Idioms

Illustration of politician riding on long coattails of another (State Dept./D. Thompson)

What do coattails have to do with U.S. elections?

Phrases such as "coattails," "lame duck" and "flipping Congress" are often heard during election years. What do they mean?
Illustration of hand holding tag with drawing of arm and leg (State Dept./Doug Thompson)

Learning English won’t cost you an arm and a leg [video]

If something “costs an arm and a leg,” that doesn’t mean you have to give up a limb to buy it. Learn six money-related phrases you can use every day.
Illustration of a foot dipping a toe in water (State Dept./Doug Thompson)

Want to improve your English? Test the waters with these handy...

"Test the waters" is one of seven idiomatic phrases in American English that means more than getting wet. Check them out.

Learning English? Here’s why you might have a ‘funny feeling’

"Funny feeling" is one of six idiomatic phrases in American English that might be more than just a laughing matter. Check them out.

You’ll be ‘on cloud nine’ when you talk like an American

Americans often use the expression "on cloud nine" to say they’re very happy. Here are several idiomatic phrases that take their inspiration from the skies.

You won’t need to fish for compliments with these handy phrases

When learning American English it's helpful to know figures of speech. Try these animal-themed phrases!

Learning English? You’ll want to make a beeline for these phrases

Many American English phrases owe their origin to the work habits of bees. Learn some idiomatic phrases inspired by the tiny pollinators.

Spice up your conversation with the flavors of American English

Learn how food terms are used in American English. Food-related phrases are used to decribe events that occur outside of the kitchen.

Stay cool with these summer phrases

Learn cool American English phrases that describe summer in the U.S.