Common English Idioms with Two Words

The following are very common English idioms with two words. They are used in everyday conversations. In modern communication more informal language is now frequently used to substitute for more formal words and phrases.

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11 Common English idioms with two words


this refers to a person who is overly fussy in their actions. They usually do not relax do not dress casually and always operate by the rules.ex.

ex. Michael always wears a suit and a tie even when he goes to McDonalds!! His friends said he was a real fuddy duddy.


used to describe a situation when everything is confused or untidy or unsure.

ex. The weather was very bad. He was due to fly at noon but he wasn’t sure whether the airport was open or closed. No one could answer a simple question. Everything was topsy turvy.


when what you understand is written in English (or your native tongue) but you cannot understand it as it may be written in “legalistic” language.

ex. Nobody could understand the mortgage document from the bank .It was written in mumbo jumbo.


When a person is unable to make a decision decisively and is stuck between two choices. We can describe him as wishy washy.

ex. John could not decide whether to complain about the bad food in the restaurant. Eventually he decided not to say anything ad even gave the waiter a tip!! His wife said he was wishy washy.


someone who thinks he is better than everyone at everything but in fact is not.

ex. He hired a hot shot lawyer from London to defend him in his law case but he was still found guilty.

English Idioms with Two Words - Infographics

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when something is kept secret or covered up so no one can find out the facts.

ex. He worked for the secret service but nobody knew exactly what he did it was all hush hush.


to delay without cause or reason and not to rush.

ex. He was late for the meeting but continued to do this and that in his office and took his time in everything. He dilly dallied for over an hour.


this refers to ordinary routine aspects of our lives. People often look for some distraction from the hum drum of life.

ex. He worked every day from 8 am to 6pm and after six months decided to take a long holiday away from the hum drum of his work.


usually refers to the sound that small footsteps make and is used to refer to a happy announcement that a woman is expecting a baby.

ex. She was delighted to tell her husband that after 2 years of marriage they were going to hear the tiny pitter patter of baby feet. She would have her baby in about six months.


when you are in good health or when everything is working well.

ex. He went to the doctor and was in perfect health. His business was doing well and his family were happy. He was tip top. In fact everything was tip top.


used to describe a businessman who deals in lots of business transactions on a regular basis, buying and selling.

ex. He bought and sold cars everyday in all parts of the country. He bought them cheap and sold them for a small profit quickly. He was a real wheeler dealer.

Idioms are fun to use and appear regularly in formal and informal speech. Enjoy using these common English idioms with two words where and when you can!

More Information

For more information on English Idioms, English Phrasal Verbs and English Grammar Rules, check out the following links:

How to Negotiate Price in English

Vocabulary for Renting an Apartment

Travel Phrasal Verbs in English

Anger English Idioms

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