You wanted 10 idioms about life, did you? Well, pick a number between 1 and 10. Ready? I hope you chose the number 1 because that’s where we’re going to start.
#1: Risk Life And Limb
Some people in the world are real thrill seekers. They love to get their heart racing and adrenaline pumping.
Some people climb cliffs with no gear. Some like dangerous watersports.
Some decide it’s a good idea to tell their girlfriend she’s wrong.
Our first idiom applies to all these people.
To risk life and limb is to do something dangerous and life threatening, to literally risk your life and limbs (= your arms and legs).
“Oh he’s in Australia trying to catch cobras, risking life and limb as usual.”
Exam question: Are you planning to do anything special this weekend?
“I was thinking of going paragliding. To risk life and limb a bit. I’m really into extreme sports at the moment.”
#2: Spring To Life
Imagine that your child’s favourite toy has been lying on their floor not working for the last few months..
But today you decide to put some new batteries in there.
Now, the toy has sprung to life – meaning it has suddenly become active again!
“It’s really weird how Dave can be fast asleep like that, yet spring to life as soon as he smells bacon cooking…”
“What I hate about football is when the players act like they are really hurt, rolling around on the floor and all that, and 5 seconds later they spring to life again. What a miracle!”
Exam Question: Which is your favourite month?
“I think it’s March, as that’s when my garden springs to life again!”
#3: Life In The Fast Lane
Ever met somebody who lived an exciting, eventful life?
They drove the fastest cars, went to lots of parties, and always made money fast, then spent it just as fast.
Or they worked in a very high pressure, fast-paced job where things change a lot.
To live a fast-paced, high energy life, that perhaps also involves some pressure on you, is to live in the fast lane.
On a road with several lanes, the one in which you overtake other cars is known as the “fast lane” and that’s where this idiom comes from.
“Man, have you heard about Terry? He’s got a new job in London working at a model agency. He gets to wine and dine all their new recruits and he’s doubled his salary. He’s living life in the fast lane!”
“Celebrities often find that living life in the fast lane for too long can take it’s toll.”
Exam question: What do you enjoy doing with your friends?
“We like to party hard, and live life in the fast lane!”
#4: Larger Than Life
Have you ever met someone who seemed to have a massive presence? They really have an impact on people around them.
Like a celebrity, for example.
Celebrities could be the same size as you, or even smaller, yet their reputation always makes them seem larger than life. Tom Cruise is short, but he’s the star of any room he goes into.
Rock stars are often larger than life personalities. They feel more ‘alive’ than normal people.
“Danny said that he met the guy who plays Iron Man, and he’s pretty laid back compared to his character’s larger than life persona!”
Exam Question: Tell me about your best friend.
“She’s really fun to be around, she has a larger than life personality!”
#5: Lead A Double Life
Have you seen any superhero movies recently? Of course you have – those are the only movies they make these days!
A lot of superheroes (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man) are regular people by day, and crime-fighting heroes of justice by night. That’s called leading a double life.
To live a double life is to keep up the appearance of a normal life while having another in the background, hidden from most. It’s not just superheroes – it could be a man with two wives, or an undercover police officer.
“It turned out my colleague at the cake factory was actually a corporate spy. He sold our recipes to a rival company. I had no idea he was leading a double life!”
Exam Question: Tell me a little bit about your family.
“Well my mom is always home, but my dad is always disappearing at night for some reason… my brother says he’s leading a double life, but I think he’s only joking.”
#6: It’s A Dog’s Life
We all know the rhythm of regular life too well.
Wake up, go to work. Stay there for ages. Get off work, go home.
Go to sleep, wake up and go to work again, day in, day out.
The phrase “dog’s life” describes a tough or boring life.
“They work me like a slave up at the warehouse… boy, it’s definitely a dog’s life.”
Exam Question: What is your favourite day of the week?
“Any day that I’m not working, because the dog’s life of working all the time is not for me!”
#7: The Light Of Someone’s Life
Do you know someone that you just adore?
You love them so much they make your life worthwhile.
They brighten your day…
They make things sunny when the sky is grey!
That person is the light of your life.
“Samantha is always going on and on about her adorable little rabbit. Flopsy is the light of her life.”
Exam Question: Who is your favourite person?
“I would have to say my girlfriend, she’s the light of my life. Either her or Sofia Helin from The Bridge.”
#8: The Best Things In Life Are Free
Money makes the world go around, and it can seem like the more you have of it the better your life will be.
But actually the best experiences in life are often to do with time spent with family and friends, or perhaps doing simple things like going for a walk in the woods and listening to the birds.
Whenever someone says the best things in life are free, they aren’t talking about the expensive trips, luxury dinners and the like.
They’re talking about the things that really matter in life, the simple things that really bring you pleasure and don’t have a price tag.
“I love the smell of roses and freshly cut grass… the best things in life are free.”
Exam Question: What do you most enjoy doing when you’re at home?
I like to spend time with my sister and sit by the lake and paint. The best things in life are free!
#9: Get a life
Have you ever wanted to tell someone to either stop being so boring and go find something interesting to do?
Well, the quickest easiest way to do that would be to tell them to “get a life”.
“What, you’re spending Friday night washing your curtains? Get a life!”
“You just keep hanging around telling me what to do. Get a life.”
Exam Question: Who would you least like to be like?
“My aunt, she’s retired and doesn’t really do much other than walk her dogs and go to the library. She really needs to get a life.”
#10: Bring to Life
When you bring something to life, you’re adding a new look to it!
It looks more vibrant, more alive. In the photo, the lights bring the concert to life.
Or, it can be to make something more engaging or exciting, like a book that makes the history of architecture actually interesting! You would say it brought the subject to life.
“The interior decorator in me could see my new apartment was lacking something… so I spruced it up with some new accessories and brought it to life!”
Exam Question: What is your favorite food?
“I love lemon pepper wings, the tingle of the spice really brings the food to life.”
So, there are ten idioms that involve life itself for you. Now you can add these to the phrases you can use in everyday conversation.