IELTS Study Material
Writing
Back to List
Idiom

Idioms are something that examiners expect to see in the upper band levels of Lexical Resource (LR). Anyone aiming to achieve a band score above 6, should try and become familiar with how and where to correctly use idioms.

What is an idiom?

‘A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words [e.g. like two peas in a pod].’

en.oxforddictionaries.com

‘a group of words whose meaning considered as a unit is different from the meanings of each word considered separately:’

dictionary.cambridge.org

‘an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either grammatically (as no, it wasn't me) or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (as ride herd on for “supervise”)’

merriam-webster.com

Three commonly used idioms

‘All singing, all dancing.'

Meaning:

Full-featured - many attributes.

Origin:

From the advertising, posters used to promote the 1929 film, 'Broadway Melody':                                   The first musical film - which proclaimed it to be 'All talking All singing All dancing.'

‘Flavour of the Month’

Meaning:

Something or someone popular for the moment but not for long.

Origin:

1940’s US ice cream company’s monthly promotional strategy.

‘As keen as mustard.'

Meaning:

Very enthusiastic

Origin:

Mustard added to roast beef. It became associated with vigour and enthusiasm because it added zest and flavour. First noted in 1672.

Idioms are regarded as important features of LR because they are a key part of native English communication. There are approximately 12,000 British and American English idioms, although only a fraction of those are commonly used. However, most native speakers do use and understand a large number. They appear all the time in movies and TV programmes, often causing problems for non-native speakers!

A good knowledge of them, therefore, is not just useful for completing IELTS!

Because there are many websites with comprehensive lists of idioms, their meanings and in some cases, their origins, we are not going to duplicate them here. Instead, we have a list of links below. Check them out, and find the ones that suit you!

Useful Websites

100 Common Idioms

Careerride

Speechcrafts

Large Idiom Lists

Idiom Site

Idiom Connection

English Today

English Club

Using English

Back to List
Study Materials List
  • Pronunciation
    IELTS Speaking
  • Fluency
    IELTS Speaking
  • Vocabulary
    IELTS Speaking
  • Grammatical Range
    IELTS Speaking
  • Grammatical Accuracy
    IELTS Speaking
  • Task 1 Question Types
    IELTS Writing
  • Key Features
    IELTS Writing
  • Idioms
    IELTS Speaking
  • Collocation
    IELTS Writing
  • Format
    IELTS Writing
  • Paraphrasing
    IELTS Speaking
  • Introduction to the IELTS Speaking Test
    IELTS Speaking
  • Referencing & Substitution
    IELTS Writing
  • Spelling and Word Selection
    IELTS Writing
  • Key Features / Bullet Points
    IELTS Writing
  • Tone
    IELTS Writing
  • Chunking
    IELTS Writing
  • Format & Data
    IELTS Writing
  • Overview
    IELTS Writing
  • Sentence Forms
    IELTS Writing
  • Coherence
    IELTS Speaking
  • Cohesion
    IELTS Speaking
  • Answer Script Overview
    IELTS Writing
  • Factually Correct
    IELTS Writing
  • IELTS Essay Introduction
    IELTS Writing
  • Introductory Markers
    IELTS Writing
  • Task Purpose / Requirements
    IELTS Writing
  • Question Response
    IELTS Writing
  • Sequencers
    IELTS Writing
  • Errors
    IELTS Writing
  • Linking Words and Phrases
    IELTS Writing
  • Task 1 Requirements
    IELTS Writing
  • Idiom
    IELTS Writing
  • 5 Paragraph Essay
    IELTS Writing
  • Coherence
    IELTS Writing
  • Paragraphing
    IELTS Writing
  • Transition Sentences
    IELTS Writing
  • Collocation
    IELTS Speaking
  • Chunking
    IELTS Speaking
  • Introductory Frame
    IELTS Speaking
  • Demo Study Material
    IELTS
Newsletter - sign up