Idioms or expressions on numbers are common in English. Here are our top 11 numbers idioms.
- One-horse town: small town or village with a small population. Nothing ever happens in the town; it is boring and quiet. I grew up in a one-horse town. I couldn´t wait to move!
- Two left feet: terrible coordination in your movements and terrible balance. For example a bad dancer or footballer. I can´t dance, I have two left feet!
- Two’s company; three’s a crowd: two is the best amount of people to go somewhere – three people is too many. Normally used when a boyfriend and girlfriend want to do something together without anyone else joining them. I don’t think I’ll go to the party with you guys because two’s company and three’s a crowd.
- On all fours: crawling on your hands and knees like a baby. I got down on all fours trying to find the earring that I had dropped.
- Take five: an expression to say take a short break, meaning five minutes. I’m tired of running, let’s take five.
- At sixes and sevens: used when someone is confused or in a state of disorder. The police were at sixes and sevens over what to do with the murder suspect.
- Seventh heaven: very, very happy about something. She was in seventh heaven when she watched her favourite singer perform live in the stadium.
- Pieces of eight: used to describe money. Pieces of eight were old Spanish coins. The coin was worth eight reales. In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End the Pirate Lords must meet together by presenting the ’Nine Pieces of Eight’.
- On cloud nine: when someone is very happy because of something great that has happened to them. She’s been on cloud nine ever since she got the new job.
- Perfect ten: to describe something that couldn’t get any better – it´s already perfect. Have you heard the new Robby Williams song? It´s amazing. I think it’s a perfect ten!
- At the eleventh-hour: when something happens at the last possible moment just before the deadline or end. He postponed the trip at the eleventh hour.
Numbers and language are not as far apart as you might think. The best way to practice is by writing a short conversation – be sure to use each idiom at least once! For example:
-I don´t think I will go out tonight with Sarah and Mark I always feel like the third wheel
–Hahah yeah right! It’s only because you have two left feet and don´t want to go dancing tonight!