Most important English sayings with their meaning
Most common English sayings. Most Usual English Sayings
Face it, if you’re here, it’s because you’re a bit of a language freak. That’s okay. So are we… But before getting into the nitty-gritty, let’s see what a saying is and how it differs from a proverb or an idiom. A saying is any concisely written or spoken expression that is especially memorable because of its meaning or style. Sayings are categorized as follows: Aphorism: a general, observational truth; “a pithy expression of wisdom or truth “. Some examples of popular sayings in English include “slow and steady wins the race,”” you can’t judge a book by its cover,” and “actions speak louder than words.”
What is the difference between a proverb, a saying, and an idiom?
A proverb is a short, traditional saying that offers advice or expresses a universal truth. A saying is a simple, often colloquial expression that memorably conveys a message. An idiom is a phrase or expression with a symbolic meaning that differs from the words’ literal meaning. While all three can be used to convey wisdom or insight, they each have their distinct characteristics and uses.
10 most common sayings in English
Having made the previous clarifications, let’s get down to business. Here are the 10 most used sayings in the English language along with their meaning:
Better late than never. – It’s better to do something late than not at all
Two wrongs don’t make a right – If someone does something bad to you, it doesn’t make it right for you to do something bad back
Birds of a feather flock together – Similar People tend to spend time together. A picture is worth a thousand words – A picture can convey more information than words alone.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch – Nothing is truly free; everything has a cost.
Beggars can’t be choosers – If you’re in a difficult situation and someone offers you help, you can’t be picky about what kind of help you receive.
A penny for your thoughts
Actions speak louder than words – What people do is more important than what they say.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch – Don’t assume that something will happen before it actually does.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too – You can’t have everything you want; sometimes you must make choices
Other famous English sayings
Some of the most commonly used English sayings are also:
You can’t judge a book by its cover
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. – When things become difficult, strong people take action.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Add insult to injury; All good things must come to an end; All in good time; Curiosity killed the cat or Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
About this blog…
And this is the end of our publication. If you liked it, visit Most Common English Idioms, Most Common English Idioms II, Scottish Proverbs, Most Important Catalan Sayings and Proverbs Translated to English, Common British English expressions translated to Catalan II, and Common British English expressions translated to Catalan. You will find them all in this blog (take a look at the recent posts column on the left). So, if you like typical expressions, idioms, proverbs and sayings, see you here. You know what they say: birds of a feather flock together. We have no doubt that you will find surprising things on this blog. If you want to share more proverbs with us, please send them to us in the comments section below. Thanks for visiting our blog, and see you soon!
He was a total failure, a nobody, a good-for-nothing piece of shit, as his mother, every time she got drunk, reminded him since he was a child .
That’s why he decided to leap into the void.
He didn’t give a shit about anything or anyone, anymore. The first thing he did wastake all his paintings and tear them apart. Some knowledgeable painting teachers once told him that he had a style of his own, that he somehow managed to convey a profound meaning and bla bla bla. He couldn’t care less.
Then, in this escalation of nihilism, he decided to send emails and messages on social media telling his friends and acquaintances how much he loathed their presence and he even took the trouble to list all the things he hated most about each one, making sure that the message sounded as offensive and personalized as possible.
Then he headed for a war-torn Middle-East country, where security and safety were anything but guaranteed.
Locals say that he stopped drinking, eating and sleeping a year ago, but, oddly enough, he did not die. Instead, he became a sort of self-sufficient being who lives in a higher dimension and cannot be tempted by acknowledgements nor hurt by human wickedness.
Tocat del Bolet ~Nuts owns this work’s intellectual property
Today, 02-02-2020, is a palyndrome day. A palindromic number is a number that remains the same when its digits are reversed. Catalans have a special name for this type of number: capicua (pronunced [ka.piˈku.a], it means literally, “headandtail” written together).
Capicua in English, French and Spanish
Capicua in English is a Palindromic number and in French a Nombre palindrome .
Finally, the word of Catalan origin Capicua became popular in Spanish, just by adding an accent on the letter u, that is to say, Capicúa, and then the word was added to the RAE dictionary. Now capicúa is widely used in Spanish, too.
English language idioms illustrated and translated to other languages
An idiom is a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g. over the hill, at the drop of a hat ). Here is a list of the most popular idioms in English translated to other languages and illustrated, some of them with a touch of humour. Enjoy yourself!
Add insult to injury
(to) Add insult to injury = to make a bad situation even worse Catalan: according to the context, it may translate to per si no fos prou, ficar el dit a la llaga or per acabar-ho d’arrodonir/d’adobar (said ironically) French: pour couronner le tout Galician: Aínda por riba German: Salz in die Wunde streuen Spanish: Para colmo de males
A little bird told me
A Little bird told me = someone gave me a piece of information about something that is supposed to be secret Catalan: Un ocellet m’ha dit… French: mon petit doigt m’a dit Spanish: Un pajarito me ha dicho.
(to be) All ears = (to) listen actively Catalan: sóc tot orelles French: tout ouïe German: Ich bin ganz Ohr Italian: tutto orecchie Portuguese: todo ouvidos Spanish: todo oídos
An arm and a leg
(to cost) An arm and a leg = very expensive Catalan: costar un ull de la cara French: coûter les yeux de la tête German: eine Stange Geld kosten Italian: Costare un occhio della testa Spanish: Costar un riñón
A needle in a haystack
A needle in a haystack = something that is almost impossible to find because it is hidden among so many other things. Catalan: una agulla en un paller French: chercher une aiguille dans une botte de foin German: Nadel im Heuhaufen Italian: ago in un pagliaio Macedonian: и́гла во стог се́но Portuguese: agulha num palheiro Spanish: Aguja en un pajar
A penny for your thoughts
A penny for your thoughts = used to ask someone what they are thinking about. There are no exact equivalents, but we can use these expressions in other languages to convey the same meaning: Catalan: En què penses? French: à quoi penses-tu en ce moment Spanish: ¿En qué estás pensando?
As fit as a fiddle
A short fuse
A short fuse = have a tendency to lose one’s temper quickly, to have a short temper Catalan: ser de sang calenta French: se mettre en rogne facilement German: jähzornig sein Spanish: de sangre caliente.
At the drop of a hat = right away Catalan: en un tres i no-res. French: sans hésiter Galician: Axiña, decontado German: sofort, unverzüglich Italian: immediatamente, subito Portuguese: na hora Romanian: imediat, îndată Scottish Gaelic: anns a’ bhad, sa bhad, gu grad Spanish: Ipso facto
Bite the bullet
Butterflies in my stomach
Butterflies in my stomach = to be uneasy, nervous Catalan = tenir papallones a la panxa French: avoir le trac Spanish: tener mariposas en el estómago German: Schmetterlinge im Bauch haben Spanish: mariposas en el estómago
Back to the drawing board
Back to the drawing board = to start again or try another idea. It is similar to Back to square one or to start from scratch Catalan: sant tornem-hi French: parler pour ne rien dire German: Fangen wir noch mal von vorne an Spanish: volver a la casilla de salida
Ball is in your court
Ball is in your court = It is up to you to make a move. Catalan: la pilota és a la teva taulada. French: la balle est dans son camp German: eine Stange Geld kosten Italian: tocca a te Spanish: la pelota está en tu tejado
Bark up the wrong tree
(to) Bark up the wrong tree = to have a wrong idea Catalan: errar el tret, anar desencaminat French: faire fausse route, se mettre le doigt dans l’œil, miser sur le mauvais cheval German: auf dem Holzweg sein Portuguese: bater à porta errada, bater na porta errada Spanish: llamar a la puerta equivocada, errar el tiro.
Beat around the bush
(to) beat around the bush = to avoid talking about what is really important and instead talk about other things Catalan: anar-se’n per les branques French: tourner autour du pot German: um den heißen Brei herumreden Italian: menare il can per l’aia Spanish: andarse con rodeos
Bend over backwards
(to) bend over backwards= make every effort to achieve something, especially to be helpful Catalan: fer mans i mànigues French: Se mettre en quatre German: sich ein Bein ausreißen Italian: farsi in quattro Spanish: remover cielo y tierra
Bite off more than one can chew
Bite off more than one can chew = to take on a task that is way too big. Catalan: estirar més el braç que la màniga. French: Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint. Spanish: El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta German: Wer zu viel fasst, lässt viel fallen Italian: Chi troppo vuole nulla stringe. Portuguese: Quem muito abarca pouco abraça.
(to) Blow smoke = (to) deliberately confuse or deceive Catalan: Marejar la perdiu French: parler pour ne rien dire German: jdm. etwas vormachen Spanish: marear la perdiz
Break a leg!
Break a leg! = have luck (said to actors before they go on stage) Catalan: molta merda! French: Je te dis merde! German: Hals- und Beinbruch! Italian: in bocca al lupo! Portuguese: Merda! Spanish: ¡Mucha mierda!
Bundle of nerves
Bundle of nerves = somebody who is extremely anxious or tense. Catalan: un sac de nervis Basque: Buru gabeko oiloak bezala gabiltza Gaelic Irish: bheith an-neirbhíseach French: un paquet de nerfs German: ein Bündel Nerven Italian: un fascio di nervi Portuguese: uma pilha de nervos Mandarin Chinese: 紧张不安的人 Russian: клубок нервов
By the skin of your teeth
By the skin of your teeth = by a very narrow margin; only just Catalan: pels pèls French: de justesse; (colloquial) d’un poil German: mit Ach und Krach Italian: per un pelo Scottish Gaelic: air èiginn Spanish: por los pelos
Cat got your tongue?
Cat got your tongue? = expression used to ask someone why they are not saying anything Catalan: Que se t’ha menjat la llengua el gat? Chinese: 你成了啞巴了嗎？(literally, have you become dumb?) German: Du hast wohl die Sprache verloren? Italian: Il gatto ti ha mangiato la lingua? Russian: язы́к проглоти́л? (literally, “did you swallow your tongue?”) Spanish: ¿Te ha comido la lengua el gato?
(to get) Cold feet
Crying wolf : someone who continues asking for help when they don’t really need it, with the result that people think they don’t need help when they actually need it. Catalan: que ve el llop! Queixar-se per no-res. Plora-miques. French: crier au loup Spanish: Que viene el lobo.
Cut some slack
Cut someone some slack : to give some some leeway in their conduct. Catalan: donar una mica de marge French: grappe à [qqn] (colloquial); être indulgent envers [qqn] German: mit jdm. nachsichtig sein Spanish: dar cuartelillo.
(to) Draw the line: to set a limit on what you are willing to do or accept. Catalan: marcar una línia vermella. French: tracer un trait German: einen Trennungsstrich ziehen zwischen Spanish: poner límites
Easier said than done
Easier said than done: sth that is uncomplicated to propose, but difficult to accomplish. Catalan: més fàcil dir-ho que fer-ho French: plus facile à dire qu’à faire German: leichter gesagt als getan Portuguese: più facile a dirsi che a farsi Spanish: del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho
Fish out of water
Fish out of water = to feel uncomfortable in a situation Catalan: peix fora de l’aigua French: Poisson hors de l’eau German: fehl am Platz Spanish: Pez fuera del agua (SP)
Gift of tongues
Gift of tongues = to be gifted for languages Catalan: (tenir) Do de llengües
(to) get goosebumps = the body hair stands on end as the result of an intense feeling Catalan: pell de gallina French: Avoir la chair de poule Spanish: Ponerse la piel de gallina German: Ich bekam eine Gänsehaut. (I got goosebumps) Italian: venire la pelle d’oca. Portuguese: arrepiar-se Basque: oilo-ipurdi.
Go the extra mile
(to) Go the extra mile = to make an extra effort. Catalan: fer un esforç extra. French: Se mettre en quatre German: noch einen Schritt weiter gehen Spanish: hacer un esfuerzo extra
Hit the books
(to) Hit the books = to study Catalan: fer colzes French: potasser German: die Nase in die Bücher stecken Spanish: empollar; estudiar
Hit the sack / hay / bed
(to) Hit the sack / hay / bed = go to bed Catalan: Anar a dormir, anar a clapar, a fer nones French: Se pieuter German: ins Bett gehen sich in die Falle hauen Italian: assopirsi, appisolarsi Spanish: Irse al sobre; irse a la cama
Hit the nail on the head
A hot potato = controversial issue or situation which is awkward to deal with, so everybody is trying to avoid it. Catalan: Patata calenta. French: une patate chaude German: heißes Eisen n Spanish: patata caliente
In minute detail
In minute detail: paying careful attention to the smallest details Catalan: amb tots els ets i uts; fil per randa French: dans les moindre détails German: bis ins kleinste Detail Spanish: minuciosamente; con pelos y señales
In the nick of time
In the nick of time = Just in time Catalan: just a temps French: juste-à-temps German: in der allerletzten Sekunde Portuguese: No último instante Spanish: en el último momento
(to keep) In touch = to be in communication with someone and get up-to-date knowledge Catalan: en contacte French: être/ rester en contact German: mit jdm./etw. in Kontakt stehen Portuguese: em contacto Spanish: en contacto
Jump on the bandwagon
Let bygones be bygones
Let bygones be bygones = to forget past conflicts and be reconciled. Catalan: fer creu i ratlla. French: Passer l’éponge German: die Vergangenheit ruhen lassen Irish Gaelic: an rud atá thart bíodh sé thart Spanish: pelillos a la mar
Like two peas in a pod
Like two peas in a pod = very similar Catalan: com dues gotes d’aigua French: Comme deux gouttes d’eau German: ein Ei dem anderen Romanian: ca două picături de apă Portuguese: cara de um, focinho de outro Spanish: como dos gotas de agua
Glad to see the back of
(to be) glad to see the back of…= (to) be happy to get rid of someone . Similar to good riddanceCatalan: Bon vent i barca nova French: bon débarras (fr), bon vent (fr) Italian: a mai più rivederci Spanish: a enemigo que huye, puente de plata, Anda, vete por ahi
Not my cup of tea
(It is) Not my cup of tea: used to refer to something that yu don’t like or are not interested in Catalan: No em fa el pes, No és sant de la meva devoció. Chinese (Mandarin): 不是我的菜 (literally, This is not my dish) Czech: 不是我的菜 (literally, This is not my dish). French: C’est (pas) mon truc (literally, it’s not my thing), to say that you don’t like something. The familiar C’est (pas) mon délire (literally, It’s not my delirium) works as well in circles of young friends. Another familiar expression is C’est (pas) mon dada(literally, It’s not my hobby) German: Das ist nicht mein Ding (literally, It is not my thing) Italian: Non è il mio genere (literally, It is not my genre) Japanese: 好みではない (pronounced Konomide wanai, literally, It doesn´t enter my ki) Malay: Bukan bidang aku la (literally, not my field) (Brazilian) Portuguese: Não é minha praia (literally, this is not my beach) Russian: Это не моё / Это не в моём вкусе, pronounced Eto ne moyo / Eto ne v moyom vkuse (Literally: It’s not mine / It’s not to my liking). Spanish: No es santo de mi devotión (literally, He is not a saint of my devotion)
Once in a blue moon
Once in a blue moon = very rarely Catalan: Molt de tant en tant German: alle Jubeljahre einmal French: tous les trente-six du mois German: alle Jubeljahre einmal Spanish: Raras veces, cada muerte de obispo.
On the ball
(to be) On the ball = to be alert, focused Catalan: Estar al cas , alerta French: être éveillé(e), être vif (vive) German: am Ball sein Spanish: estar al loro
To have other fish to fry
Out of the blue
Piece of cake
Piece of cake = very easy Catalan: és bufar i fer ampolles, està tirat, està xupat German: Kinderspiel, Pillepalle, ein Klacks Italian: gioco da ragazzi, una cosa da niente, come bere un bicchier d’acqua, gioco da bambini Portuguese: ser molezaSpanish: está chupado, coser y cantar
Put my two cents
(to) put my two cents / (to) put in my two-penny worth used to preface a tentative statement of one’s opinion Catalan: dir la meva/seva/nostra/vostra French: mes deux cents (my two cents), grain de sel German: seinen Senf dazugeben Spanish: decir algo
(to) rain buckets, also (to) rain cats and dogs (old-fashioned)= (to) rain heavily Catalan: Ploure a bots i barrals French: pleuvoir des cordes, pleuvoir à verse, pleuvoir des hallebardes, pleuvoir comme vache qui pisse, (Québec) pleuvoir à boire debout, (Belgium) dracher German: German: Bindfäden regnen, in Strömen regnen, aus allen Kannen gießen, aus allen Kannen schütten, es schüttet wie aus Eimern Italian: piovere a catinelle, diluviare, scrosciare, piovere come Dio la manda Portuguese: o céu vir abaixo, chover a cântaros (pt) (Portugal), chover a potes (Portugal), cair um toró (Brazil), chover canivetes (Brazil) Spanish: llover a cántaros Welsh: bwrw hen wragedd â ffyn
There is no silver bullet
Sit on the fence
(to) sit on the fence = avoid making decisions or choices; remain neutral Catalan: No decidir-se, ser equidistant, no mullar-se French: ménager la chèvre et le chou German: zwischen den Fronten stehen Portuguese: em cima do muro Spanish: estar indeciso, no mojarse
Steal one’s thunder
(to) steal one’s thunder = To appropriate someone’s ideas, typically in order to be more popular. Catalan: atribuir-se el mèrit French: s’attribuer les mérites Spanish: atribuirse el mérito
Take it easy
(to) Take it easy = Calm down, keep your hair on Catalan: (pren-t’ho amb) calma, trankiChinese (Mandarin): 休息 (zh) (xiūxi) Galician: relaxar German: sich entspannen Portuguese: sossegar Russian: расслабля́ться (ru) impf (rasslabljátʹsja), рассла́биться (ru) pf (rasslábitʹsja) Scottish Gaelic: gabh socair Spanish: (tómatelo con) calma, tranquilo/a, tranki
Under the weather
Under the weather = slightly unwell or in low spirits. Catalan: estar moix , no estar fi/na French: ne pas être dans son assiette Galician: indisposto German: angeschlagen Italian: indisposto Spanish: indispuesto, pachucho.
Up in the air
Up in the air = still to be settled Catalan: en l’aire, el més calent és a l’aigüerta French: être assez vague German: Es ist alles noch offen (literally, Everything is still open) Spanish: en el aire
Walk on eggshells
(to) walk on eggshells: (to) be extremely cautious about one’s words or actions Catalan: Anar amb peus de plom French: Marcher sur des œufs German: wie auf Eiern gehen Spanish: Andarse con cuidado
When pigs fly
When pigs fly: Referencing the unlikelihood that something will ever happen Catalan: Quan les gallines pixin French: Quand les poules auront des dents German: wenn Ostern und Pfingsten auf einen Tag fallen (de) (literally “when Easter and Pentecost fall on the same day”) Italian: quando gli asini voleranno (literally “when donkeys fly”), alle calende greche (literally “on the Greek calends”) Russian: когда́ рак на горе́ сви́стнет (ru) (kogdá rak na goré svístnet, literally “when a crayfish whistles on the mountain”) Spanish: cuando las vacas vuelen; cuando las ranas críen pelo.
This post will be regularly updated with new idioms.
A Pep talk is a short speech intended to make someone or a group of people feel more courageous or enthusiastic.
As many Brits, Catalans and football fans know, the current Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is known, among other things, for this type of motivational speeches.
His pep talk and leadership convinced them all.
The coach gave the team a pep talk before the game.
Origin of the expression
As it seems, the word “pep” comes from “pepper”. It has been used in the figurative sense of energy or spirit since 1847. A pep talk is intended to energize someone or a group of people and appeared in 1926. The first written use of the phrase “pep talk” was found in “The Mansfield News”.