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38 Idioms British English Lessons

Once I realised that idioms were incredibly problematic for my students, I set about gathering as many idioms as I could and making videos about them for my YouTube channels. I am determined to make idioms as accessible for all students as any other part of the English language. Reading and memorising lists of vocabulary is not the most productive, interesting, or useful exercise in English language learning. I wanted to create a series of lessons in the form of Activation Packs that would encourage the reader to not only learn and remember the idioms, but also to have fun with them, as having fun is a great aid to learning and remembering. It is important that you know as many idioms as possible as native English speakers use them with alarming regularity. I hope that as you work your way through the Idiom Activation Packs you will make some of the idioms your own and use them regularly like a native.

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10 of our 38 Idioms British English Lessons

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Back Idioms

This lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 20 common British English idiomatic expressions. The idioms are, behind your back, break the back of something, watch your back, back to back, fell off the back of a lorry, scratch back, like water off a duck's back, turn your back on, get someone's back up, watch someone's back, put your back into something, back out of, on someone's back, a pat on the back, give the shirt off your back, back against the wall, stabbed in the back, back someone up, have or take the shirt off your back, when your back is turned, and bend over backwards.


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Blood Idioms and Expressions

Blood is the vital fluid found in humans and other animals. There are many expressions in English that use the word blood. The expressions in this lesson include get blood out of a stone, blood is thicker than water, bloodshed, cold-blooded, in cold blood, hot-blooded, blood up, blood boils, blueblood, fresh blood, new blood, half-blood, run in the blood, own flesh and blood, young blood, blood clot, blood bank, blood brother, bloodlust, bloodthirsty, blood sport, blood wagon, bloodhound, bloodletting, bloodshot, bloody, blood diamond, and bloodstained.


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Bone Idioms

The 12 idioms are, make no bones about it, a bone of contention, have a bone to pick with someone, dry as a bone, chilled to the bone, feel it in your bones, bone idle, close to the bone, have a skeleton in the closet, skin and bones, work your fingers to the bone, and bone shaking. This British English idioms lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 12 common British English idiomatic expressions which use the word bone. 


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Bottom Idioms

The 12 common British English idiomatic expressions are, at the bottom of the ladder, learn something from the bottom up, to be at the bottom of something, the bottom of the barrel, bottoms up, the bottom line, smooth as a baby's bottom, from top to bottom, the bottom drawer, to hit rock bottom, from the bottom of my heart, and the bottom fell out of. This British English idioms lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 12 common British English idiomatic expressions which use the word bottom. 


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Bring Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

There are a lot of British English expressions that use the verb bring and they include, bring round, bring before, bring down a peg, bring home the bacon, bring in from the cold, bring into disrepute, bring into service, bring into view, bring out in droves, bring out the best, bring out the worst, bring the curtain down, bring to a close, bring to a head, bring to a standstill, bring to account, bring to bear, bring to book, bring to heel, bring to knees, bring to life, bring to mind, bring to senses, bring to the boil, bring to the test, bring under control, bring up, bring up on charges, bring up the read, bring up to date, and bring up to speed.


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Cat and Dog Idioms

In this lesson we are going to look at some idioms and fixed expressions that mention cats and dogs including, a dog's life, dog eat dog, dog-eared, fight like cats and dogs, go to the dogs, have kittens, in the doghouse, let sleeping dogs lie, let the cat out of the bag, make a dog's dinner of something, no room to swing a cat, play cat and mouse, and raining cats and dogs.


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Cheek, Chest, Chin Idioms

The 7 idioms are, turn the other cheek, tongue in cheek, cheek by jowl, get something off your chest, keep something close to your chest, take it on the chin, and keep your chin up. This British English idioms lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 7 common British English idiomatic expressions which use the words cheek, chest, and chin. 


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Chicken Idioms

Chickens have always been an important part of British life since the first were introduced to the island during the pre-Roman Iron Age. Romans made them more popular as a food source, particularly for egg production, after Claudius invaded Britain in the first century AD. Today, chickens are the most widespread livestock animal not only in the world but also in Britain. Because of their importance, there are several common idioms associated with chickens in English and we will look at them in detail in this lesson. The idioms include: flock together, come home to roost, pecking order, fly the coop, henpecked, and rule the roost.


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Colour Idioms

Idioms are expressions that are natural to native English speakers. They are very confusing for non-native English speakers. They're confusing because idioms don't mean what the words say. You cannot literally translate English idioms into another language. For example: A black mark has a literal meaning of a black mark on clothing or any other material. It also has a non-literal meaning of a record of something bad you have done. This lesson uses a video English lesson about colour idioms which I made in 2010, and which has been very popular on YouTube. The video has also been licenced for use by a Taiwanese publisher for inclusion in one of their textbooks. I decided to make this Vocabulary Activation Pack from the video English lesson because so many people like the video and because the vocabulary in it is important for students to learn and master. There are a lot of idioms in this lesson as well as a set of questions which I have designed to help you learn, remember, and use the vocabulary and make it part of your active vocabulary.    


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Digestive System Idioms

The 18 idioms are, cast-iron stomach, go belly up, to be yellow-bellied, hate someone's guts, gutted, gut-wrenching, not able to or cannot stomach something, a fire in your belly, sick to the stomach, a gut reaction or feeling, butterflies in your stomach, misery guts, turn the stomach, in the pit of your stomach, I have no stomach for something, have guts, to have a strong stomach, and have a bellyful of something. This British English idioms lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 18 common British English idiomatic expressions to do with the digestive system. 


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10 of our 38 Idioms British English Lessons


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