Idioms

Topics: Idiom, Meaning of life, Collocation Pages: 5 (1138 words) Published: November 1, 2013
An idiom (Latin: idioma, "special property", f. Greek: δίωμα – idiōma, "special feature, special phrasing", f. Greek: διος –idios, "one’s own") is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning owing to its common usage. An idiom's figurative meaning is separate from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms and they occur frequently in all languages. There are estimated to be at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language.

In linguistics, idioms are usually presumed to be figures of speech contradicting the principle of compositionality. This principle states that the meaning of a whole should be constructed from the meanings of the parts that make up the whole. In other words, one should be in a position to understand the whole if one understands the meanings of each of the parts that make up the whole.

In phraseology, idioms are defined as a sub-type of phraseme, the meaning of which is not the regular sum of the meanings of its component parts. John Saeed defines an idiom as collocated words that became affixed to each other until metamorphosing into a fossilised term. This collocation of words redefines each component word in the word-group and becomes an idiomatic expression. Idioms usually do not translate well; in some cases, when an idiom is translated directly word-for-word into another language, either its meaning is changed or it is meaningless.

When two or three words are often used together in a particular sequence, the words are said to be irreversible binomials, or Siamese twins. Usage will prevent the words from being displaced or rearranged.

The use of idioms and proverbs in a language adds colour to it and makes it more interesting for the listeners.

1. Acid Test
Meaning - Acid test proves the effectiveness of something.
Example - I practiced hard at the dance sessions but the acid test will come when the master will assess our solo performances.

2. Cut the ground from under feet
Meaning - When you cut the ground from under someone's feet, you do something which weakens their position. Example - When team India hit more than 350 runs in the ODI, they cut the ground from under the opponent's feet.

3. Chase your tail
Meaning - Spending a lot of time and energy doing a lot of things but actually achieving too little. Example - He's been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready

4. Whole bag of tricks
Meaning - Means trying all the clever means to achieve something. Example - It was really difficult to find the information even after applying the whole bag of tricks.

5. Deliver the goods
Meaning - Do what is expected or promised.
Example - I have given my car to a new mechanic for repair, hope he delivers the goods.

6. Fine-tooth comb
Meaning - Examining something carefully to not miss out any details. Example - The boss examined my report with a fine tooth comb before submitting it to the senior management.

7. Explore all avenues
Meaning - Trying out every possibility to get a result.
Example - It is a difficult thing to do but if we really want it done, we must explore all avenues.

8. Fast track something
Meaning - Rating something higher on your priority list to achieve the desired result. Example - In view of the seriousness of the crime, the civil society is pressing up on a fast track decision from the court.

9. Get ducks in a row
Meaning - Getting your things well organized.
Example - To ensure a successful product launch, we must get our ducks in a row.

10. Get the show on the road
Meaning - Putting up a plan or idea into action.
Example - Now that we have compeleted all the legal formalities, let's get the show on the road.

11. Keep your fingers on the pulse
Meaning - Being constantly aware of the most recent developments. Example - An entrepreneur must keep his fingers on the pulse of the market to be successful.

12. Mean business
Meaning - Being serious...
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