An idiom is a widely used expression or saying that contains a figurative meaning which is completely different from the phrase’s actual meaning. For example when one says “Bite the Bullet” then the direct meaning of the phrase would mean that someone would take a bullet to keep it between his/her teeth and take a bite of it, but that doesn’t make any sense, this is because the expression “Bite the Bullet” is an idiom which means that one decides to do something difficult or something that one has been putting away from some time now. So, an idiom is a phrase or expression which has a figurative meaning.
Idioms Meaning & Origination
The origination of idioms has no set timeline, these are mostly phrases that have been derived from some local customs, and as mankind evolved and traveled across the globe these local phrases spread across the world as idioms. One such interesting example is the idiom “Beat around the bush”. The idiom means to circle a point. The origination of this idiom comes from the bird hunting games played in Britain, the contestants would hit the bushes to check if birds were sitting in the bushes and when the bushes were beaten, birds would hop and fly out. Beating the bush was just an activity that had to be done, but the main purpose was to hunt a bird, so the idiom beating around the bush.
Another example is the idiom “I’ve got it in the bag”. The idiom started with superstition and translated to its meaning – Secured Success. In 1926 the New York Giants had a streak of 26 wins. For each game, a bag filled with 72 extra baseballs was kept in the ground, so that the ball hit in the crowd could be replaced by the balls in the bag. The giants during their epic 26 game winning streak fell under the impression that if they were in the lead during the last innings, carrying the balls off the field would ensure the success and win, and this movement of having the balls in the bag and moving them out according to the team means they had the game in their pocket, hence the idiom “I’ve got it in the bag”. Idioms were mostly local practices, superstitions, and instances that were globalized as humans traveled across the globe.
Idioms are not limited to just the language of English, idioms are used everywhere around the world. You may have heard of the famous idiom “Not my circus, not my monkeys” which means – Not my problem, well the idiom has been derived from the polish idiom “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy”. The idiom “even the monkeys fall from trees” is derived from a Japanese saying “猿も木から落ちる”, and it means no one is perfect and even the best makes mistakes. The idioms that we use in our day-to-day life are not just restricted to one language but have been influenced and derived from languages all around the globe, be it French, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic or German idioms are used everywhere across the globe. Idioms are the situations we see around us and use them as sentences to define the things around us easily and compactly. Idioms unify almost all languages and cultures, monkeys fall from trees everywhere around the world and not just in Japan, but just that the idiom became famous there it then traveled all across the globe and we today are sitting and reading about the same.
Idioms Usage and Importance
Idioms are mostly used in places where we want fewer characters in our communication and want to add dynamism to the overall speech or text. Idioms are a very good way to stay away from stale writing. But that’s not it; the idioms can be used for:
1- Express Complex ideas with simplicity:
Idioms can help you concisely express complex ideas. A simple example would be the idiom “comparing apples to oranges”. Supposably you are comparing two things that have very different traits and these things are impossible to compare with each other, in that case instead of using a long sentence like the one used here you can just say it is like comparing apples to oranges.
2- Add Humour to writing:
Idioms are a great way to convert a simple flat text into something interesting and humorous. No one would like to read just plain text, which has just a flat like of the information, rather people would be more interested in reading something that amuses them, and there is no better way to amuse the readers than by adding a pinch of humor. Idioms are one good way to add that subtle humor to your writing. An example could be the use of the idiom “not the brightest star in the sky” to define someone who is not very smart. See, just by adding an idiom the context remained the same but it added to the fun of reading.
3- Set the tone:
Idioms can be very helpful in setting the tone of the entire article or your writing. Since idioms have the same meaning universally, many idioms define the same situation, and depending upon the idiom you use you can set the tone for your reader. For example, you have to define a hard situation the idiom “to be in deep water” fits so well, and now imagine there is a dialogue between two people who happen to be fishing and discussing a tough situation, the same hard situation can then be described by the idiom “to be like a fish out of water”. The same emotion has just been modified concerning the situation and the physical environment around, hence setting the tone.
The idioms are very important to writing and communication as they help one eliminate long sentences. The idioms also make the whole speech or writing interesting binding the reader or the listener more towards you. So, if you are writing something or planning to write, make sure you look up some idioms to make the same text more interesting. You may also visit immerse’s social media to find some idioms and ideas