Just in time for American Thanksgiving, we’ve put together a list of some American idioms. Remember, idioms are phrases that have specific meanings beyond the words in them. Idioms can be difficult to understand without knowing the intended meanings. Learning idioms is all about memorizing them!
The idioms below are very specific to American English – they reference things unique (or mostly unique) to the US.
dime a dozen – to be very common
example: In Rome, museums are a dime a dozen.
New York minute – something that happens, or will happen very quickly
example: We’ll be there in a New York minute!
to feel like a million dollars – to feel great
example: After my massage, I felt like a million dollars.
to play ball – to cooperate with someone
example: The landlord agreed to play ball with us about having the kitchen sink fixed.
to run interference – to go between two different people/groups to share information
example: Shirin ran interference between the two disagreeing teams.
the big leagues – a very successful or important group
example: Alana felt like she was in the big leagues when she started her new job.
Use the idioms in the following sentences:
1. I __________ today! I found $5 on the street, I caught the train just on time, and the sun is shining.
2. “We’re really in _______ now,” Lucy said as she walked into the Google offices.
3. Hiram is not sure if Alex is willing to _______ or if he is completely set on his demands.
4. Rita said that good wines are a __________ in Bordeaux.
5. Jack had to __________ between his sisters when they were arguing.
Check the activities answer key for the solutions to these questions using American idioms!