Funny Idioms: 3 Idioms With Sentences
Summary: Funny Idioms
English language idioms can be tricky to use in English conversation, but that’s no excuse not to learn what they mean. Today we learn about some funny English idioms, there meaning and how to use them in a sentence.
Unfortunately Hilary is not feeling well (or to use idioms to describe this, we might say, Hilary is ‘Under the Weather’!)
So a bonus idiom for you: Sailors used to use the term “under the weather”. They ordered sailors and passengers who got ill or seasick to go below deck, which sailors believed to be the best place for people to recover and take shelter from bad weather. Over time, this became a synonym for being ill.
I hope you can forgive Hilary’s voice (we edited out all the coughing and sneezing!). To end on a more positive note, we covered “funny” idioms so cheer everyone up.
Audio Transcript: Funny Idioms: 3 Idioms With Sentences
So welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. Every week we release two podcasts – and the purpose of our podcasts is to give you English language material to listen to. I try to make it interesting for you, by talking about lots of different topics. But it’s all intended to help you improve your understanding of naturally spoken English.
And if you do this, then it’s much easier to start to speak in English. So use our podcasts to practice every week – and if you want to know more about our method, then go to our website at adeptenglish.com and sign up to receive our free course ‘The Seven Rules of Adept English’ which will fully explain our method. You can go to (and this is the number 7 at the start) 7rules.adeptenglish.com.
Help Us Share This Article & You Can Download Immediately
Why did this change? We need you to help us tell people about this FREE English language lesson. If you share this article you help us and in return we charge you nothing to download the audio and a FULL lesson transcript.
OK, let’s have a look today at some funny idioms in English. Apologies for my voice today – I’ve got a very sore throat, so it doesn’t sound as it normally does. Hopefully, I’m not going to be ill. Anyway, here we go. So these funny idioms may not make you laugh out loud, but they are faintly comical and they amuse you on the inside. They may make you smile on the inside. They’re all idioms which we use 100% - and they would be understood by English speakers in the UK. But they may sound quite strange to you, if you’ve not come across them before. And if you listen right to the end, you’ll hear how to find out more information about these.
Ants in your pants - vocabulary
So the first of the funny idioms today – and this one is a verb - ‘to have ants in your pants’. So you might hear someone saying ‘Oh look at him! He can’t sit still. He’s got ants in his pants!’. So the verb is ‘to have ants in your pants’. A bit of vocabulary here – your ‘pants’, P-A-N-T-S are a piece of clothing. Pants can be used for either men or women or children - it’s a piece of underwear. So underwear is what you wear next to your skin, under your clothes. And the pants, well they go on your bottom. You put your legs into them and you pull them up. For men we might otherwise call them ‘boxers’ which are short for boxer shorts – or women you might say ‘knickers’. There’s a good word – it starts with a K.
So the spelling of knickers is K-N-I-C-K-E-R-S. Anyway, ‘pants’ means the same thing, whether you’re a man, a woman or a child. So what are ants? An ant, A-N-T is a little insect. They’re very small and they live in colonies. They don’t fly – and they’re very clean and intelligent insects. So little creatures which in the UK often come into your house in May – and they may invade your fruit bowl. They like anything with sugar in it. And they’re very responsible insects – they look after each other and you can see them carrying things and forming a line. So, ‘ants in your pants’.
Ants in your pants – meaning
No matter how sophisticated they ant colony, the ant society is – you probably don’t want ants in your pants. One of the things which ants sometimes do is swarm over people. And certain types of ants can bite. So occasionally in the summer, if you’re sitting on the ground, you might find suddenly ants are crawling over you – and that would be very unpleasant. So when we say that someone has got ‘ants in their pants’, it means that they can’t sit still. You can imagine if you actually had pants full of insects, you’d probably be running around shouting and trying to get rid of them. So if you say ‘She had ants in her pants all afternoon’, it means she was unable to sit still. She was so worried or excited that she couldn’t stay still. It means someone is agitated. They could be frightened or more probably, excited about something. So that’s ‘ants in your pants’, ‘to have ants in your pants’.
Put a sock in it – vocabulary and meaning
OK, so the second of our funny idioms today, is ‘ to put a sock in it!’ Or often it’s said as a command – ‘Put a sock in it!’ So this probably isn’t something that you would say to your boss at work. If you used it with the wrong person, it would be impolite, rather rude. So you would only say this to someone that you know really well and who might find it funny. So vocabulary first of all. Well, if you think of the things which you put on your feet – and your feet are the things you stand on. So you would put shoes on your feet, but if it’s cold and it’s wintertime, you might put your socks on first, before you put on your shoes. Socks is spelt ‘S-O-C-K-S. Like pants, you’re possibly wearing socks right now. So the vocabulary of ‘Put a sock in it’ is simple enough.
But what does the phrase actually mean? Well, if you said this to someone, it’s a bit like saying ‘Shut up!’ - which is rather rude and likely not to get a good response. ‘Shut up!’ basically means ‘Shut your mouth, stop talking’. So if you say to someone ‘Put a sock in it’, it’s a bit more good humoured and it means ‘Put a sock in your mouth’ so you stop talking. A bit impolite, not good manners, but you might hear this phrase used indirectly, when someone is reporting a situation. But it can be used with humour, if you know the person you’re saying it to, really well. ‘Put a sock in it!’
Bob’s your uncle – vocabulary
And the final of our three funny idioms today – Bob’s your uncle. So vocabulary first of all on this one. Bob has a capital letter, so it’s what we call a proper noun – that means it’s a name. So the name Bob, B-O-B is familiar in the UK. It’s usually short for Robert or possible Roberta, which is a girl’s name. And you might also hear the name Bobby used. But here, Bob’s your uncle. Expanded that means ‘Bob is your uncle’. So what’s an uncle? U-N-C-L-E. Well, if your mother or father has a brother – then he is your uncle. Or sometimes if your mother or father has a sister, your uncle could be the man that the sister is married to. So ‘Bob’s your uncle’ is the vocabulary explanation. But that doesn’t really help you with the meaning, I don’t think.
Bob’s your Uncle – meaning
You’ll hear ‘Bob’s your uncle’ when someone is giving instructions. It might be how to put something in online ‘You put in your details, you press the button – and Bob’s your uncle, you’re registered on the system’. It could be a list of cooking instructions – how to make fahitas perhaps. You cook the chicken and the peppers and the sauce, and you wrap them up in a tortilla, with sour cream – and ‘Bob’s your uncle, you’ve got a fahita’. So ‘Bob’s your uncle’ means ‘There you are! Success! That was easy, wasn’t it?!’ It’s rather like in French, you might say ‘Et voila!’ A sort of triumph, a success – Bob’s your uncle, it’s all done. Easy!
And the origin of Bob’s your Uncle?
Well, it’s thought that this funny idiom originated when Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister in the UK. He had three terms as Prime Minister, between 1885 and 1902. Lord Salisbury’s full name was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, so obviously with a first name Robert, this could be shortened to ‘Bob’. And the phrase originated when Robert Gascoyne-Cecil as prime minister gave jobs to his nephew, which were seen as not deserved. So if your mother’s brother is called your uncle, then if you’re male, you’re his nephew. And nephew is spelt N-E-P-H-E-W. If you’re a girl, then you’d be your uncle’s niece. And that’s spelt N-I-E-C-E. Anyway, Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil gave jobs to his nephew, Arthur Balfour. And people thought that Arthur Balfour was not suitable, not the right person for the job. So the Prime Minister was favouring his nephew, giving his nephew things that weren’t deserved. So the phrase ‘Bob’s your Uncle’ arose from the idea that ‘Oh, that’s nice and easy, isn’t it, when Bob is your Uncle?’
Examples of each of these funny idioms
Let’s work with some examples of these funny idioms, then you can practise some speaking. So repeat these after me – I’ll say them three times:-
- Robert was being really loud, so his sister told him to ‘put a sock in it’.
- She was so excited about the holiday, she couldn’t sit still. She had ants in her pants.
- I’ll show you how to set up an account online – and Bob’s your uncle. You’ll be able to do it yourself.
I hope those examples help you – and it’s always good to do some speaking practice. You may not yet use these phrases yourself, but at least you won’t be confused now, if you hear them. And if you have a look at the transcript, you’ll find some links if you want to know more about the origin of these funny idioms.
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-put3.htm (for a different explanation)
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
PS: English speakers use Idioms all the time in English conversation
The biggest problem when using idioms is to know the context of the conversation. Some idioms are appropriate for children, but would sound silly if you use them with an adult. Some idioms are funny if used with friends but would be out-of-place if used with an employer. Some idioms are not trendy or old.
If you are new to English and have had little experience with using idioms, funny or not! Our advice is to not use them (you need not use idioms to hold an English conversation), but wait until a native English speaker uses an idiom and remember the context of the idioms use. Where you are work? where you at home? What was the age group of the people being targeted with the idioms?
If you are learning to speak English it’s always safer to know what an idiom means and just listen out for them. They can be tricky to use correctly.
If you want us to change something, or maybe you spotted a mistake then please send us an email: support @ adeptenglish.com we will read and reply to every email.
You can always find more interesting learn English articles here.