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Chapter Four English Idioms

4.1 Introduction
Idioms, broadly defined, which include allusions, maxims, metaphorical phrases,
slang, colloquialisms, Siamese twins and proverbs sayings, etc., are inalienable
important component of languages. They are the quintessence in the languages,
human crystallization of intelligence to spread concise languages. They are certain
regular statements (expressions) that take shapes in the course of using with special
meanings which are different from the meanings of the individual words that form
them. So they are often hard to understand and hard to use. Their proper use in a
language marks ones command of the language. Idioms also contain abundant
cultural and historical information, which reflects national economic life and
prospects national culture psychology, modes of thinking. So rendering idioms of one
language into another is always complex.
4.2 Origin
Idioms are long standing and well established. They are mainly from six aspects: (1)
from folks (Dont put all ones eggs in one basket.); (2) from works, such as the Bible
(to wash ones hands of, Judas kiss), Shakespeares works (Coward die many times
before their death. Hamlet, paint the lily, green-eyed monster), Arabian Nights
Entertainments (open sesame) and other famous works; (3) from Aesops Fables
(lions share, sour grapes, to bell the cat, to kill the goose to get the eggs. God help
those who help themselves); (4) from mythology or legend (Promethean fire,
Pandoras box, the touch of Midas, an apple of discord, Achilles heel); (5) from
historical events (the fifth column, meet ones Waterloo); and even (6) from other
countries (Love me, love my dog. No one can call back yesterday.), etc..
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13.

Strike while the iron is hot.

Many hands make light work.

Haste makes waste.


More haste, less speed.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Look before you leap.

Two heads are better than one.

To carry coals to Newcastle



Jack of all trades and master of none

Jack of all trades


Know something of everything and everything of something.

If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.


To run after two hares
Its no use crying over spilt milk

To cry over spilt milk


When the cats away, the mice will play.
When the
cats away
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14. A stitch in time saves nine.

The stitch in time


15. Where theres smoke, theres fire.

There is no smoke without fire.


16. Where theres will theres a way.

17. Give a person a dose of his own medicine.

18. All good things must come to an end.

19. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

20. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

21. You cant have your cake and eat it too.

22. Let sleeping dogs lie.

23. You cant teach an old dog new tricks.

24. It took two to make a quarrel.

25. A miss is as good as a mile./


26. Gilding the lily

27. Life begins at forty.

28. Better late than never

29. Whats done cannot be undone.


Whats done is done.

30. Make hay while the sun shines.

31. A soft answer turns away wrath.

32. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

33. Cowards die many times before their death.

34. Dont count your chickens before they are hatched.


35. Love me, love my dog.

36. Dead dogs bite not.

37. No one can call back yesterday.

38. He who has not tasted bitter knows not what sweet is.
39. Life is short and time is swift.

40. Life is long if it is full.

41. All is not gold that glitters (glisters)


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42. A tree is known by its fruit.
/
43. History repeats itself.

44. The truth is always green

45. The truth will out.

46. All roads lead to Rome.

47. Rome wasnt built in a day.

48. As you sow, so shall you reap.

49. Dont put the cart before the horse.

50. Every dog has his (its) day.

51. Necessity is the mother of invention.

52. He laughs best who laughs last.


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53. Nothing in the world is difficult for one who sets his mind to it.


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Lost time is never found again.

Now for it!

Now or never!

Time and tide wait for no man.

There is no time like the present.

Time cures all things.

Time flies

Better to ask the way than go astray.

Better to do well than to say well.

Facts speak louder than words.

Actions speak louder than words


Few words and many deeds.

Self-help is the best help.

God helps those who help themselves.


Like father, like son.

Like teacher, like pupil.

One mans meat is another mans poison.

Like will draw like.

Great minds think alike.

Homer sometimes nods.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (wood).


If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is a new day.


Dont cross the bridge before (until) you come to it.
Dont cross the bridge till you get to it.
Dont cross your bridge before you come (get) to it.
A little learning is a dangerous thing.

A little knowledge is dangerous.


He that travels far knows much.

Knowledge is power.

Live and learn.

One is never too old to learn. It is never too late to learn.


There is no end to learning.

No news, good news. No news is good news.

Seeing is believing
To see is to believe.

A good beginning is half done.


A good beginning is half the battle.
The first step is as good as half over.
Well begun is half done (ended).

A thousand mile trip begins with one step


The longest journey starts with a single step.

The first step is the only difficulty.

86.
87.
88.
89.
90.

Diligence is the mother of good luck (fortune).

Diligence is the mother (parent) of success.

The early bird catches (gets) the worm.

A good anvil does not fear hammer.

Dont teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

To teach a fish how to swim

91. Nothing venture, nothing have (gain, win).


Nothing ventured, nothing gained
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92. A good medicine tastes bitter.

93. You can take a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink.

94. One cant please everybody.

95. Who will bell the cat?

96. The grapes are sour.

97. Let bygones be bygones.

98. Nature will out.

99. Unity is strength.

100.
Diamond cut diamond.

101.
Tit for tat

Eye for eye tooth for tooth

102.
One tree does not make a forest.

103.
Tall trees catch much wind.

104.
To fight to the last man

105.
To break the record

106.
Under ones nose

107.
Armed to the teeth

108.
Packed like sardines

109.
Sour grapes

110.A die-hard

111.A gentlemans agreement

112.An olive branch

113.The Trojan horse

114.The heel of Achilles

115.The sword of Damocles

116.The open-door policy

117.The most-favored-nation clause

118.The position-of-strength policy

119.Shuttle diplomacy

120.
The cold war

121.
The hot war

122.
A cat has nine lives

123.
Blood is thicker than water

124.
Barking dogs do not bite

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A rolling stone gathers no moss

To praise to the skies

To fish in troubled waters

To add fuel to the fire

To be on thin ice

Walls have ears

A drop in the ocean

To laugh off ones head

To shed crocodile tears

To be out at elbows

To spend money like water

At sixes and sevens



Six of one and half a dozen of the other

Tweedledee and tweedledum

One boy is a boy, two boys half a boy, three boys no boy
A wet blanket

Like a fish out of water

Cats-paws

To break the ice

Born with a silver spoon in ones mouth

The die is cast



To take French leave

A stony heart

At ones fingertips

To have a hand like a foot

As mute as a fish

To return good for evil

To shut ones eyes against

To talk black into white

To turn a deaf ear to

Practice makes perfect

To face the music

Plain sailing

To be dead drunk

Laugh and grow fat

To fly into a rage

To look for a needle in a haystack

A leap in the dark

To show ones colours

To make a noise in the world

To pick holes in

To mind ones Ps and Qs pint quart


To be at the end of ones rope

To flog a dead horse

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To turn over a new leaf

To put all ones eggs in one basket

as old as the hills

as timid as a hare

as cool as a cucumber

to fish in the air

as bitter as wormwood

goose-flesh

as light as a feather

as red as rose

ass in the lions skin

The onlooker sees most of the game.

Neither fish, nor flesh, nor fowl

Neither fish nor flesh.

to take a load off ones mind

as weak as water

in the twinkle of an eye

a stream of tears

a rat in hole

to hold ones head high

to touch one on the raw

to take wings to itself

to make mountains out of molehills

a square peg in a round hole

as cold as a marble

to have a card up ones sleeve

armchair strategy

to speak to the wind

Two of a trade can never agree

without a penny to ones name

Patience wears out stones.

Pride goes before a fall.

Facts speak louder than words.

One swallow doesnt make a summer.

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