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HOME > AMERICAN IDIOMS > Idioms starting with H

Common American Idioms for ESL students


Half-baked (adj.):
Foolish. ex. "He came up with a half-baked plan to win back his girlfriend."

Hand-me-down (adj.):
Usually said of clothing that has been passed on from one person to another. ex. "A hand-me-down dress"

Hands down:
Easily; by far. ex. "She is hands down the most beautiful girl in class."

Hang on:
To wait (for a short time); to hold on. ex. "Hang on. Let me just finish this email and I'll be right with you."

(To) hang on someone's every word:
To listen very carefully to someone. ex. "Grandpa was telling a story and the kids were hanging on his every word."

(To) hate someone's guts:
To hate someone very much. (To) have a big mouth:
To be a gossiper. To be a person who can't keep a secret. ex. "Grandpa was telling a story and the kids were hanging on his every word."

(To) have a lot going for (someone):
To have a lot of good things in one's life; to have many things working to one's benefit. ex. "She has a lot going for her: she's smart, she's attractive, she has a good job, etc."

(To) have a sweet tooth:
To love to eat candy or other sweets.

(To) have an edge:
To have an advantage. ex. "When it comes to speed, he has an edge over the other players."

(To) have mixed feelings (about something):
To be unsure or uncertain about something. ex. "Some of the partners had mixed feelings about the merger."

(To) have one's hands full:
To be busy, occupied with some kind of activity, work, etc. ex. "I have my hands full with my three children."

(To) have one's heart set on something:
To really want (and/or expect) something to happen. ex. "Julie has her heart set on going to London this summer."

(A) hit:
A popular song or film. ex. "Every song they put out becomes a hit."

(To) hit the spot:
To satisfy a need exactly. To be exactly right (often said about food or drinks). ex. "That was a delicious meal. It hit the spot."

(To) hit bottom:
To reach the lowest point. ex. "Two years after he started to abuse alcohol, he hit bottom."

(To) hit the road:
To leave, start on a trip, etc. ex. "It's already 9:00 AM. We have to hit the road!"

(To) hit a snag:
To run into a problem. ex. "The project hit a snag when testing failed to produce favorable results."

Hold on!
Wait. ex. "Hold on, I'll be with you in just a moment."

(To be) homesick
To miss one's home, country, city, etc. ex. "Francesca is really homesick. She really wants to go back to Italy."

How on earth...? How in the world...?
When asking a question, "How on earth..." and "How in the world..." emphasize the fact that something incredible or very hard to believe happened. ex. "How on earth did you get that job? (it was very hard to get)"; "How on earth did you fix that car!? (it was impossible to fix)".

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