• Daniel Bullock

Beginner’s Guide: How To Use Idioms About Laziness For English Learners


idioms related to laziness, couch potato, armchair
This guy's parents are irritated with him because he is a bit of a coach potato!

  1. List of 10 Must-know idioms about laziness for English learners

  2. Table of common laziness idioms for beginners with meanings

  3. 10 Examples of lazy idioms for learning English as a beginner

  4. Laziness idioms and phrases on YouTube for English/ESL learners

  5. A quiz about laziness: find these must-know idioms to sound more like a native English speaker

  6. How do you describe a lazy person in beginner's English?

  7. A final word on using Idioms for being lazy in English for beginners


Must-know idioms regarding laziness to help you sound like a native speaker of English


Have you ever been told that you are bone idle? That means you are lazy! Has anyone ever told you they're in a rut? This means they are having a difficult time, which may be boring and unproductive. Have you ever been a couch potato on the weekend? This means you relax on the sofa and take it easy. These are laziness-related idioms that will help you sound like a native English speaker. Here are 10 commonly used Idioms you should know.


List of 10 Must-know idioms about laziness for English learners


Idioms for unmotivated, bone idle, dog sleeping
My dog is so lazy, he is so bone idle!

Below, you will find a list of 10 commonly used idioms regarding laziness. These will help you sound more natural in your English.


  1. Lazybones

  2. Bone idle

  3. Couch potato

  4. Slacker

  5. Deadbeat

  6. Asleep at the wheel

  7. Drop the ball

  8. Going through the motions

  9. Good-for-nothing

  10. Stuck in a rut


Table of common laziness idioms for beginners with meanings

Now let's check out a table of must-know phrases that will help you improve your English vocabulary. If some of these definitions have difficult words, check those meanings in a dictionary of your choice. A good one is this, however. Also, you could check in a dictionary of your own language. For example, a Japanese-to-English dictionary. Google does a good job nowadays, too!


What's the idiom?

What is the meaning of this idiom?

Lazybones

This means you are a lazy person!

Bone idle

This means someone is idle or extremely lazy

Couch potato

A person who takes little or no exercise and watches a lot of television

Slacker

A person who avoids work or effort

Deadbeat

An idle or disreputable person

Asleep at the wheel

​This idiomatic expression means that you are not attentive or alert.

Drop the ball

​Mishandle something, or make a mistake

Going through the motions

To do something without making a real effort

Good-for-nothing

​A lazy or feckless person. They may offer little value!

​Stuck in a rut

You are bored. You have an established daily routine that isn't any fun.


lazy day idioms, a rutted road, stuck
Have you ever been stuck in a rut?

10 Examples of lazy idioms for learning English as a beginner


Read these examples of idioms to describe unmotivated or lazy people. I would recommend repeating this list out loud several times in order to remember them well. Next time you have the opportunity to have an English conversation, try to drop some of these in! It might be funny! As with any language, though, only use them if the situation is suitable!


1. How do you use lazybones in a sentence?


Trae is such a lazybones. He hasn't cleaned his room in over a month!


 lazybones idioms, how to make a sentence about a lazy person
My dog, Fido, is such a lazybones!

2. What is an example sentence of a couch potato?


Bobby has become a couch potato. He doesn't exercise or study. He just plays video games and watches TV all day.

3. What makes a person a slacker? What's an example slacker in a sentence?

If you always try to take shortcuts, are lazy, or just try to avoid working, then you could be a slacker! Oops!


Idioms for feeling lazy, English, test, certificate
She passed the English test with flying colors! She is certainly not a slacker!

Jayne is definitely not a slacker. She just scored 880 points on the TOEIC test!


4. What does deadbeat mean in slang? What is an example of it in a sentence?

We use this phrase to describe someone who is disreputable or lazy. For instance:


Janet should not go out with that deadbeat. He will just take her money!

5. Asleep at the wheel synonym and example in a sentence

A synonym for asleep at the wheel would be someone who is very inattentive. Now, here is an example:


Lazy idioms and phrases
Asleep at the wheel means you are coasting, not paying enough attention

Michael seems to be asleep at the wheel these days. He has made so many careless mistakes with his English grammar. It is surprising because he never used to.



6. Drop the ball idiom sentence example


Lazy idioms in English, football player, ball
Do not drop the balll!

The football manager really dropped the ball this season. We lost almost every game!



7. What is it called when you just go through the motions? Going through the motions examples:

When you are just going through the motions, you could call it being on "autopilot" or "cruise control" on a car. You are just coasting, without paying attention to what you are really doing. For instance:


You are just going through the motions with your English homework. Please put more effort in!

Tracey said she was just going through the motions. She wants to change her job and find a more interesting one.

8. What does it mean to be stuck in a rut? Stuck in a rut examples

To be stuck in a rut means the person is bored and tired of their current routine. This usually involves work or a relationship.


Mick was complaining of being stuck in a rut. That is why he resigned from his job.

What do you call someone that's lazy? English lesson, grammar, vocabulary, whiteboard
Improve your career and get out of that rut by studying English

If you are stuck in a rut with your career, how about studying English? It is a good way to level up your work-life!



9. Good for nothing example sentence


What do you call someone that's lazy? suspicious man, sunglasses
He looks good for nothing! Best not talk to him.

That man standing on the corner looks good for nothing. Avoid him when you walk past. He could be dangerous.





10. Bone idle idiom sentence

If you want to have a happy and satisfied life, avoid being bone idle!



Laziness idioms and phrases on YouTube for ESL/English students



Please have a look at our YouTube channel for lots of videos on improving English. A new video on this topic of laziness is coming soon!








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


English conversation quiz
It is English quiz time!

Feel like testing your idiomatic knowledge? Also, hopefully, you have learned and remembered the idioms used in this post. If you are having difficulty with these quiz questions, simply go through this post again and check over the idioms once more. You can find the answers right there! Another thing that will help you out is to check our YouTube video (coming soon!) on this very topic! In the video, you will see all the idioms which we have covered today so after watching that I think you will have a really good chance of getting a perfect score on this quiz! So, to test your knowledge, find these must-know idioms to sound more like a native English speaker:


Quiz questions

  1. Can you name an idiom about a lazy person, which includes the word "bone"?

  2. This is an idiom involving a sofa.

  3. Finish this expression: Tony is good for ( ).

  4. Have you ever felt like you were stuck ( ) ( ) ( )?

  5. This laziness expression involves sport. What is it?



How do you describe a lazy person in English?


In English, there are many ways to describe a person who is lazy. If you want to be tactful (Which means careful or indirect) You need to use a greater variety of words. You can’t just say “He is lazy” for example. It is better to use a string of words to slowly get to the point. One example would be this: “Jack is lacking motivation for his English studies lately.” Here, we mean Jack is being lazy but we aren’t saying it directly. Use an alternative word too lazy which is less offensive or upsetting to the individual.


how do you describe a lazy person or worker? alseep at work, lazy coworker advice
Some people might call him a lazybones, but he is actually just tired

On the other hand, if you would like to be more straightforward and direct in your English expressions, then you can use many of the idioms which are available for describing lazy people. If someone is always relaxing at home and doing nothing, then you could call them a couch potato! If they never do their English homework or are generally lazy, you could call them bone idle. If somebody is failing to come to work on time and not doing their job properly, then you could call them a slacker.


List of English questions for conversation

Here we will show you some examples of common English questions for conversation, incorporating idioms regarding laziness. Wow! That was a bit of a mouthful! Here we go:

1. Are there any slackers in your English conversation class?

No not in this class. Everyone works very hard. That’s why we all got high TOEIC scores!

2. My husband is a couch potato. What should I do?

This is a difficult one. There could be many reasons for his behavior! Perhaps try talking to him and asking if everything is OK? He may just be tired after working a long week!


My husband is a couch potato, sleeping on the job, on the sofa
He is tired out from all his studies

3. How do you say "I dropped the ball" professionally?

You could just say: I’m very sorry but I’ve dropped the ball. But, if you would like to sound a little bit more formal then something like this would work:

Explain that you misjudged a situation, misread a situation, or that you made an error in judgment. Also, you need to apologize for this too.


4. How do you know if you are going through the motions?

Take a look at what you’re doing every day. Does your routine feel old? Are you bored with what you’re doing most days? Do you generally have a low level of motivation for your work or studies? If you’ve said yes to any of these, then you may well be just going through the motions.

5. How do I tell if I am stuck in a rut?

If you feel unfulfilled, unmotivated, or a little bit down…these are signs. Also, you may be tired of your usual routine.


A final word on using Idioms for being lazy in English for beginners

Using commonly known idioms is a very good way to sound like a natural, fluent speaker. It will put you well on the way to sounding like a native speaker of English. There is one caveat though. When using idioms we need to use them sparingly. This means we don’t see them all the time but we use them selectively. For example, if you’re talking about your colleague and you think he’s lazy, you might call him a "lazybones". But, you wouldn’t want to keep calling him a "lazybones". This expression would soon become boring for everybody around you.


mixer, blender, English analogy, euphemism, idiom, phrasal verbs, natural expression
Mix it up: Use a variety of idioms instead of always using the same ones

You might want to mix it up, for example, one day call him a lazybones, another day just call him lazy, and then another day you could call him a bit of a slacker. Poor guy! This is just a fun example. We wouldn’t want to keep calling people negative names because it is highly demotivational for that person! But I think you can use this concept for any type of English idiom. Don’t overuse them!


If you would like some further reading on the topic of phrasal verbs and idioms, why not check out some of our other posts here at Daniels English Club? Here are two which I recommend:



  1. This post talks about the opposite of lazy people: hard workers. Great for expanding your vocabulary, and helpful if you are studying business English. A Beginner’s Guide to Idioms About Hard Work: 15 Must-Know phrases

  2. This post talks about phrasal verbs using the word "at" in them. Another English vocabulary booster: A Beginner’s Guide to Phrasal Verbs: Using "at"

Cheers and have a great day!


Daniel