27 Idioms for Patience


Idioms are like little nuggets of wisdom that help us express the complex feeling of patience in simple yet profound ways.

In this article, we’ll explore a collection of idioms for patience, shedding light on their meanings and showing how they paint a picture of enduring composure.

idioms for patience

What is an idiom for patience?

An idiom for patience is a phrase or expression that uses words related to waiting or enduring to convey the idea of remaining calm, persevering, or handling delays with grace.

These idioms offer a glimpse into how different cultures and languages encapsulate the concept of patience. Let’s delve into the meanings and uses of these idiomatic expressions.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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What is a simile?

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Which of the following is a metaphor?

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

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IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Bite the bulletTo face a difficult or unpleasant situation with courage and determination.She had to bite the bullet and work overtime to meet the project deadline.
Keep your coolTo remain calm and composed, especially in challenging or stressful situations.Even when things got chaotic, he managed to keep his cool and make rational decisions.
Play the waiting gameTo be patient and wait for something to happen or develop without taking immediate action.In the stock market, investors often need to play the waiting game for their investments to grow.
Wait for the dust to settleTo wait for a situation to become clearer or less chaotic before making decisions or taking action.After the heated argument, they decided to wait for the dust to settle before discussing the issue further.
Hold your horsesA playful way of telling someone to be patient and wait.“Hold your horses! The food will be ready in a few minutes,” she said to her hungry children.
Rome wasn’t built in a dayTo remind someone that complex or significant achievements take time and cannot be rushed.Learning a new language is a gradual process; remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Patience is a virtueThe quality of being patient is considered morally good and commendable.He always handled difficult customers with grace, remembering that patience is a virtue.
Take it one step at a timeTo approach a task or problem gradually, focusing on each stage or aspect separately.When facing a challenging project, it’s best to take it one step at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Count to tenTo pause and take a moment to calm down or regain composure before reacting to a situation.When he felt his anger rising, he decided to count to ten before responding to the criticism.
Cool your heelsTo wait patiently for a period of time, often when one is eager or anxious.While waiting for the job interview, she had to cool her heels in the reception area.
Don’t jump the gunTo avoid acting too quickly or prematurely without all the necessary information.It’s essential to gather all the facts first; don’t jump the gun and make hasty decisions.
Keep your shirt onA humorous way of advising someone to remain calm and not get agitated.When he realized the mistake, he told his friend to keep his shirt on; it could be fixed easily.
It’s a waiting gameTo acknowledge that a situation involves waiting for an outcome or resolution.When it comes to bureaucracy, it’s often a waiting game; things take time to process.
All in good timeTo suggest that something will happen at the right moment or in due course.She wanted to advance in her career, but her mentor reassured her, saying, “All in good time.”
Have a long fuseTo be patient and slow to anger, not easily provoked.His ability to have a long fuse made him an excellent mediator in conflicts.
Time heals all woundsThe idea that over time, emotional or physical pain will naturally lessen or resolve.After their breakup, her friends reminded her that time heals all wounds, and she would eventually feel better.
Slow and steady wins the raceTo emphasize that consistent and methodical progress is more effective than rushing.In the marathon, he remembered the saying “slow and steady wins the race” and paced himself accordingly.
Let the chips fall where they mayTo accept the outcome of a situation, whether positive or negative, without trying to control it.After presenting his proposal, he decided to let the chips fall where they may and not worry about the response.
Watch the grass growTo highlight a situation where something is happening very slowly or not progressing at all.Sitting through the long and boring meeting felt like watching the grass grow.
Have the patience of JobTo describe someone who possesses exceptional patience and endurance.Despite the challenges, she showed the patience of Job in caring for her elderly parents.
Sit on your handsTo be inactive or refrain from taking action when action is expected.Instead of helping, he chose to sit on his hands during the group project, causing frustration among the team.
Hold the fortTo be responsible for maintaining a situation or position while others are temporarily absent.While the manager was on vacation, she had to hold the fort and oversee the office.
Take a rain checkTo decline an invitation or offer with the intention of accepting it at a later time.He couldn’t attend the party, but he asked for a rain check and promised to join the next one.
Keep your eye on the prizeTo stay focused on the ultimate goal or reward, despite challenges or distractions.During the tough times, she reminded herself to keep her eye on the prize and not lose sight of her dreams.
Give it time to settleTo wait for a situation or issue to calm down or become less intense before taking further action.After the disagreement, they decided to give it time to settle before discussing their differences.
Good things come to those who waitTo suggest that patience and perseverance are often rewarded with positive outcomes.She knew that good things come to those who wait, so she continued to work hard towards her goals.
Keep your fingers crossedTo hope for a positive outcome or good luck in a situation.As she walked into the interview room, she kept her fingers crossed for a successful outcome.

Patience is like a steady hand guiding a fragile, intricate puzzle together, ensuring that each piece finds its place in its own time. For more comparisons to describe patience, you can check this link: Similes for patience. And for a variety of metaphors related to patience, you can explore this link: Metaphors for patience.

Idioms for Patience

1. Bite the bullet

Meaning: To face a difficult or unpleasant situation with courage and determination.

In a Sentence: She had to bite the bullet and work overtime to meet the project deadline.

2. Keep your cool

Meaning: To remain calm and composed, especially in challenging or stressful situations.

In a Sentence: Even when things got chaotic, he managed to keep his cool and make rational decisions.

3. Play the waiting game

Meaning: To be patient and wait for something to happen or develop without taking immediate action.

In a Sentence: In the stock market, investors often need to play the waiting game for their investments to grow.

4. Wait for the dust to settle

Meaning: To wait for a situation to become clearer or less chaotic before making decisions or taking action.

In a Sentence: After the heated argument, they decided to wait for the dust to settle before discussing the issue further.

5. Hold your horses

Meaning: A playful way of telling someone to be patient and wait.

In a Sentence: “Hold your horses! The food will be ready in a few minutes,” she said to her hungry children.

6. Rome wasn’t built in a day

Meaning: To remind someone that complex or significant achievements take time and cannot be rushed.

In a Sentence: Learning a new language is a gradual process; remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

7. Patience is a virtue

Meaning: The quality of being patient is considered morally good and commendable.

In a Sentence: He always handled difficult customers with grace, remembering that patience is a virtue.

8. Take it one step at a time

Meaning: To approach a task or problem gradually, focusing on each stage or aspect separately.

In a Sentence: When facing a challenging project, it’s best to take it one step at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

9. Count to ten

Meaning: To pause and take a moment to calm down or regain composure before reacting to a situation.

In a Sentence: When he felt his anger rising, he decided to count to ten before responding to the criticism.

10. Cool your heels

Meaning: To wait patiently for a period of time, often when one is eager or anxious.

In a Sentence: While waiting for the job interview, she had to cool her heels in the reception area.

11. Don’t jump the gun

Meaning: To avoid acting too quickly or prematurely without all the necessary information.

In a Sentence: It’s essential to gather all the facts first; don’t jump the gun and make hasty decisions.

12. Keep your shirt on

Meaning: A humorous way of advising someone to remain calm and not get agitated.

In a Sentence: When he realized the mistake, he told his friend to keep his shirt on; it could be fixed easily.

13. It’s a waiting game

Meaning: To acknowledge that a situation involves waiting for an outcome or resolution.

In a Sentence: When it comes to bureaucracy, it’s often a waiting game; things take time to process.

14. All in good time

Meaning: To suggest that something will happen at the right moment or in due course.

In a Sentence: She wanted to advance in her career, but her mentor reassured her, saying, “All in good time.”

15. Have a long fuse

Meaning: To be patient and slow to anger, not easily provoked.

In a Sentence: His ability to have a long fuse made him an excellent mediator in conflicts.

16. Time heals all wounds

Meaning: The idea that over time, emotional or physical pain will naturally lessen or resolve.

In a Sentence: After their breakup, her friends reminded her that time heals all wounds, and she would eventually feel better.

17. Slow and steady wins the race

Meaning: To emphasize that consistent and methodical progress is more effective than rushing.

In a Sentence: In the marathon, he remembered the saying “slow and steady wins the race” and paced himself accordingly.

18. Let the chips fall where they may

Meaning: To accept the outcome of a situation, whether positive or negative, without trying to control it.

In a Sentence: After presenting his proposal, he decided to let the chips fall where they may and not worry about the response.

19. Watch the grass grow

Meaning: To highlight a situation where something is happening very slowly or not progressing at all.

In a Sentence: Sitting through the long and boring meeting felt like watching the grass grow.

20. Have the patience of Job

Meaning: To describe someone who possesses exceptional patience and endurance.

In a Sentence: Despite the challenges, she showed the patience of Job in caring for her elderly parents.

21. Sit on your hands

Meaning: To be inactive or refrain from taking action when action is expected.

In a Sentence: Instead of helping, he chose to sit on his hands during the group project, causing frustration among the team.

22. Hold the fort

Meaning: To be responsible for maintaining a situation or position while others are temporarily absent.

In a Sentence: While the manager was on vacation, she had to hold the fort and oversee the office.

23. Take a rain check

Meaning: To decline an invitation or offer with the intention of accepting it at a later time.

In a Sentence: He couldn’t attend the party, but he asked for a rain check and promised to join the next one.

24. Keep your eye on the prize

Meaning: To stay focused on the ultimate goal or reward, despite challenges or distractions.

In a Sentence: During the tough times, she reminded herself to keep her eye on the prize and not lose sight of her dreams.

25. Give it time to settle

Meaning: To wait for a situation or issue to calm down or become less intense before taking further action.

In a Sentence: After the disagreement, they decided to give it time to settle before discussing their differences.

26. Good things come to those who wait

Meaning: To suggest that patience and perseverance are often rewarded with positive outcomes.

In a Sentence: She knew that good things come to those who wait, so she continued to work hard towards her goals.

27. Keep your fingers crossed

Meaning: To hope for a positive outcome or good luck in a situation.

In a Sentence: As she walked into the interview room, she kept her fingers crossed for a successful outcome.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Here are 10 quiz questions about the idioms for patience mentioned in the article:

Quiz 1:

  1. What does the idiom “Bite the bullet” mean?
  • a) To bite an actual bullet
  • b) To face a difficult situation with courage
  • c) To avoid challenges

Quiz 2:

  1. What is the meaning of the expression “Keep your cool”?
  • a) To stay calm and composed
  • b) To get angry quickly
  • c) To panic in stressful situations

Quiz 3:

  1. Which idiom suggests waiting patiently without taking immediate action?
  • a) Hold your horses
  • b) Count to ten
  • c) Rome wasn’t built in a day

Quiz 4:

  1. What does “Time heals all wounds” imply?
  • a) Time can create new wounds
  • b) Emotional or physical pain lessens over time
  • c) Time worsens wounds

Quiz 5:

  1. How would you describe someone who possesses “the patience of Job”?
  • a) Extremely impatient
  • b) Exceptionally patient and enduring
  • c) Easily agitated

Quiz 6:

  1. What does the idiom “Let the chips fall where they may” mean?
  • a) To control the outcome of a situation
  • b) To accept the outcome, whether positive or negative, without trying to control it
  • c) To predict the outcome

Quiz 7:

  1. What is the meaning of “Take a rain check” as an idiom?
  • a) To decline an invitation with no intention of participating
  • b) To attend an event in the rain
  • c) To accept an invitation immediately

Quiz 8:

  1. What does the expression “Cool your heels” imply?
  • a) To stay calm and collected
  • b) To wait patiently, often when eager or anxious
  • c) To quickly lose one’s temper

Quiz 9:

  1. Which idiom advises against acting too quickly or prematurely?
  • a) Take it one step at a time
  • b) Don’t jump the gun
  • c) Keep your fingers crossed

Quiz 10:

  1. What does “Slow and steady wins the race” emphasize?
    • a) Rushing is the best approach
    • b) Consistent and methodical progress is effective
    • c) Quick decisions lead to success

Answers:

  1. b) To face a difficult situation with courage
  2. a) To stay calm and composed
  3. a) Hold your horses
  4. b) Emotional or physical pain lessens over time
  5. b) Exceptionally patient and enduring
  6. b) To accept the outcome, whether positive or negative, without trying to control it
  7. a) To decline an invitation with no intention of participating
  8. b) To wait patiently, often when eager or anxious
  9. b) Don’t jump the gun
  10. b) Consistent and methodical progress is effective

Conclusion

Patience is not just a virtue; it’s a valuable life skill. These idioms for patience remind us that waiting, enduring, and staying composed are essential qualities in a world that often demands instant gratification.

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