27 Idioms for Communication


Communication is the cornerstone of human interaction, allowing us to convey thoughts, feelings, and ideas effectively. In the world of language, idioms play a unique role in enriching our conversations and providing colorful expressions.

Join us as we dive into the fascinating world of idiomatic expressions that make communication more vibrant and engaging.

idioms for communication

What is an idiom for communication?

Idioms are expressions that carry a figurative or symbolic meaning beyond their literal interpretation.

When it comes to communication, idioms add depth and nuance to our conversations, making them more interesting and relatable.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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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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Below, we’ll delve into a list of idioms for communication, breaking down their meanings and offering real-life examples to illustrate their usage.

IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Break the iceTo start a conversation or initiate interaction with someone, especially in a social setting where people are initially reservedAt the networking event, he used humor to break the ice and make new acquaintances feel comfortable.
Speak the same languageTo share common understanding or beliefs with someone, making communication smooth and easyThey have similar educational backgrounds and work experiences, so they speak the same language when discussing their industry.
Give someone the cold shoulderTo intentionally ignore or treat someone with indifference, often as a form of disapproval or rejectionAfter the argument, she decided to give her friend the cold shoulder and didn’t respond to messages for a while.
Talk a mile a minuteTo speak very quickly and enthusiastically, often without pausingWhen she’s excited about a topic, she can talk a mile a minute, making it challenging for others to keep up.
Keep someone in the loopTo provide someone with information and updates about a particular situation or projectAs the project manager, it’s essential to keep the team in the loop regarding any changes or developments.
Get on the same pageTo ensure that everyone involved in a discussion or project has a shared understanding and is in agreementThe team had a meeting to get on the same page regarding the project’s objectives and timeline.
Beat around the bushTo avoid addressing an issue directly or to speak indirectly, usually to delay or evade the topicInstead of providing a straightforward answer, he tended to beat around the bush when asked about his future plans.
Hear it on the grapevineTo hear information or rumors from unofficial or informal sources, often through gossipShe heard about the upcoming changes at work on the grapevine, but she wasn’t sure if the information was accurate.
Cry over spilled milkTo dwell on past mistakes or regrets that cannot be undone, rather than moving forwardAfter losing the game, he realized that crying over spilled milk wouldn’t help him improve his skills.
Speak one’s mindTo express one’s thoughts, opinions, or feelings openly and honestlyIn the meeting, she felt it was essential to speak her mind and address the issues that needed attention.
Have a heart-to-heartTo have a deep and sincere conversation with someone, often discussing personal feelings or concernsThey decided to have a heart-to-heart conversation to resolve their relationship issues and better understand each other.
Bite one’s tongueTo refrain from saying something that may be offensive or hurtful, even though you want to express itDuring the heated argument, he had to bite his tongue to avoid making hurtful comments.
Put in one’s two centsTo share one’s opinion or give input on a particular topic or situation, often unsolicitedShe couldn’t help but put in her two cents during the discussion, as she felt passionate about the subject.
Get the word outTo spread information, news, or announcements to a wide audienceThe marketing team worked tirelessly to get the word out about the upcoming product launch.
Read between the linesTo understand a deeper or hidden meaning in someone’s words or actions, often involving inferenceShe had to read between the lines of his cryptic message to decipher his true feelings.
Talk the talkTo express a particular viewpoint or position verbally, especially when it’s essential to back it up with actionsHe could talk the talk when it came to environmental conservation, but he also actively participated in clean-up events.
Keep a stiff upper lipTo remain emotionally strong and composed in the face of adversity or difficultyDespite the challenges, she managed to keep a stiff upper lip and provide support for her family.
Play it by earTo make decisions or handle situations spontaneously or without a fixed plan, adapting as neededThey decided to play it by ear and see where their road trip took them, without a strict itinerary.
Let the cat out of the bagTo reveal a secret or disclose information that was intended to be kept confidentialHe accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party, spoiling the surprise for everyone.
Have a chip on one’s shoulderTo be easily offended or hold a grudge, often due to past experiences or grievancesHe always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder, reacting defensively to even minor criticism.
Talk a blue streakTo talk very quickly and at great length, often excitedly or nervouslyWhen she’s anxious, she tends to talk a blue streak, rambling on about various topics.
Go off on a tangentTo deviate from the main topic of conversation and start discussing something unrelatedDuring the meeting, he went off on a tangent about his recent vacation, causing confusion among the participants.
Keep it under wrapsTo keep something a secret or not reveal information to the public or a specific audienceThe company decided to keep the new product features under wraps until the official launch.
Face the musicTo confront the consequences or responsibilities of one’s actions, especially when they are unfavorableAfter missing the deadline, he knew he had to face the music and explain the delay to his supervisor.
Break a silenceTo end a period of silence by speaking or making noiseThe awkward silence in the room was finally broken when someone decided to break a silence by telling a joke.
Catch someone’s driftTo understand or grasp the intended meaning or idea, often when it is implied rather than explicitly statedShe had trouble understanding the complex concept, but after a detailed explanation, she finally caught the speaker’s drift.
Speak volumesTo convey a significant amount of information or meaning through one’s words or actionsHer dedication to volunteering spoke volumes about her commitment to making a positive impact on the community.

Communication is like a bridge connecting two islands of understanding, allowing ideas and thoughts to flow freely between them. For more comparisons to describe communication, you can check this link: Similes for communication. And for a variety of metaphors related to communication, you can explore this link: Metaphors for communication.

Idioms for Communication

1. Break the ice

Meaning: To start a conversation or initiate interaction with someone, especially in a social setting where people are initially reserved.

In a Sentence: At the networking event, he used humor to break the ice and make new acquaintances feel comfortable.

2. Speak the same language

Meaning: To share common understanding or beliefs with someone, making communication smooth and easy.

In a Sentence: They have similar educational backgrounds and work experiences, so they speak the same language when discussing their industry.

3. Give someone the cold shoulder

Meaning: To intentionally ignore or treat someone with indifference, often as a form of disapproval or rejection.

In a Sentence: After the argument, she decided to give her friend the cold shoulder and didn’t respond to messages for a while.

4. Talk a mile a minute

Meaning: To speak very quickly and enthusiastically, often without pausing.

In a Sentence: When she’s excited about a topic, she can talk a mile a minute, making it challenging for others to keep up.

5. Keep someone in the loop

Meaning: To provide someone with information and updates about a particular situation or project.

In a Sentence: As the project manager, it’s essential to keep the team in the loop regarding any changes or developments.

6. Get on the same page

Meaning: To ensure that everyone involved in a discussion or project has a shared understanding and is in agreement.

In a Sentence: The team had a meeting to get on the same page regarding the project’s objectives and timeline.

7. Beat around the bush

Meaning: To avoid addressing an issue directly or to speak indirectly, usually to delay or evade the topic.

In a Sentence: Instead of providing a straightforward answer, he tended to beat around the bush when asked about his future plans.

8. Hear it on the grapevine

Meaning: To hear information or rumors from unofficial or informal sources, often through gossip.

In a Sentence: She heard about the upcoming changes at work on the grapevine, but she wasn’t sure if the information was accurate.

9. Cry over spilled milk

Meaning: To dwell on past mistakes or regrets that cannot be undone, rather than moving forward.

In a Sentence: After losing the game, he realized that crying over spilled milk wouldn’t help him improve his skills.

10. Speak one’s mind

Meaning: To express one’s thoughts, opinions, or feelings openly and honestly.

In a Sentence: In the meeting, she felt it was essential to speak her mind and address the issues that needed attention.

11. Have a heart-to-heart

Meaning: To have a deep and sincere conversation with someone, often discussing personal feelings or concerns.

In a Sentence: They decided to have a heart-to-heart conversation to resolve their relationship issues and better understand each other.

12. Bite one’s tongue

Meaning: To refrain from saying something that may be offensive or hurtful, even though you want to express it.

In a Sentence: During the heated argument, he had to bite his tongue to avoid making hurtful comments.

13. Put in one’s two cents

Meaning: To share one’s opinion or give input on a particular topic or situation, often unsolicited.

In a Sentence: She couldn’t help but put in her two cents during the discussion, as she felt passionate about the subject.

14. Get the word out

Meaning: To spread information, news, or announcements to a wide audience.

In a Sentence: The marketing team worked tirelessly to get the word out about the upcoming product launch.

15. Read between the lines

Meaning: To understand a deeper or hidden meaning in someone’s words or actions, often involving inference.

In a Sentence: She had to read between the lines of his cryptic message to decipher his true feelings.

16. Talk the talk

Meaning: To express a particular viewpoint or position verbally, especially when it’s essential to back it up with actions.

In a Sentence: He could talk the talk when it came to environmental conservation, but he also actively participated in clean-up events.

17. Keep a stiff upper lip

Meaning: To remain emotionally strong and composed in the face of adversity or difficulty.

In a Sentence: Despite the challenges, she managed to keep a stiff upper lip and provide support for her family.

18. Play it by ear

Meaning: To make decisions or handle situations spontaneously or without a fixed plan, adapting as needed.

In a Sentence: They decided to play it by ear and see where their road trip took them, without a strict itinerary.

19. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: To reveal a secret or disclose information that was intended to be kept confidential.

In a Sentence: He accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party, spoiling the surprise for everyone.

20. Have a chip on one’s shoulder

Meaning: To be easily offended or hold a grudge, often due to past experiences or grievances.

In a Sentence: He always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder, reacting defensively to even minor criticism.

21. Talk a blue streak

Meaning: To talk very quickly and at great length, often excitedly or nervously.

In a Sentence: When she’s anxious, she tends to talk a blue streak, rambling on about various topics.

22. Go off on a tangent

Meaning: To deviate from the main topic of conversation and start discussing something unrelated.

In a Sentence: During the meeting, he went off on a tangent about his recent vacation, causing confusion among the participants.

23. Keep it under wraps

Meaning: To keep something a secret or not reveal information to the public or a specific audience.

In a Sentence: The company decided to keep the new product features under wraps until the official launch.

24. Face the music

Meaning: To confront the consequences or responsibilities of one’s actions, especially when they are unfavorable.

In a Sentence: After missing the deadline, he knew he had to face the music and explain the delay to his supervisor.

25. Break a silence

Meaning: To end a period of silence by speaking or making noise.

In a Sentence: The awkward silence in the room was finally broken when someone decided to break a silence by telling a joke.

26. Catch someone’s drift

Meaning: To understand or grasp the intended meaning or idea, often when it is implied rather than explicitly stated.

In a Sentence: She had trouble understanding the complex concept, but after a detailed explanation, she finally caught the speaker’s drift.

27. Speak volumes

Meaning: To convey a significant amount of information or meaning through one’s words or actions.

In a Sentence: Her dedication to volunteering spoke volumes about her commitment to making a positive impact on the community.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Here are 10 quizzes about the idioms for communication mentioned in the article:

Quiz 1:
Question: What does the idiom “Give someone the cold shoulder” mean?

  • a) Offer someone a cold drink
  • b) Intentionally ignore or treat someone with indifference
  • c) Greet someone warmly

Quiz 2:
Question: What is the meaning of the idiom “Put in one’s two cents”?

  • a) Share two cents (coins) with someone
  • b) Share one’s opinion or give input on a particular topic or situation
  • c) Keep quiet and listen attentively

Quiz 3:
Question: Which idiom means to start a conversation or interaction in a social setting?

  • a) Give someone the cold shoulder
  • b) Break the ice
  • c) Speak one’s mind

Quiz 4:
Question: What does the expression “Play it by ear” imply?

  • a) Carefully plan every step
  • b) Make decisions or handle situations spontaneously, adapting as needed
  • c) Follow a predetermined script

Quiz 5:
Question: Which idiom means to understand or grasp an implied meaning?

  • a) Speak volumes
  • b) Read between the lines
  • c) Talk a mile a minute

Quiz 6:
Question: What is the meaning of the idiom “Have a chip on one’s shoulder”?

  • a) Always carry snacks
  • b) Be easily offended or hold a grudge due to past experiences
  • c) Share a bag of chips with someone

Quiz 7:
Question: Which idiom involves keeping a secret?

  • a) Cry over spilled milk
  • b) Let the cat out of the bag
  • c) Get on the same page

Quiz 8:
Question: What does “Talk the talk” mean?

  • a) Discuss walking as a form of exercise
  • b) Express a particular viewpoint or position verbally, especially when it’s essential to back it up with actions
  • c) Engage in casual conversation

Quiz 9:
Question: Which idiom means to avoid addressing an issue directly or to speak indirectly?

  • a) Face the music
  • b) Beat around the bush
  • c) Keep a stiff upper lip

Quiz 10:
Question: What is the meaning of the idiom “Get the word out”?

  • a) Spread information to a narrow audience
  • b) Spread information, news, or announcements to a wide audience
  • c) Keep information to oneself

Answers:

  1. b) Intentionally ignore or treat someone with indifference
  2. b) Share one’s opinion or give input on a particular topic or situation
  3. b) Break the ice
  4. b) Make decisions or handle situations spontaneously, adapting as needed
  5. b) Read between the lines
  6. b) Be easily offended or hold a grudge due to past experiences
  7. b) Let the cat out of the bag
  8. b) Express a particular viewpoint or position verbally, especially when it’s essential to back it up with actions
  9. b) Beat around the bush
  10. b) Spread information, news, or announcements to a wide audience

Conclusion

These idioms for communication add depth and richness to our language, allowing us to express a wide range of emotions, experiences, and interactions.

Whether you’re aiming to break the ice, have a heart-to-heart conversation, or keep it under wraps, these idiomatic expressions play a crucial role in how we connect and convey our thoughts in everyday communication.

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