Common Phrases, Popular Sayings – A List With Their Meaning and Origin

How many popular sayings can you think of? The total number of common phrases used around the world is quite staggering, yet you might only be able to name a few. You’ll often hear these expressions in every day conversations while at work, school, or even at home. Since there is no shortage of phrases, you’ll likely come across some that are unfamiliar. Then you might ask: “What does that mean, and where does it come from?”

Well, that’s what Know Your Phrase is for! We have a list of hundreds of phrases and sayings that are common in English. Use this list to learn about their meaning and origin. Simply choose a letter to start exploring, or choose one of the categories below.

Common Phrases: Getting Started

There are tons of fun phrases to learn about on here, but where should you start? The first step is finding the common phrases that interest you the most. These could be expressions you’ve heard growing up and now you want to learn more about them, or maybe you simply want to discover a phrase that’s completely new. Whatever the case, here are some pages with lists of commonly heard phrases that people use everyday:

Phrases and Sayings Starting With “A”
Common Phrases Starting With “B”
List of Phrases Beginning With “T”

Phrases About Animals, Sports, and Food

Many phrases have a common theme that’s shared among them, which means we can group them together to form specific categories. For example, the categories below have common phrases that relate to animals, sports, and food.

Sayings – Popular Ones To Learn

Sayings are short statements that often contain a piece of advice. These usually are seen in the form of proverbs or maxims, but sometimes a saying can also just be like any other phrase with no deeper insight attached to it. We have many popular sayings that you may have heard before, such as “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” and “slow and steady wins the race,” but there’s plenty more to explore. Here are a few pages containing some commonly heard sayings:

Sayings Starting With “C”
Popular Sayings Starting With “P”
A List of Sayings Beginning with “K”

Sayings About Money, Time, and Happiness

We’ve clumped together several popular sayings into the themed lists below. These groups include sayings about happiness, time, and money, so feel free to go through them to find new ways to express yourself.

Find out more regarding the following phrases:

Take It With a Grain of Salt

Learn what ‘taking something with a grain of salt’ means. Also, you will find a few example sentences of this saying to better help you to better understand its definition.

short sayings - paint the town redPaint the Town Red

What does it mean when someone uses the phrase “paint the town red”? See the meaning and possible origin story on how this expression came to be.

Let Bygones Be Bygones

Take a closer look at this common phrase to find out about its meaning and origin.

Phrases That Are Common In English

Here is a list of 15 commonly used phrases in the English language. These are just some examples, for the full list, use the top menu:

1. A Chip on Your Shoulder
Being angry about something that happened in the past; holding a grudge.

2. A Dime a Dozen
When something is extremely common and/or simple to acquire.

3. A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted
Someone acting foolish with their money can easily lose it due to carelessness.
4. A Piece of Cake
A task that is simple to complete; something that is easy to do. Similar to the common phrase “as easy as pie.”

5. An Arm and a Leg
Something that’s very expensive; an idiom meaning the price having to be paid is costly.

6. Back to Square One
Going back to the beginning; a popular saying that means a person has to start over, similar to “back to the drawing board.”

7. Barking Up The Wrong Tree
To make a wrong assumption about someone or something.
8. Beating Around the Bush
This means a person is talking about something, but they are avoiding the main point, intentionally or not. 

9. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Being faced with two difficult choices; popular saying used to describe a dilemma.

10. Burst Your Bubble
To ruin someone’s happy moment or mood, usually by telling them disappointing news or information.

About Us

What is this site about? In a nutshell, there are hundreds of common phrases and sayings on here for you to explore. You can learn their meaning, where they possibly came from, and see them used in example sentences. This is one of the main reasons this site was created was to help people understand what these old common sayings mean. Therefore, if you haven’t already done so, use the alphabetical list at the top and start exploring! More phrases will be added to the list in time, so be sure to check back again to see what’s new.