means to seem sorry for something when in fact you aren't.

Background
In the English expression to kick the bucket, a listener knowing only the meanings of kick and bucket would be unable to deduce the expression's true meaning: to die. Although this idiomatic phrase can, in fact, actually refer to kicking a bucket, native speakers of English rarely use it so. Cases like this are "opaque idioms'

"spill the beans" and "leave no stone unturned" are not entirely literally interpretable. or to reveal a secret. sometimes discerned from the context of its usage. or experience. "lay one's cards on the table" meaning to reveal previously unknown intentions. het loodje leggen (“to lay the piece of lead”). Another category of idioms is a word having several meanings. manger des pissenlits par la racine ("to eat dandelions by the root"). in Portuguese. Many natural language words have idiomatic origins. Relation with culture An idiom is generally a colloquial metaphor[citation needed] — a term requiring some foundational knowledge. nolikt karoti (“to put the spoon down”). information. in contrast. students of a new language must learn its idiomatic expressions as vocabulary. and sometimes for a verb. trilla av pinnen ("to fall off the stick"). as a bucket kicked makes too much noise. with “calendar” detached from its usual meaning. for those engaged in it. . at stille træskoene ("to take off the clogs"). just like “bucket” in the English phrase. den Löffel abgeben (“to give the spoon away”) or ins Gras beißen (“to bite into the grass”). for the product used. Idioms tend to confuse those unfamiliar with them. In Bulgarian the closest analogous phrase is da ritnesh kambanata ("да ритнеш камбаната". and in Greek. in French. or more literally “to kick the absence of something”). in German. estirar la pata (to stretch the foot). but are assimilated. so losing their figurative senses. As culture typically is localized. the expression “to kick the bucket” (chutar o balde) has a completely different meaning (to give up something complicated. Some idioms. for the place or time of an activity. in Spanish. the common use of the same word for an activity. sometimes simultaneously. τινάζω τα πέταλα ("to shake the horse-shoes"). Therefore. in Finnish. in Swedish. idioms often are useless beyond their local context.Literal translation (word-by-word) of opaque idioms will not convey the same meaning in other languages – an analogous expression in Polish is kopnąć w kalendarz (“to kick the calendar”). bater as botas (“to beat the boots”). in Danish. in Dutch. demonstrating impatience). idioms are not considered part of the language. to use only within a culture. potkaista tyhjää (“to kick nothing”. For example. This is seen in the (mostly un-inflected) English language in polysemes. but only involve a slight metaphorical broadening. where conversational parties must possess common cultural references. are "transparent idioms" [5]: much of their meaning does get through if they are taken (or translated) literally. in Latvian. but part of the culture. “to kick the bell”). In Brazil. Transparency is a matter of degree.

but they rarely have any actual shift in their construction.[cite this quote] Unlike many other aspects of language. The phrase "profits are up" is not an idiom. In forms such as "profits are up". also giving birth to new idioms by accident. can be easily translated. not to scrimp and save. the metaphor is essential. Some idioms gain and lose favor in popular culture. . since their meanings often not traceable to a literal (pictographic) meaning of their radicals. stating that an idiom is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual grammatical rules of a language or from the usual meanings of its constituent elements. "out of" and "turn into". It is the part of the distinctive form or construction of a particular language that has a specific form or style present only in that language. an idiom is an expression not readily analyzable from its grammatical construction or from the meaning of its component parts. though sometimes you will find idioms that only exist in one form of the verb. Essential idioms generally involve prepositions. many Chinese characters[which?] are idiomatic constructs. [cite this quote] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary seems to agree with this definition. Likewise. an idiom does not readily change as time passes. and "up is more". "time as a path".nevertheless. Most of the time you should use a bare verb form. even expanding it further. These "deep metaphors" and their relationship to human cognition are discussed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Metaphors We Live By (1980). Because characters are composed from a small base of some 214 radicals. As defined by The New International Webster’s College Dictionary. though for phrases that only exist in one form specific words should be used. Form • • Most of the time. "complaints are up" et cetera. some idioms can be more universal than others. People also have a natural tendency to over exaggerate what they mean sometimes. as would be found in a dictionary scrimp and save. "battle of the sexes". you should use “one” or “one’s”. and the metaphoric meaning can be deduced. not the idioms. the metaphor is carried by "up" itself.g. their assembled meanings follow different interpretation modes – from the pictographic to the metaphoric to those that have lost their original meanings. anything measurable can supplant "profits": "crime is up". and "back in the day" are idiomatic and based upon essential metaphors. not “his” or “your”. For example. "spend time". e. "love as war". "satisfaction is up". Many idiomatic expressions are based upon conceptual metaphors such as "time as a substance".

and allows you to link the individual words or subphrases. To mark an entry or a definition as idiomatic. Examples of Idiom : A A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush: Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more. because chances are you might lose everything.Code and useful templates For the part of speech (POS). use {{idiom}}. if possible. which correctly formats it and categorizes it as a phrase. such as inflections and pronouns: burn his fingers and burning one's fingers should redirect to the pronoun-neutral and uninflected form burn one's fingers. • {{infl|xx|phrase|head=…}} You can link individual words or components using {{infl}} with the head= argument – best is to link subphrases. you may find {{l}} helpful – see discussion. rather than just the individual words. Most idioms do not translate word for word. which automatically inserts the proper text and category. unless the literal translation is actually used in the target language. use {{infl|xx|phrase|head=…}}. • {{idiom|lang=…}} Use to flag idioms at the start of the definition. See WT:REDIR#Redirecting between different forms of idioms. . though it may be appropriate to use a redirect in some very similar cases. Caveats • Do not give literal (word-for-word) translations of idioms. For foreign languages. • {{alternative form of|…}} Use when there are several wordings for a given idiom.

A Chip On Your Shoulder: Being upset for something that happened in the past. much like someone giving unwanted advice from the back seat of a vehicle to the driver. Chew someone out: Verbally scold someone. C Can't Cut The Mustard : Someone who isn't adequate enough to compete or participate. Back To Square One: Having to start all over again. B Back Seat Driver: People who criticize from the sidelines. Cast Iron Stomach: Someone who has no problems. Back To The Drawing Board: When an attempt fails and it's time to start all over. D Dark Horse: One who was previously unknown and is now prominent. .A Blessing In Disguise: Something good that isn't recognized at first. complications or ill effects with eating anything or drinking anything.

A duplicate. Ethnic Cleansing: Killing of a certain ethnic or religious group on a massive scale. Dog Days of Summer: The hottest days of the summer season. G Get Down to Brass Tacks: To become serious about something. Get Over It: To move beyond something that is bothering you. F Feeding Frenzy: An aggressive attack on someone by a group. E Eighty Six: A certain item is no longer available. It's all over. to throw away. Finding Your Feet: To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing. Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed: Someone who is having a horrible day. Elvis has left the building: The show has come to an end. Or this idiom can also mean. Field Day: An enjoyable day or circumstance. H .Dead Ringer: 100% identical.

Haste Makes Waste: Quickly doing things results in a poor ending. Have an Axe to Grind: To have a dispute with someone. 3 soccer goals. I Icing On The Cake: When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have. In The Bag: To have something secured. This idiom can also mean three scores in any other sport. Kick The Bucket: . etc. K Keep body and soul together: To earn a sufficient amount of money in order to keep yourself alive . Keep your chin up: To remain joyful in a tough situation. such as 3 homeruns. J Jaywalk: Crossing the street (from the middle) without using the crosswalk. Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools: You are more likely to get in trouble if you have nothing to do. Joshing Me: Tricking me. 3 touchdowns. Hat Trick: When one player scores three goals in the same hockey game.

M Make No Bones About: To state a fact so there are no doubts or objections. Like a chicken with its head cut off: To act in a frenzied manner. Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You: Don't hurt anyone that helps you. L Last but not least: An introduction phrase to let the audience know that the last person mentioned is no less important than those introduced before him/her. Mumbo Jumbo: Nonsense or meaningless speech. N Nest Egg: Savings set aside for future use. O Off On The Wrong Foot: Getting a bad start on a relationship or task. Lend Me Your Ear: To politely ask for someone's full attention. New kid on the block: Someone new to the group or area. .Die. To say nothing. Mum's the word: To keep quiet.

Q Queer the pitch: Destroy or ruin a plan. especially project funds. Pig In A Poke: A deal that is made without first examining it. Off the Record: Something said in confidence that the one speaking doesn't want attributed to him/her.Off The Hook: No longer have to deal with a tough situation. S . R Raincheck: An offer or deal that is declined right now but willing to accept later. Raining Cats and Dogs: A very loud and noisy rain storm. especially while driving a vehicle. P Pass The Buck: Avoid responsibility by giving it to someone else. Pedal to the metal: To go full speed. Ring Fencing: Seperated usual judgement to guarantee protection.

U Under the weather: Feeling ill or sick. the third try is a lucky one. Use Your Loaf: Use your head. Variety Is The Spice Of Life: The more experiences you try the more exciting life can be. W . Sick As A Dog: To be very sick (with the flu or a cold).Scapegoat: Someone else who takes the blame. Third times a charm: After no success the first two times. V Van Gogh's ear for music: Tone deaf. Scot-free: To escape and not have to pay. Tie the knot: To get married. T The Best Of Both Worlds: There are two choices and you have them both. Think smart. Up a blind alley: Going down a course of action that leads to a bad outcome.

References ^ The Oxford Companion to the English Language(1992) pp. You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover: Decisions shouldn't be made primarily on appearance. ^ Jackendoff. 2. (1997). 1. X X marks the spot: A phrase that is said when someone finds something he/she has been looking for.Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve: To openly and freely express your emotions. R. . Your Guess Is As Good As Mine: I have no idea. When It Rains. When Pigs Fly : Something that will never ever happen. The architecture of the language faculty. It Pours: Since it rarely rains. when it does it will be a huge storm. Z Zero Tolerance: No crime or law breaking big or small will be overlooked. Y You Are What You Eat: In order to stay healthy you must eat healthy foods.495–96. Cambridge. MA: MIT Press.

4. There is also some belief that the idiom may have its origins in the early cost of postage in England.[citation needed] Some believe that the phrase originates in betting card games. before beginning play. ^ Saeed. the "twopenny post". "My two cents" (2¢) and its longer version "put my two cents in" is an American idiomatic expression. R. where two pennies was the normal charge of sending a letter containing one's words and thoughts or feelings to someone." It is used to preface the tentative stating of one’s opinion. 2nd edition." (More polite way of saying. taken from the original English idiom expression: to put in "my two pennies worth" or "my tuppence worth. is merely speculation. "Two cents" and its variations may also be used in place of the noun "opinion" or the verb phrase "state [subject's] opinion". that hat doesn't do you any favours. Oxford: Blackwell. Semantics. e. (2003). (1987). or ante. 5." Journal of Child Language." Background There is some speculation as to the origin of the idiom. the phrase makes an analogy between entering the game and entering a conversation. ^ Gibbs. 569-586. there is no documentary evidence of this being the origin of the idiom and as such. showing politeness and humility. Oxford: Blackwell. "a penny for your thoughts". The phrase is also used out of habit to preface uncontentious opinions. For example: "If I may put my two cents in. 14. In these games. Thus.3. "You had to put your two cents in. 60. didn't you?" or "But that’s just my two cents. such as poker.g. W. By deprecating the opinion to follow — suggesting its value is only two cents. it is also sometimes used with irony when expressing a strongly felt opinion.) An example of the shortened version: "My two cents is that you should sell that stock now. John I. Semantics. John I. p. "Linguistic Factors in Children's Understanding of Idioms. 2nd edition. ^ Saeed. but I got two pennies' worth". a very small amount — the user of the phrase hopes to lessen the impact of a possibly contentious statement. However. (2003)." . one must make a small bet.. for example: That hat is ugly. possibly a sarcastic response to receiving more opinion than was wanted "I said a penny for your thoughts. Other likely origins are that "my two pennies worth" is derived from the much older 16th Century English expression. However.

Thus the reference to two cents is in accord with another idiom that values opinions at one cent (penny for your thoughts). */ /* same result */ /* same result */ There is a difference between the first two expressions. When the expressions are used as isolated statements. ++i. Pascal. and many others derived from it." Examples of Simple Idioms Incrementing a counter In a language like BASIC.The phrase "If you don't put your two cents in. which yields the old version of i. One meaning of change is an alteration — presumably to bring someone or something in agreement with an expressed opinion. (* same *) These are the idiomatic ways of "adding one to a counter". how can you get change?" encourages an expression of opinion. Swapping values between variables Main article: Swap (computer science) .g. e. have language-specific features that make this code shorter: i += 1. “Just my two cents. /* i = i + 1. Inc(i).. as in this example. and the third. i++. as a keyword-centric language. the code to increment a counter by one is mundane: i = i + 1 The C language. the yielded value is ignored. contains a built in procedure for the same operation: i := i + 1. which yield the new version of i. Another meaning of change is the cash equivalent of an overpayment. This expression is also often used at the end of a statement. It makes a pun on the word "change".

There are several ways to write an infinite loop in C.) { do_something(). including a loop very similar to the Pascal example.In many languages. } Ada loops forever this readable way: loop . # Succinct one-line infinite loop # same as while (1) { do_something() }. code for swapping the values in two variables looks like the following: temp = a. } Perl allows the C syntax above.. but the following idiom uses the unusual appearance of the empty for loop condition to draw attention visually to the loop: for (. a = b. $b) = ($b. the list assignment syntax allows a more succinct expression: ($a. # Using a "naked block" and the redo operator { do_something(). $a). For example: do_something() while (1). In Pascal. end. although it often takes the form of a while loop where the test condition is always true. redo. Infinite loop The code used to write an infinite (nonterminating) loop varies widely between different programming languages. but supports some other syntax as well. for example: while true do begin do_something(). In Perl. b = temp.

hash tables. The following idiom is commonly used to express this in Perl: my %elements = map { $_ => 1 } @elements. Looking up an element in an array is an O(n) operation: we have to scan the array until we meet the element.g. . This assumes an implementation of associative arrays in which lookup is fast (e. Pimpl Idiom In OOP the implementation details of a API-level class can be hidden in an own implementation class.do_something. end loop. as in Perl). A pointer (or reference) to that class is stored in the API-level class. and the value is irrelevant. we create an associative array in which the array elements are keys. Therefore. or until the end. and we need to perform an operation in which we often need to determine whether some arbitrary item is in the array or not. Also readable python syntax: while True: do_something() Array lookup hash table Suppose we have an array of items.

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