• Daniel Bullock

Idiom Of The Day: Must-Know English Idioms for Beginners

Updated: Jun 1

airplane taking off, landing, example sentences
The plane has just "taken off"

Why you need to know Idioms in English

Idioms are a type of figurative language which helps us to convey concepts and ideas that are sometimes complicated. It is very often more efficient to use an idiomatic expression than to just explain something with basic words. Not to mention, if used appropriately, idioms can help us sound more natural in our use of language. If the goal of an English learner is to approach the level of a native English speaker, then learning idioms and adopting them into our daily vocabulary is essential. Here are some must-know idioms for May.

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 21st: To call up

call up meaning, lady, phone, standing, texting
What does the idiom "to call up" actually mean?

What is the meaning of the phrase to call up?

This phrase means to telephone or call somebody using a phone, smartphone, or similar device.

What is an example sentence for “to call up”?

Mark, would you call up our supplier? There is a problem with our order this week
Sure, no problem. What was the number again?

What is a synonym for to call up?

A synonym of this phrasal verb is "telephone", as in the action of doing.

What is an antonym of to call up?

An antonym of “to call up” is "hang up". This means to end the call. For instance:

I always hang up when I get calls from telemarketers.

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 22nd: To get on

idioms and phrases for get on, smiling man getting on a train at the station, or getting off
Before getting on the train he is going to say bye to his friends.

What is the meaning of the phrase "to get on"?

This phrasal verb means to board a certain type of vehicle. For example, you could get on a bus or an airplane. Another meaning of this is when you are describing a relationship with someone. If we have a good, friendly relationship with someone, then we can say we “get on” with them.

How do you use to get on in a sentence?

I got on the bus at Kings Cross station, London.
I do not get on with Michael. He is too selfish for my liking.

What is a synonym for "get on"?

A synonym of this phrasal verb is "board" or enter. For instance, we board a plane when we want to fly somewhere.

What is an antonym for "get on"?

An antonym of this expression is "get off", or "alight". You will sometimes see a sign on trains or buses that reads: “alight here”, or “alight at the back”

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 23rd: to take off

how to take off acrylic nails without acetone
How do you take off gel nails?

What is the meaning of the phrase "to take off"?

This phrasal verb is usually associated with removing clothes or accessories. Examples would be jeans, shirts, sunglasses, or hats. Also, it can mean an airplane begins to fly. Another way English speakers use this expression is when they talk about an idea, concept, or business plan that is becoming successful. So, to summarize, take off means:

  1. To remove clothes or accessories

  2. For an airplane to start flying

  3. For an idea to gain traction and become popular.

How do you use "take off" in a sentence? Here are some examples:

It is usual to take your shoes off at the entrance in Japan.
The plane took off just 5 minutes late.
The concept of remotely working has really taken off over the past few years.

What is a synonym for "take off"?

One synonym of this phrasal verb is “get dressed” or “wear”. Another synonym of this idiom is “to lift off”

The plane lifted off from New York’s JFK airport, bound for London Heathrow.

What is an antonym for "take off"?

An antonym of this expression is "arrive". An example of the word “arrive” in a sentence would be as follows: “We arrived at the English school only to find it was closed!” Also, we can use the word "land" when talking about an airplane. A plane takes off and lands.

The plane arrived in Japan 3 hours late.
When are we going to land?

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 24th: To turn on

turn on computer without power button, lady using a PC, mouse, smartphone, machine operation, turn on and turn off
How do I turn on this PC with the keyboard? I can not find the power button.

What is the meaning of the idiom to turn on?

This phrase means to start or cause to function. For instance, when we want to use a computer or a TV, we need to turn them on. This can be used for many devices. A small list is as follows:


Washing machine


An air conditioner




A computer


What is an example of the idiom turn on in a sentence?

Could you turn on the air conditioning, please? It is getting a little warm for me right now.

In what ways can we use "turn on" in a sentence?

Turn on is what is known as a separable phrasal verb. This means that we can put a word in

between the two words: turn something on. Here is an example of turn on used as a separable

phrasal verb:

In order to start the car, you need to turn the engine on.

What is a synonym for "turn on"?

One of the most popular synonyms for "turn on" is "switch on". Another simple expression would just be “start”.

What is an antonym of the phrasal verb turn on?

If you have some experience with phrasal verbs you will be able to guess this. The answer is to turn off.

What is an example sentence for "turn off"?

It is always a good idea to turn off the lights when you’re not in the room.
Keeping lights turned on is a complete waste of energy and bad for the environment.

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 25th: right away

what does it mean when a guy responds right away
This guy needs to get on his train right away as he promised to meet his girlfriend!

What is the definition of right away?

This phrase means very soon or immediately. We often use this phrase as instruction or for

advice. For instance, the teacher recommends that you start studying for the IELTS test right away if you want to do well!

Can you give me an example of "right away" in a sentence?

The old man should go to the eye doctor right away because he can’t see well when he’s walking across the road.


You should leave the house right away otherwise you will miss the train. Hurry up!

How do I use "right away" in a sentence?

Right away is an inseparable phrasal verb. Therefore, we just say it as a set we don’t put any

words in between it. For instance, please do this right away.

What is a synonym for right away?

We can say right now, immediately, very soon, or just now. Another good phrase is at once. Native English speakers usually use this phrase when they are annoyed or irritated. Also, they want to give a fairly strict order. Here is an example:

Stop horsing around at once! It is time to clean your bedroom, Jack! (angry parents said this!)

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 26th: to pick up

What does to pick up mean?

To lift something from the floor or other surface. It can also mean that something becomes infected. For instance: you caught a cold. We could say I picked up a cold.

What is an example of "pick up" in an English sentence?

Could you pick up all those English textbooks, please? They look very messy on the floor!
Unfortunately, Tracy picked up a cold on her school excursion. Now she has to stay off school for a few days.

How do you use to pick up in a sentence?

This idiom is separable. Therefore, you can say pick up or pick something up. Here are two further examples to illustrate this:

1. Can you pick up the kids after school, please?

2. Would you be able to pick the kids up after school, please?

What is a synonym for "to pick up"?

Alternative words to pick up include lift, and gather. Also, grab with fingers. In terms of picking up an infection, we can say catch, get infected, or become infected.

What is an antonym for "pick up"?

Put down. Similarly to pick up, this is also a separable phrasal verb. See these two examples for


1. Put down the tablet, please you should be studying English!

2. Put the tablet down, please. You have to practice your English vocabulary drills now!

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 27th: to knock over

how to stop cat from spilling water bowl, playing, cups
Why does my cat keep knocking things over?

What does the idiom "knock over" mean?

This phrase means to make something fall. It is usually used when there is an accident. We could knock a glass over at lunchtime. We could knock a book over when it is standing upright. We could knock flowers over when we are playing football in the garden!

What is an example of "knock over" in a sentence?

Jason already knocked some of the dominoes over, so the line won’t look very good now!

Please don’t knock over my pretty flowers!

Is knock over a separable phrasal verb?

Yes. You can say knock over or knock something over. This table will illustrate this:

Careful! You will knock over the salt.

Careful! you will knock the salt over

What is a synonym for "knock over"?

We can say push over or accidentally hit. Here is an example:

Michael pushed Jonathan over in the schoolyard. He got told off by the teachers!


I accidentally hit a sheep while I was driving home this afternoon. I feel terrible about it!

English learner's Idiom of the day for May the 28th: To get in

What is the meaning of the phrase "to get in"?


This phrase means to enter or board a vehicle, building, or structure. For instance a car or a house. Not to be confused with to get on, which is used for things such as boats, bikes, or airplanes.

What is an example sentence for "to get in"?

Mike, get in the car. It is time to go to school.
Okay, mom. I am coming.

What is a synonym for "to get" in?

A synonym of this phrasal verb is enter or board. For instance: Please enter the English classroom now, the test is about to begin.

What is an antonym for "to get in"?

An antonym of “to get in” would be “to get out”. For example:

Please get out of the taxi, we have reached our destination.

Idiom of the day for ESL students: at last

What is the meaning of the idiom at last?

This phrase means finally. English speakers use this expression when something has taken a long time or we are relieved that something finally happened. You might say it when a family member didn’t come home but finally, they did!

We could use it in terms of academic or professional development. If you have been studying for a test, for example, the TOEIC test and you had a hard time with it. Finally, you got 800 points on the test. This makes you very happy. You might say:

At last, I got a good score!

We can also add "long" to the expression, and say "at long last" It has pretty much the same meaning, but adds a small amount of emphasis on the length of time that has passed. So, we would use "at long last" when we have been waiting a really, really long time!

What is an example of the idiom at last in a sentence?

At last, my favorite football team won the English Premier league!

At last at the beginning of a sentence, play soccer, stadium, big crowd, chanting, supporters, football scarves
What is the liverpool score? Will they win at last?


You have come home, at last, where where are you, Jack? We were worried about you.

What is a synonym for at last?

A synonym for this idiomatic expression is finally or in the end. For instance: I finally got a promotion at work! Or: They won the game, in the end.

How do we use "at last" in a sentence?

This idiom inseparable. That means it stands independently of other words. Look at this small table of examples for this idiom:

I am over the moon! I have passed the test at last!

He has come home at last! What a relief. We were so worried that something had happened to him.

​At last! It is finally summer and I can go to the beach. Yeah!