Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about some common idioms. These are common American English idioms. For your reference, an idiom is a set expression that doesn't mean exactly what the words in the expression means; it actually has a special meaning. These are set phrases with special meanings. Today, I'm going to introduce a few. Let's get started.
Okay. The first expression, the first idiom is the expression, "I feel under the weather." This means, "I don't feel well." You use this when you feel sick, like, "I'm feeling under the weather today," or, "He's feeling under the weather today." You can also change this verb to "look." If you want to make a guess about the way someone else feels, you can say, "You look under the weather." Like in this example sentence, "You are looking a bit under the weather." "A bit" means a little. And here, "You're looking" means like it seems that right now, your appearance now suggests that you don't feel well. But this is a friendly and casual expression you can use to say, "Are you okay? You look a little sick." "Feel under the weather." To feel under the weather or to look under the weather if you're just guessing based on someone's appearance means that you don't feel well, or someone seems like they might be sick.
Okay. Let's move on to the next idiom. The next idiom is, I've put in parentheses here, "I'm so hungry," but we drop this part sometimes, "I could eat a horse." Here, you see "could," suggesting possibility. This part, we often drop. Sometimes we just say, "I could eat a horse," or maybe a different large animal like, "I could eat an elephant," for example. Basically, this idiom means, "I'm very hungry." That's all. In other words, I'm so hungry, it's possible for me to eat a large animal, an animal as large as a horse or as an elephant or something. We don't really change the animal so much. You could say elephant, I suppose, but typically, people say horse. This is a little bit of an old-fashioned expression. Now, you might just hear, "I'm starving," but that's an extreme "I'm really, really hungry" expression. But if you use this, it's okay, people will understand. It means you're very, very hungry.
Okay. Let's move on to the third idiom for this lesson. This one is, "It's raining cats and dogs." This one also is a little bit old-fashioned, but you might still hear it used from time to time. "It's raining cats and dogs" just means it's raining heavily. It's raining a lot. There's a lot of water coming down. "It's raining cats and dogs." This does not mean there are cats and dogs in the street or coming down. It just means heavy rain.
Okay. Let's go on to another one that's a little more commonly used. This expression, this idiom is, "That or it or these, those," whatever. "That costs an arm and a leg." An arm and a leg, physically body parts, an arm and a leg. "That costs an arm and a leg." This expression means that's very expensive. We use this for something that is extremely expensive, or perhaps more expensive than we expected. An example of this would be, "My new phone cost me an arm and a leg." "I paid a lot of money for my new phone." Here, "cost" is actually in past tense, cost. Here, it's in present tense. "That costs an arm and a leg." Here, this is the past tense expression, "My new phone cost me an arm and a leg," means I paid a lot of money for my new phone.
"An arm and a leg," these are key parts of our body. We use them in this expression to show that something was really, really expensive. We had to give a lot of ourselves, a lot of our resources to pay for this item. Something costs an arm and a leg means something is really expensive. We always use arm and leg. We don't use arm or leg only. We use them together always for this expression.
Okay. Let's go along to the next one. Also uses leg. This expression, this idiom is, "To pull someone's chain or to pull someone's leg." You also hear the verb "yank" used here. "Pull" is this motion. "Yank" is like a quick short pull, "to yank something." But "to pull" is a little more smooth. "To pull someone's chain," or, "She yanked someone's chain or leg," these expressions all mean to be joking. It means you're just telling a joke. You are kidding. "Kidding" is a word that means joking. When you're joking with someone in a conversation and you want to show, "I don't mean anything by it, I'm just joking," you can say, "I'm just pulling your leg." Like if you're telling a story, if you're lying to someone for a joke, you can use this expression.
Here, "Sorry, I'm just pulling your leg. Sorry, I'm just yanking your chain." This means, "I'm just joking. I'm just kidding. Don't be serious. Don't take what I'm saying seriously." It's a joke, in other words. Sometimes people like to use this to finish a conversation if the other person is getting angry. And then they can say, "I'm just joking. I'm just pulling your leg."
Okay. Let's go on to the next one. The next idiom is "To hit the road." This does not mean physically hit the road outside. This means to leave. This is a casual expression which means to leave your current position and go somewhere else. "To hit the road." In an example, "It's late. Let's hit the road." In other words, "It's late, let's go. Let's leave this place."
Okay. Onward to the next expression. The next idiom is "Kill two birds with one stone." "A stone" is a rock, small rock. "Two birds with one stone." This expression means to accomplish two things with one action, one thing. You do one thing, but you accomplish two things. Of course, you could do multiple things, I suppose. "Three birds with one stone," maybe. But we tend to use it "Two birds, one stone." An example, "Met friends and checked out a new restaurant. I killed two birds with one stone." "I wanted to see my friends and I wanted to visit a new restaurant. I did them both at the same time. I killed two birds with one stone. I accomplished two things in one action there." This is quite a common expression, "Two birds one stone." It's always that pairing.
Okay. Onward to the next one. The next idiom is "Piece of cake." Like, "That's a piece of cake," or, "It's a piece of cake," or, "That was a piece of cake." It means very easy. "Piece of cake" means easy. Also, be careful of your spelling. This should mean piece, like one part of something. It's not P-E-A-C-E, peace, like peace on earth, peace around the world, but piece of cake, part of cake. It means very easy. This is an expression that means very easy. An example, "Making coffee is a piece of cake." Some activity, some action is easy to do, we say, "Piece of cake." Actually, we don't always clearly state the action or the activity that's easy, sometimes we get a request. Like, "Can you make this?" or "Can you do that?" and the response is just, "Piece of cake. No problem. I can do that. That's easy for me." Quite a common one, too.
Okay. Let's go along to the next idiom which is, "Put all your eggs in one basket, to put all your eggs in one basket." This is an idiom that's usually used for advice, and we usually say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." This means to rely on only one thing for your needs, to rely on one thing. Let's look at an example of this. "Don't invest in just one company. Don't put all your eggs in one basket." The image here is that we need eggs in this example. We need eggs to eat for something, for breakfast, let's say. If we put all of the eggs we need in one basket and we drop the basket or the basket is stolen or there's some other problem, the eggs are destroyed or they disappear or whatever, we have nothing, we have no resources.
This is a life advice idiom that suggests if you have some resources, you should spread them to different places. Don't put everything that you have in one location. If something happens, then you're in trouble. It means spread out your resources, spread out the things that you need in case something happens. Here too, "Don't invest in just one company. Try to spread your investments out." is what this really means. This is quite a common expression. "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
Okay. Let's go on to the last one. The last one is a special idiom. It is, "Hair of the dog that bit you." I have this in parentheses because we often remove, we often drop this part. "Hair of the dog that bit you." This is an idiom that we use particularly the day after we've had alcohol. "Hair of the dog," this is a suggestion for a hangover cure. Hangover means that sick bad feeling you have after drinking too much alcohol. We feel like a headache. We have a headache. We have a stomachache. We're slow. It's difficult to do things. That's hangover.
"Hair of the dog that bit you," we're suggesting here that alcohol is a dog. There's kind of a small story here. Alcohol is a dog, and the dog bits you. Because the alcohol harmed you, damaged you, you feel sick. The idea here is if you take like medicine kind of, if you take part of the dog, a hair from the dog that bit you, you will be cured. It's like a treatment kind of, or a suggestion for treatment. Example, "Hangover? How about a little hair of the dog?" In other words, this means if you drink a little bit of alcohol, then maybe you will feel better. It's suggesting not to drink a lot but have a little bit of alcohol and then your body will be better. It will improve. I don't know if it's true or not. Maybe for some people, but that's what this expression means, "Hair of the dog," and we often drop, "that bit you" there. "How about some hair of the dog that bit you?" That could work.
All right. Those are a few common idioms that we use in American English. There are many, many more. If you have questions or if you have comments or if you know some other idioms and you'd like to know more about them, please let us know in the comments section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye.

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