What Is a Idiomor

What Is a Idiomor

What Is a Idiom

Everyone has heard an idiom: they are used in everyday conversation and ubiquitous in song lyrics, often to express nuance or provide a twist on a commonly used phrase. Idioms are part of a language's rich vernacular and are a key part of its iconic vocabulary.


An idiom is an expression that takes on a figurative meaning when certain words are combined, which is different from the literal definition of the individual words. For example, let's say I said: 'Don't worry, driving out to your house is a piece of cake.' We would understand that the expression 'piece of cake' means that it's easy. Normally, we obviously wouldn't associate the word 'cake' when it is on its own as anything other than dessert. But in this context, it's a well-known idiom.

There are tens of thousands of idioms used in the English language. As we can probably understand, idioms are difficult for people whose first language is not English. Actually, even native English speakers in the Motherland of England have a hard time with American idioms. Americans know them because they're common expressions. We're used to hearing them in our homes, at school, and in our favorite television programs. (Source: study.com)


Okay, so why use idioms at all? They can be confusing if you're not familiar with them, they can be a pain for non-native English speakers, and if we mess them up we sound really silly. Even still, idioms add a little spice and color to our everyday language. Think of the idiom 'green-eyed monster.' Sure we could just say that someone is jealous. But consider the image that pops into your head when you hear 'green-eyed monster.' Maybe you see a huge scary beast with sharp teeth and massive claws with a pair of lethal green eyes that scare you half to death.

(Many fixed idioms lack semantic composition, meaning that the idiom contains the semantic role of a verb, but not of any object. This is true of kick the bucket, which means die. By contrast, the semantically composite idiom spill the beans, meaning reveal a secret, contains both a semantic verb and object, reveal and secret. Semantically composite idioms have a syntactic similarity between their surface and semantic forms. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)


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