English Idioms Daily Blog

... your resource for English idioms, ESL and more!


Kids' English Idiom Art Contest 2013

14 - Idiom Contest 18 - Idiom Contest Second Place - Idiom Contest

Calling all primary/elementary school teachers!

The English Idioms Daily Blog is pleased to announce the second annual Kids’ English Idiom Art Contest!

2012 marked the beginning of a new and exciting contest for primary/elementary school children - the Kids' English Idiom Art Contest!
A great opportunity to introduce children to the creative possibilities of both language and art, the
Kids' English Idiom Art Contest requires children to depict English idioms, e.g. It's raining cats and dogs or cool as a cucumber, in works of art. Open to children all around the world, this international contest has drawn a great response and many very beautiful works of art by talented young artists. As a result, this contest is now an annual one. The English Idioms Daily Blog invites primary/elementary school classes, art schools, ESL classes and homeschooling groups around the world to have fun and compete for prizes in the Kids' English Idiom Art Contest 2013.

Information on the
2013 contest rules can be found here.


Penny Idioms

Penny Idioms

This past Monday, the Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing the penny to banks and financial institutions. The Canadian penny has been discontinued, because it has a unit production cost of 1.6 cents, which is said to amount to an annual loss of $11 million a year for Canadian taxpayers. With the loss of the penny, Canadian prices will now have to be rounded up or down to the nearest five cents. The Australians phased out their penny in 1992, when they stopped minting one-cent and two-cent pieces, as did other nations such as Brazil, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland at other times. The author of the article A nickel for your thoughts? comments that the penny’s use now exists only in our thoughtsor on credit-card statements. However, the penny may have more staying power than just that. Expressions like a penny for your thoughts or a penny saved is a penny earned appear to be firmly anchored in the English language and, although they may be in need of a slight price-increase, they are quite likely here to stay.

Here is a list of 10 English
penny idioms:

1. a penny for your thoughts
This English expression means the same thing as I would like to know what you are thinking about.
Example: I wonder what’s on your mind. A penny for your thoughts.

2. a penny saved is a penny earned
Used to say that saving the money that you have, even if it is is not much, is good and will amount to something, this English proverb encourages people to become savers instead of spenders.
Example: Louise is very careless with her money. When will she learn that a penny saved is a penny earned?

3. bad penny
bad penny is a worthless person.
Example: Luigi’s mother always knew that, contrary to what many others had told her, her son would not turn out to be a bad penny.

4. not a red cent
The expression not a red cent means the same thing as no money at all.
Example: Forced to tell the truth, I told the company’s Board of Director’s that we had not earned a red cent in the last year.

5. penny ante
The term
penny ante means of little value, meaning or importance.
Example: No one was surprised when the Mr. Moneybags offered his employees a
penny ante increase in salary.

6. not to have two pennies to rub together
When someone is very poor, he does not have two pennies to rub together.
Example: When George started out as an actor in Hollywood, he did not have two cents to rub together.

7. to cost (somebody) a pretty penny
When something is expensive it costs (you) a pretty penny.
Example: That Ferarri cost Luigi a pretty penny.

8. to be penny-wise and pound-foolish
When an individual is very careful about how he spends small amounts of money but is not careful about how he spends large amounts of money, he is penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Example: Ratna would not buy herself a pair of much-needed socks, but recently bought herself a luxury handbag for more than a thousand dollars. She is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

9. to put your two cents (worth) in
Someone who expresses his opinion in a conversation, especially when it is not wanted is putting his two cents (worth) in.
Example: Just when I was apologizing to the teacher for forgetting my homework, Louis had to come along and put his two cents worth in. Why couldn’t he just be quiet?

10. take care of the pennies/pence and the pounds will take care or themselves
This English proverb expresses the idea that if you are careful about how you spend small amounts of money, you won’t have financial problems.
Example: Al is a big-spender and is often broke at the end of the month. His mother has always told him that if he takes care of the pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves, but Al just will not listen.


Kids' English Idiom Art Contest 2012 Video

Participants in this year’s Kids’ English Idiom Art Contest combined language and art to create some impressive compositions. You can view some of these works of art in the following video or click on the following link to learn more about the Kids’ English Idiom Art Contest 2012 and its winners.


English Health Idioms: Illness, the Common Cold and Flu

Health Idioms-  Common Cold and Flu

Oh, how lucky the residents of the Canary Islands or the Maldives are in the winter months to be able to enjoy sunny skies and warm temperatures in the mid to late 20s ˚C! For many of us, however, winter means snow, ice, cold temperatures and, unfortunately, colds and influenzas. The following list of English idioms contains expressions that all pertain to health and illness, particularly the common cold and flu.

1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
When applied to illnesses, this English proverb means that it is better to take good care of yourself to prevent illness than it is to get one and try to treat it, e.g. with medication. Everyone knows that, when directly faced with a bad virus, your probability of preventing it is probably minimal; but, looking after yourself won ’t hurt your chances of resistance.
Example: I always tell my daughter to take vitamin C regularly. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

2. Cold hands, warm heart.
As someone who almost always has cold hands, I naturally thought that this English proverb was a nice one. It means that people whose hands are usually cold have kind and loving personalities. Since people who are ill often have cold hands too, it makes a nice addition to this idiom list.
Example: Oh, Louise, your hands are cold. You know what they say, don’t you? Cold hands, warm heart.

3. Feed a cold, starve a fever.
This English proverb means eating more will cure the common cold, while not eating will cure a fever. Is this old English saying true? This New York Times article claims to have the answer.
Example: Eat something, Alina. Your grandmother always said that you should feed a cold, starve a fever.

4. hoarse voice
When your throat is sore and you cannot speak well due to illness, you have a hoarse voice. Hoarseness is a common symptom of a cold or flu, but can also be a warning sign for other conditions.
Example: I could hardly understand Luigi on the phone. He had a hoarse voice.

5. splitting headache
A splitting headache is an extremely bad or severe headache.
Example: Could you please be quiet? I have a splitting headache.

6. to be as pale as a ghost / to be as white as snow
When your skin or complexion is extremely white, you are either as pale as a ghost or as white as a ghost.
Example: Ricardo was as pale as a ghost when I asked him about the missing keys to my car. He said that he was ill, but I didn’t believe him.

7. to be coming down with something
When someone starts a cold or flu, he is coming down with it. What can you do when you feel that you are coming down with a cold or flu? Try drinking a hot drink.
Example: I’m sorry. I can’t come to this month’s English Grammar Club meeting, because I fear that I am coming down with a cold.

8. to be fit as a horse / to be fit as a fiddle
The English idioms to be as fit as a horse or to be as fit as a fiddle are expressions that you can use to say that someone is very healthy.
Example: I am not sick. In fact, I am as fit as a fiddle!

9. to be knocked out
When you are extremely tired and/or unable to do anything, you are knocked out.
Example: I expected that I could return to work after a week, but this flu has really knocked me out.

10. to be sick as a dog
Someone who is extremely ill is as sick as a dog.
Example: When you called me last night, I could hardly get of out bed to answer the telephone. I was as sick as a dog!

11. to be sick in bed
When you stay in bed while you are ill, you are sick in bed.
Example: While the others were having fun at this month’s English Grammar Club meeting, I was sick in bed.

12. to be on the road to recovery
Someone who is on the road to recovery is recovering from an illness.
Example: Good news! I am on the road to recovery and should be back at work by next Monday.

13. to be / feel sick to one’s stomach
There are different kinds of flus, but most will agree that one of the worst is the stomach flu. When you have the stomach flu, you feel nauseous or sick to your stomach.
Example: My son felt sick to his stomach this morning and did not go to school.

14. to be / feel under the weather
When someone is under the weather, he is not feeling well.
Example: What is wrong with Luigi today? He didn’t finish eating his spaghetti. Is he under the weather?

15. to be the picture of (good) health
If a person is very healthy, he is the picture of (good) health.
Example: There is nothing wrong with Luigi. He is
the picture of good health.

16. to be up for something / to not be up for something
Sometimes, when a person is not well enough or rested to do something, he or she is not up to it.
Example: I was supposed to make a presentation on the Present Perfect Simple today, but, unfortunately, I just wasn’t up to it.

17. to call in sick / to call in ill
The Wall Street Journal recently had an article entitled The Art of Calling in Sick - Or Not. Read it for some practical tips on how to inform your employer that you cannot come to work because you are ill.
Example: Sometimes, it is better
to call in sick than it is to go work ill.

18. to catch a cold
The English idiom to catch a cold means to get a cold.
Example: This is the third time that I have caught a cold this winter.

19. to clear one’s throat
When you clear your throat, you cough lightly in an attempt to speak clearly.
Example: When Ambrocio reached the podium, he cleared his throat and began his speech.

20. to fall ill
The expression to fall ill is synonymous with to become sick.
Example: Talk about bad timing! When we arrived in Puerto Rico, my daughter fell ill.

21. to have a frog in one’s throat
When your voice is hoarse and/or dry and you have difficulty speaking, you have a frog in your throat.
Example: Fred wanted to say something, but could not. He
had a frog in his throat.

22. to have / get chills
When you have chills, you are shaking and feel cold.
Example: What symptoms does he have? He has a fever and chills.

23. to nurse someone back to health
Mothers are very good at nursing their children back to health. A person who nurses someone back to health, takes care of him until he is healthy again.
Example: Fritz’s mother moved in with him to nurse her beloved son back to health. Fritz’s wife, on the other hand, was not happy about the new living arrangements.

24. to report in sick / to report in ill
The English idiom to report in sick can mean to things: either to call your workplace and inform your employer that you cannot come to work because you are ill or to go to work ill , which are two very different things, aren’t they?
Example: I was not happy that Gretchen
reported in ill. Who is going to do her work today?

25. to run a fever / to run a temperature
The expression to run a fever means to have a higher than normal body temperature.
Example: Jia could not think clearly on the day of her English grammar test. She was running a fever.