What’s your favorite idiom?

Open Book StampThe question in the title is my question to you. What’s your favorite idiom?  An idiom is a figure of speech, for instance, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”  First of all, what on earth does that mean?

little girl bathes in a bath with soap bubbles.
little girl bathes in a bath with soap bubbles.

According to Phrases.org, this means: Don’t discard something valuable with something undesirable.  The origins and uses vary over time, but generally speaking, in the 1500’s weekly bathing was done in order of hierarchy in a family.  The head male of the house bathed in the water first, followed by the head female, followed by the children in order of age, leaving the baby of the family last to bath in the dirty bath water.  So, the saying came from the dirty bathwater being thrown out and not seeing the baby in it.  Meaning, don’t discard the baby with the dirty bathwater.  And since then has been used over time in many scenarios.

Other favorites of mine are:

A hot potato
Speak of an issue (mostly current) which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed

A penny for your thoughts
A way of asking what someone is thinking

Actions speak louder than words
People’s intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say.

Add insult to injury
To further a loss with mockery or indignity; to worsen an unfavorable situation.

An arm and a leg
Very expensive or costly. A large amount of money.

At the drop of a hat
Meaning: without any hesitation; instantly.

Back to the drawing board
When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over.

Ball is in your court
It is up to you to make the next decision or step

Barking up the wrong tree
Looking in the wrong place. Accusing the wrong person

Be glad to see the back of
Be happy when a person leaves.

Beat around the bush
Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.

Best of both worlds
Meaning: All the advantages.

Best thing since sliced bread
A good invention or innovation. A good idea or plan.

Excited young Santa man biting enormous sandwich on red background
Excited young Santa man biting enormous sandwich on red background

Bite off more than you can chew
To take on a task that is way to big.

Blessing in disguise
Something good that isn’t recognized at first.

Burn the midnight oil
To work late into the night, alluding to the time before electric lighting.

Can’t judge a book by its cover
Cannot judge something primarily on appearance.

The above from the 50 most useful idioms;

I’ve used these, many times.  A lot of people have.  So my question to you is, what’s your favorite or most commonly used idiom and why?


6 thoughts on “What’s your favorite idiom?”

  1. Yes I’ve heard all of these phrases. As for the first one, it makes me glad I didn’t live in the 1500’s and can have my own bathwater!

  2. My mother grew up on the North Dakota prairie with no running water and they followed that same procedure for a family of eight. I’m surprised my uncle Newt (the baby) lived to adulthood.

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