Just when foreigners think they've mastered the English language, they could be in for a rude awakening upon their first time engaging in a conversation with an American. Not all expressions are taught in textbooks or apps on their smartphones.
The English grammar is loaded with inconsistent rules and idioms that can throw off tourists who will understandably interpret every word literally. For example, If you ask them to "shoot the breeze" they may be inclined to admit they don't own any weapons. Fair enough.
The Insider provided examples of idioms along with their meaning. And revisiting them closely confirms the English language is a very strange language indeed.
When a task is easy to undertake, it's "a piece of cake." The phrase is most likely from "The Primrose Path," a1935 poetry collection by American humorist Ogden Nash.
Her picture's in the papers now, and life's a piece of cake.
When fellow actors tell you "Break a leg," they're actually wishing you good luck, not cursing you to invoke a tibia snap.
The expression is supposedly derived from the German phrase – Hals- und Beinbruch, which translates to "neck and leg break," which is a corruption of a Hebrew blessing meaning "success and blessing."
When something is worthless, it's "for the birds." The term was first used as slang during World War II.
When a major secret is revealed, "the cat's out of the bag."
The first known use of the term came from a book review published in a 1760 issue of The London Magazine, where the critic wrote:
We could have wished that the author had not let the cat out of the bag.
Twitter had some contributions to other unusual phrases.
@susie_dent One of my pet peeves is people who say "The proof is in the pudding" when I'm pretty sure the original… https://t.co/VpggHhVlgU— Matt Stafford (@Matt Stafford) 1525085563.0
@susie_dent On a similar note - when (and why) did “high and dry” acquire a negative connotation?— Jayaditya (@Jayaditya) 1525085541.0
@susie_dent “Blood is thicker than water”: meaning family stick together, was originally “the blood of the covenant… https://t.co/OLvdwOMfGK— Caoimhaíon (Kev) (@Caoimhaíon (Kev)) 1525091409.0
@susie_dent Hmm perhaps I shouldn't judge Americans too harshly for the nonsensical "I could care less" when some o… https://t.co/43S25lYlHR— Medlife Crisis (Rohin) (@Medlife Crisis (Rohin)) 1525085507.0
@DavidCameronSnr Find it hard enough to keep in touch with modern English, English idioms with little time for the American version.— Nigel Bradley (@Nigel Bradley) 1524944511.0
This is a popular term circulating among millennials and it has nothing to do with temperature.
A HOT MESS is a person or thing that is in a state of great disorder. This is indeed quite a new piece of American… https://t.co/iZOpGYaQXW— English Idioms (@English Idioms) 1524749037.0
@EnglishIdioms4U America is a hot mess right now like my love life.— Rivan Stinson (@Rivan Stinson) 1524775781.0