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Learn British Idioms

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We recently had a lesson on American Idioms, now it's time to cross the Atlantic Ocean! If you are studying or living in the UK, it is a good idea to learn some idioms that are most commonly used there! Here are some British idioms for you to look through. Can you match each idiom to the sentence it belongs to? I’ve written the literal meanings of the idioms to help you. Good luck!

British Idioms

At the end of your tether - unable to stay calm any longer
Cheap as chips - very inexpensive
Do a runner - to leave a restaurant without paying
Go pear-shaped - to go wrong
Spend a penny - to go to the bathroom
To keep a stiff upper lip - to not show emotion
A piece of cake - very easy
Burning the candle at both ends - not taking any time to relax

Useful Words

Here are the meanings of some of the other words used in the sentences. They may help you understand the context.

Cross - annoyed or angry
Loo - bathroom (British English)
Disgusting - terrible; used to describe something that looks, smells, tastes or feels bad
Outlet store - a place which sells cheap goods directly from the factory for a cheap price
Mean - not kind

Now choose the correct idiom in each sentence:

  • 1. I'm ___ with you two! If you don't stop fighting I'm going to get so cross!



  • 2. I don't think we have enough money to pay the bill...shall we ___?



  • 3. The exam was so easy, ___!



  • 4. You need to stop ___. You can't study all day and then party all night, you need to take a break.



  • 5. I really need to ___ but the loos at the train station are disgusting!



  • 6. Everything went ___ after her uncle got drunk.



  • 7. Get your camera from the outlet store, it's just as good quality but ___!



  • 8. Keep a ___ when people are being mean to you, don't cry.