Idioms – learn 9 idiomatic expressions from real spoken English

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Video Text:

(Rachel)
Today we’re starting a new series. We’re going to teach you about idioms to be heard in real life this week.

I got the idea from this series from our podcast which we did together and we actually cancelled. Oh this is my husband David by the way for anyone who doesn’t know this is David.

(David)
Hi everybody.

and we were doing a podcast together last year uh that was pretty popular. People liked it and they liked hearing David’s voice and David’s perspective. And since we didn’t have time to keep the podcast going I thought okay let’s start a video series.. with David. So this is gonna be a little more conversational and I’ve been wanting to do a series like this for a while where we talked about idioms and phrasal verbs that we’re hearing in real life in conversation.

Uh because throughout the week, there’s so many different interesting idioms that come up and so I wanted to be able to share them with you. So, to start, the Superbowl was just a couple of weeks ago, now David and I live in Philadelphia and David grew up not so far from Philly.

(David)
Right.

(Rachel)
And so David has been an Eagles fan for a long time.

(David)
(laughing) A very long time.

(Rachel)
A very long time

And uhm did that include some lean years when there weren’t many wins?

(David)
Right, there’s been a lot of lean years

(Rachel)
Yeah

(David)
Mmmhmm

(Rachel)
So this was a uh, very big deal of course.

(David)
First ever. Superbowl

(Rachel)
First ever Superbowl win for Philadelphia. So, they beat the Patriots. Uhm it’s a great story. It was a great game. If you didn’t see it, we have a tape of it so just come on over and we’ll watch it together.

(Rachel/David)
(Laughing)

(Rachel)
Uhm But when we were watching the game, one of the commentators.. So a commentator is someone who is paid by the TV station to comment on what’s happening,

(David)
Mmmhum

(Rachel)
Analyze it. One of the commentators said this idiom: Nick’s Foles’ confidence is through the roof. So what is that mean to be through the roof?

Really high. You could also say ‘sky high’. That would be another idiom you could use.
So if your confidence is through the roof. You’re feeling great about yourself, about your abilities.

(David)
Right and in this instance it meant that he was playing incredibly well. He was so confident that he was not even thinking about what he was doing. He was just making all the plays that he needed to make and he was incredible.

(Rachel)
He was so accurate. I mean he just threw the ball and bam, it was there. Now, part of what’s crazy about Nick Foles is that he was, he is not the main quarterback for the Eagles. He’s the 2nd string. Uhm, you could call him a backup. He’s the backup quarterback. So what does it mean to be a backup? It means you are not what’s gonna be planned on. So they have a quarterback thats better.

(David)
Mmmhum

(Rachel)
Carson Wentz. He got hurt but he’s better, he’s their starter is what they call that.

(David)
Mmmhum

(Rachel)
But when he gets injured, and you can’t go what you are planning on, you can’t go on your best player then you have to go with your backup.

What else could you have a backup for?

Maybe if you’re having a party and you are not sure if you have enough food, maybe you buy some frozen pizzas to have as a backup in case you run out.

(David)
Yeah.

Or people would say when they are applying to college they would say: This is my 1st choice but this is my backup school.

(Rachel)
Right and easier one to get into, you think your chances of getting in are higher, it’s your backup. So Nick Foles, the backup, wins the Superbowl, his confidence is through the roof, it was amazing.

We better stop now or this whole video will be about the Superbowl.

(David)
I would be okay with that.

(Rachel)
You would be. I know.

Actually, one other thing I wanted to say about the idiom ‘through the roof.’ is it means really high level but it can also mean angry, mad, pissed off would be another way to see it. Like you could say: My boss was through the roof or went, went through the roof. I think either one

(David)
either one okay, Mmmhum

(Rachel)
My boss went through the roof when I lost a major client. Or my parents went through the roof or hit the roof or you could say

(David)
Yeah I think hit the roof is interchangeable.

(Rachel)
When my grades went down.. I was thinking of another way to use this idiom ‘through the roof’ meaning really high and I was thinking about ‘there’s some new construction on our block and how they’re pricing those houses so high, they’re expensive. And I was thinking you know housing, the housing market in our neighborhood is through the roof.

(David)
It is.

(Rachel)
And then that’s funny because I’m talking about a house and houses have rooves.

(David)
We’ll it’s even better than that. All these new houses have roof decks. There is something literally

(David/Rachel)
through the roof.

(Rachel)
On top of the roof you get a great view of the city. (Laugh)
So that’s the idiom “Through the roof.”

Okay another Eagles related idiom that we heard this week. Uh, there was a parade in Philly like Thursday right?

(David)
Yeah

(Rachel)
4 days after the Superbowl Inn where people like lined the streets and the players came through on these big buses and it was a big deal. Everyone got to see the players. And we didn’t go but we were watching a little bit of the parade coverage on TV.

(David)
Mmmhum

(Rachel)
And one of the commentators made this comment that they were ‘packed to the gills.’

(David)
Right

(Rachel)
Great idiom

(David)
Yeah. Right. And you looked it up then right? I had no idea what that

(Rachel)
Yeah

(David)
he was referring to. Obviously I could use it accurately but that’s one of those ones I did not understand what it meant.

(Rachel)
Yeah

(David)
I thought that it meant that a fish had eaten so much that it was full the whole way up to its gills.

(Rachel)
Yeah well that’s how we can use it now. We can if you eat a ton, it doesn’t have to mean like in an area with lots of people that’s very crowded. It could also mean that if you eat a lot and you’re really full then you could say ‘I’m stuffed to the gills.’

(David)
Yeah

(Rachel)
But an area can be stuffed to the gills or packed to the gills if it’s really really dense with people and or, or something else you could say ‘our neighborhood is packed to the gills with restaurants. It wouldn’t have to be people. Uhm, but I have to show the photo that you sent me that night.

So this wasn’t the parade but the night that the Eagles won the Superbowl, David went out onto the streets. You know everyone just kind of wanted to be around other fans and he sent me a photo from an intersection near our house. I couldn’t believe how packed to the gills that intersection was.

(David)
That’s true

(Rachel)
It was like shoulder to shoulder people.

So most people, most Americans don’t know the origins of all of these various idioms we use, we didn’t know the origins of this idiom I looked it up and it refers to how you might prepare a fish, if you were gonna bake it you might stuff other stuff in there in the caserole. Onions or tomatoes or whatever. So that’s where the phrase ‘stuff to the gills’ comes from. It comes from packing different things into the dish when you’re preparing fish.

So related, speaking of fish, there’s, it’s, it’s such a smooth segue, isn’t it?

Uh earlier this week, we were having, we’re making dinner and actually we were making fish and uhm but that aside we were gonna make a salad. And so we’re making out of Kale and David said you know I said ‘How can I help? and he said ‘Why don’t you fish the Kale out of the refrigerator.’

(David)
Right. I knew there were a bunch of stuff in that drawer where the Kale was and so I was gonna take a little bit of effort to reach around the other things and actually get to the Kale

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

So if you have to fish around for something or if you have to fish something out then this means it is not that easy to get to. Like uhm, maybe the scissors are at the back of the junk drawer. You have to fish them out. I’m tired of having to fish things out. This drawer is too messy. Uhm, or fishing Kale out a very stuffed to the gills fridge.

(David)
Yeah

(Rachel)
Yes. They’re all interrelated.

(David)
Another one that came up was if you, like when we ran the wires for our TV behind the wall?

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
Ah we have a TV that hangs on the wall and we don’t wan’t the wires to be visible coming down the wall to the outlet so we had our friend come and fish the wires behind the dry wall down to the electrical socket so again it’s hard to see uh it’s difficult to get at

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
And those another use to that I thought of

(Rachel)
Mmmhum. Fishing.

And then of course there’s actual fishing where you’re cathing fish.

(David)
Yeah

(Rachel)
Which we ate for dinner with our Kale salad after I fished the Kale out of the refrigerator.

Okay David before we wrap up this video before we end it, I wanna come back to the subject of Nick Foles. The Eagles backup quarterback. What happens when you’re the backup, the 2nd string and you win a Superbowl? You know what happens the next season when the starter, the one whose supposedly better than you is now healthy? is this poor guy gonna have to just sit on the bench the whole season?

(David)
First of all you use the phrase ‘2nd string?’ where does that come from?

(Rachel)
I do not know the origins of that.

(David)
Is that if you break a string on an instrument?

(Rachel)
I don’t think so.

(David)
We have to look that one up.

(Rachel)
But it might be related to like.. You have would have a 1st violin and a 2nd violin and an orchestra

(David)
okay

(Rachel)
Maybe it’s related to that

(David)
Alright. But Nick Foles as a 2nd string quarterback so this has been a hotly debated in Philadelphia since the Superbowl and uh

(Rachel)
Hotly debated. That means something that people are really talking about, discussing both sides

(David)
And the people feel passionate about their stance.

(Rachel)
okay

(David)
So, he was incredible in the playoffs and he won the Superbowl first ever for the city. So, his value now in terms of trading him

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
is high. There’s a feeling that we could get a good player in return if we traded him. But, there’s also the other side which says Carson Wentz whose the franchise quarterback the

(Rachel)
the starter

(David)
the starter

(Rachel)
The main one. The one who’s better.

(David)
He’s young, he’s clearly the future as soon as he’s healthy the team is his to run. So, the other side says woah wait a minute, what if he gets hurt again?

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
then you know that you have a stellar backup in place

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
The rest of the team is gonna be very good next year. So people are saying you know you have to keep him as an insurance policy

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
in case Wentz gets hurt again.

(Rachel)
Well let me ask about that. Is he that good? or this is sort of a fluke? A fluke is something out of the norm. It can be more positive than the norm or can be less positive than the norm. But I mean the reason why he was 2nd string is because he wasn’t that great, right? So it it a fluke that he did so well during the playoffs?

(David)
It’s hard but to tell and again that’s highly debated because his first year with the Eagles in his last stint year

(Rachel)
Mmmhum. Oh you mean he played here then he played somewhere else then he came back?

(David)
Yeah

(Rachel)
okay

(David)
in his first stint year, he had an incredible season.

(Rachel)
okay. So why did he get, why did he get traded then?

(David)
Uhm there was a coaching change and he was not nearly as good the following year.

(Rachel)
okay

(David)
Wait, was there a coaching change before he left? I’m not sure. But, people said that one season that he had was a fluke.

(Rachel)
okay. The good season was a fluke they’re saying he’s not actually a great player

(David)
But, then he played a couple of the greatest playoff games ever in the history of the game

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
So maybe he’s not fluke as much as what I would say is that he’s someone who can get hot.

(Rachel)
Okay so would you say he’s inconsistent. Unreliable

(David)
that is a difficult phrase to use for him

(David/Rachel)
Laughing

(David)
People would say he’s hot or cold and when he’s hot he’s incredible

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
When he’s cold, he looks pedestrian.

(Rachel)
This is how you feel about JJ Redick about the 76ers.

(David)
(laughing) It’s true.

(Rachel)
But that’s a whole different, a whole different story

(David)
That’s another episode

(Rachel)
Okay, anyway we maybe getting deep into sports talk here though. I will say I got an email from a guy named Mustakim who we met at the Million subscriber party. He lives outside of Philly and he said you know I’m watching the Superbowl and I don’t really get American football. Will you make a video about it? So next fall during, you know, the relaunch of the football season it’s over now. But I think next fall maybe we should do a video series on football vocabulary, idioms and some of the rules so if people ever want to watch, they feel like they get it a little more. What do you think of that idea? If you like it, let me know in the comments below.

(David)
I also think it’s just a reality that there are a lot of metaphors that and idioms that have crept into everyday

(Rachel)
Mmmhum

(David)
talk that are sports related

(Rachel)
so many

(David)
it’s hard for a non-native speaker to understand where, where those are coming from.

(Rachel)
Yeah, I actually have a video on Golf idioms. Idioms really into par. I made a video once on baseball idioms there are so many. I never published it because the audio got messed up. But there’s definitely, there are lot of videos to be made about sports idioms including football

(David)
Mmmhum

(Rachel)
So hopefully we’ll get to that. Uhm okay guys, Thanks for joining us here. If you like this kind of video please let us know in the comments below. It’s the goal that we’ll be teaching you idioms that we’re hearing that are in use that will hopefully have an impact for you and understanding what Americans mean when they use these idioms. So David thanks for joining me here

(David)
Thanks for having me.

(Rachel)
for helping me make this video and I think that’s pretty much it. Hopefully you’ll see more videos like this in the future. That’s it guys and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.

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