British Idioms You NEED to Know!

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Level: Intermediate    Reading Time: 7 minutes    Category: Idioms

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Idioms are a great way to improve your English communication skills. They will help you sound more natural and you will be able to understand native speakers more easily. In this lesson you will learn 5 British idioms that you will hear in the UK!

Keep YOUR HAIR ON:

Definition: Calm down / Chill Out

We usually say this to people who are very angry when we want them to calm down. It can also be used to tell someone not to panic. 

Here are some examples:

  • Keep your hair on! I’m sure it will be fine!
  • I’m sorry about what I said so keep your hair on!
  • You’re getting too excited. We’ll be there soon so just keep your hair on, will you?

 

If you want me to Keep my hair on, you can check out this lesson next and I will calm down!

     Why Has My English Stopped Improving?

PUT A SOCK IN IT:

Definition: Shut up / Be quiet

If you have a sock in your mouth, it is quite difficult to speak, right? If you want someone to be quiet, you can tell them to put a sock in it… it being their mouth!

This is how you can use this idiom:

  • I’m trying to concentrate… Put a sock in it, will you?
  • Put a sock in it! You are doing my head in!
  • Put a sock in it! you are going to get us caught if you keep making so much noise!

 

If you don’t check out this lesson next, I will never put a sock in it and I will complain forever!

     5 Things You Need To Quickly Improve Your English

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A SANDWICH SHORT OF A PICNIC:

Definition: To describe someone who is stupid / being an idiot.

We all know a person who can be a bit stupid sometimes. If you imagine that a person’s brain is a picnic, that person is missing some sandwiches!

Check out these examples:

  • I can’t believe you forgot your passport! You really are a sandwich short of a picnic!
  • I think my new boss is a sandwich short of a picnic. The things she does don’t make any sense…
  • My mum always used to say I was a sandwich short of a picnic, but now I work for NASA!

 

Want to stop people saying you are a sandwich short of a picnic? Check out this lesson next!

  How to Improve your English Speaking by Shadowing!

NoT MY CUP OF TEA:

Definition: To dislike something.

British people love tea… Everyone knows that. So if we say something is not our cup of tea, we obviously don’t like it. That’s what this expression means.

Here are some examples:

  • Cricket is not really my cup of tea to be honest.
  • I don’t really want to order a curry. Spicy food is not my cup of tea.
  • Books are not my cup of tea, but I do like reading comics.

 

If making English mistakes is not your cup of tea, I suggest checking out this lesson next!

     Common English Mistakes you NEED to Avoid

Went PEar Shaped:

Definition: Something didn’t go to plan / something went wrong.

Everyone has plans, right? Sometimes things do follow your plan and things go wrong. In this case, you can say it went pear shaped!

Here are some examples:

  • The party really went pear shaped when he dropped the cake!
  • My presentation went pear shaped. My boss wasn’t too happy.
  • They had a game plan, but it went pear shaped when their goalkeeper got sent off.

 

If you don’t want your English to go pear shaped, check out these idioms next!

     Do You Know These COLD Idioms?

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