Man eith Bird on His hand

Let’s have some more fun with English idioms

This time we will be talking about idioms that follow this construction:

“A __ in your __.”

In English, as in most languages, there are some pretty strange idiomatic and colloquial phrases that can make a language learner’s head spin*. Here’s a short list of some common – and some not-so-common – examples.

___________________________

A hitch in your get-along

This is a colloquial phrase used when a person is hobbled or slowed in some way by an obstacle or other impediment.

“This broken foot has sure put a hitch in my get-along.”

 

A frog in your throat

If you have a frog in your throat, you can’t speak or you are losing your voice because you have a problem with your throat.

“I can’t talk for long. I have a frog in my throat.”

 

A bug in your ear

If you put a bug in someone’s ear, you give him or her a reminder or suggestion relating to a future event.

“Is Emanuel going with us to the movies with us this weekend?”

“I don’t know. I’ll put a bug in his ear about it today.”

 

A look in your eye

This one can mean a couple of things:

  • To look someone directly in the eye without fear or shame.

“You should go look him in the eye and tell him not to take your things any more.”

  • When you can look at someone and can see that they have an idea, or are preparing to do something – often something mischievous.

“Uh oh. He’s got that look in his eye again. Watch out for water balloons!”

 

A twinkle in your eye

This idiom can be used is a couple of ways, too:

  • If something happens quickly

“I gave my son a dollar, and in the twinkle of an eye, he spent it.”

  • Represents a time before someone was born.

“This happened a long time ago, when you were just a twinkle in your father’s eye.”

A thorn in your side

A thorn in your side is someone or something that causes trouble or makes life difficult for you.

“That woman has been a thorn in my side since she got here.”

 

A chink in your armor

This term relies on chink in the sense of “a crack or gap,” a meaning dating from about 1400 and used figuratively since the mid-1600s. The phrase itself means ‘a vulnerable area’, as in –

“Procrastination is the chink in your armor.”

 

A bee in your bonnet

To keep talking about something again and again because you think it is important, especially something that other people do not think is important (often + about )

“She’s got a real bee in her bonnet about people keeping their dogs under control.”

 

A bird in the hand…

(OK. OK. I know this one doesn’t follow the construction of the others, but it is used frequently, so it’s worth the mention.)

This is a shortened version of the proverb “A bird in the hand is worth more than two in a bush”. The abbreviated version is used, it is understood that the rest of the phrase is implied.

“I should have taken that other job.”

“Yes, but, as they say, ‘a bird in the hand…’”

TIP – Don’t know what a phrase means? Google it!

If ever you find yourself faced with a phrase that you don’t understand, search for its definition in Google.

example:

search ➩ *make head spin idiom

definition: 1) Fig. “to make someone dizzy or disoriented.” 2) Fig. “to confuse or overwhelm someone.”

 

Need more help with your English language learning? We’ve got a lot of options:
Follow an English language course on Livemocha.com.

Join us for a live, instructor-led conversation class in the Livemocha Classroom.

Get one-on-one help with one of our tutors on tutors.livemocha.com.

 

 

Resources

TheFreeDictionary.com

UsingEnglish.com

Legalinsurrection.com