A Few Valentine’s Day (Love) Idioms

The holiday of Valentine’s Day has its first origins going back at least 1,500 years. Originally the holiday honored one or two Catholic saints named Valentine. Today, however, the holiday is associated with romantic love and is celebrated in many countries. (In the US, like the rest of the world, it is not an official federal or state holiday where many people have the day off work.) The holiday is traditionally celebrated on February 14 (that is my mom’s birthday and her middle name is Val!)

Unsurprisingly, there are many idioms, expressions, and phrasal verbs associated with love in English. Here are a few which might help you out, especially on Valentine’s Day!

lovin

ask out (on a date) – to ask somebody out  (or ask out somebody) is to ask them to go on a date with you, as a possible way of starting a romantic relationship with them.

Example: He is too scared to ask her out.

 

chat up – to chat up somebody (or chat somebody up) is to talk to them in a flirtatious way to show you are attracted to them, and to try and make them interested in you.

British and Australian informal English.

Example: I’ve been trying to chat him up all evening but he’s not interested.

 

cuddle up – to cuddle up with someone is to sit or lie very close them in an affectionate way.

Example: I love cuddling up with my husband.

 

eat out – to eat out  is to eat away from home, at a cafe or restaurant. Many people eat out at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day.

Example: Let’s eat out tonight. I know a very good restaurant.

fall

fall for – if you fall for someone you become very attracted to them, or fall in love with them.

Informal English.

Example: She fell for him as soon as she saw him.

 

get together – if people get together they start a romantic relationship.

Example: They got together in 2001 when they were working in Paris.

 

go out together / with – to go out with someone is to have a romantic relationship with them.

Examples:

1. Will you go out with me?

2. They have been going out together for six months.

 

live for – if you live for somebody they are the most important thing in your life.

Example: Marcus lives for his wife: he will do anything for her.

 

move in together / with – to move in together is to start living with someone – usually someone you are having a romantic relationship with.

Example: We’re moving in together in June.

 

 

pour out – if you pour out your feelings to someone you tell them everything about how you are feeling. (Also: “Pour your heart out.”)

Example: She poured out her feelings and told him how much she loved him.

 

run off with – to run off with somebody is to secretly go away with someone in order to live with them or marry them, especially when other people think this is wrong. Often used to show disapproval.

Informal English.

Example: They were only 17 years old when they ran off with each other.

 

settle down – when two people settle down together they set up a life together and perhaps get married, buy a house and start a family.

Example:

Peter and Marcia are settling down and buying a house together.

 

a heart-throb – a heart-throb is a good looking man; usually someone famous who is attractive to very many women.

Informal English

Examples:

1. In my opinion, George Clooney is a heart-throb; but Justin Bieber is not!

2. Many women think the actor Brad Pitt is a heart-throb.

 

a broken heart –  a broken heart (noun) is a feeling of great sadness and despair, especially when someone you love dies or does not love you.

Examples:

1. They broke up last week and she is broken-hearted. (broken hearted = adjective)

2. Three weeks after our grandmother died, our grandfather died of a broken heart

3. His heart is broken because she doesn’t love him anymore.

 

a heart-to-heart – a heart-to-heart talk (noun) is a completely open and honest private discussion between two people.

Example

We had a heart-to-heart talk last night to try and work out our problems.

 

wear your heart on your sleeve – if you wear your heart on your sleeve you are very open about your feelings for someone, and everyone can see how you are feeling.

loves.jpg

 

fall head over heels in love – to fall head over heels in love with someone is to fall in love with them very suddenly, and with great intensity.

Example: I met my husband at university and fell head over heels in love with him on our first date.

 

lovebirds – if two people are clearly very much in love with each other they are often called ‘the lovebirds’. Lovebirds are small parrots that are well known for showing great affection to their mates.

 

puppy love – puppy love is the love or romantic feelings felt for someone by children or young adolescents. Often used in a negative or derogatory way.

Example: It’s only puppy love. They will soon forget about it.

 

Halloween: What does it mean to “go trick-or-treating”?

Halloween is one of the most beloved of American holidays for children and many adults alike. It is officially October 31 every year. However, in recent years, the custom of going from house to house to collect candy has sometimes been moved to a different night (e.g. October 30, November 1, etc.) for different reasons.

Candy or sweets can be called “treats.” At each house, the child in a costume knocks on the door and, when the door is opened, the child often says “trick or treat!” Or they may say: “trick or treat, trick or treat, give me something good to eat!” We also call the action of going from house to house “trick-or-treating.”

The meaning of the phrase “trick or treat” is actually kind of a threat! It means if the child does not receive candy, he or she will play some kind of trick on the people. Actually, the child (normally) has no plans to do anything bad or play any tricks if they don’t get candy — it is just a fun expression. However, some people do not provide candy to children and may simply choose not to answer their door.

If you are living in America, we do encourage you to buy candy ahead of time and plan to answer your door and give a couple pieces of candy to each child. It is a fun part of American culture!

What does “A Dime a Dozen” mean?

“A dime a dozen” is a phrase which is used in reference to anything which is common and/or cheap. A dime is an American unit of money equal to ten cents (a small amount of money), and a dozen means twelve of something. In other words, the thing is very cheap, less than a penny each.

dimes

Examples:

“Experts in this field are a dime a dozen.” (It means experts in a certain industry were very common and/or didn’t make much money.)

“Smiles were a dime a dozen at the Thanksgiving Day Parade.” (It means smiles were very common.)

What does “the lion’s share” mean?

“The lion’s share” is an expression that means most of or the majority (but not all).

It is a somewhat formal expression suitable for workplace and academic writings and presentations.

Examples:

“The eldest son received the lion’s share of the inheritance.”

“Without a doubt, Kathleen, who has served as my advisor over these past five years, deserves the lion’s share of my gratitude.”

lion

What does “Hear it through the grapevine” mean?

If you hear something “through the grapevine” it means that you have heard a rumor about someone or something. If you use this expression, it also helps you protect the name/identity of the person who told you the rumor.

Have you heard something through the grapevine recently?

grapevine

Example:
-David: I heard it through the grapevine that you are looking for another job. Is it true?
-Bob: Wow, how did you know that? I only told a few people. But yes, it’s true. Please don’t tell anyone else.

You can also say “I heard it on the grapevine.”
A similar idiom: “A little bird told me.”

How Will You Ring In The New Year?

Happy New Year!!!

We’ve been teaching a lot of idioms & expressions that go with the wintertime.

Now we’re ready for the New Year, and that means new expressions and phrases for you to learn!

Here are some phrases & idioms relating to the New Year holiday. Want to learn more? Come visit our school.

EXPRESSION: Ring in the New Year To celebrate the beginning of the new year at midnight on December 31.

“We are planning a big party to ring in the new year.”

“How did you ring in the new year?”

10 USEFUL PHRASES
1. New Year’s Eve
the evening of the 31st of December

– What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?
– I’m going to a party with my husband.

2. New Year’s Day
the 1st of January

– I’m going to see the NHL Winter Classic (ice-hockey match) on New Year’s Day.

3. Make a resolution/ resolve to do something
make a firm decision to do something

– Are you going to make a New Year’s resolution?
– I’ve already made one. I’ve resolved to learn a hundred new words every week.

4. Fireworks
a display of coloured explosives and smoke for amusement

– The fireworks begin as the clock strikes midnight.

5. Toast
raising your glass to drink together with a group of people to honour someone or wish them happiness, good luck/health

– Let’s drink a toast! Happy New Year, everybody!

6. Raise one’s glasses
drink a toast

– Let’s raise our glasses to a Happy New Year!

7. Superstition
an irrational belief based on faith in magic or chance

– It brings good luck if a dark haired person is the first one to enter your household on New Year’s Day. (this custom is called ’First-Footing’ in Scotland)
– That’s just some old superstition. I don’t believe in it.

8. Turn over a new leaf
start again in a better/different way

– I’ll turn over a new leaf and start being nicer to people next year.

9. Punch
a drink of mixed fruit juices often spiced with wine or other alcohol, prepared in large bowls

– Who’s going to make the punch for tonight’s party?

10. Wish
express hope concerning the future

– I wish you a very Happy New Year.

“‘TIS THE SEASON”: CHRISTMAS IDIOMS JUST IN TIME!

The following list contains numerous English idioms and expressions relating to Christmas and holiday traditions. Some of them are specifically used during the holidays and some can be used any time. More info below!

Bah! Humbug!
= first used by Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, this is sometimes said by people who aren’t fans of Christmas when confronted with holiday well-wishers.

I’m tired of all these Christmas carolers singing at my door! Bah humbug I say!!

Christmas comes but once a year = used as an excuse for over indulgence, whether on food or on gifts, on the basis that it doesn’t happen often. 

Go ahead and have another plate of food! Christmas comes but once a year.

Deck the halls
 = decking (or decorating) one’s hall with branches from a holly tree is an old tradition; the popular carol of the same name began as a Welsh tune dating back to the 16th century

Christmas is in five days and we haven’t put up any decorations yet! It’s time to deck the halls!

It’s the thought that counts = it’s the kindness behind an act that matters, however imperfect or insignificant it may be.(Expression can be used any time of year)

Lit up like a Christmas tree = nothing to do with decorations but used to describe an intense military attack on enemy positions (Expression not actually used for Christmas)

The more the merrier = the more people or things there are, the better a given situation will be (Expression used any time of year)

There’s no time like the present = a reminder that there are things in our lives we can do and accomplish RIGHT NOW with a little hard work (Expression used any time of year)

‘Tis the season to be jolly 
= taken from a Christmas carol, this phrase serves as a reminder to put on a happy face over the festive period (‘Tis is an old method of contracting it and is, but is rarely used these days) (Expression used near and around Christmas time)

Trim the tree
 = nothing to do with cutting, this is an old reference to decorating a pine tree with ornaments, lights and other glittery bits (Expression used during Christmas time)

White Christmas = when it snows at Christmas time (something which happens sometimes in Atlanta but not often)