27 Idioms for Teaching + Quiz


One way to make learning more enjoyable and understandable is by incorporating idioms into your lessons.

But what exactly is an idiom for teaching, and how can they add value to the learning experience? Let’s break it down in a way that’s as easy as pie.

idioms for teaching

What is an idiom for teaching?

An idiom is a group of words that, when put together, have a meaning different from the individual words.

These expressions are often culturally rooted and might not make sense when translated directly.


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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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Using idioms in teaching helps students grasp abstract concepts, enhances language skills, and adds a touch of fun to the learning process.

IdiomMeaningIn a Sentence
A Piece of CakeSomething very easy to do.Solving that math problem was a piece of cake.
Hit the Nail on the HeadTo describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.You hit the nail on the head when you explained the scientific process.
Kick the BucketTo die.My old phone finally kicked the bucket, so I got a new one.
Break the IceTo initiate conversation in a social setting.Playing games is a great way to break the ice at a party.
Bite the BulletTo endure a painful or difficult situation.I had to bite the bullet and go to the dentist to fix my tooth.
Burn the Midnight OilTo work late into the night.She burned the midnight oil to finish her project on time.
Cry Over Spilled MilkTo be upset about something that has already happened and cannot be changed.Don’t cry over spilled milk; learn from your mistakes.
Jump on the BandwagonTo adopt a popular activity or trend.Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of learning a new instrument.
Let the Cat Out of the BagTo reveal a secret.Tim accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.
Catch Someone’s EyeTo attract someone’s attention.The colorful artwork caught the teacher’s eye.
Cut to the ChaseTo get to the main point without unnecessary details.Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the key points of the lesson.
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk (Again)To emphasize not worrying about past mistakes.Remember, don’t cry over spilled milk; just keep going.
Cost an Arm and a LegSomething very expensive.Buying that new gadget would cost an arm and a leg.
Get the Ball RollingTo start a process.Let’s get the ball rolling by brainstorming ideas for the project.
A Dime a DozenSomething very common.In our neighborhood, stray cats are a dime a dozen.
Burn the Midnight Oil (Again)To work late into the night (repeated for reinforcement).During exam week, students often burn the midnight oil.
Drive Someone Up the WallTo annoy someone greatly.The constant tapping noise can drive someone up the wall.
Hit the HayTo go to bed.After a long day, I’m ready to hit the hay.
Jump on the Bandwagon (Again)To adopt a popular activity or trend (repeated for reinforcement).Many students decided to jump on the bandwagon of eco-friendly habits.
Pull Someone’s LegTo tease or joke with someone.Are you serious, or are you just pulling my leg?
Rain Cats and DogsTo rain heavily.We canceled our picnic because it started to rain cats and dogs.
Under the WeatherFeeling unwell or sick.She didn’t come to school today because she’s under the weather.
Throw in the TowelTo give up or surrender.Don’t throw in the towel just because it’s challenging; keep trying.
All EarsFully attentive and ready to listen.I’m all ears, tell me your thoughts on the book.
Break a LegGood luck.Before the play, the director said, “Break a leg, everyone!”
The Ball Is in Your CourtIt’s your turn to take action.You’ve learned the basics; now the ball is in your court to practice.
By the Skin of Your TeethJust barely.He passed the exam by the skin of his teeth.

Metaphors can shed light on the act of teaching, like comparing it to planting seeds of knowledge in fertile minds. To explore more metaphors for teaching, you can visit this link: Metaphors for Teaching. Similarly, similes provide comparisons that make teaching more relatable, such as saying it’s as patient as a gentle rain nurturing a garden. Discover additional similes for teaching here: Similes for Teaching.

Idioms for Teaching

1. A Piece of Cake

Meaning: Something very easy to do.

In a Sentence: Solving that math problem was a piece of cake.

2. Hit the Nail on the Head

Meaning: To describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.

In a Sentence: You hit the nail on the head when you explained the scientific process.

3. Kick the Bucket

Meaning: To die.

In a Sentence: My old phone finally kicked the bucket, so I got a new one.

4. Break the Ice

Meaning: To initiate conversation in a social setting.

In a Sentence: Playing games is a great way to break the ice at a party.

5. Bite the Bullet

Meaning: To endure a painful or difficult situation.

In a Sentence: I had to bite the bullet and go to the dentist to fix my tooth.

6. Burn the Midnight Oil

Meaning: To work late into the night.

In a Sentence: She burned the midnight oil to finish her project on time.

7. Cry Over Spilled Milk

Meaning: To be upset about something that has already happened and cannot be changed.

In a Sentence: Don’t cry over spilled milk; learn from your mistakes.

8. Jump on the Bandwagon

Meaning: To adopt a popular activity or trend.

In a Sentence: Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of learning a new instrument.

9. Let the Cat Out of the Bag

Meaning: To reveal a secret.

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

10. Catch Someone’s Eye

Meaning: To attract someone’s attention.

In a Sentence: The colorful artwork caught the teacher’s eye.

11. Cut to the Chase

Meaning: To get to the main point without unnecessary details.

In a Sentence: Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the key points of the lesson.

12. Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk (Again)

Meaning: To emphasize not worrying about past mistakes.

In a Sentence: Remember, don’t cry over spilled milk; just keep going.

13. Cost an Arm and a Leg

Meaning: Something very expensive.

In a Sentence: Buying that new gadget would cost an arm and a leg.

14. Get the Ball Rolling

Meaning: To start a process.

In a Sentence: Let’s get the ball rolling by brainstorming ideas for the project.

15. A Dime a Dozen

Meaning: Something very common.

In a Sentence: In our neighborhood, stray cats are a dime a dozen.

16. Burn the Midnight Oil (Again)

Meaning: To work late into the night (repeated for reinforcement).

In a Sentence: During exam week, students often burn the midnight oil.

17. Drive Someone Up the Wall

Meaning: To annoy someone greatly.

In a Sentence: The constant tapping noise can drive someone up the wall.

18. Hit the Hay

Meaning: To go to bed.

In a Sentence: After a long day, I’m ready to hit the hay.

19. Jump on the Bandwagon (Again)

Meaning: To adopt a popular activity or trend (repeated for reinforcement).

In a Sentence: Many students decided to jump on the bandwagon of eco-friendly habits.

20. Pull Someone’s Leg

Meaning: To tease or joke with someone.

In a Sentence: Are you serious, or are you just pulling my leg?

21. Rain Cats and Dogs

Meaning: To rain heavily.

In a Sentence: We canceled our picnic because it started to rain cats and dogs.

22. Under the Weather

Meaning: Feeling unwell or sick.

In a Sentence: She didn’t come to school today because she’s under the weather.

23. Throw in the Towel

Meaning: To give up or surrender.

In a Sentence: Don’t throw in the towel just because it’s challenging; keep trying.

24. All Ears

Meaning: Fully attentive and ready to listen.

In a Sentence: I’m all ears, tell me your thoughts on the book.

25. Break a Leg

Meaning: Good luck.

In a Sentence: Before the play, the director said, “Break a leg, everyone!”

26. The Ball Is in Your Court

Meaning: It’s your turn to take action.

In a Sentence: You’ve learned the basics; now the ball is in your court to practice.

27. By the Skin of Your Teeth

Meaning: Just barely.

In a Sentence: He passed the exam by the skin of his teeth.

10 Quizzes About The Idiom in The Article

Quiz 1: A Piece of Cake

Question: What does the idiom “A Piece of Cake” mean?

  1. A difficult task
  2. Something very easy to do
  3. A delicious dessert

Answer: 2. Something very easy to do


Quiz 2: Hit the Nail on the Head

Question: If someone “hits the nail on the head,” what are they doing?

  1. Building a structure
  2. Describing exactly what is causing a situation or problem
  3. Creating artwork

Answer: 2. Describing exactly what is causing a situation or problem


Quiz 3: Kick the Bucket

Question: What does the expression “Kick the Bucket” mean?

  1. To play a sport
  2. To endure a painful situation
  3. To die

Answer: 3. To die


Quiz 4: Break the Ice

Question: When you “break the ice,” what are you doing?

  1. Initiating conversation in a social setting
  2. Breaking a frozen object
  3. Starting a fire

Answer: 1. Initiating conversation in a social setting


Quiz 5: Bite the Bullet

Question: What does it mean to “Bite the Bullet”?

  1. To chew on a piece of metal
  2. To endure a painful or difficult situation
  3. To eat something spicy

Answer: 2. To endure a painful or difficult situation


Quiz 6: Burn the Midnight Oil

Question: If someone is “burning the midnight oil,” what are they doing?

  1. Lighting candles
  2. Working late into the night
  3. Cooking a late-night snack

Answer: 2. Working late into the night


Quiz 7: Cry Over Spilled Milk

Question: What does the idiom “Cry Over Spilled Milk” suggest?

  1. To cry because of a sad movie
  2. To be upset about something that has already happened and cannot be changed
  3. To cry while cooking

Answer: 2. To be upset about something that has already happened and cannot be changed


Quiz 8: Jump on the Bandwagon

Question: If someone decides to “Jump on the Bandwagon,” what are they doing?

  1. Joining a popular activity or trend
  2. Literally jumping on a moving vehicle
  3. Playing a musical instrument

Answer: 1. Joining a popular activity or trend


Quiz 9: Let the Cat Out of the Bag

Question: What does the expression “Let the Cat Out of the Bag” mean?

  1. Releasing a pet cat
  2. Revealing a secret
  3. Letting a cat roam freely

Answer: 2. Revealing a secret


Quiz 10: Catch Someone’s Eye

Question: If something “catches someone’s eye,” what is happening?

  1. Making someone laugh
  2. Attracting someone’s attention
  3. Hurting someone’s eye

Answer: 2. Attracting someone’s attention

Conclusion

Incorporating idioms into teaching can add flavor to lessons, making them more engaging and memorable. As students grasp the meanings behind these expressions, they not only improve their language skills but also gain insight into the cultural nuances of the idioms.

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