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By the end of the lesson , students should
be able to
answer the idiom quizzes given
make correct sentences using the idioms

1. (have) egg on your face

Meaning: You have egg on your face if you've said or done
something wrong, and it's made you feel embarrassed or stupid.
For example:
Stan had egg on his face after saying he could easily do fifty push-
ups, and then giving up after doing just twenty.

The police force had egg on its face because they arrested and beat
up an innocent guy who had the same name as a suspect they were
looking for.

Quick Quiz:
Ahmad had egg on his face after saying he was much better than
all the other drivers, and then
A) winning the race
B) coming last in the race
C) coming second in the race

2. (your) bread and butter

Meaning: Your bread and butter is your livelihood or the source of
your income.
For example:
Bartending is my bread and butter at the moment, but I'm trying to
get into acting.

The conditions are bad, but this work is their bread and butter so
make sure the workers have other jobs before you close down the

Quick Quiz:
This job is my bread and butter, so
A) I don't really need it
B) I don't get paid for it
C) I can't afford to lose it

3. drink like a fish

Meaning: If someone drinks like a fish, they drink a lot of alcohol.
For example:
Since he got back from the war Billy's been drinking like a fish, and
we think he needs some help.

Some people might say I drink like a fish, but I don't think I drink too

Quick Quiz:
Even though uncle Barry drinks like a fish, he
A) never drinks alcohol
B) never looks drunk
C) never drinks much

4. easy as pie | easy as abc

Meaning: If something's as easy as pie, or easy as abc, it's very
For example:
Setting up the printer was as easy as pie.

You'll have no trouble finding your way around the website. It's easy
as abc.

Quick Quiz:
They said configuring the software is easy as pie, but I don't think it
is. I found it
A) really difficult
B) really easy
C) really delicious

5. eat humble pie

Meaning: If you eat humble pie, you admit that you are in the wrong and
behave apologetically.
For example:
Jim had to eat humble pie after we proved that what he'd said was wrong.

Some politicians are so arrogant that they won't eat humble pie even when
it's clear they've made a mistake. They just say they were "misinformed".

Note: The American idiom "eat crow" has the same meaning.

Jeremy had to eat humble pie because
A) there was nothing else to eat
B) The wanted to seem humble
C) it was clear he was wrong

6. eat your words
Meaning: If you eat your words, you admit that something you said was wrong.
For example:
The president was forced to eat his words after it was shown that what he'd
said wasn't true.

Martina said I'd never win a gold medal, but now that I have she'll have to
eat her words.

Quick Quiz:
Bernie said I couldn't possibly get Marion to go on a date, and he had to eat
his words when I
A) said I definitely would
B) took her out for dinner
C) couldn't get her to go out with me

7. not your cup of tea

Meaning: If something is not your cup of tea, it's not what you like or what
you're interested in.
For example:
Action movies aren't really my cup of tea. I prefer dramas and comedies, to
be honest.

Karen knows all that new-age spiritual stuff isn't my cup of tea, so why
would she give me a book on star signs and astrology for my birthday?

Quick Quiz:
Classical music isn't really Mary's cup of tea, so when I offered to take her
to a concert of chamber music, she
A) wasn't all that excited
B) was really excited
C) looked very exciting

8.kill the goose that lays the golden egg

Meaning: If you kill the goose that lays the golden egg, you destroy
something that has made you a lot of money.
For example:
The thing that attracted tourists to the island was the peace and quiet. But
greedy developers have killed the goose that laid the golden egg by
opening noisy nightclubs, and no-one goes there now.

Parents and agents of successful child actors and singers often kill the
goose that laid the golden egg by making the kids work too much, and the
kids lose the magic spark that made them special in the first place.

Quick Quiz:
If people find something that makes them a lot of money, they often kill the
goose that laid the golden egg because of
A) their kindness
B) their greed
C) their anger

9. put all your eggs in the one basket
Meaning: If you put all your eggs in the one basket, you put all your efforts
or resources into one person, one thing or one plan, and if things don't work
out, you lose everything.
For example:
My stockbroker says I should buy shares in a lot of different companies, and
not put all my eggs in the one basket.

Our company should distribute many different products from many different
companies. If we put all our eggs in the one basket, we'll get into trouble if
there's a problem with that one product or company.

Quick Quiz:
His father told him not to put all his eggs in the one basket, so Arjuna
A) studied law as well as graphic design
B) bought several more baskets
C) invested all his money in his father's company

10. take with a grain of salt | take with a pinch
of salt

Meaning: If you take what someone says with a grain of salt, or with a
pinch of salt, you have doubts about the truth or accuracy of what they say.
For example:
Uncle Bill tells some great stories, but we take what he says with a grain of
salt because he sometimes exaggerates or makes things up.

Sue says the internet is great, but she takes a lot of the information there
with a pinch of salt until she sees the same information on a few different

Quick Quiz:
When your grandma tells stories about the past, you should take what she
says with a grain of salt because
A) she tells really funny stories
B) she doesn't always speak very clearly
C) she doesn't always remember things accurately

11. talk turkey

Meaning: If you talk turkey, you discuss something seriously, usually to do
with business or money.
For example:
After the owner had shown him around the apartment, Shane decided it was
just what he wanted, so he said, "OK, I'm interested. Let's talk turkey."

I started to say something about the deal, but Mr Hamilton said, "Not now,
my boy. We never talk turkey at the dinner table."

Quick Quiz:
Before we could talk turkey about the deal, we had to
A) see the samples
B) pay the money
C) go to Turkey

12. the cream of the crop

Meaning: If something or someone is in the cream of the crop, they are among the
best of a class of things or people.
For example:
The cream of the crop of this year's high-school graduates will get into the best
universities, as usual.

We're only interested in the cream of the crop, so don't send us any second-rate

Quick Quiz:
Martin was always told by his parents and teachers that he was the cream of the
crop, so he thought he was
A) worse than other kids
B) the same as other kids
better than other kids

13. the icing on the cake | the
frosting on the cake

Meaning: If something is the icing on the cake, or the frosting on the cake,
it makes a good situation or a good result even better.
For example:
The fifty thousand dollars the government will give to every athlete who wins
a gold medal in the Olympics will be the icing on the cake for them.

I was happy just to get my book published, so winning the young writer's
prize as well is the frosting on the cake.

Quick Quiz:
Winning a Nobel prize is the icing on the cake after
A) earning so much money
B) being ignored for so long
C) such a long and rewarding career

14. the upper crust

Meaning: If you are one of the upper crust, you are a member of society's highest
For example:
If Laura was really part of the upper crust, she wouldn't need to borrow money all the
time, would she?

Marge does a great imitation of an upper-crust "society queen". It's really funny, and
her upper-crust accent is perfect.

Note: If used to modify a noun or a noun phrase, a hyphen should be added, as in
"upper-crust party".

Quick Quiz:
Ralph wants people to think he's in the upper crust, so he
A) wears expensive clothes
B) uses public transport
C) drives an old Honda

15. upset the apple cart

Meaning: If you upset the applecart, you do something that causes
trouble or upsets someone's plans.
For example:
The Stones upset the applecart by pulling out of the music festival.
They were going to be the main act.

Kelly's sister really upset the applecart when she told Kelly that
she'd seen her husband waiting for someone in a hotel lobby when
he was supposed to be in New York.

Quick Quiz:
We'd planned to have our wedding in the local park, but the head of
the council upset the applecart when he
A) backed his car into some stalls at the market
B) refused to give us permission
C) congratulated us on our wedding

16. whet your appetite

Meaning: If something whets your appetite, it makes you want
something, or it stimulates your desire for something.
For example:
My wife has been listening to reggae music all day. She heard a
song by Bob Marley on the radio this morning, and it really whetted
her appetite for reggae.

Those ads on TV really whet my appetite for pizza. I even ordered
one once, just because of the ad. And I wasn't even hungry!

Quick Quiz:
If I have one little chocolate it'll whet my appetite, and
A) that'll be enough
B) I'll eat chocolate all day
C) I'll never eat chocolate again

17. You are what you eat.

Meaning: You can say "you are what you eat" when you want to
point out the connection between food and health.
For example:
Why do you eat so much bad stuff like pizza, hamburgers, fries and
ice-cream? You are what you eat, you know.

Shelley looks fantastic. When people ask her what her secret is, she
smiles and says, "It's simple. You are what you eat."

Quick Quiz:
My doctor said, "The most important thing to remember is that you
are what you eat," and then told me to eat more
A) bacon, hamburgers and hot dogs
B) fruits, vegetables and fish
C) chocolates, sweets and cookies

18. a recipe for disaster

Meaning: Something is a recipe for disaster if it's going to cause trouble or
serious problems.
For example:
Inviting my mother-in-law to stay for a week is a recipe for disaster. I'll end
up arguing with her, and then my wife and I will quarrel and then the kids
will get upset. It's a bad idea!

Eating too much, not exercising enough, and being under stress is a recipe
for disaster. You'll end up overweight and you'll probably die young.

Quick Quiz:
Which of the following would most people say is a recipe for disaster?
A) educating poor people
B) reducing pollution from factories
C) destroying huge forests

19. grease someone's palm

Meaning: If you grease someone's palm, you pay them a bribe.
For example:
The only way to get a government contract around here is to grease
someone's palm.

If you want to get out of jail, grease the warden's palm and the guards will
let you escape.

Quick Quiz:
It was obvious that many people had greased the chief of police's palm
because he had
A) become very poor
B) become very rich
C) become very greasy

20. hard to swallow

Meaning: Something that someone has said is hard to swallow if it's difficult
to believe.
For example:
His excuse for coming late was a bit hard to swallow, don't you think?

I find a lot of Jack's stories hard to swallow, but I still enjoy hearing them
even if they aren't entirely true.

Quick Quiz:
Of all his stories, the one that most people found the hardest to swallow was
the one about
A) being taken for a ride in a U.F.O. by aliens
B) being given fried spiders to eat in Cambodia
C) seeing people stick pins and needles through their cheeks