Idiom of the Day

Definition of idiom:

I post weekly videos of Idiom of the Day in conversation with my friends and colleagues. First, I explain the idiom or phrase, and after, post a video to show you how it is used in everyday conversation. Enjoy!

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

“LET’S CROSS THAT BRIDGE WHEN WE COME TO IT”

Do you find it hard to to keep your global team focused on tasks using English?

Don’t worry! You’re not alone.

Sometimes it is a simple matter of finding the right words or expression to keep your team aligned.

The idiom “let’s cross that bridge when we come to it” means to deal with a problem AFTER the current task has been completed.

Watch the video below to learn how you can use this idiom to help you.

“GET THE BALL ROLLING” and “ON THE SAME PAGE”

The first idiom “to get the ball rolling” means to start, to take action on something.

The etymology of this idiom is said to come from sports, namely croquet, where the ball is literally rolled to start a game. 

The second idiom “on the same page” means to have the same knowledge about something and to be in agreement with someone about something.

The etymology of this phrase seems to come from two sources, music and the business sector. In music, choral singers needed to be in sync and therefore on the same page in order for their singing sound cohesive. In business, all members at a meeting had to be reading from a single copy of meeting notes to ensure everyone understood what was being discussed.

These are great idioms to use in the office.

To help you, below are some examples of using these idioms.

“Ok, let’s get the ball rolling and start the meeting.” or “We need to get the ball rolling before lunch time.” 

“Before we start the meeting, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the format.” or “It doesn’t seem like they were on the same page about the flight schedules.”

In this week’s video, I get the ball rolling with my friend and colleague, Paul Duke, and we talk about the challenge of scheduling in different time zones. Paul is an English language coach and teacher. His website is: http://www.teacherpaul.ca where you can see his extensive library of video lessons for students and teachers!

It is common to hear English native speakers use this idiom:

“SPILL THE BEANS”

Have you come across it before?

It means to reveal secret information unintentionally.

It can be a great idiom to use when you are warning others not to reveal sensitive information.

To help you, below are some examples of using this idiom.

“We want the birthday party to be a surprise, so don’t spill the beans!”

Like a lot of idioms, there are varying etymologies. Some say this idiom is of Greek origin. People would use beans to vote – some beans were white, some black, some red, and so on. They were put in jars and counted. If someone accidentally tipped over a jar, they had “spilled the beans” and revealed the vote early.

Here is a conversation with my friend Berend McKenzie. He is a writer, director, and actor from Edmonton, AB. In this video we catch up, discuss video chatting, and Berend uses our idiom of the day!

“BITE THE BULLET”

It means to endure a difficult period of time or situation with a strength of will. 

It can be a good idiom to use in place of words like, “endure”.

To help you, below are some examples of using this idiom.

“If I had to move for my job, I would bite the bullet and hope that it turned out for the better.”

“Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get the job done!”

Here is a video conversation with my friend and writer, Eric Drysdale. We catch up after a very long time (we went to high school together). We talk about the difficulty making a decision to move to another city for a job.

“BEAT AROUND THE BUSH”

It means to speak indirectly, to delay the main point.

It can be a great idiom to use when you are describing yourself or others who have been reluctant to get to the main point or be specific about something.

To help you, below are some examples of using this idiom.

“I don’t beat around the bush if something annoys me, I will tell you.”

“He beat around the bush forever until he finally said he wanted to break up with her.”

Here is a video conversation with my friend and actor Denise Jones. She talks about how people from Newfoundland never beat around the bush if something is on their mind! But first, we start with “gonna”…

“COOL AS A CUCUMBER”

Have you come across it before?

It means to remain calm in stressful situations.

It can be a great idiom to use when you are describing yourself or others who have managed to remain composed during a heated exchange or when giving advice to others about how to handle a stressful situation.

To help you, below are some examples of using this idiom.

“She was as cool as a cucumber during the job interview.”

“Even though Peter Quill/Starlord was intimated by Thor, he tried to act as cool as a cucumber!”

My good friend and actor Michael Benyaer and I have a morning chat and he uses the “Idiom of the Day”! If you would like to learn more idioms and improve your communication or presentation skills, get in touch! Let’s connect and learn to stay “as cool as a cucumber” in stressful speaking situations!

You might hear this idiom from English speakers:

“Time on my hands”

Have you come across it before?

It means to have a period of time when you have nothing you must do.

It can be a great idiom to use when you are planning to do something in the short term or long term.

To help you, below are some examples of using this idiom.

“Now that she is retired, she has a lot of time on her hands”

“I have some time on my hands today so I can help you with your work.”

There is another idiom “time to kill” that means to have a period of time to do something before something else. It is similar to “time on one’s hands”. An example is:

“I had time to kill before class started so I grabbed a coffee at the cafe.”

There is no specific etymology that I can find for “time on one’s hands” except for references to its first use in 18th century literature. I surmise, however, that the expression might have something to do with the hands of a clock and not actual hands of a person. Anyway….

Here is a conversation with my friend and teaching colleague, Gordon McKee. He had some time to spare, so he saw a movie…..

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