Idioms for Kids to Use

  • Give it a shot - Try
  • Speak your mind - Say what you really feel
  • A piece of cake - Very easy
  • Slipped my mind - I forgot
  • Cross your fingers - For good luck
  • Be in hot water - Be in trouble
  • It cost an arm and a leg - It was expensive
  • It’s in the bag - It’s a certainty
  • Get cold feet - Be nervous
  • A rip off - Too expensive
  • Get a kick out of - Enjoy
  • Read between the lines - Find the hidden meaning
  • Have mixed feelings - Unsure how you feel
  • Draw a blank - Can’t remember
  • Have a change of heart - Changed your mind
  • Be second to none - Be the best
  • Get your act together - Behave properly
  • Play it by ear - Improvise
  • Have second thoughts - Have doubts
  • A basket case - A crazy person
  • Have a shot at - Have a chance
  • Be in the same boat - Be in the same situation
  • Out of the blue - With no warning
  • A grey area - Something unclear
  • Give someone the cold shoulder - Ignore someone
  • I’m all ears - You have my undivided attention
  • See eye to eye - Agree
  • Call it a day - Time to quit
  • The icing on the cake - Something additional that turns good into great

Animal Idioms for Kids

  • Fish out of water - Being somewhere you don’t belong
  • Kettle of fish - Something is completely different
  • Get off your high horse - Quit thinking you are better than others
  • Hold your horses - Wait a minute
  • Horse of a different color - Something that is different
  • Let the cat out of the bag - Tell a secret
  • Curiosity killed the cat - Asking may get you in trouble
  • Cat got your tongue? - Why aren’t you talking?
  • Raining cats and dogs - It is raining very hard
  • You can't teach an old dog new tricks - It’s harder for older people to learn new things
  • Hot dog - A person doing athletic stunts that are dangerous
  • Doggy bag - A bag to take home leftovers from a restaurant
  • A little birdie told me - Someone told me a secret
  • Bee in her bonnet - She is upset
  • Goose is cooked - Now you’re in trouble
  • For the birds - Something that is not worth anything
  • Birdbrain - Someone who is not very smart
  • But a bug in his ear - Make a suggestion
  • A bull in a china shop - someone who is very clumsy
  • Pig out - To eat a lot
  • Wolf in sheep’s clothing - A person who pretends to be nice but is not
  • Cry crocodile tears - To pretend to be upset
  • Make a mountain out of a molehill - Make something that is not important into a big deal


Idioms that Begin with Prepositions



  • at any rate:  whatever happens or is happening
  • at one's disposal:  available for one’s use
  • at fault:  causing a problem or accident
  • at first:  in the beginning
  • at last:  finally, after some delay 
  • at a loss:  unsure of what to do or say; speechless


  • behind the scenes:  influencing events secretly; unseen


  • beside the point:  irrelevant


  • by accident:  not on purpose
  • by all means:  by any possible method
  • by hand:  without the use of machinery
  • by heart:  from memory
  • by mistake:  accidentally
  • by oneself:  alone
  • by the way:  incidentally (used to introduce a new, unrelated topic)


  • for good:  permanently
  • for a living:  as a profession
  • for one thing:  because of one reason (out of several)
  • for sale:  intended to be sold
  • for sure:  definitely
  • for now/ for the time being:  until some other arrangement/decision is made
  • for a while:  for a period of time


  • from scratch:  from raw ingredients/materials; without anything pre-made
  • from time to time:  occasionally


  • in advance:  before something begins; early
  • in any case:  whatever happens
  • in charge:  in command; responsible for
  • in common:  shared by two or more people
  • in danger:  likely to be harmed (opposite: out of danger/out of harm’s way)
  • in a daze:  unable to think clearly; confused
  • in debt:  owing money (opposite: out of debt)
  • in demand:  wanted by many people
  • in the end:  after everything is finished (describes a final outcome)
  • in fact:  in reality; really
  • in a hurry:  doing something quickly
  • in itself:  without anything else
  • in the long run:  in the end; eventually
  • in mint condition:  perfect; as though brand-new
  • in a minute/moment/second:  soon; quickly (used to tell how much longer it will be until something happens)
  • in no time:  very soon; very quickly (used to tell how quickly something happened)
  • in season:  (fruit or vegetables) ripe and available for sale at that time of year (opposite: out of season)
  • in trouble:  blamed or punished for doing something wrong; in a difficult situation (opposite: out of trouble)
  • in vain:  without success
  • in the wrong:  responsible for an error; guilty


  • inside out:  with the inner side out


  • of course:  certainly; as one would expect; as everyone knows


  • off and on:  (describes a situation that exists at some times, but not others, over a period of time)


  • on account of:  because of
  • on the air:  in the process of broadcasting (on radio or television)
  • on all fours:  (people) on hands and knees; (animals) on all four feet
  • on demand:  when requested or demanded
  • on fire:  burning; in flames (not burning as in turning black from staying in the oven too long)
  • on hand:  available; in stock
  • on the lookout:  watchful
  • on the one hand:  (used to introduce the first side of an argument)
  • on one's own:  alone; without assistance
  • on the other hand:  alternatively (used with “on the one hand” to introduce a contrasting side of an argument)
  • on purpose:  deliberately
  • on sale:  being sold at a reduced price
  • on second thought:  after thinking further
  • on a shoestring:  with very little money
  • on the spur of the moment:  spontaneously; on a sudden impulse
  • on time:  at the correct time
  • on the verge of:  very close to (an achievement)


  • out of the blue:  unexpectedly
  • out of breath:  panting from a shortage of oxygen (usually due to physical exertion)
  • out of character:  different from a person's known character
  • out of order:  not functioning
  • out of the ordinary:  unusual
  • out of practice:  unable to do something as well as one once could because of lack of recent practice
  • out of the question:  not to be considered; not an option
  • out of shape:  not in top physical condition because of lack of exercise (opposite: in shape)
  • out of sight:  not able to be seen; hidden (opposite: in sight)
  • out of town:  not in the city/town where one normally resides (opposite: in town)
  • out of tune:  (of music/musical instruments) not at the correct pitch (opposite: in tune)
  • out of work:  unemployed


  • to a certain extent:  partly


  • under one's breath:  in a whisper; not intending to be heard
  • under the circumstances:  because of the current situation/circumstance
  • under control:  able to be controlled or influenced (opposites: out of control/out of hand)
  • under fire:  being shot at; being criticized
  • under the impression that:  having the idea/belief that
  • under the influence of:  affected by (usually alcohol or drugs)


  • up in the air:  uncertain (with regard to the outcome of a situation)


  • with the naked eye:  without the use of a lens
  • with regard/respect to:  concerning; about
  • with a vengeance:  more than usual; angrily


  • within reason: that is reasonable