An idiom is an expression, or word or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made. Thus, a literal translation cannot be made to understand the meaning of the phrase or idiom.

1. A bed of roses

Meaning: A comfortable situation

2. A cock and bull story

Meaning: An imaginary and unbelievable tale

3. A leopard cannot change its spots

Meaning: someone cannot change their innate nature

4. Back to square one

Meaning: the need to start all over again

5. Baker’s dozen

Meaning: not twelve, but thirteen in number

6. Below the belt (to hit)

Meaning: using an unfair strategy or tactic

7. Between a rock and a hard place

Meaning: Caught between two equally unfavourable alternatives

8. Cut to the chase

Meaning: To get to the point, to not ‘beat around the bush’

9. Get off on the wrong foot

Meaning: To make a bad beginning

10. Get your feet wet

Meaning: To get your first experience of something

11. Have an axe to grind

Meaning: Have some motive to do something

12. Head over heels

Meaning: Very excited

13. Hold your horses

Meaning: To be patient and not jump to conclusions

14. Hanky-panky

Meaning: where some trickery is involved

15. In a Nutshell

Meaning: Briefly, in very few words

16. In the limelight

Meaning: At the focus or centre of attention

17. Keep your nose to the grindstone

Meaning: To apply one’s self in a very diligent manner to work

18. Knee jerk reaction

Meaning: To respond without adequate thought

19. Know the ropes

Meaning: To understand how things are done

20. Know which way the wind blows

Meaning: To understand the given circumstances

21. Labour of love

Meaning: Work undertaken out of a passion for it and not only for monetary reward

22. Learn the ropes

Meaning: To learn how something works

23. Level playing field

Meaning: A fair competition, where no advantage is shown to either side

24. Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: To reveal something that was earlier hidden

25. Make hay while the sun shines

Meaning: Be take advantage of a favorable situation

26. Make a mountain out of a molehill

Meaning: To exaggerate something

27. Make waves

Meaning: To create a big impact

28. Mind one’s Ps and Qs

Meaning: To be careful of details

29. Never never land

Meaning: Refers to an imaginary place which doesn’t really exist

30. New kid on the block

Meaning: A new arrival in an area

31. Not worth the candle

Meaning: without any worth

32. No-brainer

Meaning: Something that is very clear and which doesn’t require any intelligence to understand

33. Off the hook

Meaning: Escaping punishment or criticism

34. Off-the-mark

Meaning: Inaccurate or incorrect

35. On cloud nine

Meaning: To be ecstatic or extremely happy

36. Paddle your own canoe

Meaning: To act on one’s own and independently of others

37. Paper tiger

Meaning: Appearing to have power but only on paper i.e., not having power in reality

38. Pass the buck

Meaning: Pass responsibility on to someone else

39. Play it by the ear

Meaning: Handle something in a spontaneous manner, without any guidelines

40. Put your best foot forward

Meaning: To make a good effort and show enthusiasm

41. Queer the pitch

Meaning: To negatively affect a previously decided course of action

42. Quick buck (to make)

Meaning: To make money quickly

43. Rags-to-riches

Meaning: Refers to someone who has risen up to a high position from very modest means

44. Red-tapism

Meaning: Refers to bureaucratic rules and procedures that may hamper the growth or development of something

45. Rule of thumb

Meaning: An estimate, using a practical approach, but not one based on a scientific method

46. Run out of steam

Meaning: To lose energy

47. Sacred cow

Meaning: Highly respected and sensitive; something of which criticism is not encouraged

48. Scot free

Meaning: To escape punishment

49. Shot in the arm

Meaning: A push; something that has a salutary impact

50. Shot in the dark

Meaning: A wild guess or attempt

51. Smoke and mirrors

Meaning: Use of trickery or deception

52. Strike a deal

Meaning: To reach an agreement

53. Strike while the iron is hot

Meaning: To make use of opportunities and act decisively when needed

54. Take a back seat

Meaning: To be in the background and not play an active part

55. Take with a pinch of salt

Meaning: To accept only partially

56. The early bird catches the worm

Meaning: If you want success, you need to make an effort (like the bird that gets up early so as to be able to catch its food)

57. The ball is in someone else’s court

Meaning: The next move depends on the other person

58. The full Monty

Meaning: The whole thing

59. Time and tide wait for no man

Meaning: Things happen/go on without waiting for someone, however important he may be, to respond 

60. Tie the knot

Meaning: To marry

61. Top notch

Meaning: The highest level

62. To call a spade a spade

Meaning: To speak frankly and openly, not in a 'politically correct' manner

63. Two cents worth

Meaning: To offer an opinion

64. Turn the tables

Meaning: Reverse the position of something or on someone; refers to when the hitherto weaker side suddenly becomes dominant

65. Water under the bridge

Meaning: A past event that is no longer relevant now

66. What goes around comes around

Meaning: When something done in the past returns to impact a person/thing in the present

A similar expression is ‘the chickens will come home to roost’ and ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’

67. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

Meaning: Everyone should be treated equally and without any discrimination

68. While in Rome, do as the Romans do

Meaning: You should try to adjust or blend in to the local customs and traditions