Idiomatic expressions are sayings in English,which are almost impossible to interpret based on the words alone. They pose quite a problem for IELTS learners. Therefore, IELTS candidates should prepare themselves for IELTS Speaking test by learning them now to get Band 7.5 or higher in IELTS!
A big cheese
Meaning: a person of importance or authority
Example: Apparently her father is a big cheese in one of the major banks.
- IELTS Speaking Part 3 Topic: Foreign Language & Sample Answers
- IELTS Speaking Part 2 in 2017 – Topic: English lesson
- IELTS Speaking Actual Test in the UK & Sample Answers
- IELTS Cue Card Sample 80 – Topic: An Interesting Neighbor You Like
- IELTS Cue Card Sample 79 – Topic: A Famous Person You Are Interested In
Different as chalk and cheese
Meaning: Two objects that although appearing to be similar are in fact different
Example: Australia & US are like chalk and cheese
Cheese and kisses
Example: The cheese and kisses and I will go on a holiday to Canada this month.
(Just/not) one’s cup of tea
Meaning: something pleasant or agreeable.
Example: Playing football is just my cup of tea
A storm in a teapot
Meaning: A disproportionate reaction of anger, concern, or displeasure over some minor or trivial matter.
Example: I really think you’re making a storm in a teapot over this. It’sjust a tiny scratch on the car!
Meaning: something easy; a pleasant and unstressful event.
Example: The test was a real tea party. No sweat.
Meaning: A problem, project, or task that requires little to no effort, expertise, or intelligence to solve or complete.
Example: It’s only a one-banana problem at the most; even kids can solve it. I can’t understand why people get stuck there.
Meaning: Go crazy
Origin: According to lexicographer E.J. Lighter, going bananas refers to the term going ape often used in American popular culture in the second half of the 1900s. Apes were seen as crazy by the mid-century media, and what do apes eat? Bananas!
Example: I will go bananas if you still acts like this.
A banana skin
Meaning: something which causes or is very likely to cause embarrassing problems
Example: The new tax has proved to be a banana skin for the government.
Apples and Oranges
Apples and oranges are fruits, but they have distinctly different color, taste. Therefore, this idiom refers to two incommensurable items, i.e. a comparison of things that cannot be compared.
Meaning: Completely different
Origin: The idiom first appeared as apples and oysters in John Ray’s 1670 Proverb collection, and equivalent terms exist in many languages: “grandmothers and toads” in Serbian to “love and the eye of an axe” in Argentine Spanish. What other funny fruits turn unusual phrases?
Example: We can’t compare inner city hospitals and hospitals on the outskirts of the city – they’re apples and oranges.
The apple of sb’s eye
Meaning: the person who someone loves most and is very proud of
Example: His youngest daughter was the apple of his eye.
Upset the apple cart
Meaning: to mess up or ruin something.
Example: I always knew he’d tell secrets and upset the apple cart.
A bad/rotten apple
Meaning: one bad person in a group of people who are good
Example: In every organization, you can find a bad apple who can damage their prestige.
Put something in apple-pie order
Meaning: in very good, well organized order
Example: I’ve put my entire life into apple-pie order.
Origin: Popularized in the U.S. in the late 1800s, the most notable use of pie to mean “simple and pleasurable” appears in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Part of our next food idiom makes a home in many pies, especially in America.
eat humble pie
Meaning: to make an apology and accept humiliation
Example: I will not break my promise toeat humble pie and admit that I have made a mistake if you can prove it.
piece of the pie
Meaning: A share or part of something.
Example: The business owner wanted all of his employees to have a piece of the pie, so he gave them all stock in the company as a holiday bonus.
(as) easy as pie
Meaning: very easy
Example: You make everything sound as easy as pie, George.
Pie in the sky
Meaning: something good that is unlikely to happen
Example: Those plans of hers to set up & run her own business are just pie in the sky.
Full of beans
Meaning: Energetic; frisky
Example: The children were too full of beans to sit still.
Spill the beans
Meaning: To reveal a secret information
Origin: English speakers have been using the word “spill” to mean “divulge secret information” since 1547, but the spilling of beans in particular may predate the term by millennia. Many historians claim that secret societies in ancient Greece voted by dropping black or white beans into a clay urn. To spill those beans would be to reveal the results of a secret vote before the ballots had been counted.
Example: They are looking into who spilled the beans about the voting results?
In a nutshell
Meaning: In a few words; concisely
Origin: The ancient Roman encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder claimed that a copy of Homer’s The Iliadexisted that was small enough to fit inside a walnut shell. Almost 2000 years later in the early 1700s the Bishop of Avranches tested Pliny’s theory by writing out the epic in tiny handwriting on a walnut-sized piece of paper and lo and behold, he did it!
Example: The explanation is long and involved, but let me put it in a nutshell for you.
Walking on eggshells
Meaning: taking great care/try hard not to upset someone.
Origin: It is thought to have originated in politics when diplomats were described as having the remarkable ability to tread so lightly around difficult situations, it was as though they were walking on eggshells.
Example: Everyone at the company was walking on eggshells until we heard that no one would be fired.
(To) have/put all your eggs in one basket
Meaning: put too much faith in one thing
Example: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! You should always have Plan B
Egg someone on
Meaning: urge someone to do something
Example: My parents tried to egg me on studying abroad. However, I didn’t manage to pass the IELTS test with a high score to study overseas.
(To) butter somebody up
Meaning: to flatter someone
Example: He is trying to butter his friends up so that they can help him with the upcoming test.
A hair in the butter
Meaning: A problem or challenging situation
Example: To score band 8.0 in the IELTS test to get a scholarship is a hair in the butter to me.
Meaning: necessities, the main thing
Example: The quality of IELTS online course on ieltsmaterial.com is bread and butter to drum up IELTS learner’s interest in registering it.
Example: Achieving Band 8.0 in IELTS is a piece of cake for almost every English native speakers.
Meaning: something good that is added to another good thing
Example: Getting a IELTS certificate is icing on the cake when you want to study or work abroad.
Sell like hot cakes
Main IELTS Pages:
This website is to develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free books, and more. Each section (Listening, Speaking, Writing, Reading) has a complete collection of lessons to help you improve your IELTS skills.
Subscribe for free IELTS lessons/Books/Tips/Sample Answers/Advice from our IELTS experts. We help millions of IELTS learners maximize their IELTS scores!
Latest posts by IELTS Material (see all)
- IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic: Art & Technology with Model Essay - May 30, 2018
- 15 IELTS Practice Tests (Book) - May 29, 2018
- IELTS Success Formula For Academic & General Training Module (Book) - May 26, 2018