School Idioms: 40+ Popular School Idioms in English

If you’re an English learner, you might have come across some idiomatic expressions that relate to school or education. These idioms can be confusing at first, but they’re an important part of everyday English. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common school idioms and explain what they mean.

So, why are idioms important for English learners? Idioms are a way of expressing ideas that might not make sense if you take them literally. They add color and nuance to the English language, and they’re often used in everyday conversation. By learning idioms, you’ll be able to understand and use English in a more natural way. Plus, using idioms can make you sound more fluent and confident in your English skills. Let’s dive in and explore some of the most useful school idioms!

School Idioms

What Are School Idioms?

Idioms are phrases that have a figurative meaning that is different from their literal meaning. School idioms are phrases that are commonly used in the context of education and may be specific to the school setting. These idioms are used to describe different aspects of the school experience, such as studying, grades, and relationships with teachers.

School Idioms: 40+ Popular School Idioms in English

Some school idioms are positive and imply success or intelligence, such as “ace a test” (do extremely well on a test) or “brainiac” (a very intelligent person). Other school idioms are negative and refer to challenges or difficulties, such as “school of hard knocks” (a place where one learns through difficult experiences) or “cut class” (to skip a class or lesson).

School idioms can be used to add flavor and personality to writing and speech about education. They can also be a way for students to connect with each other and understand the shared experiences and challenges of being in school. However, it’s important to be mindful of the meanings of idioms and to use them appropriately, as they can sometimes be confusing or misunderstood by those who are not familiar with them.

School Idioms with their Meanings

Here are a few more school idioms that you may come across:

  • Bookworm

An individual who reads frequently and enjoys books

  • Brainstorm something

To generate creative ideas or solutions through group discussion and collaboration

  • Skip class

To intentionally not attend a class or school without a valid reason

  • Teacher’s pet

A student who is favored by the teacher and often receives special treatment or privileges

  • As easy as ABC

A phrase used to describe a task or activity that is very simple and straightforward

  • Cover a lot of ground

To make significant progress or complete a large amount of work in a given amount of time

  • Eager beaver

A person who is enthusiastic and eager to work hard

  • Copycat

A person who imitates or copies the work or behavior of someone else

  • Dropout
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A person who leaves school or a program of study before completing it

  • Pass with flying colors

To pass a test, exam, or other challenge with great success or distinction

  • A for effort!

A phrase used to recognize and appreciate someone’s hard work and effort, even if they were not successful

  • Learn by heart

To memorize something completely

  • Play hooky

To skip school or work without permission or a valid reason

  • Put your thinking cap on

To focus and think deeply about a problem or situation

  • Show of hands

A method of voting or indicating agreement by raising one’s hand

  • Hit the books

To study intensely or read extensively

  • Ace a test

To do extremely well on a test or exam

  • Cut class

To skip a class or lesson without permission or a valid reason

  • Brainiac

A person who is highly intelligent and knowledgeable

  • School of Hard Knocks

A place or situation where one learns through difficult or challenging experiences

  • Study hall

A designated time and place for students to study

  • Extra credit

Additional work or assignments that can be completed to improve a student’s grade

  • Play dumb

To pretend to be ignorant or unaware of something

  • Burn the midnight oil

To work or study late into the night

  • Teach someone a lesson

To correct someone’s behavior or make them understand something through punishment or consequences

  • Take a crash course

To learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time

  • A steep learning curve

A situation or task that is difficult to learn or understand

  • A load off my mind

A feeling of relief or less worry about something

  • On the same page

To be in agreement or understanding with someone

  • Pull an all-nighter

To stay up all night, often to study or complete a project before a deadline

  • A straight-a student

A student who consistently earns high grades in all their classes

  • A tough cookie

A person who is strong-willed and resilient

  • Straight A’s

The highest possible grades in all classes

  • On the honor roll

A list of students who have achieved academic excellence and high grades

  • Skate by

To pass or succeed with minimal effort or work

  • Cram session

A period of intense studying or review, often before a test or exam

  • Play by the rules

To follow the established guidelines or regulations

  • Pop quiz

A surprise quiz or test given without prior warning

  • Homeroom

A classroom where students gather at the beginning and end of the school day

  • Report card

A document that shows a student’s grades and academic progress

  • Fail a class

To receive a grade of “F” in a class, indicating a lack of understanding or mastery of the material

  • Drop out

To leave school or a program of study before completing it

Common School Idioms

Idioms Related to Classroom

  • Teacher’s pet: This idiom refers to a student who is the teacher’s favorite and receives special treatment.
  • Bookworm: A bookworm is a person who loves to read and study.
  • Class clown: A class clown is a student who likes to make jokes and be the center of attention in class.
  • Straight A student: This idiom refers to a student who consistently receives high grades in all subjects.
  • Teacher’s pet: This idiom refers to a student who is the teacher’s favorite and receives special treatment.

Idioms Related to Homework

  • Hit the books: This idiom means to study or do homework.
  • Burning the midnight oil: This idiom means to stay up late studying or doing homework.
  • Nose to the grindstone: This idiom means to work hard and diligently on homework or studying.
  • Cramming: Cramming is the act of studying intensively for a test or exam at the last minute.
  • Brain drain: This idiom refers to the feeling of mental exhaustion after a long period of studying or doing homework.
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Idioms Related to Exams

  • Ace the test: This idiom means to do exceptionally well on a test or exam.
  • Pass with flying colors: This idiom means to pass a test or exam with a very high score.
  • Flunk the test: This idiom means to fail a test or exam.
  • Brain freeze: This idiom refers to the feeling of mental blockage during an exam.
  • Pull an all-nighter: This idiom means to stay up all night studying for an exam.

Usage of School Idioms

In Everyday Conversation

School idioms are often used in everyday conversation to express a variety of ideas and emotions. For example, if someone is struggling to understand a difficult concept, they might say “I just can’t wrap my head around it.” Similarly, if someone is trying to make a decision, they might say “I’m on the fence about it.”

Other common school idioms used in everyday conversation include “hit the books,” “ace a test,” “pass with flying colors,” and “learn the ropes.” These idioms are often used to describe academic achievements or processes.

In Literature

School idioms are also commonly found in literature, both in fiction and non-fiction works. These idioms can be used to add depth and meaning to the text, as well as to help readers understand the characters and their motivations.

For example, in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the character Atticus Finch tells his children to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” in order to understand their perspective. This idiom helps to convey Atticus’s belief in empathy and understanding.

Other school idioms commonly found in the literature include “chalk it up to experience,” “put your nose to the grindstone,” and “hit the nail on the head.”

In Media

School idioms are also frequently used in media, such as television shows, movies, and news broadcasts. These idioms can be used to add humor, drama, or emphasis to a story.

For example, in the television show “The Big Bang Theory,” the character Sheldon Cooper often uses school idioms to express his frustration with his friends’ lack of understanding. He might say “It’s not rocket science” when explaining a simple concept, or “I’m surrounded by idiots” when his friends don’t understand his point of view.

Other school idioms commonly used in media include “put two and two together,” “pass the test with flying colors,” and “hit the books.”

Fun with School Idioms

School Idioms in Jokes

  1. Why did the student eat his homework? Because the teacher said it was a piece of cake!
  2. Why did the math book look so sad? Because it had too many problems.
  3. Why did the English teacher break up with the history teacher? They had irreconcilable grammar differences.

School Idioms in Puzzles

  1. Crossword Puzzle: Create a crossword puzzle with school-related idioms as the clues. For example, “Burn the midnight oil” could be a clue for the word “study”.
  2. Word Search: Create a word search with school-related idioms hidden in the puzzle. For example, “Teacher’s pet” could be hidden in the puzzle.
  3. Fill-in-the-Blank: Create a fill-in-the-blank puzzle with school-related idioms as the missing words. For example, “I’m not a ____________ , I just like to study” could be the sentence with the missing word being “nerd”.
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With these fun ways to incorporate school idioms into jokes and puzzles, we can make learning English more enjoyable and engaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common idioms used in the classroom?

There are many idioms that are commonly used in the classroom. Some examples include “teacher’s pet,” which refers to a student who is the teacher’s favorite, and “raise your hand,” which means to indicate that you have a question or comment. Other common idioms include “hit the books,” which means to study hard, and “learn by heart,” which means to memorize something perfectly.

What are some graduation-related idioms?

Graduation is a big event in many students’ lives, and there are several idioms related to this occasion. For example, “cap and gown” refers to the traditional attire worn by graduates during commencement ceremonies. “Throwing your cap in the air” is another common idiom that refers to the tradition of tossing your graduation cap into the air in celebration.

Can you give examples of idioms used in education?

There are many idioms used in education that are not specific to the classroom or graduation. For example, “reading between the lines” means to look for hidden meanings or messages in a text, while “chalk it up to experience” means to accept a failure or mistake as a learning opportunity. “A lesson learned the hard way” is another common idiom that refers to a difficult experience that teaches an important lesson.

What are some kid-friendly idioms?

There are many idioms that are easy for kids to understand and use. For example, “piece of cake” means something is very easy, while “two heads are better than one” means that working with someone else can lead to better results. “Bite your tongue” is another kid-friendly idiom that means to hold back from saying something you might regret.

What are some funny idioms teachers use?

Teachers often use idioms to make their lessons more engaging and memorable. Some examples of funny idioms that teachers use include “put your thinking cap on” to encourage students to think creatively, and “let’s hit the books” to signal that it’s time to start studying. “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” is another funny idiom that teachers might use to remind students not to get ahead of themselves.

What is the meaning of the idiom ‘hit the books’ in a school context?

“Hit the books” is a common idiom that means to study hard. When someone says “I need to hit the books,” they mean that they need to focus on their studies and spend time reading, reviewing, and practicing. This idiom is often used in a school context, when students are preparing for exams or working on assignments.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023

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