Have you ever heard someone saying ‘break the ice’? Does that mean they mean to break ice literally? Of course not. So what does this mean?
For understanding such different groups of words that do not hold a clear meaning, you need to understand the motive or symbolic meaning of the words. These groups of words are called idioms.
In this article, you will learn more about idioms and phrases. You can learn more details about idioms and phrases, along with meanings and examples that give you a clear idea about the difference between the two concepts.
What Do You Mean by Idioms and Phrases?
Idioms and phrases have a meaningful value depending on the sentence. Idioms can also be phrases, and any phrase with symbolic meaning can be considered an idiom.
Phrases are a group of words which are not complete that have a literal meaning. This means that a group of words has its meaning expressed clearly from word to word.
Idioms are a group of words with a different meaning from the literal meaning. Words expressing a metaphorical or symbolic meaning are considered idioms.
Idioms and phrases, while not completely different, do have a few differences. We’ll also discuss the difference between idioms and phrases.
Idioms and Phrases: Meanings
For expressive writing and comprehension, the command of idiomatic expression is significant in any language. For example
- ‘At a loose end’ indicates being unoccupied or idle;
- ‘Built castles in the air’ refers to daydreaming or about making visionary schemes.
Hence, this brings up the need to understand the difference between idioms and phrases with meanings and examples.
There are several forms of idiomatic expressions such as phrasal verbs, noun phrases, idiomatic adjectives, pairs of nouns, adjectives and adverbs, idioms and phrases.
Phrases are a group of words that can be perceived but do not have a clear meaning. They represent the literal meaning of the group of words.
Idioms, in simple words, refer to a common word which means something different from its literal meaning. However, idioms are understood due to its widespread use in spoken language.
Differences between Idioms and Phrases
The main difference between idioms and phrases concern understanding their senses.
- Idioms make sense on their own; phrases can make sense when joined with a sentence.
- Idioms are commonly used as slang or a part of spoken language; phrases can be used in normal sentences.
- In case of Idioms, we take their symbolic meaning; in phrases, we only take its literal meaning.
- An idiom can be a single word; phrases are not generally a single word.
- An idiom can be a phrase; if any phrase can have a metaphoric meaning, it is considered an idiom.
Examples of Idioms and Phrases
A systematic arrangement in alphabetical order of idioms and phrases are given below.
Idioms and Phrases from the Alphabet ‘A’
- At a stone’s throw means ‘very close’
E.g. My grandmother’s house is a stone’s throw from mine.
- At a loose end means ‘unoccupied or idle’
E.g. Nowadays, I’m at a loose end because of my new business.
- Apple-pie order refers to a ‘perfect order’
E.g. Due to inspection, we kept everything in apple-pie order.
- At one’s fingertips indicates ‘complete knowledge’
E.g. All the maths formulas are at his fingertips.
- All in all implies something that is most important
E.g. She’s the only daughter in a big family. She is all in all.
Idioms and Phrases from the Alphabet ‘B’
- By hook or by crook refers to doing something by any means
E.g. She is determined to achieve this role by hook or by crook.
- Break the ice means to speak after a prolonged silence
E.g. In the meeting, the manager broke the ice and explained the plan to solve the problem.
- Born with a silver spoon means to be born in a very rich family
E.g. Priya does not need to worry about spending the money as she is born with a silver spoon.
Idioms and Phrases from the Alphabet ‘C’
- Cutting both ends means arguing in favour of both sides
E.g. She is ambiguous because she always cuts both ends.
- Come in handy means to be useful
E.g. Take some woollen clothes. They may come in handy in Shimla.
Idioms and Phrases from the Alphabet ‘D’
- Dig the grave means to destroy or tarnish
E.g. By helping his son in crime, he digs the grave of his reputation.
- Die-hard means persistent in the struggle
E.g. She is a die-hard person and will not easily surrender.
Idioms and Phrases from the Alphabet ‘E’
- An evil eye refers to a harsh perspective on something
E.g. He has an evil eye in my business.
Idioms and phrases are part of our daily life, which are usually used as a part of spoken language. So, understanding their proper meanings becomes more important. The significance of learning idioms and phrases can be observed in the native language. Native language speakers commonly use these groups of words in informal settings. These make them comfortable and give them access to talk to their close ones.
This article outlined the meaning, differences, and examples of idioms and phrases.
For example, sitting on the fence has the meaning to not commit oneself. When the party split, Mahesh was accused of sitting on the fence.