13 Idioms – From A to M

Hi folks, today I’m going to introduce you our new collaborator. Adam participates in a lot of activities: he works in a law firm, is one of the administrators for Wikipedia and teaches English as a second language. So, now it’s your turn Adam. Welcome to English Experts.Hello, I would like to write today about idioms. Idioms, according to the American Heritage Dictionary are speech forms that are in peculiar to themselves within the usage of a given language, or in layman’s terms, untranslatable phrases. I would like to give you today 13 idiomatic expressions that I have selected. (one for each letter of the alphabet A-M). In my next installment, you will be able to read 13 more idioms to complete the alphabet.

A – apple of my eye
My definition: The apple of your eye is someone that you adore.
Example sentence: You are the apple of my eye.

Tire suas dúvidas sobre os tempos verbais, baixe um guia grátis da Englishtown: Guia de Tempos Verbais em Inglês. Ele contém um resumo bem estruturado para revisar os conceitos que você aprendeu na escola. Clique aqui e saiba como baixar!

B – back seat driver
My definition: A back seat driver is someone who gives unwanted criticism to the driver of a vehicle about the way they drive. I suppose that the back seat driver could be in the front as a passenger, but traditionally, the person is behind the driver.
Example sentence: Whenever my mother rides in my car, she becomes a back seat driver.

C – catch-22
My definition: A contradictory statement or situation; a paradox.
Example sentence: I would like to work in Information Technology, but there is a catch-22. I can’t work in IT if I don’t have any experience, and I can’t get any experience if I don’t work in the field.

D – dropping like flies
My definition: Suddenly falling dead or ill in large numbers.
Example sentence: The football players were dropping like flies on that hot summer day.

E – excuse my French
My definition: Something you can say to ask for an apology after swearing.
Example sentence: Excuse my brother’s French, he didn’t realize the company that he was in.

F – face the music
My definition: To receive the consequences of one’s actions.
Example sentence: The criminal was a fugitive for nearly ten years. He was caught yesterday, and now it’s time for him to face the music.

G – go the extra mile
My definition: To go above and beyond what is expected of you.
Example sentence: Barbara’s going the extra mile finally paid off this year when she received a nice raise.

H – hell in a handbasket
My definition: This is what happens when everything goes wrong.
Example sentence: In the plant supervisors’ absence, the plant went to hell in a handbasket. Production decreased by 50%.

I – I wash my hands of it
My definition: To be done with something, to be blameless.
Example sentence: There were many executives of the Enron Corporation that tried to wash their hands of their role in the company’s demise, but it was too late.

J – jaywalking
My definition: To cross the street away from crosswalks.
Example sentence: Jaywalking can get you a fine on the West Coast of the US, but the police “turn a blind eye” to it on the East Coast.

K – kick the bucket
My definition: To die.
Example sentence: My neighbor finally kicked the bucket when he was 105 years old.

L – last but not least
My definition: When a series of names is read, one can say, “last but not least.” This means that the final name read is no less important than the ones read before it.
Example sentence: And, last but not least, I present to you Emily who is a national Rhodes Scholar.

M – murphy’s Law
My definition: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Example sentence: It’s Murphy’s Law that a buttered piece of toast always lands butter side down.

See idiomsite for a full list of idioms and etymologies.

Until next time,


Next: 13 Idioms – From N to Z

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Adam Kungfuadam

Adam é americano e colabora com o English Experts através da revisão de textos e na edição de conteúdo. Participa de diversos grupos de discussão de inglês onde ajuda a tirar dúvidas dos participantes.

5 comentários

  • 13/04/07  
    Gustavo Araujo Bittencourt diz: 1

    Hi Adam.

    I was a Wikipedia administrator too, from Commons and pt.wikipedia. BTW, very useful article, thanks!


  • 18/05/08  
    Dicas de Inglês :: 13 Idioms - From N to Z diz: 2

    […] folks, I am continuing with my post last week to give you 13 more idioms. Enjoy the idioms!N – Nothing is certain but death and taxes My […]

  • 04/11/08  
    Nick diz: 3

    Awesome article, just found it while looking the newer ones.

  • 04/11/08  
    Vera lúcia Pinto Campos diz: 4

    these tips are very good. I am learning a lot. Thanks.

  • 13/07/09  
    Bernardo diz: 5

    I have a Test today, and I was studying this idioms a lot ! Can you put more Idioms here?
    Thanks !