WHAT ARE IDIOMS?

Idioms are expressions which have a meaning that is not obvious from the individual words. For example, the idiom drive somebody round the bend means make somebody angry or frustrated, but we cannot know this just by looking at the words.

The best way to understand an idiom is to see it in context. If someone says: “This tin opener’s driving me around the bend! I think I’ll throw it away get a new one next time I’m in my town.
Then the context and common sense tells us that drive around the bend means something different from driving a car round a curve in the road. The context tells us the tin opener is not working properly and that it’s having an effect on the person using it.

(McCarty & O’Dell. 2010. English Idioms in Use. CUP)

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