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Idioms Take the Cake!

Posted by on March 19, 2013.

At our house no one is ever hungry, they are “staaarving!” No one is ever tired, they are “exhaaaausted!”

That’s how we roll. To just say things straight would be “sooo incredibly booooring!”

And we are not just prone to hyperbole either, we like all types of colorful language, especially idioms.

Idioms like…

Quit dilly-dallying and let’s get this show on the road!

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

Don’t add fuel to the fire!

You guys are at each other’s throats today. 

You dropped the ball now it’s time to face the music.

You want ice cream for dinner? Don’t hold your breath.

Idioms make talking so much more fun, and if you are going to do as much talking as we do, it might as well be fun.

They are like the accessories of speech, the scarf that makes that practical sweater much cooler, or the pickled ginger that makes a boring old California roll worth eating.

The only problem is, they are a little bit like speaking in code. And it takes time to break the code.

Thus, my kids are often left out in the dark.  Either that or I spend loads of time explaining all of these idioms; what they mean, where they came from.  It’s not exactly easy as pie, you know.

But since I do love them so much, and because I am my father’s daughter (my father really has a panache for the more colorful idioms, many of which I can’t mention here), I will continue to be gung ho about idioms.

Fortunately, 10,000 of them are collected in the latest edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, which came out last month.  Super fun for grown-ups who love idioms.

And for the little novices, there are even more colorful resources. My favorites are the books that tell a story and demonstrate idioms at the same time.

Author Tedd Arnold has three very funny books (Parts, More Parts, and Even More Parts) chronicling a small boy’s panic over the literal interpretations of common idioms like coming unglued, laughing your head off, and having your heart broken. If you don’t mind slightly gross humor, these books are a lot of fun.

Author Serge Bloch uses fun, quirky illustrations and idioms to tell the story of a boy’s first day of school in Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards; chronicles the tribulations of a picky eater in You are What You Eat and Other Mealtime Hazards; and encourages kids to go for it in Reach For the Stars and Other Advice for Life’s Journey.

For more kids titles on idioms see the site Teaching with Kid’s Books.  There are so many good ones!!

Any way you slice it, idioms are here to stay so you might as well enjoy the ride. Do you think I am getting carried away? I am kind of on a roll here…

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