“Painful” idiomatic expressions 🤕

Sometimes I come across new idiomatic expressions and try to guess what they really mean. I mostly get them wrong and I rarely get them right. They are very guessable at times, and at others they might give you the total opposite idea of their real meanings.

In this post, four none “true pain” related idioms are explained.

Break a leg

When hearing this for the first time it might give you a wrong indication about who says it. 🤷‍♀️ Who the heck wishes for others to break their legs! But surely it doesn’t mean that at all. This is an informally spoken idiom used to wish someone luck, especially just before they perform on stage. ¹

Add insult to injury

This is idiom is quite different than the previous one. It is actually somehow understood even for someone who might hear it for the first time. And basically, when you add insult to injury you actually make a bad situation worse for someone who has already been treated badly. ²

Example sentence:

People over age 65 who work get fewer benefits and, to add insult to injury, they have to pay more in taxes.

Kill two birds with one stone

This one was easy for me because we have it in all Semitic languages. But I don’t know about every single language in the world.

For me, the idiom, for someone who might hear it for the first time, it sounds absolutely wicked. However, it surprisingly has an “innocent and multitasking” meaning. Which is to achieve two things with one action. ³

Example sentence:

Deedee killed two birds with one stone, both shopping and looking for a shop of her own to rent.

Go down in flames

This one can be used in literal meanings. For instance, The house went down in flames, means it was burnt down. And figuratively as well. And it means to fail spectacularly or to a great degree.

Example sentence:

Despite all the media hype, the major summer blockbuster went down in flames. Hardly anyone went to see it while it was in theatres.


Sources: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Flashcards: Here

3 thoughts on ““Painful” idiomatic expressions 🤕

  1. Marco says:

    Thanks for these idioms Jojo, I’m italian ‘to kill two birds with a stone’ is expressed as ‘to catch two pigeons with a fava bean’.

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