What are idioms?
Idioms & meaning
Idioms are expressions which have the meaning that is not obvious from the individual words. For example, the idiom drive somebody round the bend means make somebody angry or frustrated, but we cannot know this by looking at the words.
The best way to understand an idiom is to see it in context. If someone says:
- This tin opener’s driving me round the bend! I think I’ll throw it away and get a new one next time I’m in town.
Then the context and the comma sense tells us that drive round the bend means something different from driving a car round a curve in the road. The context tells us the tin opener is not working properly and that its having an effect on the person using it.
Types of idioms
- verb + object/complement(and /or adverbial)
Example: kill two birds with one stone
Meaning: produce two useful result by just doing one action
2. prepositional phrase
Example: in the blink of an eye
Meaning: in an extremely short time
Example: a bone of contention
Meaning: something which people argue and disagree over
4. simile (as + adjective + as, or like + noun)
Example: as dry as a bone
Meaning: very dry indeed
5. binomial (word + and + word)
Example: rough and ready
Meaning: crude and lack of sophistication
6. trinomial (word + word + and + word)
Example: cool, calm and collected
Meaning: relaxed in control, not nervous
7. whole clause or sentence
Example: to cut a long story short
Meaning: to tell the main points, but not all the fine details