An idiom is a group of words, a saying, or a phrase with a symbolic rather than literal meaning that is accepted in common usage. It is a form of artistic expression characteristic of a movement, period, individual, medium, or instrument.
Its symbolic sense differs from the definition or literal meaning of the words that make it. Idioms convey a figurative meaning that is difficult to understand solely by interpreting the words literally. For instance, “beyond the pale” means something is “over the line” or improper. You can only know that by being able to infer the phrase’s meaning based on context or if someone explains it to you.
Many different idioms exist, and people use them commonly in all languages. Translating them into other languages can be challenging because some meanings may be lost. Still, equivalents that fill in the gaps between languages exist. The English language has an unlimited number of idiomatic expressions.
Idiomatic expressions are the building blocks of civilization and language. They make the language evolve. The great intensity of idioms makes a language dynamic and interesting. Phrases bring a remarkable illustration to daily speech and offer compelling insights into the use of languages, words, and the speaker’s thought process. There is a sense of fun and mystery about idioms.
So why are idiomatic expressions difficult?
They are difficult because their meanings are not always easy to understand. This is particularly the case for non-native speakers of the language in question, since their intentions are typically symbolic. Due to this characteristic, English learners find them strange and hard to understand.
TOP 10 COMMON IDIOMS
This is a list of the top ten most common English phrases and idioms used in the United States. We have provided their meaning and examples for teachers and students. Students also explain the meaning of idiomatic expressions in competitive exams. An idiom’s popularity can differ from one region to the other. However, this list is generally popular worldwide.
Meaning: a controversial issue or situation that is awkward or unpleasant to deal with.
Example: The subject of bullying and fighting in my school is a hot potato.
Meaning: something that is easy to do
Example: Learning English is a piece of cake as long as you do it with our website.
Meaning: very rarely
Example: I go to visit my grandfather only once in a blue moon; he lives in a remote farm house.
Meaning: easy option
Example: Taking care of my younger sister is no bed of roses; she is very silly.
Meaning: raining very heavily
Example: I wanted to go to play outside, but it was raining cats and dogs yesterday.
Meaning: something that will never happen or is impossible.
Example: William will keep quiet only when pigs fly.
. . .
- to flatter someone so as to get something in return from them
- to say nice things excessively to someone just so they can do you a favour
- to charm someone with praise or compliments because you need something from them
- Mary’s nice compliments about her not so nice boss made it clear that she was just trying to butter him up.
- Buttering up people is a good way to get them to help you when you need it.
- Alice is good at buttering up her superiors and that’s how she mostly gets promoted.
- I am not so good at buttering up people just because I can be quite direct and blunt.
- John’s offhand remarks about his boss showed that his previous compliments only served to butter his boss up.
- To butter up people is really not the best way to get them to be kind to you
This phrase derives directly from the act of spreading butter on bread or any other edible substance to make it soft and tastier so that the person eating it gets more satisfaction from it. So this came to represent spreading nice things about someone just so you could get something in return.Source: theidioms.com
Link to the rest at The Idioms