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Monday, April 11, 2011


Idiom: An idiom is an expression in one language that cannot be translated word-for-word in another language. Southerners speak in idioms, which is why it is so difficult for people from other regions of the country to assimilate into southern culture. They're always translating everything we say literally, and thus taking offense to it or deciding we're stupid. An idiom, very simply, is an expression with figurative meaning that is separate from the literal meaning. For example, saying someone has a bee in her bonnet means she is obsessed with something, not that she is about to get stung and we're going to say nothing and watch it happen.

An Example from Literature: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

"Johnny worshiped the ground Dallas walked on."

My Try: "Girl," croaked Charlie Duggan, taking a sip of the brown liquid in his glass and making the ice clink again when he set it back down, "you know you can't rely on that man. If you're leaning on Roy, you're leaning on a limber reed." Jim and Mary Alice looked from their mother to their grandfather. The biting anger in his voice was unmistakable.

What common idioms do you use? List a couple in the comments section.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 12th - Juxtaposition


welcome to my world of poetry said...

A very good I word, loved the interesting read,


Hannah Kincade said...

I'm sure I use idioms all the time but of course, my mind is blank right now and I can't think of any., it's gone. :)


Your question has been answered.

Hart Johnson said...

So interesting to think about. I think learning another language really is a great way to sort of grasp the idea of idiom better, I don't think I use much of it though. I'm a west coast girl and things out there are pretty plainly spoken.

Siv Maria said...

Like this I word :) How about saying to someone that they have a bug up their A.. Off to look around, thanks for stopping by.

Talei said...

Really informative post, and I think the first I is for Idiom I've read thus far. Thank you!

Brianna said...

One of my favorite idioms my grandmother used (and she had so many!) was 'ass over applecart!' I apologize for the language, but grandma didn't censor herself.

I don't know why I enjoy that expression so much!

Thank you so much Lucy for visiting my blog regularly! I really appreciate your supportive and encouraging comments! Hearing from readers like you help me continue in the challenge.

Susie Swanson said...

I love your blog and it is very informative. I am glad to be a follower. Thanks for visiting mine. Susie Swanson

Susan Kane said...

My father was a master if idioms, my favorite being, "You can't push a string.." when talking about a stubborn person, or a problem that seemed unsolvable.
The Irish--now there's a people who talk in idioms,

the writing pad said...

Hi Lucy
Makes me think of Hercule Poirot, who was always getting English idioms slightly wrong (e.g. 'Get a grasp on yourself, Hastings')
Thanks for another great post
All best

Ellie said...

I don't think I know any. Is that bad?

Ellie Garratt

Lantern Poems said...

Useful post, Lucy
I liked your beautiful and informative blog, Great work!

Take Care

Short Poems

Jan Morrison said...

I love idiomatic turns of phrase. Nova Scotia's south shore, with its mixture of Irish and German ancestors, is rife with them. 'You have to come on to 'er.' speaking of a boat engine. Or 'stay where you're at and I'll come where you're to.' People from Nova Scotia are called 'bluenosers' perhaps after a famous racing fishing boat but which came first?
Jan Morrison

Kris Yankee said...

I think whenever I use "blah blah is beyond me" would be an idiom that I use.

Thanks for the great post!