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  • Hi everyone. Welcome back to English with Max. Today we are going to look at 50

  • idioms that native speakers commonly use. Some people say that learning idioms in

  • a foreign language isn't very important, but I disagree. You don't need to use

  • them yourself, but if you want to get to an advanced level in English, you should

  • at least understand the common ones. Before we get started I just want to

  • remind you that if you are interested in improving your grammar, I have a video

  • course on Udemy which covers 55 common mistakes made by English learners.

  • If you'd like to receive my special discount for that course, you just need

  • to click the link in the description. If you'd like to improve your vocabulary,

  • you can also subscribe to my free advanced English email lessons. As I said,

  • they are absolutely free and if you don't like them, you can unsubscribe at

  • any time. The link for that is also in the description. Oh yes, and I also now

  • have a TikTok account. Apparently that's where all the cool kids are hanging out.

  • Okay, let's get started with the idioms. The first one is: the apple doesn't fall

  • far from the tree. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We say this if a child

  • has similar qualities or talents to one of their parents. In practice it's

  • usually used for something negative. For example: Just like her father,

  • she's always dishonest. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The second one is:

  • a bad apple. A bad apple is a person who creates problems.

  • We often use it if the person's behaviour has a negative influence on others.

  • Frank was expelled from school because his teachers said that he was a bad apple.

  • The third one is: to beat around the bush. To beat around the bush.

  • This means to talk a lot about unimportant things to avoid talking

  • about the thing that's really important.

  • Frank, please stop beating around the bush and tell me what the problem is.

  • Number four: the best of both worlds.

  • The best of both worlds. This means a situation in which you have

  • the advantages of two very different things.

  • For example: She lives in a small village, but it isn't far from the city, so she

  • has the best of both worlds. Number five: to bite the bullet. To bite the bullet

  • means to force yourself to do something that's unpleasant or difficult. I hate

  • getting Pap smears, but I know they're important, so I'll just have to bite the bullet.

  • The next one is: a blessing in disguise. A blessing in disguise is something that

  • seems bad or unlucky at first, but actually results in a good outcome.

  • Frank got fired from his last job, but it was a blessing in disguise

  • because now he has a much better job working for me.

  • I wouldn't say that's entirely accurate.

  • Number seven: break a leg. This is an imperative phrase. We use it

  • to wish somebody luck, especially before a performance on stage. I know it sounds

  • quite negative, but we use it ironically. It's just like saying "good luck". I heard

  • you had an audition later. Break a leg! Number eight: to burn one' bridges. To burn

  • one's bridges means to do something with the result that you cannot return to a

  • previous situation. Often it's because you've offended somebody. When Frank quit

  • his first job, he also swore at his boss, so he definitely burnt his bridges.

  • Number nine: By the skin of one's teeth. If you do something by the skin of your

  • teeth, it means that you manage to do something or succeed in doing something,

  • but only just. You almost fail, in other words.

  • Frank passed his driving test by the skin of his teeth. In other words, he almost failed.

  • Number ten: To cost an arm and a leg.

  • To cost an arm and a leg simply means to be very expensive.

  • Frank crashed my car and it cost an arm and a leg to get it fixed.

  • Number eleven is: a couch potato. A couch potato is a person who is not very

  • active and spends a lot of time on the couch watching television.

  • Frank, stop being such a couch potato and go out and get some exercise.

  • Number twelve is: to cut corners. To cut corners means to do something as easily

  • or as cheaply as possible, but in a way that usually has a negative effect on

  • the final result. The builders cut corners when they renovated the house

  • and now lots of things need to be repaired. Thirteen: don't count your

  • chickens before they hatch. Sometimes we shorten this and we just

  • say "don't count your chickens". This means don't make plans based on a positive

  • future event that might not happen. For example, if someone says, "I think I'm

  • going to get a promotion at work, so I'm going to buy a new car," you could say,

  • "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

  • Number fourteen: The elephant in the room.

  • The elephant in the room is an obvious fact or problem that no one wants to

  • talk about. For example: At the meeting today nobody mentioned the elephant in

  • the room, which was that our boss was clearly drunk.

  • The next one is: fit as a fiddle.

  • Fit as a fiddle simply means in good health. Some people also use it to

  • mean fit and strong. I had surgery a couple of months ago, but I feel as fit

  • as a fiddle now. Her grandfather is almost 90, but he's fit as a fiddle.

  • Number sixteen: Food for thought. Food for thought is something that makes you

  • think carefully. My economics class today definitely gave me some food for thought.

  • Thank you for your suggestion. It has provided us with food for thought.

  • Number seventeen: to give somebody the benefit of the doubt. To give somebody the

  • benefit of the doubt means to treat somebody as if their words or actions

  • are correct or honest, even if you're not sure about it.

  • For example: There was a good chance that Frank was lying to me,

  • but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • Eighteen: to give somebody the cold shoulder. To give somebody the cold

  • shoulder means to treat somebody in an unfriendly way or to deliberately ignore somebody.

  • For example: Ethel is annoyed with Frank, so now she's giving him the cold shoulder.

  • The next one is: to go cold turkey. To go cold turkey means to stop

  • something suddenly and completely. It's almost always used for addictions.

  • Sometimes if somebody's addicted to something they will gradually decrease

  • their consumption. But if you go cold turkey, you just stop all of a sudden.

  • She used to smoke two packets of cigarettes a day, but then she went cold turkey and

  • never smoked again.

  • Number 20: to go with the flow. To go with

  • the flow means to just allow things to happen or to do what other people want

  • without trying to control what happens. I'm not going to make any plans today,

  • I'm just going to relax and go with the flow.

  • 21: to grin and bear it. To grin and bear it

  • means to accept something that's difficult or unpleasant without complaining.

  • Our flight has been delayed 10 hours. We'll just have to grin and bear it.

  • I really don't want to go to my cousin's wedding, but I'll have to grin and bear it.

  • Number 22: to have a sweet tooth. To have

  • a sweet tooth just means to like eating sweet things, like chocolate or cake or

  • sweets. For example: I know it was Ethel who ate all the cookies at the party,

  • because she definitely has a sweet tooth.

  • 23: to have one's head in the clouds.

  • To have one's head in the clouds means to not be aware of what's happening around

  • you or not be practical or sensible about things. I wouldn't start a business

  • with him if I were you, because he always has his head in the clouds.

  • 24: to hit the books.

  • To hit the books simply means to study,

  • usually intensely. For example: I have an important exam next week so I really

  • need to hit the books this weekend.

  • 25: to hit the nail on the head. To hit

  • the nail on the head means to be exactly right about something.

  • When George said that most people want to learn English without making any

  • effort, he hit the nail on the head.

  • Number 26: in hot water.

  • In hot water means in trouble or a difficult situation that will

  • probably result in punishment. For example: That company is in hot water

  • because it didn't pay its taxes. Frank is frequently in hot water.

  • 27: Don't judge a book by its cover. You can also say: You can't judge a book by its cover.

  • This means you shouldn't form an opinion

  • of something or someone only from their appearance. She seemed rather serious

  • based on her clothes and expression, but don't judge a book by its cover.

  • Frank looks very innocent, but you can't judge a book by its cover.

  • 28: to keep one's chin up. To keep one's chin up means to make an effort to stay

  • brave and happy in a difficult situation. For example: She lost her job recently,

  • but she's trying to keep her chin up.

  • 29: to kill two birds with one stone.

  • This expression is a little dark, but normally we don't think about the literal meaning

  • when we say it. To kill two birds with one stone means to achieve two things

  • with one action or at the same time. Cycling to work allows you to keep fit

  • and save money at the same time. It's killing two birds with one stone.

  • Number 30: the last straw. You can also say the final straw.

  • The last straw is the last of a series of problems which finally

  • causes someone to get angry or impatient.

  • When he arrived late the third time, it was the last straw

  • and his boss fired him.

  • 31: to let the cat out of the bag. To let the cat out of the

  • bag means to reveal a secret, normally without intending to.

  • We had organised a surprise birthday party for George, but Frank

  • let the cat out of the bag the day before.

  • 32: to be like riding a bike.

  • To be like riding a bike. This is said of something that you never forget how to do.

  • For example: I haven't been swimming in years. Don't worry. It's like riding a bike.

  • 33: to be like two peas in a pod.

  • We say this if two people are very similar in appearance or character.

  • They're like two peas in a pod, so it's not surprising that people often think

  • they're brothers.

  • 34: to make ends meet.

  • To make ends meet means to have just enough

  • money to buy the things that you need.

  • For example: She needs to work two jobs to make ends meet.

  • Number 35: no pain, no gain. This means

  • that you need to work hard to achieve something.

  • My gym sessions are exhausting, but no pain, no gain.

  • 36: to not be one's cup of tea. To not be one's cup of tea

  • means to not be the type of thing that one likes.

  • Sports aren't really his cup of tea.

  • I won't go to the karaoke night.

  • Watching people humiliate themselves isn't my cup of tea.

  • Number 37: to be on the ball. To be on the

  • ball means to be alert and quick to react to things competently.

  • She's a great employee. Even under pressure she's always on the ball.

  • 38: once in a blue moon. Once in a blue moon simply means very rarely.

  • For example: His sister lives abroad, so he only sees her once in a blue moon.

  • Franck exercises once in a blue moon.

  • Number 39: to play devil's advocate.

  • To play devil's advocate means to argue against something, even if you agree

  • with it, to start an argument or an interesting discussion.

  • I don't actually disagree with you. I'm just playing devil's advocate.

  • Number 40: to pull somebody's leg.

  • To pull somebody's leg means to tell somebody something that is not true as a joke.

  • Frank, did you really run a marathon or are you pulling my leg?

  • Number 41 is: rain or shine. You can also say "come rain or shine".

  • This can be used literally or figuratively depending on the context.

  • So it can mean whatever the weather is like, or whatever happens.

  • In other words, no matter what the circumstances are.

  • Bring a raincoat because we're going camping rain or shine.

  • I wouldn't go camping even if the sun was shining. It's not my cup of tea.

  • I've been quite busy lately, but I'll be at the party rain or shine.

  • Number 42: to sit tight.

  • To sit tight has two meanings. Firstly it can mean to physically not

  • move and stay where you are. It can also mean to not do anything new or change

  • your mind until the right time.

  • Just sit tight. The doctor will see you in a moment.

  • Investors have been told to sit tight until the economy improves.

  • Number 43: to spill the beans.

  • To spill the beans means to reveal something that was supposed to be a secret.

  • John was having an affair and his colleague spilled the beans to his wife.

  • 44: to take a rain check.

  • This is used to say that you will not accept an offer now, but you might in the future.

  • Would you like to go for a drink later?

  • Sorry, I have to work. Can I take a rain check?

  • 45: to teach somebody a lesson. This means that somebody is punished for

  • something they have done so they will not do it again. Her parents didn't give

  • her pocket money for a month to teach her a lesson. With this expression it's

  • not necessarily people who do the punishing. It might be an event.

  • I left my windows open and the rain soaked my carpet. That taught me a lesson.

  • 46: through thick and thin.

  • Through thick and thin means in all situations, even the difficult ones.

  • Good friends support us through thick and thin.

  • 47: under the table.

  • Under the table means secretly and illegally.

  • Normally it's for financial payments.

  • He gets paid under the table so he doesn't have to pay tax.

  • Now we have "under the weather".

  • Under the weather means slightly sick or unwell.

  • Frank went bar-hopping last night and today he's feeling a bit under the weather.

  • Number 49: up in the air.

  • Up in the air means uncertain or not yet decided on.

  • We use it for plans and decisions. For example: George is considering going

  • back to university, but his plans are still up in the air.

  • And yes, guys, we have reached number 50.

  • This one is: your guess is as good as mine. Your guess is as good as

  • mine basically just means "I don't know". It means that you don't know more than

  • the person you are talking to.

  • So if George says to me, "Why is Frank trying to climb into the neighbour's window?"

  • I could say, "Your guess is as good as mine."

  • That's it, guys. Don't forget that if you want to properly remember

  • something, repetition is very important, and so is actively using the language.

  • I therefore recommend two things. Firstly, try to watch this video again. Perhaps in

  • a couple of days and then if you can, also in a week or two. I also recommend

  • that you take three of these idioms and write your own examples in the comments.

  • Finally - I'm very curious - please let me know if some of these idioms exist in

  • your language or if there are equivalents in your language.

  • Thanks for watching, guys. I'll see you next time.

  • Oh, shit.

  • 27.

  • ... have a sweet thoo..

  • To burn...

  • ... was a blessing in... Phone.

  • For example...

  • Apparently Tik nok... tick tick...

  • If you want to...

Hi everyone. Welcome back to English with Max. Today we are going to look at 50