27 Idioms for Change: Expressing Transformation


Change is a constant in life, and expressing it can be as tricky as adapting to it. Idioms, or phrases with meanings beyond their literal interpretations, offer a unique way to capture the essence of change.

In this guide, we’ll explore some idioms that beautifully encapsulate the concept of change. Get ready to enrich your language and convey transformations with these simple yet powerful expressions.

idioms for change

What is an idiom for change?

Idioms are phrases whose meanings can’t be understood from the individual words they contain. They often carry cultural or figurative significance.

When it comes to change, idioms provide a creative and concise way to express the complexities of transformation.


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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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Let’s dive into the meanings of some idioms for change and see how they can be used in everyday language.

IdiomMeaningSentence
Turn the TideReverse a situation.After a series of losses, the team finally turned the tide and started winning.
Shake Things UpMake significant changes to the usual routine.It’s time to shake things up in our morning routine and try something new.
Wind of ChangeSign that significant changes are coming.The new manager brought a wind of change, introducing innovative ideas to the company.
Break the MoldDo something differently from established norms.Let’s break the mold and approach this project in a completely fresh way.
Ring the ChangesMake a series of changes.The company decided to ring the changes in its marketing strategy for the upcoming year.
Turn Over a New LeafMake a fresh start.After the breakup, Sarah decided to turn over a new leaf and focus on herself.
Blaze a New TrailDo something innovative or groundbreaking.Our team aims to blaze a new trail in eco-friendly technology.
Chart a New CourseSet a new direction.After completing his degree, James decided to chart a new course in a different field.
Paint a New PicturePresent a new perspective or idea.The artist wanted to paint a new picture of beauty, challenging conventional standards.
Shift GearsChange focus or approach.With the market trends evolving, the company had to shift gears to stay competitive.
Break New GroundDo something that has never been done before.The scientist aimed to break new ground in cancer research.
Set the Stage for ChangePrepare for upcoming transformations.The announcement set the stage for change in the organization’s policies.
Take a Different TackChoose a different approach or strategy.When faced with challenges, it’s essential to take a different tack to find solutions.
Open a New ChapterStart a new phase or period.Graduating from high school opens a new chapter in our lives.
Change Horses in MidstreamMake a significant change of plans.Despite initial resistance, the team decided to change horses in midstream for better results.
Change the GameTransform the way something is done.The introduction of digital technology changed the game in the entertainment industry.
Set the Wheels in MotionInitiate a process or change.The decision to expand the business set the wheels in motion for a new era of growth.
Stir the PotCause trouble or controversy.Bringing up sensitive topics can sometimes stir the pot at family gatherings.
Change One’s TuneChange one’s opinion or attitude.After hearing the facts, he had to change his tune about the proposed project.
Move the NeedleMake a noticeable impact or difference.Implementing the new policy will move the needle in improving employee satisfaction.
Break with TraditionAbandon traditional practices.The young couple decided to break with tradition and have a destination wedding.
Sea ChangeProfound transformation.The technological advancements brought about a sea change in how we communicate.
Change of HeartHave a change in one’s feelings or attitude.After understanding the situation, she had a change of heart and decided to support the cause.
See the Writing on the WallUnderstand that a change is imminent.The poor sales numbers made it clear – it was time to see the writing on the wall and make adjustments.
Change One’s StripesUndergo a fundamental change in character or behavior.Despite his reputation, he managed to change his stripes and become a responsible citizen.
Break the Status QuoDisrupt the current state of affairs.It’s time to break the status quo and introduce new policies for a better future.
Put a New Spin on ThingsPresent something in a different and refreshing way.The marketing team decided to put a new spin on things to attract a younger audience.

Metaphors can illustrate the concept of change, like comparing it to a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, transformed and ready to fly. To explore more metaphors for change, you can visit this link: Metaphors for Change. Similarly, similes provide comparisons that make change more relatable, such as saying it’s as swift as a river flowing downstream. Discover additional similes for change here: Similes for Change.

Idioms for Change

1. Turn the Tide

Meaning: To reverse a situation.

In a Sentence: After a series of losses, the team finally turned the tide and started winning.

2. Shake Things Up

Meaning: To make significant changes to the usual routine.

In a Sentence: It’s time to shake things up in our morning routine and try something new.

3. Wind of Change

Meaning: A sign that significant changes are coming.

In a Sentence: The new manager brought a wind of change, introducing innovative ideas to the company.

4. Break the Mold

Meaning: To do something differently from established norms.

In a Sentence: Let’s break the mold and approach this project in a completely fresh way.

5. Ring the Changes

Meaning: To make a series of changes.

In a Sentence: The company decided to ring the changes in its marketing strategy for the upcoming year.

6. Turn Over a New Leaf

Meaning: To make a fresh start.

In a Sentence: After the breakup, Sarah decided to turn over a new leaf and focus on herself.

7. Blaze a New Trail

Meaning: To do something innovative or groundbreaking.

In a Sentence: Our team aims to blaze a new trail in eco-friendly technology.

8. Chart a New Course

Meaning: To set a new direction.

In a Sentence: After completing his degree, James decided to chart a new course in a different field.

9. Paint a New Picture

Meaning: To present a new perspective or idea.

In a Sentence: The artist wanted to paint a new picture of beauty, challenging conventional standards.

10. Shift Gears

Meaning: To change focus or approach.

In a Sentence: With the market trends evolving, the company had to shift gears to stay competitive.

11. Break New Ground

Meaning: To do something that has never been done before.

In a Sentence: The scientist aimed to break new ground in cancer research.

12. Set the Stage for Change

Meaning: To prepare for upcoming transformations.

In a Sentence: The announcement set the stage for change in the organization’s policies.

13. Take a Different Tack

Meaning: To choose a different approach or strategy.

In a Sentence: When faced with challenges, it’s essential to take a different tack to find solutions.

14. Open a New Chapter

Meaning: To start a new phase or period.

In a Sentence: Graduating from high school opens a new chapter in our lives.

15. Change Horses in Midstream

Meaning: To make a significant change of plans.

In a Sentence: Despite initial resistance, the team decided to change horses in midstream for better results.

16. Change the Game

Meaning: To transform the way something is done.

In a Sentence: The introduction of digital technology changed the game in the entertainment industry.

17. Set the Wheels in Motion

Meaning: To initiate a process or change.

In a Sentence: The decision to expand the business set the wheels in motion for a new era of growth.

18. Stir the Pot

Meaning: To cause trouble or controversy.

In a Sentence: Bringing up sensitive topics can sometimes stir the pot at family gatherings.

19. Change One’s Tune

Meaning: To change one’s opinion or attitude.

In a Sentence: After hearing the facts, he had to change his tune about the proposed project.

20. Move the Needle

Meaning: To make a noticeable impact or difference.

In a Sentence: Implementing the new policy will move the needle in improving employee satisfaction.

21. Break with Tradition

Meaning: To abandon traditional practices.

In a Sentence: The young couple decided to break with tradition and have a destination wedding.

22. Sea Change

Meaning: A profound transformation.

In a Sentence: The technological advancements brought about a sea change in how we communicate.

23. Change of Heart

Meaning: To have a change in one’s feelings or attitude.

In a Sentence: After understanding the situation, she had a change of heart and decided to support the cause.

24. See the Writing on the Wall

Meaning: To understand that a change is imminent.

In a Sentence: The poor sales numbers made it clear – it was time to see the writing on the wall and make adjustments.

25. Change One’s Stripes

Meaning: To undergo a fundamental change in character or behavior.

In a Sentence: Despite his reputation, he managed to change his stripes and become a responsible citizen.

26. Break the Status Quo

Meaning: To disrupt the current state of affairs.

In a Sentence: It’s time to break the status quo and introduce new policies for a better future.

27. Put a New Spin on Things

Meaning: To present something in a different and refreshing way.

In a Sentence: The marketing team decided to put a new spin on things to attract a younger audience.

10 Quizzes About The Idiom in The Article

Quiz 1

Question 1: What does the idiom “Turn the Tide” mean?

a) To maintain the current situation.

b) To reverse a situation.

c) To turn in a circle.

Question 2: Can you use “Turn the Tide” in a sentence?

a) The team turned in a circle.

b) After a series of losses, the team finally __ and started winning.

c) The tide turned, but nothing changed.


Quiz 2

Question 1: What does the idiom “Blaze a New Trail” mean?

a) To create a fire on a path.

b) To follow the established route.

c) To do something innovative or groundbreaking.

Question 2: Provide a sentence using “Blaze a New Trail.”

a) The team followed the old trail.

b) Our team aims to __ in eco-friendly technology.

c) The trail blazed a fire.


Quiz 3

Question 1: What is the meaning of “Break the Mold”?

a) To create a new sculpture.

b) To do something differently from established norms.

c) To fix a broken object.

Question 2: Create a sentence using “Break the Mold.”

a) Let’s break the mold and __ this project in a completely fresh way.

b) The mold broke in the kitchen.

c) Stick to the mold and don’t change.


Quiz 4

Question 1: Define the idiom “Set the Wheels in Motion.”

a) To stop a moving vehicle.

b) To initiate a process or change.

c) To decorate a car with wheels.

Question 2: Use “Set the Wheels in Motion” in a sentence.

a) The car had no wheels in motion.

b) The decision to expand the business __ for a new era of growth.

c) Motion wheels are set.


Quiz 5

Question 1: What does “Change Horses in Midstream” mean?

a) To ride horses in a river.

b) To make a significant change of plans.

c) To bet on horse races.

Question 2: Construct a sentence with “Change Horses in Midstream.”

a) Stick to the current plan; don’t change horses.

b) Despite initial resistance, the team decided to __ for better results.

c) Horses can’t be changed midstream.


Quiz 6

Question 1: Explain the idiom “Shift Gears.”

a) To repair a vehicle’s transmission.

b) To change focus or approach.

c) To drive a car with different gears.

Question 2: Use “Shift Gears” in a sentence.

a) The car couldn’t shift gears.

b) With the market trends evolving, the company had to __ to stay competitive.

c) Gears shouldn’t be shifted.


Quiz 7

Question 1: What is the meaning of “See the Writing on the Wall”?

a) To write on the wall.

b) To understand that a change is imminent.

c) To ignore warnings.

Question 2: Create a sentence using “See the Writing on the Wall.”

a) Write your message on the wall.

b) The poor sales numbers made it clear – it was time to __ and make adjustments.

c) Walls are meant for writing.


Quiz 8

Question 1: Define the idiom “Move the Needle.”

a) To sew fabric.

b) To make a noticeable impact or difference.

c) To play a record.

Question 2: Construct a sentence with “Move the Needle.”

a) The needle moved during sewing.

b) Implementing the new policy will __ in improving employee satisfaction.

c) Needles can’t move.


Quiz 9

Question 1: What does the idiom “Break with Tradition” mean?

a) To create a new tradition.

b) To abandon traditional practices.

c) To follow traditions closely.

Question 2: Use “Break with Tradition” in a sentence.

a) Stick to the tradition; don’t break it.

b) The young couple decided to __ and have a destination wedding.

c) Tradition should be broken.


Quiz 10

Question 1: Explain the idiom “Stir the Pot.”

a) To cook soup.

b) To cause trouble or controversy.

c) To leave a pot unstirred.

Question 2: Provide a sentence using “Stir the Pot.”

a) Pots shouldn’t be stirred.

b) Bringing up sensitive topics can sometimes __ at family gatherings.

c) Cooking requires pot stirring.

Conclusion

Language is a powerful tool, and idioms add an extra layer of richness to our expressions. These idioms for change serve as vibrant snapshots of transformation, allowing us to convey the excitement and unpredictability that change brings.

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