An idiom is a group of words or a phrase that is used artistically to express oneself. It is when we do not try to take out direct meanings of a single word but express them by a group of words in a figurative manner. Know how to express yourself more artistically in English by using Idioms,
Back in the 1900s, the term “green fingers” was popular in the United Kingdom. It came from the green-stained fingers of farmers.
Often, plant extracts are used to dye fabric. Many plants secrete a stain. And so, during the harvest, the fingertips of farmers’ would become green with plant dyes.
The earliest use of “green fingers” came from the novel “The Misses Make-Believe” by Mary Stuart Boyd, a Scottish author.
“What old wives call green fingers: those magic digits that appear to ensure the growth of everything they plant.”
Later, the phrase “green thumb” came about. It was first used in the Daily Globe, in 1937.
An American journalist wrote:
“Miss Dvorak has what is known as the green thumb. That’s horticultural slang for being a successful gardener.”
Having a green thumb is a blessing. Those who have a green thumb make the plants grow. And, it’s said that “the lady who has a green thumb never lacks beauty, she is surrounded by flowers, nor goes hungry, food springs from the earth for her.”
Of course, having a green thumb can be cultivated and many have found their green thumb during the pandemic.
The idiom, “green-eyed monster,” comes from Shakespeare’s Othello, a play about jealousy. And, jealousy is referred to as the “green-eyed monster,” in this work of fiction. In fact, there’s no actual monster or players with green eyes in Othello, it’s just to represent envy.
Othello’s Green-Eyed Monster
In the play, Lago, the antagonist, says “O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mocks the meat it feeds on.” Or simply put, jealousy, the “green-eyed monster,” makes a monster of anyone who lets it into their life, hence, it mocks that which it feasts upon.
It’s believed that the idiom “green-eyed monster” alludes to the eyes of cats. Their eyes tease their prey before pouncing on them. But, as is the case with all idioms, its origin is unknown, there’s no telling where Shakespeare heard it before he wrote it in Othello.
Meaning of Green-Eyed in Western Culture
In Western culture, green is associated with 2 things, money, and jealousy. And those who envy are said to have “a green complexion.” So, green is usually associated with greed, envy, jealousy, and money.
My advice to you, while studying English, is don’t let the green-eyed monster get you. It mocks the meat it feeds on. If someone has better grammar or pronunciation than you, that’s fine, practice until you reach your goals. Anything is better than falling to the green-eyed monster.
Most languages have idioms about change. And, there are many different sayings that express getting a new outlook or starting again.
One of my favorite idioms of change is an ancient Chinese saying: “Mountains crumble to the sea over time, yet people remain the same.” However, we are here to discuss the idiom “turn over a new leaf.”
Oddly, this idiom has nothing to do with leaves. It’s about becoming a new person, a better person. Someone who “turns over a new leaf” changes the direction of their life.
Using the idiom turn over a new leaf
How can I use the idiom – turn over a new leaf?
Kevin was a troublemaker. He never went to class. He never listened to his parents. He would even laugh at the lessons the elders tried to teach him, saying “You don’t know anything old man,” as the family spoke to him of ancient books and traditions. But one day Kevin came to me and said, “I’m tired of causing mischief. I will study and make good marks in school.” To which I said, “You are young and have time to turn over a new leaf.”
Kevin will begin to do the right thing. He will turn over a new leaf by making good grades in school and listening to his parents.
Native speakers often use idioms in conversation, so knowing English idioms with their meanings would give English learners an extra tool to express themselves. Using English color idioms or idioms rainbow can always be fun.
English idioms are easier to learn and remember if we put them into groups. Let us look at a few examples of idioms about rainbows and colors.
Popular Color Idioms that will Improve Your English Fluency
The Idiom “Red flag” is often used to signify danger. “Red flag,” as a Noun, is a warning of danger. For example, “His actions raised a red flag”. By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that the man in question was doing something suspicious, troubles could arise from his actions.
As a Verb, the phrase also signals danger. When used in Verb form, you may encounter the gerund or past tense of the word, such as:
Examples of the idiom “red flag”
Fever is the body’s red flag.
Teachers always check for red flags such as tardiness and absences.
Feeling of anxiety, depression is often considered as the mind’s Red flag.
Employers consider a constant shift in jobs as a red flag.
She saw a red flag when the boss asked her for personal favors.
Often, the English language uses idioms that invoke color imagery, like, I feel blue, in the pink, red flag, etc. These figures of speech are used because colors have a strong association with emotions. For example, “Bulls (male cows) are color blind, but a matador (bullfighter), uses a red flag to provoke the animal”. Why use a red rag to anger a colorblind bull?
Mary Had a Change of Heart and Set Her Little Lamb Free
As you know, you can’t change your heart, you were born with it. But, the English idiom “change of heart” implies that you can.
The idiom “change of heart” doesn’t literally mean that you can swap one organ with another. It means that you can change your mind, usually after long consideration.
You may know the Nursery Rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb. Taking from that, I have an example of the idiom “change of heart” to share:
Mary had a little lamb. Mary loved her little lamb. But, one day she had a change of heart and decided it was time to set the little lamb free. For she knew that to love something is to let it go. If it returns, it loves you.
Definition and meaning of the idiom “foot the bill”
What does the idiom “foot the bill” mean? How can I use the idiom “foot the bill in a full sentence?”
You may even encounter a native speaker using the idiom “to foot the bill.” This saying, counter-intuitively, has nothing to do with feet. By saying this, the speaker is stating that they will pay the bill.
For example, “William often dines with us, but he never foots the bill” which simply means, he never pays.
Moreover, the person who foots the bill only means he/ she pays the entire bill. The idiom is most often used with dining but can be applied to anything.
It’s true, a picture does paint a thousand words. One doesn’t even have to be an Essayist to jot a thousand words upon encountering an old photograph or painting. Each image contains context and sub-context: the immediately visible that which one must dig to notice.
Here’s an example: Ren went into a junk shop. While browsing the antiques, she stumbled upon an old picture of Tokyo. Ren immediately noticed the difference in clothing, landscape, vehicles…The picture barely resembled the modern neon-filled Tokyo. While looking at the picture Ren said to herself, “This picture paints a thousand words.” And although the photograph was an antique, it was only a few Yen. She fell in love with it, bought it on the spot, took it home, framed it, and now it hangs in Ren’s den.
Examples of a picture paints a thousand words
I took a photo from my balcony to show my friends. A picture paints a thousand words after all.
I find it easier to follow instructions with pictures rather than just text as a picture paints a thousand words.
Q1: Try making your own sentence.
Q2: Do you feel that old photographs from your childhood paint a thousand words? Why or why not?
Q3: What picture, according to you, paints a thousand words? Why?
Eigooo, the English Training Chat Application
To improve your English, the best way is to practice every day. Eigooo supports you with a 24/7 chat service with real teachers.
You can chat with the teacher one-on-one.
The teacher will make immediate corrections to your messages.
No need to make a reservation. You can start whenever you want.
Today, our lesson is about one of my favorite subjects: idioms.
Idioms are seemingly nonsensical groupings of words. However, they aren’t as they seem. In fact, these phrases are cram-packed with meaning! Their meaning evolved through usage, rather than the entries of lexicographers, Grammarians who decide which words are placed in the dictionary and what they mean.
Idiom of the day: pretty as a picture.
This saying came about during the Victorian Era, the 1800s. It was even used by Mark Twain. In the book A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court, Twain describes a character as “pretty as a picture.” Despite the noted hubbub, this phrase literally means attractive, in fact, there’s not much else to it.
You may encounter a native English speaker saying “She’s as pretty as a picture.” The speaker is telling the listener that the person in question is beautiful.