Idioms
 
Idioms

What are idioms?

Idioms are expressions which function as a single unit and use language in a metaphorical way.  We cannot understand their meaning from its separate parts. Moreover, they are fixed and recognised by native speaker.

Look at the following sentences:

  1. Your thumbs are very big!
  2. I have got green eyes
  3. Stop twiddling your thumbs and help me!
  4. Sorry Tim, I'm up to my eyes in work at the moment. I can't talk to you.

In sentences number 1 and 2 the words thumbs and eyes are used in a literal way, whereas in sentences numer 3 and 4 they are used in a metaphorical way. If you twiddle your thumbs you are doing nothing and/or you are waiting for something to happen, while if you are up to your eyes you are very busy working.

- Richards Jack C, Schmidt Richard: Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics, Harlow, Longman-Pearson, 2002, Third Edition, p. 246.

- Wrigt John, Idioms Organiser, Hove, LTP, 2000.

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