Recently I did a ‘Cultural Awareness’ course at work due to the company having to work with Chinese companies, and the fact that the workplace culture of China is so much different to the UK.
In this course it was mentioned how we shouldn’t use idioms as they often get lost in translation and misunderstood.
This gave me the idea of writing a post with a few British idioms that perhaps won’t be understood in other parts of the world!
It’s raining cats and dogs
This simply means that it’s raining very heavily, i.e. ‘It’s raining cats and dogs out there!’
Costing an arm and a leg
This doesn’t mean an actual arm and leg, just that it’s a very high cost, i.e. ‘That new phone is nice but must have cost and arm and a leg!’
Horses for courses
The full statement would be something along the lines of different horses perform better on different courses, meaning that different people are more suited to different tasks, also used in place of ‘to each their own’. ‘Just because he fixed the wiring on the house, doesn’t mean the electrician can fix your car, it’s horse for courses’
See a man about a dog
Used as a reason for leaving, but to conceal the true identity of the reason for leaving, often used for going to the toilet.
Piece of cake
It means that a task was easy, i.e. ‘That exam was a piece of cake’
To bite off more than you can chew
To take on a task that is too difficult for you to finish
Let me know if your local dialect has any odd idioms, or perhaps idioms that translate badly, in the comments below!