Vocabulary — 10 février 2013

Les 30 idioms anglais qu’il faut connaitre.

Les ” idioms ” ou formes idiomatiques en anglais restent le MUST à maitriser pour parler l’anglais dans la langue de shakespeare de la façon la plus pure qu’il soit. Placez ces formules dans vos mails, vos rédactions ou comptes rendus et elles feront leur effet à coups sur.


Idioms are a fun, yet very difficult aspect to learn in any language. Idioms in English are no different. For this reason, in this lesson we will study thirty of the most popular idioms in English. Enjoy!

(Remember, if any of the idioms begin with “to” that means that they can be used as a verb. )

Les 30 Idioms anglais

to take turns: to take turns means to respect another person’s turn in line to do something
Timmy! Please stop taking that toy out of your brother’s hands. It’s important to take turns! First, you can play with the toy. Then, let your brother play with it!

to break up:
to break up refers to the decision a couple makes to end their relationship. When they end their relationship, they break up.
Do you remember when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston broke up? The end of their relationship was all over the news.

come on!:
In spoken English, “come on!” is a colloquial way to say “tell the truth.”
“Did you hear that James cheated on the test?”    “Oh come on! It was you that cheated! Don’t lie, or blame someone else!”

to come up with:
to come up with means to produce something or develop a product or an idea
Three Spanish scientists came up with a great invention we can use to save time and money.

to figure out: to figure out refers to the action of understanding a certain problem.
After worrying about how to get to my new job tomorrow morning, I finally figured out the metro schedule and map. I’m all ready to go to work now!

to fill in: to fill in can mean one of two things. It can refer to when a person puts information into the boxes or gaps on a form or other document. When used with a person’s name or a pronoun, it can mean to inform said person about the latest developments, news, or gossip.
I watch the morning gossip shows. They fill me in on the latest developments in the lives of celebrities.
Don’t forget to fill in all of the blanks on the application form. If you don’t, they’ll reject your application!

to hold on:
a command which also means “wait a minute.”
“Yes, Jim is here, but can you hold on for a minute please? He’s taking a shower, but he’ll be available to talk in just one moment.”

on the other hand:
used when you want to contrast an idea
I think it’s really important to learn a foreign language. On the other hand, it’s also really difficult to do.

to show up:
to arrive to a place or an event
Tim showed up late to class. He walked through the door at 9:25 and the teacher got really angry!

to take advantage of:
to use something to its fullest extent
Even though I don’t really enjoy German class, I make sure to take advantage of the language labs to correct my horrible pronunciation.

to take care of: to care for someone or something
My husband was very sick last weekend. I spent all night taking care of him and making sure he was comfortable.

to turn in:
to go to bed; to submit a document to a person
It’s nearly midnight. I really should turn in if I want to get at least eight hours of sleep. I have to wake up at nine tomorrow!
Don’t forget to sign your exam before you turn it in to the professor. If you turn it in unsigned, the professor isn’t going to correct it!

blind date:
a meeting of two possible lovers (a “date”) where neither one knows the other person
It’s nearly Valentine’s day and I don’t have a boyfriend. My best friend offered to set me up on a blind date with one of her boyfriend’s friends, but I’m too scared. Have you ever been on a blind date? It’s difficult to walk into the restaurant, not knowing who you’re looking for, and approach a stranger, asking if they’re your date.

to break down: To break down means either to summarize information or to mentally lose control, often resulting in uncontrollable crying.
Before trying to figure out the problem, we should break it down to try and understand the information better.
Britney Spears has been famous in the past for breaking down in public. Do you remember when she tried to attack someone with an umbrella? I don’t blame her. I would break down too if I had people following me at all hours.

to fall in love:
the act of feeling love towards a person for the first time
I fell in love with my husband when I realized that all the sweet things he was doing were just for me!

to get back on one’s feet: to recuperate after an illness or any other setback
After being fired from work, it took Robert a long time to get back on his feet. He was really depressed and overwhelmed, especially since he thought he was doing well at work.

bottom line:
the result or final outcome, or the most essential information
The bottom line is that we must study more. If not, we are going to fail!

to break even: to earn enough money to cover costs
Although I spent a hundred dollars on the stand at the craft fair, I broke even three hours into the event. My cards were selling like hotcakes!

to break the bank:
to use a lot of money, or cost a lot of money
Buying a BMW is going to break the bank for us. We certainly can’t afford it!

to bring home the bacon:
to earn money to bring home
Since my husband is unemployed, I have to bring home the bacon. I work long hours, but it’s worth it since it means I’m supporting our family!

cheapskate: a person unwilling to spend much money.
Andrea is such a cheapskate. Every time we go out to dinner, she only wants to go to fast food restaurants because she doesn’t want to spend more than ten dollars!

to cost an arm and a leg: when something is very, very expensive or results in very dire consequences
Going to Harvard University costs an arm and a leg. I think tuition there is over $50,000 a year by now!

to be dirt cheap:
when something is very cheap
Right now, a Dacia Logan is dirt cheap for a car, especially when compared to a BMW or Mercedes!

to bite off more than one can chew:
to take on more work than one can properly handle
When I told Jane I’d do this project, I bit off more than I can chew. I have way too much work right now!

to bite the hand that feeds you:
to treat someone who has helped you poorly
Be careful to never bite the hand that feeds you. If you do, that person may never help you again!

carrot and stick: an incentive to get someone to do something, often with the threat of punishment if the task is not completed
It’s difficult to get my son to help around the house. The carrot and stick we use is telling him that if he helps, he can play Wii for an hour. If he doesn’t, we will confiscate the Wii.

couch potato:
a very lazy person
Tom is a couch potato. He is always watching TV, and hardly ever leaves the house!

to cry over spilled milk:
to regret something that cannot be undone
Sheila hit a rabbit with her car this morning. She was very upset, but I told her not to cry over spilt milk. There’s nothing she can do about it now!

food for thought:
anything that makes people think
Here’s some food for thought: What will the world be like in fifty years if climate change continues? Will it still snow in northern Europe?

a dime a dozen:
something which is easy to get
Good bread here is a dime a dozen. It’s not like back home, where it’s impossible to find a cheap, delicious baguette!


30 Idioms anglais – QUIZZ

Thirty English Idioms

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