Common English Idioms Starting With A

Here is a list of idiomatic expressions beginning with the letter A.

A bit much

If something is a bit much or bit too much, it is unreasonable or unfair.

• I think it is a bit too much to expect anyone to work 14 hours a day.
• ‘Susie works three jobs in a day. Still she doesn’t earn enough to support her family.’ ‘I think it is a bit too much.’

A day late and a dollar short

If something happens a day late and a dollar short, it is late and ill-planned.

• John always turns up a day late and a dollar short. I don’t know when he is going to get organized.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

This idiom is used to say that stupid people spend their money without thinking about it.

• Mark buys every new gadget that hits the market – but then a fool and his money are soon parted.

A fool at 40 is a fool forever

If someone hasn’t matured by the time they reach forty, they never will.

• ‘Can you believe that he spent a month’s salary on a designer suit?’ ‘Well, a fool at 40 is a fool forever.’

A little bird told me

This idiom is used when you don’t want to reveal the name of the person who told you something.

• ‘How did you find out it was our wedding anniversary?’ ‘A little bird told me.’
• ‘Thanks for your beautiful present. How did you know that I like pearls?’ ‘A little bird told me.’

A lost ball in high weeds

When you are a lost ball in high weeds, you are completely lost.

• I fired my secretary when I realized that she was a lost ball in high weeds. She didn’t know anything about the job. She wasn’t willing to learn either.

Penny for your thoughts

This is an indirect way of asking somebody what they are thinking about.

• ‘You look really happy. A penny for your thoughts!’ (= I will give you a penny if you tell me the reason for your happiness.)

A penny saved is a penny earned

Money that you save is more valuable than the money that you spend.

• Mary invests every penny she makes. She knows that a penny saved is a penny earned.

A pretty penny

When something costs a pretty penny, it is every expensive.

• Look at her diamond studded necklace. It must have cost her a pretty penny.
• Taking care of a fancy sports car can cost a pretty penny.

A watched pot never boils.

If you are anxiously waiting for something to happen, it seems to take a very long time.

• Why are you always sitting by that phone waiting for it to ring? Don’t you know that a watched pot never boils?

About as useful as a chocolate teapot

When you are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, you are totally useless.

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Manjusha Nambiar

I am the founder and editor of http://www.perfectyourenglish.com, http://www.ielts-practice.org, and http://ncertguides.com

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