27 Idioms for a Person + Quiz


They are phrases that don’t mean exactly what the words say. Instead, they have hidden meanings. In this listicle, we’ll explore some idioms for a person, explaining what they mean and how to use them in everyday conversation. So, let’s dive in!

idioms for a person

What is an idiom for a person?

An idiom for a person is a phrase that uses figurative language to describe someone’s actions, feelings, or characteristics.

These expressions are not meant to be taken literally but convey a deeper meaning or image. Here, we’ll break down each idiom, provide its meaning, and show you how to use it in a sentence.

IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
A chip on their shoulderHolding onto a grudge or easily offendedSarah always has a chip on her shoulder.
All thumbsClumsy and not good with their handsDon’t let Bob fix your computer; he’s all thumbs.
At the drop of a hatEager and willing to do something without hesitationShe’s always prepared to help at the drop of a hat.
Barking up the wrong treePursuing a wrong or unproductive course of actionJohn thought I stole his lunch, but he’s barking up the wrong tree.
Beat around the bushAvoiding getting to the point or discussing directlyPlease stop beating around the bush and tell me what you really think.
Break a legWishing good luck, especially before a performanceBefore the school play, her friends told her to break a leg.
Butterflies in their stomachFeeling nervous or anxiousBefore the big exam, she had butterflies in her stomach.
Cry over spilled milkWasting time and energy on past mistakesThere’s no use crying over spilled milk; let’s focus on finding a solution.
Don’t cry over spilled milkAdvising not to dwell on past mistakesI know you made a mistake, but don’t cry over spilled milk; learn from it and move on.
Don’t judge a book by its coverNot making judgments based on appearanceHe may look tough, but don’t judge a book by its cover; he’s actually very kind and gentle.
A dime a dozenVery common or easy to findThose old collectible coins used to be rare, but now they’re a dime a dozen.
Eat their heart outBragging or expressing superiorityAs she drove away in her new sports car, she shouted, “Eat your heart out, everyone!”
Get cold feetBecoming anxious or hesitantHe was excited about the adventure until he got cold feet and decided not to go.
Hit the nail on the headAccurately identifying or describing a situationHis explanation hit the nail on the head; it was exactly what had happened.
Jump on the bandwagonAdopting a popular trend or activityAfter seeing her friends succeed, she decided to jump on the bandwagon and start her own business.
Kick the bucketHumorous way of saying someone has diedMy old computer finally kicked the bucket; it’s time for a new one.
Let the cat out of the bagRevealing a secret or confidential informationMary accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.
Miss the boatMissing an opportunity or chanceHe missed the boat on investing in that company; now it’s worth millions.
Once in a blue moonSomething that happens very rarelyWe only see a comet once in a blue moon, so it’s a special event.
Put all their eggs in one basketRisking everything on a single opportunity or planShe invested all her savings in one stock; it’s risky to put all your eggs in one basket.
Pull someone’s legTeasing or playing a joke in a friendly mannerHe was just pulling your leg when he said he won the lottery.
See eye to eyeAgreeing or having the same opinionDespite their differences, they managed to see eye to eye on the important issues.
Spill the beansRevealing a secret or disclosing confidential infoTom accidentally spilled the beans about the surprise party, ruining the surprise.
Take the bull by the hornsConfronting a difficult situation directlyInstead of avoiding the problem, she decided to take the bull by the horns and address it directly.
The ball is in their courtTheir responsibility to make a decision or take actionWe’ve done everything we can to help; now the ball is in their court to decide.
Throw in the towelGiving up or surrendering in the face of adversityAfter struggling with the puzzle, she finally threw in the towel and asked for help.
You can’t judge a book by its coverNot making judgments based on outward appearanceThe old bookstore may not look fancy, but you can’t judge a book by its cover; it’s filled with rare treasures.

A person is like a complex puzzle, with each piece representing their unique experiences and personality. If you’re looking for more comparisons to describe a person, you can click on this link: Similes for a person. And for a variety of metaphors related to a person, you can explore this link: Metaphors for a person.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

English Language Level Placement Test – (TEFL)

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1 / 20

What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

6 / 20

What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

7 / 20

What is an adjective?

8 / 20

Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

9 / 20

What is an abbreviation?

10 / 20

What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

11 / 20

What is a verb?

12 / 20

Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

20 / 20

Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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Idioms for a Person

1. A chip on their shoulder

Meaning: When someone has a chip on their shoulder, it means they are holding onto a grudge or feeling easily offended.

In a Sentence: Sarah always has a chip on her shoulder, so it’s hard to have a peaceful conversation with her.

2. All thumbs

Meaning: If someone is all thumbs, it means they are clumsy and not good with their hands.

In a Sentence: Don’t let Bob fix your computer; he’s all thumbs when it comes to technology.

3. At the drop of a hat

Meaning: When someone is ready to do something at the drop of a hat, it means they are eager and willing to do it without any hesitation.

In a Sentence: She’s always prepared to help out at the drop of a hat, making her a reliable friend.

4. Barking up the wrong tree

Meaning: If someone is barking up the wrong tree, they are pursuing a wrong or unproductive course of action.

In a Sentence: John thought I stole his lunch, but he’s barking up the wrong tree; it was his brother who did it.

5. Beat around the bush

Meaning: When someone beats around the bush, they avoid getting to the point or discussing something directly.

In a Sentence: Please stop beating around the bush and tell me what you really think about my idea.

6. Break a leg

Meaning: This is an expression used to wish someone good luck, especially before a performance or an important event.

In a Sentence: Before the school play, her friends told her to break a leg for good luck.

7. Butterflies in their stomach

Meaning: If someone has butterflies in their stomach, it means they are nervous or anxious about something.

In a Sentence: Before the big exam, she had butterflies in her stomach, but she still did great.

8. Cry over spilled milk

Meaning: This idiom advises against wasting time and energy worrying about things that have already happened and cannot be changed.

In a Sentence: There’s no use crying over spilled milk; let’s focus on finding a solution.

9. Don’t cry over spilled milk

Meaning: Similar to the previous idiom, it emphasizes the importance of not dwelling on past mistakes.

In a Sentence: I know you made a mistake, but don’t cry over spilled milk; learn from it and move on.

10. Don’t judge a book by its cover

Meaning: This idiom encourages people not to make judgments about someone or something based solely on their appearance.

In a Sentence: He may look tough, but don’t judge a book by its cover; he’s actually very kind and gentle.

11. A dime a dozen

Meaning: If something is a dime a dozen, it means it is very common or easy to find.

In a Sentence: Those old collectible coins used to be rare, but now they’re a dime a dozen.

12. Eat their heart out

Meaning: When someone says, “Eat your heart out,” they are bragging or expressing superiority over someone else.

In a Sentence: As she drove away in her new sports car, she shouted, “Eat your heart out, everyone!”

13. Get cold feet

Meaning: If someone gets cold feet, it means they become anxious or hesitant about a decision or action they were initially enthusiastic about.

In a Sentence: He was excited about the adventure until the last moment when he got cold feet and decided not to go.

14. Hit the nail on the head

Meaning: When someone hits the nail on the head, they have accurately identified or described a situation.

In a Sentence: His explanation hit the nail on the head; it was exactly what had happened.

15. Jump on the bandwagon

Meaning: This idiom means to adopt a popular trend or activity that many others are doing.

In a Sentence: After seeing her friends succeed, she decided to jump on the bandwagon and start her own business.

16. Kick the bucket

Meaning: To kick the bucket is a humorous way of saying someone has died.

In a Sentence: My old computer finally kicked the bucket; it’s time for a new one.

17. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: When someone lets the cat out of the bag, they reveal a secret or confidential information.

In a Sentence: Mary accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.

18. Miss the boat

Meaning: If someone misses the boat, they have missed an opportunity or chance.

In a Sentence: He missed the boat on investing in that company; now it’s worth millions.

19. Once in a blue moon

Meaning: This idiom describes something that happens very rarely.

In a Sentence: We only see a comet once in a blue moon, so it’s a special event.

20. Put all their eggs in one basket

Meaning: When someone puts all their eggs in one basket, they risk everything on a single opportunity or plan.

In a Sentence: She invested all her savings in one stock; it’s risky to put all your eggs in one basket.

21. Pull someone’s leg

Meaning: To pull someone’s leg means to tease or play a joke on them in a friendly manner.

In a Sentence: He was just pulling your leg when he said he won the lottery.

22. See eye to eye

Meaning: When people see eye to eye, they agree or have the same opinion.

In a Sentence: Despite their differences, they managed to see eye to eye on the important issues.

23. Spill the beans

Meaning: To spill the beans means to reveal a secret or disclose confidential information.

In a Sentence: Tom accidentally spilled the beans about the surprise party, ruining the surprise.

24. Take the bull by the horns

Meaning: This idiom encourages someone to confront a difficult or challenging situation head-on.

In a Sentence: Instead of avoiding the problem, she decided to take the bull by the horns and address it directly.

25. The ball is in their court

Meaning: When the ball is in someone’s court, it means it is their responsibility to make a decision or take action.

In a Sentence: We’ve done everything we can to help; now the ball is in their court to decide.

26. Throw in the towel

Meaning: To throw in the towel is to give up or surrender in the face of adversity.

In a Sentence: After struggling for hours with the puzzle, she finally threw in the towel and asked for help.

27. You can’t judge a book by its cover

Meaning: This idiom reminds us not to make judgments about people or things based solely on their outward appearance.

In a Sentence: The old bookstore may not look fancy, but you can’t judge a book by its cover; it’s filled with rare treasures.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Quiz 1: A Chip on Their Shoulder

  1. What does it mean if someone has “a chip on their shoulder”?
    a) They are carrying snacks.
    b) They are holding onto a grudge or feeling easily offended.
    c) They are in a bad mood.

Quiz 2: All Thumbs

  1. If someone is described as being “all thumbs,” what does it mean?
    a) They are skilled at everything they do.
    b) They are clumsy and not good with their hands.
    c) They are exceptionally coordinated.

Quiz 3: Break a Leg

  1. When would you say “break a leg” to someone?
    a) When you want them to have good luck.
    b) When you want them to be careful.
    c) When you want them to rest.

Quiz 4: Miss the Boat

  1. What does it mean if you “miss the boat”?
    a) You are a skilled sailor.
    b) You have missed an opportunity or chance.
    c) You have successfully boarded a ship.

Quiz 5: See Eye to Eye

  1. When do people “see eye to eye” with each other?
    a) When they have different opinions.
    b) When they have the same opinion or agree.
    c) When they refuse to talk to each other.

Quiz 6: Spill the Beans

  1. What happens when someone “spills the beans”?
    a) They drop some beans on the floor.
    b) They reveal a secret or disclose confidential information.
    c) They cook a delicious meal.

Quiz 7: Take the Bull by the Horns

  1. What does it mean to “take the bull by the horns”?
    a) To avoid confrontation.
    b) To confront a difficult or challenging situation directly.
    c) To hide from problems.

Quiz 8: You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

  1. What message does the idiom “You can’t judge a book by its cover” convey?
    a) It’s important to judge people based on their appearance.
    b) Appearance is always a reliable indicator of someone’s character.
    c) Don’t make judgments about people or things based solely on their outward appearance.

Quiz 9: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

  1. What does it mean if someone is “barking up the wrong tree”?
    a) They are looking for a lost dog.
    b) They are pursuing a wrong or unproductive course of action.
    c) They are trying to climb a tree.

Quiz 10: Put All Their Eggs in One Basket

  1. When is it risky to “put all your eggs in one basket”?
    a) When you’re organizing an egg hunt.
    b) When you’re investing all your resources in a single opportunity or plan.
    c) When you’re sharing eggs with friends.

Answers:

  1. b) They are holding onto a grudge or feeling easily offended.
  2. b) They are clumsy and not good with their hands.
  3. a) When you want them to have good luck.
  4. b) You have missed an opportunity or chance.
  5. b) When they have the same opinion or agree.
  6. b) They reveal a secret or disclose confidential information.
  7. b) To confront a difficult or challenging situation directly.
  8. c) Don’t make judgments about people or things based solely on their outward appearance.
  9. b) They are pursuing a wrong or unproductive course of action.
  10. b) When you’re investing all your resources in a single opportunity or plan.

Conclusion

Idioms for a person can add depth and color to our conversations. Understanding their meanings and using them appropriately can help you express yourself more vividly and communicate effectively.

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