Proverbs and Idioms

Topics: Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Pages: 24 (7528 words) Published: July 8, 2012
Idioms, can you guess their meanings? (Answers below)
1. A penny for your thoughts
2. Add insult to injury
3. A hot potato
4. Once in a blue moon
5. Caught between two stools
6. See eye to eye
7. Hear it on the grapevine
8. Miss the boat
9. Kill two birds with one stone
10. On the ball
11. Cut corners
12. To hear something straight from the horse's mouth
13. Costs an arm and a leg
14. The last straw
15. Take what someone says with a pinch of salt
16. Sit on the fence
17. The best of both worlds
18. Put wool over other people's eyes
19. Feeling a bit under the weather
20. Speak of the devil!
1. This idiom is used as a way of asking someone what they are thinking about. 2. When people add insult to injury, they make a bad situation even worse. 3. This idiom is used to speak of an issue (especially in current affairs) which many people are talking about. 4. This is used when something happens very rarely.

5. When someone finds it difficult to choose between two alternatives. 6. This idiom is used to say that two (or more people) agree on something. 7. This means ‘to hear a rumour' about something or someone. 8. This idiom is used to say that someone missed his or her chance at something. 9. This means ‘to do two things at the same time'.

10. When someone understands the situation well.
11. When something is done badly to save money. For example, when someone buys products that are cheap but not of good quality. 12. To hear something from the authoritative source.
13. When something is very expensive.
14. The final problem in a series of problems.
15. This means not to take what someone says too seriously. There is a big possibility that what he/she says is only partly true. 16. This is used when someone does not want to choose or make a decision. 17. All the advantages.

18. This means to deceive someone into thinking well of them. 19. Feeling slightly ill.
20. This expression is used when the person you have just been talking about arrives. Courtesy of Elanguest Language School

A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
Meaning: A verbal contract is completely useless.
Note: Originally said by Samuel Goldwyn.
R.Shapiro, Fred (2006). The Yale Book of Quotations. Yale University Press. p. 317. 0300107986. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
From Isle of Beauty by Thomas Haynes Bayly
Spears, Richard A (2006). McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 2. 0071469346. Actions speak louder than words.
Hill Festetits, Kate Neely (2011). McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. BiblioBazaar. pp. 248. 1179034821. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
John Heywood, A Dialogue Conteynyng Prouerbes and Epigrammes (1562) has Prove thy friend ere thou have need; but, in-deed
A friend is never known till a man have need.
All cats love fish but hate to get their paws wet.
Meaning: Everyone wants success but many lack the self-discipline to become successful. Martyn, Elizabeth (2007). Why Do Cats. 477. Love Eating Fish But Hate Getting Wet Paws. New Holland Publishers. pp. 272. 1845379535. All for one and one for all.

Although people associate it with Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers it is much older. It is a translating of the Latin Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno, the motto for Switzerland. All good things must come to an end.

Speake, Jennifer; Simpson, John (2009). The Oxford dictionary of proverbs. Oxford University Press. p. BLANK. ISBN 0199539537. All's well that ends well.
Title of a play by William Shakespeare
Variant: All is well that ends well. - Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1] All that glisters is not gold.
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, act II, scene 7. Often corrupted to: All that glitters is not gold.
A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.
Meaning: Someone who wants to be mean will find things to be mean about no matter what. Source: Strauss, Emmanuel...
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