Idiomatic Phrases in Everyday English
An idiomatic phrase, multi-word expression, or idiom, is a multi-word or multi-morphemic utterance at least one of whose components is selectionally constrained or restricted by linguistic convention such that it is freely chosen.
In the most extreme cases, there are expressions such as X kicks the bucket ≈ ‘person X dies of natural causes, the speaker being flippant about X’s demise’ where the unit is selected as a whole to express a meaning that bears little or no relation to the meanings of its parts. All of the words in this expression are chosen restrictedly, as part of a chunk.
At the other extreme, there are collocations such as stark naked, hearty laugh, or infinite patience where one of the words is chosen freely (naked, laugh, and patience, respectively) based on the meaning the speaker wishes to express while the choice of the other (intensifying) word (stark, hearty, infinite) is constrained by the conventions of the English language (hence, *hearty naked, *infinite laugh, *stark patience).
Both kinds of expression are phrasemes, and can be contrasted with ’’free phrases’’, expressions where all of the members (barring grammatical elements whose choice is forced by the morphosyntax of the language) are chosen freely, based exclusively on their meaning and the message that the speaker wishes to communicate.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
English Grammar Video
English Vocabulary. Words for Birthdays
Common Phrases with BIRTH & SELL
give birth to smth.
Yet capitalism is itself incapable of… giving birth to this new art. (R. Fox, ‘The Novel and the People’, ch. IV)
in one’s birthday suit
They were sunbathing in their birthday suits.
sell one’s birthright
…I do not wonder that you, the prostrate sons of labour, are incredulous of the existence of such a man. But he who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage existed, and Judas Iscariot existed… and this man exists! (Ch. Dickens, ‘Hard Times’, book II, ch. IV)
The store is selling off their old television sets to make room for the latest models.
sell one’s life dear
Here and there a little group of shattered Indians marked where one of the anthropoids had turned to bay, and sold his life dearly. (A. C. Doyle, ‘The Lost World’, ch. XIV)
If you want to advance in the world of business, you have to know how to sell yourself.
English Phrases for the Supermarket