55 idioms and meanings to understand Irish people!

An idiom is a word or phrase which means something different from its literal meaning. Idioms are common phrases or terms whose meaning is not real, but can be understood by their popular use.

To learn a language a person needs to learn the words in that language, and how and when to use them. But people also need to learn idioms separately because certain words together or at certain times can have different meanings. In order to understand an idiom, one sometimes needs to know the culture the idiom comes from.

Our Travelling Programmes are excellent for this, because students can interact with more than 30 different native speakers and our Talk Jockeys help them to immerse in the culture. There are some expressions and idioms in the languages that that are difficult to learn in a class! But, here we are!! And here you have a list of idioms to study!:

1. A hot potato

Speak of an issue (mostly current) which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed

2. A penny for your thoughts

A way of asking what someone is thinking

3. Actions speak louder than words

People’s intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say.

4. An arm and a leg

Very expensive or costly. A large amount of money.

5. At the drop of a hat

Meaning: without any hesitation; instantly.

6. Back to the drawing board

When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over.

7. Ball is in your court

It is up to you to make the next decision or step

8. Barking up the wrong tree

Looking in the wrong place. Accusing the wrong person

9. Be glad to see the back of

Be happy when a person leaves.

10. Beat around the bush

Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.

11. Best of both worlds

Meaning: All the advantages.

12. Best thing since sliced bread

A good invention or innovation. A good idea or plan.

13. Bite off more than you can chew

To take on a task that is way to big.

14. Blessing in disguise

Something good that isn’t recognized at first.

15. Can’t judge a book by its cover

Cannot judge something primarily on appearance.

16. Costs an arm and a leg

This idiom is used when something is very expensive.

17. Cross that bridge when you come to it

Deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.

18. Cry over spilt milk

When you complain about a loss from the past.

19. Curiosity killed the cat

Being Inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation.

20. Cut corners

When something is done badly to save money.

21. Don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched

This idiom is used to express “Don’t make plans for something that might not happen”.

22. Don’t give up the day job

You are not very good at something. You could definitely not do it professionally.

23. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Do not put all your resources in one possibility.

24. Drastic times call for drastic measures

When you are extremely desperate you need to take drastic actions.

25. Elvis has left the building

The show has come to an end. It’s all over.

26. Every cloud has a silver lining

Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.

27. Feel a bit under the weather

Meaning: Feeling slightly ill.

28. Give the benefit of the doubt

Believe someone’s statement, without proof.

29. Hit the nail on the head

Do or say something exactly right

30. Hit the sack / sheets 

To go to bed.

31. In the heat of the moment

Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment.

32. It takes two to tango

Actions or communications need more than one person

33. Jump on the bandwagon

Join a popular trend or activity.

34. Keep something at bay

Keep something away.

35. Kill two birds with one stone

This idiom means, to accomplish two different things at the same time.

36. Last straw

The final problem in a series of problems.

37. Let the cat out of the bag

To share information that was previously concealed

38. Make a long story short

Come to the point – leave out details

39. Miss the boat

This idiom is used to say that someone missed his or her chance

40. Off one’s rocker

Crazy, demented, out of one’s mind, in a confused or befuddled state of mind, senile.

41. On the ball

When someone understands the situation well.

42. Once in a blue moon

Meaning: Happens very rarely.

43. Picture paints a thousand words

A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.

44. Piece of cake

A job, task or other activity that is easy or simple.

45. Put wool over other people’s eyes

This means to deceive someone into thinking well of them.

46. See eye to eye

This idiom is used to say that two (or more people) agree on something.

47. Sit on the fence

This is used when someone does not want to choose or make a decision.

48. Speak of the devil!

This expression is used when the person you have just been talking about arrives.

49. Steal someone’s thunder

To take the credit for something someone else did.

50. Take with a grain of salt

This means not to take what someone says too seriously.

51. Taste of your own medicine

Means that something happens to you, or is done to you, that you have done to someone else

52. To hear something straight from the horse’s mouth

To hear something from the authoritative source.

53. Whole nine yards

Everything. All of it.

54. Wouldn’t be caught dead

Would never like to do something

55. Your guess is as good as mine

To have no idea, do not know the answer to a question

Hope you find it useful!! See you soon!!!
Greeting from the team at Travelling LanguagesYour language school on the road!