Idioms by Definition

Purpose/Goal: to reinforce comprehension of selected idioms

Number of Players: any number

Materials: none


The following discussion questions are based on idioms in the categories in Part Two of this book. After teaching the selected idioms, use the following example questions as whole-class or small-group discussions. These are open-ended follow-up discussions that reinforce the meanings of idioms.

Category: People

  • Describe the members of your family or a group you belong to.
    • Who is a chip off the old block? In what ways is he or she?
    • How is he or she not?
    • Who is the apple of your father’s eye?
    • Is it you or one of your brothers or sisters?
    • Who is a big shot an eager beaver a good egg?
  • What happened to your grandmother (grandfather/mother/aunt/etc.) when she was knee high to a grasshopper?
  • Discuss the characteristics of someone you know who is the salt of the earth.
  • Describe someone you know who is a stuffed shirt.
  • What work would someone do if he were a white-collar worker / a blue-collar worker?
  • Who would you rather marry, a good egg or a Jack of all trades? Why?
  • Would you rather be footloose and fancy free or filthy rich? Why?
  • Do you know anyone who is an old fuddy duddy? Who?

Category: Conversation

  • Tell us about people who don’t let you get a word in edgewise.
  • Talk about a time when you had a heart to heart talk with a parent.
  • Do you know someone who sticks his/her nose in other people’s business? What does he or she do?
  • Discuss a time when a teacher put you on the spot.
  • Tell us about somebody you like to shoot the breeze with.
  • Talk to your friends about a time when you got something off your chest.
  • When should you lend someone an ear?
  • Name a topic that you don’t know beans about.

Category: Success and Happiness

  • What makes you feel tickled pink?
  • Have you ever felt like you were on cloud nine? Tell your friends about it.
  • When have you felt happy-go-lucky? What made you feel that way?
  • Do you know someone who leads a charmed life? In what ways?
  • Have you ever felt head over heels in love? What did you do?
  • What is the best thing to say to pop the question?
  • What would a woman wear if she is dressed to kill? What would a man wear?
  • Does your family keep up with the Joneses? How?

Category: Anger/Being Upset

  • When was the last time you flew off the handle? What did you do?
  • Have you ever lost your cool or gone bananas? How did other people react?
  • What makes you hopping mad?
  • When were you at the end of your rope? How did you help yourself feel better?
  • Talk about a time when someone was on the warpath/rampage.
  • What might happen to make you chew someone out?
  • Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Or any other morning?
  • Did your mother or father ever put his or her foot down when you wanted to do something? What?

Category: Ill Health

  • What makes you feel better when you are under the weather?
  • When was the last time that you were black and blue? What happened?
  • What makes you feel burned out?
  • Have you every felt down and out? What was the situation?
  • Have you ever felt like just letting yourself go to pot? When? Why?
  • Tell you friends about a time when you didn’t know if you were coming or going.
  • How would you describe someone who is off their rocker?
  • How do you cheer yourself up when you are blue?

Category: Negative Situations

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you were in over your head? Tell your friends about it.
  • Have you ever been in a jam? What got you there? What got you out?
  • Tell your friends about a time when you were in hot water with your teacher/boss.
  • If you are in a rut, what do you do to get yourself out of it? What about your friends?
  • When you were a kid, were you ever in the doghouse? How did your parents punish you?
  • If a friend comes to you and says, ’I am in a bind,’ what do you do?

Category: Time

  • Discuss something you do once in a blue moon.
  • Tell your classmates about a party where you danced till the cows came home.
  • When you have time to kill? What do you do?
  • Is there something you would do at the drop of a hat?
  • Tell us about times when you had to burn the midnight oil.
  • What have you done in the nick of time?
  • What have you done on the spur of the moment?
  • If you have time to kill today, what will you do?

Category: Money

  • Who brings home the bacon in your family?
  • Tell us about something that cost your family a mint.
  • What you would do with money to burn?
  • Talk about something you bought for a song.
  • Do you know a penny pincher? What do they do?
  • Have you ever been flat broke? What did you do?
  • How much money should you save for a rainy day?
  • Is it ever appropriate to go Dutch in your country? With whom and in what situation?