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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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Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 9

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. The vocabulary in this British English lesson 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. If you are serious about improving your British English vocabulary, these common British English idioms are essential. The food idioms are: Red herring, Look to laurels, A different kettle of fish, Chicken and egg, Jam down throat, Too many cooks, Drive bananas, Easy meat, Spill the beans, and Half-baked.


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Idioms Activation Pack - Arms

There are 13 arms idioms in this Idiom Activation Pack. To be up in arms, Have one arm tied behind your back, Cost an arm and a leg, Lay down your arms, Strong-arm tactics, Keep somebody at arm’s length, Have a list as long as your arm, To give your right arm, Welcome someone with open arms, The long arm of the law, Twist someone’s arm, Chance your arm, and To bear arms. After you have seen, heard, and read the idioms and their meanings, you can activate them and make them part of your active vocabulary. You can do this by using the Idioms Activator which I have designed to give you plenty of practice in listening, reading, and writing the idioms you have learnt in this Idiom Activation Pack. These Idiom Activation Packs are designed to help you activate your English skills. I have been helping students learn, remember, and use the all-important idiomatic expressions for many years and now I want to reach many more students by using the latest technology. I have designed this Idiom Activation Pack to make learning British English idioms as easy and enjoyable as possible. Idioms Activation Pack - Arms


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In a Row

To say that things are in a row means that they are arranged in a line next to one another either in space or time. By extension, the idiomatic expression, in a row, means that several events happen consecutively, one after the other. This lesson will help you to use this common expression. We need to be careful with the word row, however, as it has several meanings and even different pronunciation. The first meaning is a noun meaning an arrangement of objects side by side in a line as in a row of books on the shelf. The second meaning is a verb meaning to propel a boat using oars as in he rowed the rowing boat across the lake. The third meaning is a noun and verb meaning to have an angry dispute as in he had a row with his wife about his drinking.


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Leg Idioms

Learn some common British English idioms in this video English lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: Tail between your legs, On its last legs, Get a leg up, Pulling your leg, Shake a leg, Break a leg, Not have a leg to stand on, Stretch your legs, Legwork, and Sea legs. This lesson is part of the Body Idioms series of idioms lessons.


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Lip Idioms

Learn some common British English idioms with this lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: Pay lip service, Lick your lips, Bite your lip, Give someone lip, My lips are sealed, Smack lips, Slip of the lip, Tight-lipped, Lock lips, Pass my lips, Stiff upper lip, A bit lippy, Read my lips, Loose lips, Button your lip, and On everyone’s lips. This lesson is part of the Body Idioms series at Britlish.com.


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Nose Idioms

Learn some common British English idioms in this video English lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: As plain as the nose on your face, Keep your nose out, Turn your nose up at, Stick your nose in where it’s not wanted, Can’t see further than the end of your nose, Under your nose, Cut off your nose to spite your face, Brown-nose, Put someone’s nose out of joint, No skin off my nose, Look down your nose at, Rub your nose in it, Powder your nose, and Have a nose for.


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PHP 7 - A Conversation with the Britlish A.I.

This Vocabulary Activation Pack will help you to learn, remember, and use the following vocabulary items: a wealth of information, around, at your fingertips, bite off more than you can chew, blow your own trumpet, brush up on, chuffed to bits, coding, get a buzz out of, get your head around, get your teeth into, lean, make headway, mind you, no spring chicken, put off, reach the end of life, rebuild, rewrite, rusty, self-taught, sixty is the new forty, something of an understatement, spot on, streets ahead of, strive to, take the bull by the horns, teach an old dog new tricks, to say the least, and worn out. PHP 7 - A Conversation with the Britlish A.I.


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Pick Phrasal Verbs and Idioms

The phrasal verbs are: pick at, pick off, pick on, pick up, pick up on, pick out, and pick away. The idioms are: a bone to pick, cherry pick, have your pick of something, pick your nose, pick to pieces pick to bits, pick a lock, pick and choose, take your pick, pick of the bunch pick of the crop, pick brains, pick pocket, pick through, pick up speed, pick up the pace, pick up the tab, pick your moment, pick a winner, pick holes in, pick of the litter, pick out of a hat, pick up steam, pick up the gauntlet, pick me up, and pickup artist.  


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Romeo and Juliet - Short Version

This short version of the classic Shakespeare play will teach you the basics of the plot. It will also teach you some useful vocabulary such as, banish, break up, bring forward, bump into, cheesed off, chemist, cousin, dagger. duel, fall in love, feuding, friar, gatecrash, get along, get own back, get together, grieve, hatch a plan, hot-headed, in secret, look forward to, love at first sight, mourn for, newlywed, nobleman, nurse, pad, poison, potion, shenanigans, spend the night, squabble, tomb, top, untimely, and wet lettuce.  


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Seafood Idioms

The sea covers two thirds of our planet. The sea has always been an important source of food. Any food that we take from the sea is called seafood. There are various types of seafood and many idioms related to seafood in English. In this lesson, I will introduce you to idioms like blue around the gills, loan shark, a find kettle of fish, holy mackerel, a beached whale, red herring, hook, line and sinker, fishing for compliments, off the hook, slipped through the net, a fish out of water, and more.  


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10 of our 38 Idioms British English Lessons


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