We use English idioms every day. And we use them in big ways and small ways, for fun and for serious meanings. For example, we can say that we’re up to our ears in work, meaning we’re very busy and it’s hard to find time to do anything else. Let’s explore and play with some different English idioms for easy!
A few words of explanation about the way we approach learning idioms. Idioms in English can be very confusing for language learners. There are
a lot of English idioms, most of which you would never hear or use in an English conversation in 2021. To make learning English idioms as efficient as we can, we focus on the most common and useful English idioms that originate from everyday speech. So you won’t find a list of 500 idioms for ‘easy’ in this podcast. You will find the most popular ones you are most likely to need to understand and use.
The hardest portion of English, I must say it: Idioms.
⭐ Flula Borg, German Musician
It's been a while since I did a podcast on idioms. What exactly is an idiom? An idiom is a phrase that has a different meaning from the actual words used. For example "a piece of cake", as opposed to saying that something was "easy" or that it "went down like a lead balloon" meaning nobody liked the suggestion. If you learn idioms in school, you probably learn boring ones that nobody uses. We’re trying to help you by learning useful idioms that real people actually use.
If you want to talk like a native English speaker, then there is no way to avoid learning English idioms. As I prepared this podcast, it surprised me to see how many English idioms we use for easy, without even thinking about them. So I suggest you listen to this podcast for some new English idioms examples you can use in your everyday English conversations.
Deliberately Butty Sarnie Doddle Cinch Slang Motto
Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. Today we’re going to work on a little bit of English slang. So if you want to work on your English language understanding and your goal is knowing English well enough to speak fluently, then Adept English is here to help. ‘Listen and learn’ – and ‘listen to learn’ – that’s our motto!
So some English slang for you today? You’ve probably heard the word ‘slang’ in English – that’s SLANG. What is ‘slang’? Well here is a definition of what ‘slang’ means:-
‘A kind of language used mainly in casual and playful speech, made up typically of words which are deliberately used in place of standard terms for added raciness, humour, irreverence, or other effect.’
So ‘slang’ is really made up words, which are used playfully, for humour – and which are ‘deliberately’ used in place of standard words. The definition says ‘for added raciness’ – that means you’re making it more exciting, more risky – it might have a double meaning.
Or it might be irreverent – that means that the slang is being used to reduce someone’s authority – it’s a bit rebellious. So there are ‘slang’ words which are recognised by everyone who speaks English and there are ‘slang’ words and expressions which are particular to certain regions of the UK or to certain groups. And then there are the ‘slang’ words which are used within families or within friendship groups – ‘home-grown’ slang, if you like.
So slang might start off as a nickname. ‘A nickname’ is a humorous name for somebody that you know – it’s ‘familiar’. So for example, I’ve just spent a week in France, staying with my sister. And my elder daughter and my son came too.
Now my sister’s house is full of animals – and so a nickname, almost a piece of slang, used just for the week – ‘The Ladies’ or even ‘The Round-Faced Ladies’ came to mean the three elderly female cats that slept in the bedroom with us.
So nicknames can become slang and be very specific to a situation, recognised by a particular group of people. It’s fun to make up slang words and expressions – so we spent a week with ‘The Ladies’.
And of course, there are ‘slang’ expressions which have become very popular and which most English speakers would recognise. For example if you said ‘sarnie’, that’s SARNIE – most people in the UK would understand that you meant ‘a sandwich’. But slang can be regional as well.
A photograph of a sandwich or sarnie or butty. English idioms are used to express ideas beyond the literal sense.
Where I come from in the North West of the UK, instead of ‘sarnie’, you would probably hear ‘butty’ instead, that’s BUTTY. And this would be understood to mean ‘a sandwich’. And even the word ‘sandwich’? Well, that works in French – ‘un sandwich’.
So what about some slang words for ‘easy’ today? That’s the English adjective ‘easy’ EASY meaning the opposite of ‘difficult’. ‘Easy’ means something that’s not hard to do. So several obvious expressions exist, that are slang.
You could say ‘That’s easy peasy’. This is quite a childish way of saying it – you might say ‘easy peasy’ if you wanted to tease someone. ‘Look at me – I can touch my nose with my tongue – you can’t! It’s easy peasy’. Or ‘Making scrambled eggs is easy peasy’. So that’s a child’s way of saying ‘easy’, which sometimes adults might use.
Another way we have of saying something is easy ‘It’s a doddle’. That’s DODDLE – and the word ‘doddle’ – well, you probably won’t find it used in any other context. If something is ‘a doddle’, it’s not difficult. ‘That English language exam – it was a doddle!’. Or ‘Making spaghetti bolognese? That’s a doddle.’.
Another way of saying that something is easy – it’s a ‘cinch’, CINCH. ‘Getting elected as team captain was a cinch for him’. Or even as a verb, ‘he cinched his driving test’. ‘Changing the tyres on my car? It was a cinch!’. The origin of the word ‘cinch’ seems to be in debate. It comes from Latin, Spanish and other languages where it seems to mean the strap around a horse that fixes the saddle on.
Why did that word come to describe something that’s ‘easy’? Well, maybe if something is ‘a cinch’, it means that you’ve got a firm hold, a firm grip of it – or a firm understanding of it. But my research on this turned up various explanations – so to use another idiom, the origin of ‘cinch’ is probably ‘lost in the mists of time’!
A couple more slang expressions for ‘It’s easy’? Well, you can say it’s ‘a walk in the park’. So again, if something is described as ‘a walk in the park’, it means that it’s really easy to do. Some examples? ‘I’ve been doing my own accounts for years – so that job will be a walk in the park for me’. Or ‘I’m used to driving a much bigger car – so parking your little car will be a walk in the park for me’. I guess what we’re really saying here, is that ‘Parking your car? Well, it will be as easy as going for a walk in the park’.
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And it’s the same meaning with the last phrase for today. If you hear someone say ‘Oh, it’s a ‘piece of cake’ – it means the same thing. It means that something is easy. ‘That test we had today in Geography? It was a piece of cake’. ‘Setting up that parking app on my phone – it was a piece of cake’. I guess what we’re saying here is that doing that task was as easy as ‘eating a piece of cake’.
Shall we do some practice? First of all, just a reminder of the Adept English ‘Five Hundred Most Common Words Course’. If you would like to consolidate the most used, the most important, the most frequently used words in English – then this course is for you.
The course only uses the most common five hundred words – and naturally it’s a ‘Listen and Learn’ course – so making sure you have the essential vocabulary for speaking English. Well, it’s ‘a piece of cake’, it’s ‘a walk in the park’ with this course. Check out the Most Common Five Hundred Words Course on our website at adeptenglish.com.
Why don’t we do some speaking practice? Here are some sentences which use these slang expressions for the word ‘easy’. Try repeating them after me. I’ll leave a space for you to repeat them.
- Learning to tie your shoe laces is easy peasy. (I’ll say each one twice)
- The Biology exam was an absolute cinch.
- Downloading that app and setting it up on your phone is a doddle.
- Training my big dog was a piece of cake, compared to training my little dog.
- Passing the interview was a walk in the park for him.
OK, well done on those sentences! Practising these spoken sentences with me will help your pronunciation and get your brain used to saying English words.
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Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.