Idioms are expressions whose meanings are different from the words that make them. Understanding an idiom requires some other knowledge than knowing the words used. Idioms normally cannot be modified or the words within them changed.

'I lost my head completely' as an idiom means 'I got very angry', whilst literally it means something very different.

In the classroom
Idioms are an area of language that learners and teachers find very enjoyable. Authentic material offers a good source of contextualised idioms, and teachers can encourage learners to guess the meaning from context. An interesting exercise in a multi-lingual class is to compare idioms from different cultures and languages.

Further links:

Research and insight

We have hundreds of case studies, research papers, publications and resource books written by researchers and experts in ELT from around the world. 

See our publications, research and insight

Sign up to our newsletters for teachers and teacher educators

We will process your data to send you our newsletter and updates based on your consent. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email. Read our privacy policy for more information.