Everybody knows the importance of learning some idioms and colloquial expressions, especially when you live in a foreign country. We always learn a lot of them by communicating with native speakers or watching movies and series. In this section, you learn some idioms and expressions to communicate in a more natural way when speaking English in a foreign country.
* like / love the sound of your own voice – disapproving, talking too much, usually without listening to other people.
He loves the sound of his own voice and doesn’t let anyone talk.
* not suffer fools gladly – not to be polite or patient with people you think are less intelligent than you.
She doesn’t suffer fools gladly and that’s what I hate about her.
* as tough as old boots – very strong and able to bear pain, criticism, etc. without complaining.
My grandfather was as tough as old boots and resisted everything while he was serving the army.
* play it cool – hide your feelings so you appear calm and controlled.
Even if the situation goes out of control, you need to play it cool to cause a good impression.
* under somebody’s thumb – controlled or influenced by someone.
She was under his thumb and did everything he asked her to.
* have a quick temper – become angry easily and often.
You have a quick temper. Everything makes you get angry!
* as thick as two short planks – very stupid.
He’s a very skilled football player but he’s as thick as two short planks.
* a creature of habit – a person that likes to do the same thing at the same time on a regular basis.
My sister goes to bed at exactly 10:30 every night. She’s a creature of habit.
* a live wire – a person who is lively and full of energy and enthusiasm.
We need a live wire like John to entertain our party.
* a bright spark – a livelly and intelligent person / a person that has done something stupid.
We need a bright spark to bring in new ideas. / Who was the bright spark who left the door unlocked?
* a soft touch – a person whom you can easily get money because they are kind or easy to deceive.
She always asks dad for cash because she knows he’s a soft touch.
* an unknown quantity – a person or thing whose qualities or abilities are not yet known.
I don’t know if Ash would be the right one for the job. He’s a bit of an unknown quantity.
* the salt of the earth – a good, reliable, honest person.
Mr. Jones is the salt of the earth and manages his company with a lot of proud.
* nobody’s fool / no fool – a person who is too clever to be tricked by other people.
He’s tough, ambitious and nobody’s fool. I think he’s the perfect candidate for this job position.
* a nasty piece of work –a person who is unpleasant, unkind, or dishonest.
I hate dealing with my boss, he’s a nasty piece of work.
* a cold fish – disapproving a person who shows little emotion or seems unfriendly.
He’s a bit of a cold fish. He hardly ever speaks to us or even smiles.
* a man/a woman of his/her word – a person who always does what he/she has promised to do.
If he said he would help you, I’m sure he will. He’s a man of his word.
I hope you learned some new idioms today, see you next time!
Source: Idioms and Phrasal Verbs – Advanced / Ruth Gairns and Stuart Redman – Oxford