• Daniel Bullock

21 Must-Know Fruit Idioms for Beginners to Sound Like a Native

grapes, truck, farm, sunny, vineyard, EFL expressions and idioms
Find out what it means when people say: I heard it on the grapevine"

Have you ever been told that you are just cherry-picking? That means you only chose the best from a selection and could be greedy. Has anyone ever said you have sour grapes? This means you are resentful about something. For example, your friend got the promotion at work that you wanted, and now you resent her. Have you ever bought a lemon? For example, a car you thought would run fine, but it actually broke down the day after? That is a lemon! These are fruit idioms that will help you sound like a native English speaker.

  1. Must-know tips for a beginner to speak English like a native

  2. Over 20 Must-know idioms about fruits in English for ESL learners

  3. Table of common fruit idioms with meaning

  4. Fruit idioms list for learning English as a beginner - with examples

  5. Types of fruit idioms and their meaning

  6. 21 Examples of common fruit idioms with meanings and sentences

  7. Fruit idioms and phrases on YouTube for ESL students

  8. Fruit idioms quiz: find these must-know idioms to sound more like a native English speaker

Must-know tips for a beginner to speak English like a native

fruit idioms with meanings and sentences, top banana, second
This guy looks like top banana, don't you think?

One of the things to work on if you want to sound like a native is the type of vocabulary you choose to speak English with. Using common idioms, such as “top banana” or “ peachy” is one way to make your vocabulary sound more advanced. You should use idioms to make your English more natural, but make sure to not say them too much, just occasionally is best. If you say the same idioms all the time, they lose their impact.

Sound like a native: 21 Must-know idioms about fruits in English for ESL learners

Here we will talk about 21 common English idioms that will help you sound more like a native speaker, which is the goal of many ESL (English as a Second Language) students. These must-know idioms are involving fruit. There are many more non-fruit idiomatic expressions that can also help you sound more natural. I recommend reading Top 25 Beginner Animal Idioms To Use Right Now for a good start!

Common and useful fruit idioms table with meanings

Don’t want to buy a lemon? The following table will help you sound like a native speaker of English if you can practice using them naturally in a conversation. Read on to boost your English word power!

Fruit Idiom


To have sour grapes

It means to feel resentful about something.

To compare apples with/and oranges

Comparing two things that are completely different.

To cherry-pick something or someone

It means to be highly selective. To only choose the best.

​To be the top banana

It means to be the number one person, boss, head.

​To be the second banana

It means to be the second in charge.

​To not give a fig

It means not caring about something or someone.

Just peachy

It means something is very nice, such as a day, or a feeling.

A lemon

This means you have a defective product. You can also use it to call someone an idiot!

To go bananas

To become very excited or angry.

To go pear-shaped

This means a plan goes wrong, things don’t go as expected. It has a negative meaning.

The apple never falls far from the tree. What does it mean?

It means that important family characteristics are usually inherited.

The idiom "to bear fruit"

​This means to yield or get positive results

To upset the apple cart

​This means to spoil or disrupt a plan or atmosphere. Usually when someone joins a new group.

The cherry on the cake: what does it mean?

​It is a desirable feature or thing that completes something. For example a delicious dessert after a nice meal.

On the grapevine meaning (also, through the grapevine)

​You hear news from gossip or a social situation.

To speak with a plum in their mouth

This means they speak with an accent that is typical of a high social class, they sound posh.

He is a bad apple

It means a bad person. Typically they affect other people around them in a bad way.

As red as a cherry

This means we become extremely red in the face, as from embarrassment, anger, or physical strain.

What does the idiom "peaches and cream" mean?

​1. Used to describe someone who has smooth and pale skin with light pink cheeks 2 Chiefly US, informal: a situation, process, etc., that has no trouble or problems He promised her that if she married him, life would be peaches and cream. Source: Mirriam-Webster

What does the English expression "life is a bowl of cherries" mean?

This phrase means that life is full of pleasure and enjoyment. You might say it after having an enjoyable day.

Everyday Idioms with Fruits and Vegetables, red cherries, bowl, swimming pool
Life is great - it is just like a bowl of cherries!

Useful fruit idioms list for beginners learning English | 21 common fruit idioms

  1. Sour grapes

  2. To compare apples and (with) oranges

  3. To cherry-pick

  4. Top banana

  5. Second banana

  6. Go bananas

  7. Give a fig

  8. Peachy

  9. Peaches and Cream

  10. A lemon

  11. Go pear-shaped

  12. The apple never falls far from the tree

  13. To bear fruit

  14. To upset the apple cart

  15. The cherry on the cake

  16. Through the Grapevine (or on the grapevine)

  17. Talk with a plum in one’s mouth

  18. A bad apple

  19. As red as a cherry

  20. Peaches and cream

  21. Life is a bowl of cherries

Different types of fruit idioms and their meaning with example sentences | Categories of Fruit

Here you will find examples of everyday Idioms with Fruits and Vegetables in sentences. Please read them out loud many times in order to remember them. Try to remember the names of the fruit and the related idiomatic phrase, for example, give+fig.

Types of fruit idioms and their meaning in a table

Here we will discover fruit and vegetable idioms related to:

  1. Apples

  2. Bananas

  3. Grapes

  4. Cherries

  5. Carrots

Type of fruit or vegetable

Idiom or expression

What is the meaning of this idiom?


To compare apples with oranges

If you compare apples to oranges, you are comparing two very different things, so it is not useful to compare.


To upset the apple cart

To disrupt or cause trouble in a social situation.


Top banana

To be the leader, chief, or boss


Go bananas

To become overly excited in a positve way, or to get angry.


Sour Grapes

To be resentful about something


To hear something on the grapevine

​To hear something socially, usually gossip


As red as a cherry

Something that is really red


The cherry on the cake

A finishing touch that makes something perfect


To dangle a carrot

To offer an incentive


A carrot top

Someone with red hair

fruit idioms quiz
He might have sour grapes

21 Examples of common fruit idioms with meanings and sentences

1. What does “I don't give a fig” mean?

This idiom means we do not care about something. Usually spoken like: I couldn’t give a fig, or I don’t give a fig.

Sally does not give a fig about other people. She’s selfish.

2. What does it mean when your grapes are sour?

If you have sour grapes, you are resentful about something.

Manuel has sour grapes about his classmate getting a high TOEIC score. He scored over 800, while Manuel could only manage 450.

3. What does the phrase "compare apples and oranges" mean?

This means we compare two completely unrelated things.

Which should I buy, a car or a new house? It’s kind of apples and oranges, they are both so different.

4. What does the phrase cherry-pick mean?

When you cherry-pick, we are only selecting, or “picking” the best from a big selection.

The teacher cherry-picked the most advanced students for the English speech contest.

5. What does the saying top banana mean?

If we are the top banana, it means we are the boss or are in charge of something.

Although Charlotte is the top banana in her office, she is still very approachable.

Fruit idioms game, soccer, captain, grass, palm trees, blue sky, man playing, kicking a ball
Troy is unofficially second banana on the football team

7. What does "you’re second banana" mean?

You are second in command.

Max is the second banana on the baseball team. Last season, he was captain, though.

8. What does "just peachy" mean?

Everything is fine. This expression is also sometimes used in a sarcastic way, like in this example: How are things today, Jack?

Oh, just peachy thanks. I failed the English exam!

Things are just peachy at the moment, I am so happy!

fruit idioms names
Peachy! I am super-happy!

9. What does the phrase it's a lemon mean?

We usually use this idiomatic expression after buying a dud!

My car is a complete lemon, it won’t even start!

10. What does it mean to go bananas?

It means getting excited and out of control.

Our dog went bananas when he met other dogs in the park.

11. What does it mean when everything went pear-shaped?

Things start to go really wrong. Your plan was going well until something happened to derail it.

Michael’s business plan went pear-shaped after he spent too much on advertising.

12. What does it mean the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?

A son or daughter has similar characteristics to one of their parents.

Jimmy went to prison, just like his father did years ago. It just goes to show, that the apple never falls far from the tree, does it?

13. What does the expression bear fruit mean?

This idiom means that a plan that we have starts to succeed.

Takahiro’s English has improved a lot - his constant review of grammar and vocabulary is finally bearing fruit.

14. How do you use to upset the apple cart in a sentence?

If you upset an apple cart, you disturb other people or the status quo.

The new smartphone has really upset the apple cart - it is more advanced than all other models so the other manufacturers are having to suddenly scramble.

15. What does it mean to have a cherry on top?

It is like the icing on a cake. A nice finishing flourish or touch. It is already complete, but you are making it even better.

The cherry on top of my already great weekend was getting a gift from my husband.

fruit idioms with meanings and sentences
Cherries on cakes - yummy!

16. How do you use "through the grapevine" in a sentence?

We use this expression when we have heard some news or gossip from friends or acquaintances.

I heard through the grapevine that you are planning to take the TOEFL test. That's a great way to boost your ESL skills!

17. How do you make a sentence with “speak with a plum in your mouth”?

This expression is fairly common with native English speakers and is used regarding people who speak with an upper-class accent.

Gerald really talks with a plum in his mouth, doesn't he?

18. What is the saying about bad apples?

The saying about bad apples is used when we want to say someone is bad. We talk about their attitude or behavior.

Kate is a bad apple. First, she stole her teacher’s wallet, then she shoplifted.

19. What is the saying about red cherries?

As red as cherry is used when something is really, really red! Just like cherries are red.

She was so embarrassed that her face went as red as a cherry!

20. What does the phrase Peaches and Cream mean?

It is used when there are no problems and things go well

My new job is just peaches and cream. It is so easy and unstressful!

21. What is the meaning of "life is a bowl of cherries"?

The term is one that can definitely be used by EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students, and it just means that life is good or enjoyable.

I am so happy with everything right now. A new job, a new house. Life is a bowl of cherries.

Fruit idioms and phrases on YouTube for ESL students

Check out Daniel’s English Club YouTube channel for more examples of English idioms that will help EFL students and English learners in general. Plus, lots more English language-related content.

Fruit idioms quiz: Find these must-know idioms to sound more like a native English speaker

Here you will find a fun-filled fruity quiz! Try to work out or guess the idioms and their meanings from the hints about these fruit-related expressions. Then, watch the video above, from the DEC (Daniel’s English Club) channel and find the answers!

Quiz Questions related to fruit idioms for ESL learners

  1. Where did I hear the big news about Sally’s TOEIC result?

  2. Jake performed well on the IELTS test, because of all his hard work.

  3. My face color when I stood on stage as a contestant in the English speech contest.

  4. Now that I have improved my speaking, grammar, vocabulary, and listening skills, it is all…

  5. What am I, if I am the leader of a group?