Recursos para estudiantes de inglés de todos los niveles, profesores y traductores. Para aprender o mejorar tu inglés en forma divertida.
English Vocabulary - Vocabulario de inglés
¿Qué es un idiom?
Un "idiom" o "idiomatic expression" es una frase idiomática utilizada en lenguaje coloquial informal.

En general, el significado de la frase en sí es diferente al significado normal de cada palabra por separado. Por ejemplo, "to let the cat out of the bag" significa "revelar un secreto". Si traducimos palabra por palabra, sería "dejar salir al gato de la bolsa", lo cual es incorrecto.

La dificultad para los estudiantes de inglés radica en que no pueden traducirse literalmente y deben aprenderse de memoria, aunque en algunos casos existen equivalentes muy similares en el idioma español.

Lee las explicaciones de cada idiom e intenta recordarlos.

  • armchair traveller = somebody who reads about being a traveller but doesn't have any experience of doing it.
    His books about his adventures are read by a lot of armchair travellers.
  • to be called on the carpet (US) = be criticised by an authority because of doing something wrong.
    She was called on the carpet by her boss because she didn't finish the task in time.
  • to roll out the red carpet = give special treatment.
    They rolled out the red carpet when the Prime Minister visited the country.
  • to sweep something under the carpet = try to keep something wrong as a secret.
    I'm sure she made a mistake and now she's sweeping it under the carpet.
  • to get out of bed on the wrong side = feel angry or annoyed for no particular reason.
    What's the problem with you? I think you just got out of bed on the wrong side.
  • not a bed of roses = not an easy situation.
    Working in an office isn't always a bed of roses.
  • you've made your bed and you must lie on it = you must accept the results of your actions.
    It was you who decided to resign. You've made your bed and you must lie on it.
  • everything but the kitchen sink = too many things.
    She packed a big suitcase for her holidays. She took everything but the kitchen sink!
  • a  kitchen sink drama (UK) = a play or film about family problems at home.
    I'm tired of watching this kitchen sink drama!
  • to jump out of the frying pan into the fire  = go from a bad situation into a worse one.
    Sheila quit her job in the office and started working for a supermarket. Now she has to work even longer hours. She jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.
  • off-the-shelf = available to be bought as it is.
    Cars are sold in an off-the-shelf basis, we don't offer any personalized design.
  • to be left on the shelf = not be used or considered.
    His dancing skills were left on the shelf until he became a famous singer.
  • to be in the chair = be in charge of a meeting.
    Paul will be in the chair at our next meeting.
  • to be on the table = be officially suggested for somebody to consider.
    The offer is on the table, now you have to think if you accept or not.
  • under the table = in secret or illegally (usually referred to money).
    The main local authorities received money under the table.
  • to go out of the window = disappear or no longer have any effect.
    After drinking, his good intentions went out of the window.
  • to close the door on something = make something become impossible.
    The car accident closed the door on her acting career.
  • to get in through the back door = achieve something thanks to an unfair secret advantage.
    As his father is a cabinet member, he got in through the back door.
  • to lay something at somebody's door = blame somebody for something.
    The problem can't be laid entirely at his door.
  • to bring down the curtain on something = cause the end of something.
    His resignation brought down the curtain on his career.
  • to smoke like a chimney = smoke a lot.
    If he goes on smoking like a chimney, he will have serious health problems.
  • to hit the roof = become very angry.
    Put that back before Dad sees you and hits the roof!
  • to have a bun in the oven = (used humourously) be pregnant.
    She can't walk up the stairs, she has a bun in the oven.

We thank Judith Camacho Díaz (from Barcelona, Spain) for her suggestion.

Choose the right answer.

1. When the Queen was in the city, they .

2. Payments were made to avoid taxes.

3. Life isn't always .

4. I believe we should this incident and go on with our lives.

5. After the recent fall in sales, their expansion plans .

6. The secretary by her boss because she hadn't notified him of the meeting.

7. The divisions within the party can't be .

8. When their mother saw the mess, she .

9. You made a big mistake. Now you can't just .

10. Mr. Harding will at tomorrow's meeting.

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