English idioms

What’s an idiom? For a student of English as a second language, it’s something similar to a nightmare. How else can you describe an expression whose meaning has nothing to do with the meaning of its individual words?!


I’m an advanced English student from Spain, so I know first-hand how difficult it is!  From one confused learner to another, I’m going to help you understand some idioms that include plants and flowers:

1. Actually I wasn’t born with green fingers. My plants die quickly.

o   Green: colour

o   Fingers: on the hand

o   Green fingers?


NOOOO! Here’s the definition of “green fingers” by wordreference.com

Green fingers: “considerable talent or ability to grow plants”

Now we can understand the first sentence: in other words, I’m not a great gardener.


2. I have heard he is pushing up the daisies.

o   Push up: move with force to a higher place

o   Daisies: flowers

o   Pushing up daisies?


NOOOO! The definition of “pushing up daisies” by wordreference.com

Pushing up daisies: “dead and buried”

So, the meaning of the second sentence is: he’s dead!!!


3. After 40 years in the company, they put our supervisor out to pasture.

o   Put somebody out: to inconvenience somebody

o   Pasture: grass

o   Put someone out to pasture?


NOOOO! Totally different:

Put someone out to pasture: “to make somebody retire”

It’s clear, isn’t it?


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