Idiom Site List & Idiom Examples

[Here you'll find my own idiom definitions plus an idiom site list for other helpful resources.]

There are many idioms in the English language and they can be both fun and frustrating for learners. Before I suggest some of the best options available on the internet, let’s review what an idiom is:

An idiom is a phrase (a group of words) whose meaning is different than each of the words considered separately.

For example, "keep your pants on" is an idiom because the phrase means “stay calm and wait patiently” instead of “don’t take off your pants.”

Learn English Have Fun's Idioms

In addition to the idiom site list I am providing here, I have also compiled my own idioms lists and examples. Some idioms can be explained with interesting or fun pictures.

Here are a few examples below

If you'd like to see idiom lists that I've created, you can click on the letters below to see the lists in alphabetical order:

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X,Y,Z

Idiom Themes & Infographics

It can be fun to learn idioms when they are presented in themes or visually in infographics. You can learn them together in groups rather than one by one. If you're a teacher, this can be a starting point for a themed lesson.

Idiom site list - Other sites I recommend

There are many websites that list idioms and some are better than others. I think it is most helpful when a site: 

  1. Defines the meaning of the idiom,
  2. Provides at least one example of the idiom used in a sentence, and
  3. Divides the idioms into both alphabetical and topical lists.

I think this is the most helpful way to present this type of information to learners and I've tried to list some good options that use this approach.

Here are a few suggestions:

The Free Dictionary's list of idioms is compiled from idioms from the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms and the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. This is probably the most helpful online resource as it has almost 12,000 idiomatic phrases used in British, American and Australian English. In addition, the sentence examples make this such a valuable resource.

English Club has a great list of idioms, like some of the others but one thing that is very helpful is the number of quizzes to help test and reinforce your learning. They state they have 480 quizzes so that should keep you busy for awhile ;)

The Idiom Connection lists idioms alphabetically and by subject. They also have some quizzes. A sample sentence is provided for each idiom.

Using English provides a dictionary of 3,860 English idiomatic expressions. They have definitions provided by members as well as dictionary definitions.

Final thoughts

I hope these resources will be helpful to you in your studies. Just remember that there are idioms in all languages and that even native English speakers to do not know all of the idioms.

What's most important is that you understand idioms. You don't have to use them in your own speaking or writing.  Idioms are very tricky to use until you have seen them used in context many times and truly understand the meaning.

Relax and learn them slowly without creating a lot of pressure for yourself. In time, you will see you have learned a lot of them!

> Main Idioms List