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

Are you looking for an alphabetical list of common phrases? To get started, use the menu above to find all available phrases and sayings in English on this site. Alternatively, you can choose a category below.

Tip: The popular sayings on here are used by people in everyday conversations. Tap (or click) on them to learn additional details.


A List of Phrases and Sayings For Animals, Sports, & More

A list of animal sayings, cute dog icon

Animal Phrases

Here is a list of common phrases related to animals. You’ll find bird, dog and cat sayings, and more!

phrases related to sports

Sports Phrases

A dictionary of popular sayings that come from sports, including baseball, boxing, and horse racing.

Food Phrases

A delicious list of sayings related to food, eating and drinking. Take a look, it’s as easy as pie! Unless, of course, it’s not your cup of tea.


Newly Added Phrases:

One Fell Swoop

Have you ever done something in one fell swoop? Find out the meaning of this phrase and read about its possible origin.


Clickbait – Definition and Examples

Find out the definition of clickbait and see examples of how people spice up their titles in order to garner interest. You’ll be shocked at what you learn about this expression!


Take It With a Grain Of Salt

Learn what ‘taking something with a grain of salt’ means. Also, see how this expression is used in example sentences to get a better idea of its definition.


Happy and Sad Sayings

Here is a list of emotional phrases that people use to express the way they are feeling. Namely, the sayings included convey happiness, sadness, or anger.


Common Phrases 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:

A – Phrases

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.

B – Expressions

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.

C – Phrases

11. Close But No Cigar
Coming close to a successful outcome only to fall short at the end.

12. Cry Over Spilled Milk
One shouldn’t worry over things that have already happened and that cannot be changed.

13. Cup of Joe
A cup of joe is an American nickname for a cup of coffee.
 
14. Curiosity Killed The Cat
An idiom meaning mind your own business, as too much poking and prodding could lead to harm.

15. Cut To The Chase
To get to the point, leaving out all of the unnecessary details. Similar to popular sayings such as “beating around the bush.”

There are plenty of other expressions on here to read about, over 200+ and counting.

The Origin of Sayings

Many of the old sayings on here have their own individual page where you can learn more about them, including their origin. However, it should be noted that the origin of these expressions is sometimes unclear. In such cases, here is what will generally happen:

Plausible theories that speculate how a phrase originated will be listed, if any exist. If no theory is included, the oldest known quote of the saying will usually be included on the page. The purpose of these quotes is to give you an idea on how old it is. For example, if the earliest citation we have of an expression is from a newspaper in the year 1900, then it is at least that old. Note, however, that this does not necessarily mean the phrase originated from that source or even in that year.


About Us

What is this site about? In a nutshell, there are hundreds of common English phrases and sayings on here for you to explore. You can read about them and learn their meaning, where they possibly came from, and see how to use them in example sentences. Therefore, if you haven’t already done so, use the alphabetical list of sayings at the top and start exploring! More old and common phrases will be added to the list in time, so check back again.


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