Idioms for Dummies

It would be fair to assume the word “idiom” meant “a gathering of idiots.” But you would be wrong. Funny, but wrong. An idiom is an expression whose figurative meaning is different from its literal meaning. For instance, to rub someone the wrong way means you’ve annoyed someone, not that you suck at giving massages.

Anyway. Here’s a list of random idioms and other random words to go with them.

  • A blessing in disguise. This means something really crappy happened and if you’re lucky, something good will happen several years down the road.
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover. (Especially now when no one reads books. Thanks, Kindle.)
  • A leopard cannot change his spots. True (unless it uses Olay Spot Corrector). But a leopard can hide in the bushes, track you through GPS, hang your photos in his lair and follow you on every social media platform.
  • Don’t cry over spilt milk. I always cry over spilt milk, because I’m usually the one cleaning it up.


  • Going to hell in a hand basket. (Self-explanatory.)
  • Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. He puts you to work weaving hand baskets.
  • No room to swing a cat. This is PETA’s least-favorite idiom.
  • Let the cat out of the bag. (PETA’s second-least-favorite idiom.) Once you let the cat out of the bag, you’d better run like hell because that cat’s gonna be pissed.
  • Practice makes perfect. Not true. After years of practicing being an adult, I’ve decided practice makes frustrated.


  • Run out of steam. Since our homes don’t run on steam, this could mean running out of solar power. That’s not good because then we’re all screwed.
  • Having a sixth sense. This handy talent means you can talk to spirits or receive psychic communication. A seventh sense allows you to communicate with teenagers and small animals.
  • It’s a piece of cake. Referring to something easily done, a piece of cake also easily screws up my intentions to eat healthy.
  • Last but not least. Something you say to your kids when they finish last. It sounds much better than, “You’re the biggest loser. And you’re walking home.”
  • And finally . . .


(It’s illegal in Utah.)

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