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English with Philip


What are Transport Idioms

Transport idioms are phrases or expressions that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase; but some phrases become figurative idioms while retaining the literal meaning of the phrase. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning.

In English  we take ideas from many parts of our lives to form a transport idiom, we use words, phrases, places, people, things and animals to create each individual Idiom. Transport idioms are very popular and to the native British speaker they are a normal part of every day speech. If you are not familiar with transport idioms; the best thing to remember is that the individual words do not mean very much. the only way the transport idiom means anything to anyone is as a phrase. (By phrase I mean a collection of words together).  Each transport idiom or phrase has to be memorised as a phrase. Try also our music idioms.

When do we use transport idioms

We would normally use a transport idiom to add character or interest to our conversation. Imagine you are reading a story book and in the book there are often words to make the story sound more interesting, maybe more dramatic and colourful.  When we are speaking we do exactly the same thing and often we do this by including idioms in our speech. By adding idioms in our sentences, this can make what you are saying much more interesting to the listener.  We can use Transport Idioms on all occasions; be it with friends, at home, work, school and even interviews. Idioms and transport idioms are a great way to show that you have a good command of the English language and you are also connected with English humour. Practice your idiom use with your Skypeclass teacher Philip.

To hit the road

When you read the transport idiom above ‘to hit the road‘ you are probably lost. You think what rings a bell? who rings a bell? what bell?.  If you have not learnt this idiom of by heart, it means nothing to you. What it actually means is that something has happened that made you remember an event that happened in the past. Basically, you remember something. For example I could say to a friend “John, shall we hit the road now? I am tired?”  John replies “oh yes, let’s go- ‘hit the road’ simply means to leave or depart.

read more about other Idioms at the BBC

20 Transport Idioms in English

Middle of the road

We use middle of the road when we describe something as being not too extreme. Such as our choice of music.

  • My style of music is very middle of the road.
  • I am a middle of the road kind person, I like most types of art.

A long way down the road

Something that is far into the future..

  • Will you get married? No, any marriage plans will be a long way down the road.
  • I just started my diet. however my final weight loss goal is a long way down the road.

Reinventing the wheel

To reinvent something in a new and updated way.

  • he spoke at length how his cake recipe was great. I saw it as simply reinventing the wheel.
  • Sometimes there is no need whatsoever to reinvent the wheel.

Asleep at the wheel

Failing to do ones job or responsibilities properly

  • John was supposed to complete the paperwork today, but it seems he slept at the wheel.
  • I was asleep at the wheel and totally forgot to renew my drivers licence.

The wheels have come off

We say this when something goes wrong or fails.

  • The performers acted very well in the first half, the the wheels fell off.
  • My interview was great at first the yes you guessed it the wheels fell off. what a disaster.

You stick out a mile

Something obvious and easy to see.

  • She sticks out a mile wearing that purple coat.
  • My aunt sticks out a mile when she walks with me in the street.

I’d run a mile.

We say this when we do not want to get involved in something.

  • I’d run a mile if he asked me to go to his party.
  • they ran a mile when I asked them to help me paint.

Give him an inch he’ll take a mile

Give a small concession to someone, and they take full advantage of it.

  • I told him to be back by 10pm and he came home at 12 midnight. That’s what happens when I give him an inch, he takes a mile.

In the drivers seat

We use this to describe when someone is in control or in charge of a situation.

  • She is in the drivers seat because she knows exactly what to do.
  • We always put John in the drivers seat because he is excellent at the job.

A backseat driver

when a person tries to take control of a situation when they are not qualified to or shouldn’t

  • When my Mother drives, my father always sits next to her telling her how to drive properly, he is a real back seat driver.
  • My Mother is a backseat driver when my dad cooks. She knows best.

A Sunday driver

We call someone a Sunday driver when they drive at an annoyingly slow speed.

  • You idiot! get out of my way you Sunday driver.
  • I hate all the Sunday drivers on the road, they have nothing better to do.

Missed the boat

When someone misses an opportunity to go or do something.

  • When my friends left me and went on holiday, I felt that I had missed the boat.
  • She missed the boat as we had already left when she arrived.

It’s plain sailing

When something is very easy

  • Of course you can bake a cake, it’s plain sailing.
  • She said it was plain sailing to ride a bike, but I found it challenging.

We’re in the same boat

We say this when we say we are in the same bad situation as others.

  • She always says she has no money but we are always in the same boat.
  • I am in the same boat, I also hate driving.

At a crossroads

To be at a point in life when an important decision needs to be made.

  • Now that I have passed my exam, I am at a crossroads.
  • I am at a crossroads in my relationship. decisions have to be made, do i stay or go?

Off the back of a lorry

Items that are stolen

  • My Brother bout a very cheap new TV that was off the back of a lorry.
  • We never buy things that are off the back of a lorry. it is just wrong.

Road rage

When someone gets very angry with fellow drivers.

  • My dad always display road rage when he is in a traffic jam.
  • Road rage is something I never experience when I drive.

My way or the highway

There is no alternative way of doing something

  • Do as I say, it is my way or the highway.
  • Do not negotiate with him, it is his way or the highway always.

Itchy feet

To be bored or restless

  • She could not concentrate in the class, she always had itchy feet.
  • I hate visiting people at home, I always get itchy feet after a few minutes.