Phrases & slang & idiomatic expressions are an important part of any language and can add color and personality to your speech and writing. They can also be a source of confusion for non-native speakers or those unfamiliar with the cultural context. Below is a list of phrases and exclamations, many of which are particularly common in American English.
These expressions are mainly used in spoken English, however, so you should avoid using them in your written English!
Phrases & Slang & Idiomatic Expressions
1. (I’d) better get on my horse
It’s time to leave.
2. Break a leg!
Good luck! (Usually said to someone who is going to appear in front of an audience.)
3. Dig in!
You can start eating your meal.
4. Bite your tongue!
5. Butt out!
Go away and mind your own business!
6. By the skin of my teeth.
7. Beats me.
I don’t know.
8. Drop me a line.
Write me (a letter).
9. Go jump in a lake!
Go away and stop bothering me!
10. Get off my tail!
Stop following me!
11. As we speak.
12. Bag it! / Bag your face!
Be quiet! / Shut up and go away!
13. Bang goes _____!
Said when you lose the chance to do or have something e.g. Bang goes my pay rise!
14.Be that as it may.
Even though that may be true.
15. Bully for you!
Used sarcastically when someone expects praise but you don’t think they deserve it.
16. You can’t fight the city hall.
There’s no way to beat the bureaucracy.
17. Cut the comedy!
Stop acting silly and telling jokes!
18. Don’t even look like something!
Do not even appear to be doing something!
19. Don’t even go there!
Don’t you dare bring up that subject.
20. Don’t I know it!
I know that very well!
21. Don’t stand on ceremony!
Please be at ease and make yourself at home.
22. Do you get my drift?
Do you understand what I’m saying?
23. Do you want to step outside?
An expression inviting someone to go out of doors to settle an argument by fighting.
24. Easy does it.
Move slowly and carefully.
25. Fair to middling.
A response to an inquiry about the state of one’s health.
26. Fill in the blanks.
You can figure out the rest.
I understand what you said / what you want.
28. Hang in there.
Be patient, things will work out.
29. Have a ball!
30. Have a good one.
Have a nice day.
31. Have a heart!
Please be kind and compassionate.
32. Hold your horses!
33. I can live with that.
That’s something I can get used to.
34. I can’t argue with that.
I agree with what you said.
35. I couldn’t ask for more.
Everything is fine, and there is nothing else that I could want.
36. I didn’t hear you.
I didn’t hear what you said, so would you please repeat it.
37. I declare!
I’m surprised to hear that!
38. I don’t mean maybe!
I’m very serious about what I said!
39.(I) don’t mind if I do.
Yes, I would like to.
40. I hate to eat and run.
An apology by someone who must leave a social event soon after eating.
41. I hear you.
I know exactly what you mean!
42. I’ll bite.
Okay, I’ll answer your question / I’ll listen to your joke.
43. I’ll have to beg off.
An expression used to turn down an informal invitation.
44. I’m all ears.
You have my attention.
45. I’m easy.
I’m not fussy. / I’ll accept whatever’s on offer.
46. I’m with you.
I understand what you’re saying.
47. In this day and age.
Now./ In these modern times.
48. I read you loud and clear.
An expression to signal that the hearer understands.
49. I spoke out of turn.
I said the wrong thing.
50. It’s not half bad.
Not as bad as one might have thought.
51. It’s on me.
I will pay this bill.
52. (It’s) time to split.
An announcement of one’s desire or need to leave.
53. It’s your funeral.
If that’s what you want to do, you will have to endure the consequences.
54. I’ve been there. / Been there, done that.
I’ve experienced the same thing and I know what you’re talking about.
55. I’ve had it up to here.
I will not endure any more of something.
56. I won’t tell a soul.
I will not tell anyone.
57. I wouldn’t know.
There is no way that I would know the answer to that question.
58. Keep this to yourself.
A phrase introducing something that is meant to be a secret.
59. Keep your shirt on!
Be patient! Just wait a minute!
60. Knock it off!
Be quiet! Stop that noise!
61. Lovely weather for ducks.
Something you say when it’s raining heavily, or you’ve just come in out of the rain.
62. Name your poison.
What would you like to drink?
63. No can do.
I cannot do it.
64. No siree (,Bob)!
/ Yes siree, Bob! Absolutely no! / Of course!
65. Not for my money.
Not as far as I’m concerned.
66. Not in a thousand years!
67. Not in my book.
Not according to my views.
68. Now you’re cooking!
Now you’re doing what you should be doing!
69. Now you’re talking!
Now you’re saying the right things!
70. Okay by me.
That’s fine with me.
71.…or words to that effect.
…or similar words meaning about the same thing.
72. Over my dead body!
A defiant phrase indicating the strength of one’s opposition to something.
73. Pardon me for living!
A very indignant response to a criticism or rebuke.
74. (Right) off the top of my head?
Do you want me to answer your question without having time to give it some thought?
75. See if I care!
I don’t care if you do it!
76. (So) what else is new?
This isn’t new.
77. Speak of the devil.
A phrase said when someone whose name has just been mentioned suddenly appears on the
78. Take my word for it.
Believe me! Trust me, I am telling you the truth.
79. Take it from me.
I know what I’m talking about.
80. That does it!
The same as 82 below.
81. That’s more like it.
That is better.
82. That’s the last straw!
That’s going too far! Something will have to be done.
83. That’s the ticket!
That is what is required!
84. (That’s the) way to go!
A phrase encouraging someone to continue the good work.
85. That’s what I call _______!
Used when you want to emphasize that something is very good e.g. That’s what I call a holiday!
86. Mum’s the word.
A pledge not to reveal a secret or to tell something or someone.
87. Watch your tongue! / Watch your mouth!
Do not talk like that!
88. What (a) nerve! / Of all the nerve!
89. Whatever turns you on.
Whatever pleases or excites you is okay.
90. What’s cooking?
What is happening?
91. What’s eating you?
What’s bothering you?
92. What’s the catch?
What are the negative factors?
93. What’s the damage?
What are the charges? How much is the bill?
94. Who would / could have thought?
A question phrase indicating surprise or amazement.
95. With my blessing.
A phrase expressing consent or agreement.
96. Yesterday wouldn’t be too soon.
An answer to the question “When do you want this?”
97. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
The best, most exciting, or cleverest part is yet to come.
98.You could have knocked me over with a feather.
I was extremely surprised.
99. You’re dern tootin’!
You are absolutely right!
100. You’re the doctor.
You are in a position to tell me what to do.
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