Click for Free Account

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.

Support Us! Cat Rand Top IPA Idioms A-Z

Responsive image

First Previous Next Last

10 of our 38 Idioms British English Lessons

Responsive image

Somewhere to Sit

In this lesson you will be looking at the following vocabulary: a degree of, ablutions, ample, back-seat driver, bums on seats, by the seat of your pants, castor, couch potato, crap, dearth, euphemistically, frame, have a seat, in the driving seat, in the hot seat, ingest, keep my seat warm, lazing, lethargic, lose yourself in something, on the edge of your seat, piece of furniture, plonked, propel, quilted, ringside seat, sluggish, sumptuous, take a back seat, take a seat, take the weight off your feet, tempted, throne, and upholstered.


Responsive image

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.  


Responsive image

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.


Responsive image

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.


Responsive image

Taste of Your Own Medicine

We have many idioms in English. One of them is a taste of your own medicine. This common idiom has its roots in Ancient Rome. Gaius Julius Phaedrus lived in the 1st century and translated the fables of Aesop into Latin. He also wrote many fables of his own in the style of Aesop, one of which is the source of the English idiom we are looking at in this lesson.


Responsive image

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.  


Responsive image

The Fisherman and the Little Fish

The Fisherman and the Little Fish tells the moral that it's better to accept what you have than to gamble on what you might not get. I have rewritten the Aesop's fable using as many phrasal verbs as I could come up with. If you are interested in learning some new phrasal verbs, this video is not to be sniffed at. Don't let your interest fizzle out and see what phrasal verbs I have come up with. If you want to improve your knowledge of phrasal verbs, it's time to check out this lesson.  


Responsive image

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.


Responsive image

Vegetable Idioms

This vegetable idioms activation pack will help you to learn remembers and use some common English idioms related to vegetables. The idioms include, spill the beans, veg out, couch potato, without a bean, carrot and stick, know your onions, in a pickle, hot potato, two peas in a pod, red as a beetroot, and as cool as a cucumber.    


Responsive image

Fruit Idioms

The fruit idioms in this lesson include a real lemon, sour grapes, another bite of the cherry, a peach, tree is known by its fruit, bear fruit, drive someone bananas, the apple of my eye, the fruits of my labours, forbidden fruit, rotten apple, Adam’s apple, life’s a bowl of cherries, and as brown as a berry. It also contains some English humour.


First Previous Next Last

10 of our 38 Idioms British English Lessons


Responsive image

Learn English with the most innovative and engaging English lessons available anywhere on the Internet and all completely free of charge! To personalise your experience in the Britlish Library and to keep track of the lessons you have studied and the vocabulary you have recorded, or the notes you have made about each class, sign up for a free account today.