What are idioms?

Idioms & meaning

Idioms are expressions which have the 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 by looking at the words.

The best way to understand an idiom is to see it in context. If someone says:

  • This tin opener driving me round the bend! I think I’ll throw it away and get a new one next time I’m in town.

Then the context and the comma sense tells us that drive round 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 is having an effect on the person using it.