Ten Idioms for Children

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Learning idioms can be fun for young English students as it is like learning a secret language. Usually, an idiom is a group of words or a phrase that has a different meaning to the words themselves. For example, “a piece of cake” is nothing to do with food. You say it if you think something is easy. Don’t ask me why. That is the fun of idioms. They often don’t make any sense. The following are some idioms that students can try and use in everyday life. Either at home or school.

1. A piece of cake

If something is very easy, you say that it is a “piece of cake”.

Teacher: How was your math exam this morning?
Student: It was a piece of cake!

2. Play it by ear

If you are not sure how to do something or you don’t have a plan yet, you say that you will “play it by ear”.

Mother: What will you do after football practice?
John: I am not sure. I will play it by ear.

3. Cat got your tongue?

If someone is quiet and not talking, you say “has the cat got your tongue?”

Suda: Why aren’t you talking? Has the cat got your tongue?”

4. Raining cats and dogs

If it is raining really hard, you say, “it is raining cats and dogs”.

Malee: “Wow! It is raining cats and dogs.”

5. A penny for your thoughts

If your friend is sitting quietly and it looks like he is thinking about something, you say “a penny for your thoughts”.

Alex: A penny for your thoughts
Jake: Sorry, I was thinking about what to do this weekend.

6. Costs an arm and a leg

If something is really expensive or costs you a lot of money, you say “it costs an arm and a leg”.

Mary: How much did you pay to study at your new school?
Jane: It cost me an arm and a leg. But I like it there a lot.

Dave: How much is your new bicycle?
Matthew: It cost me an arm and a leg

7. Cross that bridge when you come to it

If you don’t want to think about a problem yet, you say “I will cross that bridge when I get to it”.

David: What will you do if you don’t pass your exam next week?
Richard: I will cross that bridge when I get to it

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

If someone is making plans for something that might not happen, you tell them, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”.

Susan: Mum says she will give me 5,000 Baht if I pass all of my exams. I will use the money to buy a bicycle.
Michelle: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

9. Let the cat out of the bag

If someone tells something that is a secret, you say, “you let the cat out of the bag”.

Lek: I will tell Suda that we are meeting tonight at MK Suki.
Nok: Don’t let the cat out of the bag. She will guess it is her surprise party.

10. Under the weather

If you are feeling a little ill, you say, “I’m feeling under the weather”.

David: Are you coming to the party on the weekend?
Simon: I don’t think so. I am feeling under the weather.

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