Category Archives: English Idioms

Jazz Something / Someone Up Idiom

It’s been very cold and rainy here lately but I’m not going to complain because if it were any colder Washington would be covered with snow. I’m not ready for snowy weather.

I decided to pop into a cafe for something warm to drink and I was really pleasantly surprised to see how the barista jazzed up my cocoa with a cute spider web. It was delicious too. The drink was served with a small pot of extra hot chocolate. Mmmmm! I will definitely go back in the coming weeks for another.

Have you “jazzed up” anything recently? This is English idiom is fairly common:

to jazz up something or someone (to jazz something or someone up):  to make something or someone more interesting, appealing, exciting or stylish.

For example, in the pictures below you can see our Christmas tree before it was jazzed up and after it was jazzed up with lights.

Our Christmas tree before it was jazzed up.

Our Christmas tree all jazzed up with lights.

A lot of people I know got  jazzed up to go out and celebrate New Year’s Eve. This year I didn’t get jazzed up. I stayed home and lounged around the house in my sweat pants and read a book. At midnight, we opened a bottle of champagne though to celebrate. Sometimes at bars and cafes, the bartenders will jazz up drinks with fruit, olives and umbrellas.

What have you jazzed up lately? Practice this new idiom in the comments below!

To learn more idioms, check out the main idioms page on my website!

Spring Allergies Vocabulary

Hay fever


Ahhhhh chooooo!

Spring has definitely sprung!

Spring (noun)- a season between winter and summer when plants and flowers begin to grow.

Sprung (verb: spring; the past tense of this verb is irregular – we don’t say springed): to suddenly jump or move forward.

Spring is definitely here because my allergies are killing me. That means that my allergies are really bad. Continue reading

Idiom: Beauty is only skin deep

Photo of Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o. Copyright: s_bukley /

Isbeauty only skin deep?

The English idiomatic expression, “beauty is only skin deep” means that a person’s inner beauty—not their outward physical appearance—is what’s most important.

In English, when we say something is “deep” we are often using the word as a metaphor to say something is important and significant. It is not just something one on the surface (superficial); it’s deeper down below.

English lessonClick here for a guided English lesson that includes an excellent video of Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o discussing her personal struggle with feeling beautiful when she was growing up.

To learn many more idioms, click here to go to the main idioms page.

Idioms with hour

hours idioms

Ever had one of those days? Sometimes Fridays can be difficult because it is the end of the week. Here are a few idioms that have the word “hour” in the. They are all related to time.

Fill-in the correct words:

1. 1. I was late for work because of hour traffic.

2. I tried to go to the doctor’s office during my hour but it was closed from 12:00 to 2:00 pm.

3. At 6:00 pm, I was ready to leave work but my boss asked me to prepare a report at the hour.

4. Finally, I left the office and met my friends at a bar but hour was already over and drinks were full priced.


Do you understand each of these idioms? If not, here are the definitions: Continue reading

Love Idioms <3


It’s February 14 … usually people either love it or hate it! If you don’t have a sweetheart or you’re suffering from a broken heart, you can always show love to your family and friends.

There are lots of idioms and expressions about love and relationships. The letter (in the picture above) has a lot of idioms. Do you know any of these? If you don’t understand all of them, the definitions are below. Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo, Nicole

blind date:  a date (social meeting) where two people have never met before.

love at first sight:  feeling an immediate attraction or love for someone when you first see or meet them. Continue reading

Idiom: Third times the charm


Third time’s the charm: Don’t know the meaning of this expression?

2014 Australian Open winner Li Na explained the meaning of this idiom in her victory speech:

“Finally I got her [the Australian Open trophy]. The last two times [in 2011 and 2013] were very close.”

So third time’s the charm means the third time you try something it will work out (you will succeed). By the way, we also say “third time lucky” in English to mean the same thing.

Before her match, Li Na was asked if she’d be “third time lucky” in the final and she replied, “In China, 6 and 8 are lucky.”  I guess it’s a good thing she was playing in Australia and not in China today!

If you haven’t seen her victory speech then you have to watch it (see video below). Li Na is Chinese so English is her second language and she did very well with her speech. Congratulations Li Na! Well done!

Idiom: Up to one’s eyeballs (in something)


up to one’s eyeballs in something:  to be very busy or involved with something or to have a lot of something.

Yes, that’s me. I’m drowning in paperwork. I’m up to my eyeballs in work. But that’s not all. I’m also up to my eyeballs in emails to read, laundry to wash and bills to pay.

What are you up to your eyeballs in? Leave a comment below to practice your English. And, if you haven’t signed-up for my FREE newsletter, click here to subscribe.

Want to learn more idioms? Click here to go to the main idioms page.

Best wishes!


Idiom: Blind as a Bat



Blind as a bat:  to not be able to see or to not see well.


This idiom can be confusing for some people because bats have eyes and can see with them!

In the dark (for example at night or in caves) bats can also “see” to get around or locate things by using their ears (they use echolocation). Perhaps that’s why this idiom came about.


Your turn! Can you create a sentence using the idiom blind as a bat? It’s a great way to practice your English. If you haven’t already signed-up for my FREE newsletter, you can get updates on what I post to my website and blog, plus information on the free contests and other fun stuff. Click here to subscribe.

Want to learn more idioms? Click here to go to the main idioms page.

Sales! Sales! Sales! Money idioms


Try to see if you can guess the meaning of these idioms from the picture above and from this passage below:

It’s the end of the season so there are sales in every store right now. Sadly, I spent my bottom dollar on new shoes last week. My friend, however, has money to burn. She spent 750 euros in cold hard cash on a pair of boots and a purse!

Need help with the definitions? Here you go: Continue reading