100 Most Common Phrases in English with Meaning & Examples

Stuck trying to decipher everyday English expressions? You’re not alone! The English language is brimming with common phrases that can leave learners scratching their heads.

Dive into our guide to understanding these mysterious sayings, and unveil the meanings behind those confusing words. From “under the weather” to “kick the bucket,” we’ll equip you to navigate the quirky world of English phrases with confidence.

common phrases in english
common phrases in english

Table of Contents

Common Phrases in English with Meaning and Example

Here are the list some of most common phrases in english with meaning:

1. Break the ice

  • Meaning: To initiate conversation in a social setting.
  • Example: At the party, John told a joke to break the ice.

2. Hit the nail on the head

  • Meaning: To be exactly right about something.
  • Example: You hit the nail on the head with your analysis of the situation.

3. Piece of cake

  • Meaning: Something very easy to do.
  • Example: The test was a piece of cake for her.

4. Spill the beans

  • Meaning: To reveal a secret.
  • Example: She spilled the beans about the surprise party.

5. Burn the midnight oil

  • Meaning: To work late into the night.
  • Example: He had to burn the midnight oil to finish his project on time.

6. Miss the boat

  • Meaning: To miss an opportunity.
  • Example: I think you missed the boat on that stock investment.

7. Under the weather

  • Meaning: Feeling unwell.
  • Example: I’m feeling a bit under the weather today.

8. Pull someone’s leg

  • Meaning: To joke with someone.
  • Example: Are you pulling my leg, or is this for real?

9. See eye to eye

  • Meaning: To agree with someone.
  • Example: They finally saw eye to eye on the business deal.

10. Throw in the towel

  • Meaning: To give up or quit.
  • Example: After trying for hours, he decided to throw in the towel.

11. Bite the bullet

  • Meaning: To face a difficult situation bravely.
  • Example: She had to bite the bullet and take the tough exam.

12. Cut to the chase

  • Meaning: To get to the point.
  • Example: Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the main issues.

13. A blessing in disguise

  • Meaning: Something that seems bad but turns out to be good.
  • Example: Losing that job was a blessing in disguise.

14. Call it a day

  • Meaning: To stop working on something.
  • Example: After eight hours of work, I decided to call it a day.

15. Let the cat out of the bag

  • Meaning: To reveal a secret accidentally.
  • Example: She let the cat out of the bag about the surprise trip.

16. Take with a grain of salt

  • Meaning: To not take something too seriously.
  • Example: Take his advice with a grain of salt; he’s not an expert.

17. The ball is in your court

  • Meaning: It’s your decision or responsibility now.
  • Example: I’ve done all I can; now the ball is in your court.

18. Costs an arm and a leg

  • Meaning: Very expensive.
  • Example: That new car costs an arm and a leg.

19. Every cloud has a silver lining

  • Meaning: There’s something good in every bad situation.
  • Example: Even after losing the game, she believed every cloud has a silver lining.

20. Hit the sack

  • Meaning: To go to bed.
  • Example: I’m exhausted and ready to hit the sack.

21. The best of both worlds

  • Meaning: All the advantages.
  • Example: Working from home offers the best of both worlds: flexibility and comfort.

22. Add insult to injury

  • Meaning: To make a bad situation worse.
  • Example: To add insult to injury, they fired him on his birthday.

23. Barking up the wrong tree

  • Meaning: To pursue the wrong course.
  • Example: If you think I’m the culprit, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

24. Burn the candle at both ends

  • Meaning: To overwork oneself.
  • Example: She’s been burning the candle at both ends with her job and night classes.

25. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

  • Meaning: Don’t assume something will happen before it does.
  • Example: He plans to buy a new car, but I told him not to count his chickens before they hatch.

26. Actions speak louder than words

  • Meaning: What someone actually does is more important than what they say.
  • Example: He promised to help, but actions speak louder than words.

27. Bite off more than you can chew

  • Meaning: To take on a task that is too big.
  • Example: She realized she had bitten off more than she could chew with the new project.

28. Hit the ground running

  • Meaning: To begin something energetically and successfully.
  • Example: The new CEO hit the ground running on his first day.

29. Jump on the bandwagon

  • Meaning: To join others in doing something popular.
  • Example: Everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon to use that new app.

30. Let sleeping dogs lie

  • Meaning: To avoid interfering in a situation that is currently causing no problems.
  • Example: Don’t bring up past issues; let sleeping dogs lie.

31. Out of the blue

  • Meaning: Suddenly, unexpectedly.
  • Example: She called me out of the blue after two years of no contact.

32. Speak of the devil

  • Meaning: When the person you’re talking about appears.
  • Example: Speak of the devil, here he comes now!

33. The last straw

  • Meaning: The final problem in a series of problems.
  • Example: His rude comment was the last straw for her.

34. Take it with a pinch of salt

  • Meaning: Not to take something too seriously.
  • Example: Take his story with a pinch of salt; he often exaggerates.

35. A penny for your thoughts

  • Meaning: A way of asking what someone is thinking.
  • Example: You’ve been quiet today, a penny for your thoughts?

36. Best of both worlds

  • Meaning: All the advantages.
  • Example: With his job, he gets the best of both worlds: a good salary and flexible hours.

37. Actions speak louder than words

  • Meaning: With his job, he gets the best of both worlds: a good salary and flexible hours.
  • Example: His actions speak louder than words; he really cares about you.

38. Back to the drawing board

  • Meaning: To start over because the current attempt was unsuccessful.
  • Example: The plan failed, so it’s back to the drawing board.

39. Bend over backwards

  • Meaning: To try very hard to help someone.
  • Example: She bent over backwards to make sure her guests were comfortable.

40. In the heat of the moment

  • Meaning: Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment.
  • Example: He said some things he didn’t mean in the heat of the moment.

41. The best thing since sliced bread

  • Meaning: A good invention or innovation.
  • Example: This new phone is the best thing since sliced bread.

42. A dime a dozen

  • Meaning: Very common and not valuable.
  • Example: Those kinds of mistakes are a dime a dozen in his work.

43. Beat around the bush

  • Meaning: Avoiding the main topic.
  • Example: Stop beating around the bush and answer my question.

44. Better late than never

  • Meaning: It’s better to do something late than not do it at all.
  • Example: She finally arrived, better late than never.

45. Burst your bubble

  • Meaning: To bring someone back to reality.
  • Example: I hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not possible.

46. Cutting corners

  • Meaning: Doing something poorly to save time or money.
  • Example: Don’t cut corners on this project; quality is important.

47. Easy come, easy go

  • Meaning: Something gained easily can be lost easily.
  • Example: He lost his money quickly, but easy come, easy go.

48. Get out of hand

  • Meaning: To get out of control.
  • Example: The party got out of hand after midnight.

49. Go the extra mile

  • Meaning: To make an extra effort.
  • Example: She’s willing to go the extra mile to help her clients.

50. In the nick of time

  • Meaning: Just in time.
  • Example: They arrived in the nick of time for the meeting.

51. Let the chips fall where they may

  • Meaning: To let something happen regardless of the outcome.
  • Example: I’ll tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

52. Make a long story short

  • Meaning: To tell something briefly.
  • Example: To make a long story short, we decided to move to the city.

53. Once in a blue moon

  • Meaning: Very rarely.
  • Example: We only see each other once in a blue moon.

54. On the ball

  • Meaning: To be alert and aware.
  • Example: The new manager is really on the ball.

55. Pull yourself together

  • Meaning: To calm down and behave normally.
  • Example: You need to pull yourself together and face the challenge.

56. So far, so good

  • Meaning: Things are going well so far.
  • Example: I’ve started my new job, and so far, so good.

57. Speak of the devil

  • Meaning: When the person you’re talking about appears.
  • Example: Speak of the devil, here she comes now!

58. Steal someone’s thunder

  • Meaning: To take the credit for something someone else did.
  • Example: She stole my thunder by announcing her promotion right after I announced mine.

59. The elephant in the room

  • Meaning: An obvious problem or issue that people avoid discussing.
  • Example: The elephant in the room was the company’s declining sales.

60. The elephant in the room

  • Meaning: To take a risk.
  • Example: He threw caution to the wind and invested all his savings in the new venture.

61. The elephant in the room

  • Meaning: I agree completely.
  • Example: It’s hot today!’ ‘You can say that again.

62. Your guess is as good as mine

  • Meaning: I have no idea.
  • Example: When will they arrive?’ ‘Your guess is as good as mine.

63. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

  • Meaning: It’s better to have a sure thing than to risk it for something better.
  • Example: He decided not to gamble his savings because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

64. A blessing in disguise

  • Meaning: Something that seems bad at first, but results in something good.
  • Example: Losing his job was a blessing in disguise; it led him to a better career.

65. A blessing in disguise

  • Meaning: People can’t change their essential nature.
  • Example: Don’t trust him; a leopard can’t change its spots.

66. All in the same boat

  • Meaning: Everyone is facing the same challenge.
  • Example: We’re all in the same boat during the pandemic.

67. All in the same boat

  • Meaning: To harm someone who has helped you.
  • Example: Criticizing your boss is like biting the hand that feeds you.

68. Cry over spilt milk

  • Meaning: To be upset about something that cannot be undone.
  • Example: There’s no use crying over spilt milk; just move on.

69. Don’t judge a book by its cover

  • Meaning: Don’t make decisions based on appearances.
  • Example: He looks rough, but don’t judge a book by its cover.

70. Every cloud has a silver lining

  • Meaning: There’s something good in every bad situation.
  • Example: After losing her job, she found a better one; every cloud has a silver lining.

71. Give the benefit of the doubt

  • Meaning: To believe someone is telling the truth.
  • Example: I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt since she’s usually honest.

72. Hit the nail on the head

  • Meaning: To be exactly right.
  • Example: You hit the nail on the head with your suggestion.

73. In the heat of the moment

  • Meaning: Overwhelmed by what is happening.
  • Example: He made a bad decision in the heat of the moment.

74. It takes two to tango

  • Meaning: Both parties are responsible for something.
  • Example: Don’t blame him alone; it takes two to tango.

75. Kill two birds with one stone

  • Meaning: To accomplish two things at once.
  • Example: By studying on the bus, she killed two birds with one stone.

76. Leave no stone unturned

  • Meaning: To do everything possible to achieve a goal.
  • Example: He left no stone unturned in his search for a new job.

77. Let the cat out of the bag

  • Meaning: To reveal a secret.
  • Example: She let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.

78. Make a mountain out of a molehill

  • Meaning: To exaggerate a minor issue.
  • Example: Stop making a mountain out of a molehill; it’s not a big deal.

79. No pain, no gain

  • Meaning: You have to work hard to achieve something.
  • Example: She believes in the motto ‘no pain, no gain’ when it comes to exercise.

80. On thin ice

  • Meaning: In a risky or dangerous situation.
  • Example: He knew he was on thin ice after missing several deadlines.

81. Once in a blue moon

  • Meaning: Very rarely.
  • Example: We go out to dinner once in a blue moon.

82. Play it by ear

  • Meaning: To improvise or decide as you go.
  • Example: Let’s just play it by ear and see what happens.

83. Pull the plug

  • Meaning: To stop something.
  • Example: The company pulled the plug on the unprofitable project.

84. Read between the lines

  • Meaning: To understand the hidden meaning.
  • Example: You need to read between the lines to understand what she really means.

85. Sit on the fence

  • Meaning: You need to read between the lines to understand what she really means.
  • Example: He tends to sit on the fence during political debates.

86. The ball is in your court

  • Meaning: It’s your turn to take action.
  • Example: I’ve done all I can; now the ball is in your court.

87. The ball is in your court

  • Meaning: All the advantages.
  • Example: With her new job, she has the best of both worlds: good pay and work-life balance.

88. The devil is in the details

  • Meaning: Small things in plans or schemes that are often overlooked.
  • Example: The plan seems simple, but the devil is in the details.

89. The early bird catches the worm

  • Meaning: Those who start early have an advantage.
  • Example: She gets up at 5 AM because the early bird catches the worm.

90. The elephant in the room

  • Meaning: An obvious problem no one wants to discuss.
  • Example: Addressing the budget deficit is the elephant in the room.

91. Throw in the towel

  • Meaning: To give up.
  • Example: After years of struggling, he finally threw in the towel and closed the business.

92. Under the weather

  • Meaning: Feeling ill.
  • Example: I’m staying home today because I feel under the weather.

93. Water under the bridge

  • Meaning: Something that is past and no longer important.
  • Example: They had a big argument, but that’s water under the bridge now.

94. When it rains, it pours

  • Meaning: When one bad thing happens, a lot of other bad things happen too.
  • Example: First I lost my keys, then my wallet; when it rains, it pours.

95. Wrap your head around

  • Meaning: To understand something complicated.
  • Example: It took me a while to wrap my head around the new system.

96. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink

  • Meaning: You can offer help, but you can’t force people to accept it.
  • Example: I offered her advice, but you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

97. Your guess is as good as mine

  • Meaning: I have no idea.
  • Example: Do you know when the meeting starts?’ ‘Your guess is as good as mine.

98. Actions speak louder than words

  • Meaning: What you do is more important than what you say.
  • Example: He says he loves her, but actions speak louder than words.

99. Add fuel to the fire

  • Meaning: To make a bad situation worse.
  • Example: His comments just added fuel to the fire during the argument.

100. All bark and no bite

  • Meaning: Someone who talks a lot but doesn’t take action.
  • Example: He threatens to fire people, but he’s all bark and no bite.

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