Common Idioms Introduction
Idioms are phrases that have a figurative instead of literal meaning. The change from the literal meaning of the words to a figurative is said to be idiomatic. One example is “hungry as a horse”. Tim ate two plates of food. He was as hungry as a horse. Of course, it is hard to know how hungry a horse is, and Tim probably cannot eat as much as what a horse can eat. It is simply a figurative way of saying that he was very hungry.
Phrasal verbs are some of the most common types of idioms. Phrasal verbs take on a different meaning due to the combination of the words which take on an idiomatic meaning. One example is “Did John come down with a fever?” The words “come down with” means to become sick or ill. You have to be careful though to notice when you have a phrasal verb compared to a literal definition of the words. The example “Tim came down from the top of the tree” is a literal meaning of the words.
Phrases, sayings and proverbs are different than idioms. Do not confuse them with idioms.