Funny English Sayings

Learning a foreign language is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Like all languages, English has lots of colloquial expressions or idioms.  In fact, the language is full of funny sayings. Here are a few of them.

Cats and dogs

One of the most famous of these is used when it rains really hard. Of course, you can say, “It is raining really hard,” but why not have fun with the language.  Instead of that, you can use “cats and dogs.”  Your friends will be impressed.  For example:

What a storm!  It’s really raining cats and dogs.

Another common expression is “pardon my French.”  This is used after or before someone says a taboo word or something ironic or sarcastic.  For example:

What do you want. He’s a politician, if you’ll pardon my French

When pigs fly

Everyone knows that pigs cannot fly. “When pigs fly”is another sarcastic idiom.  It is commonly used among friends in the U.S. to mean that whatever you are discussing will never happen.  For example:

Sure, your brother will get a job…when pigs fly

Cat got your tongue

What would you do if a cat caught your tongue! It is very probable that you would not want to move your tongue and therefore, be unable to speak.  This is exactly what the phrase, “cat got you tongue,” means.  It is used usually as a question.

What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?

Chew the fat

The expression or idiom, “chew the fat,” means to chat with people in a friendly and leisurely way or to gossip with them.  Some people chew gum, and everyone should chew their food before swallowing, but “chewing the fat” is always more social.  For example:

Bob likes to drink beer and chew the fat with his friends after work

For donkey’s years

Donkeys supposedly live for a long time.  This is the origin of this British expression, “for donkey’s years.”  It refers to something that happened a long time ago.  For example:

I haven’t seen Mary for donkey’s years

Fall off the back of a lorry/truck

“Fall off the back of a lorry” This is a funny British English way of saying you have something that was stolen, or that you are trying to sell something that’s stolen. The American equivalent of the phrase is: “fall off the back of a truck.”  For example:

A friend of mine can get you a TV at half the price, but it may have fallen off the back of a lorry/truck

Bob’s your uncle

“Bob’s your uncle” is a very silly expression and kind of like saying ok.  It is used when everything is alright.  It means that something will be done successfully or is going correctly. For example:

Go straight ahead until you reach the park, then take a left, and Bob’s your uncle, you will see the train station!

As cool as a cucumber

Today’s world is very stressful.  Everyone is working or studying or worrying about something. When a person can cope with these things without getting nervous of stressed out, we say that he or she is “as cool as a cucumber.”

“Nothing bothers my cousin.  He is as cool as a cucumber

As we said at the beginning, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyable as well.  Have fun with these expressions and see if your friends and classmates know them.  They will improve your English and impress people that you speak with.


Written by Mike Dean Alger for Aston School

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