Expressing Emotions In English Using Idioms

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  • Post last modified:30/06/2024
  • Post category:English Idioms
  • Reading time:10 mins read

Learn 10 idioms for expressing emotions in English. In this advanced English lesson, we explore some of the most expressive idioms that will boost your vocabulary and help you sound more like a native speaker.

By understanding and using these idioms correctly, you’ll be able to express emotions and situations more clearly, making your conversations more engaging and natural. 

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List of English idioms

Expressing Emotions in English using idioms

So what are we going to look at today? Well, in today’s advanced lesson, we’re going to look at popular English idioms relating to happiness and sadness. So we’ll split it into two parts one part is about happiness, and the other one is about sadness.

And as always try to practise them. And if you don’t understand them, come back to me. We’ll try to give you a few more examples.

We’ve got five particular idioms relating to happiness. And we’ve got another five relating to sadness. So I’ll look at happiness first of all and give you some examples. Then do the same with idioms related to sadness.

on cloud nine

Meaning: used to describe a state of intense happiness and joy


He’s on cloud nine after passing his exams, now he can do the engineering course he dreamed about.

She’s on cloud nine after a great review with her boss and now she’s up for a promotion.

walk on air

Meaning: to feel extremely happy and elated, as if one is so light with joy that they are floating


After welcoming their newborn, he felt like he was walking on air.

When John proposed, Sarah felt like she was walking on air, overwhelmed with joy and excitement.

Expressing Emotions in English using idioms

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thrilled to bits

Meaning: extremely happy and excited about something


She was thrilled to bits when her friends remembered her birthday and sent her a thoughtful gift.

He was thrilled to bits when his friends invited him to join their family holiday to Guadeloupe.

over the moon

Meaning: feeling an intense level of happiness and delight


He was over the moon after scoring a hat-trick in the last game because it meant they would be promoted.

He has just finished his exams and is over the moon now that the summer holidays have started.

She’s over the moon about her new job because now they can move to a bigger house.

tickled pink

Meaning: someone’s very pleased and delighted


She was tickled pink when her friends remembered her big birthday.

He was absolutely tickled pink when his colleagues remembered his birthday.

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out of sorts

Meaning: feeling slightly unwell, upset, or not in one’s usual state of mind


Everyone kept asking if I was okay, but I just felt out of sorts for the past couple of days.

I’m just a bit out of sorts right now with too much work. I think a short holiday will do me good.

down in the dumps

Meaning: feeling very sad, depressed, or low in spirits


She felt down in the dumps because the boy she dated didn’t call her back.

She was down in the dumps because the bad weather ruined her plans.

He was down in the dumps because of his ongoing financial problems.

sour grapes

Meaning: pretending to dislike something because you can’t have it


She said top grades didn’t matter, but it was just sour grapes after her friend got better exam results.

She downplayed the promotion, but it was just sour grapes because her colleague got it instead.

He declined the drink invite and pretended not to care about the promotion, but it was just sour grapes.

Expressing Emotions in English using idioms

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with a heavy heart

Meaning: feeling very sad or sorrowful while doing something


With a heavy heart, they decided to put their 17-year-old dog to sleep.

She handed in her resignation letter with a heavy heart, leaving a job she loved.

reduce to tears

Meaning: to make someone start crying, usually due to strong emotions such as sadness, frustration, or sometimes happiness


Her boss’s constant snarky remarks and unreasonable demands reduced Emily to tears.

He was reduced to tears when they told him he no longer had a future in the company.

Okay, so we’ve covered idioms connected with happiness and idioms connected with sadness. As always, try to practise them. If you need more help, please come back to me at

You won’t remember all of them right away, but there are some you can use in similar situations to those I’ve explained, which you’ll encounter or your friends might.

Keep practising to get better at expressing emotions in English.

Thank you for listening, thank you for watching, and join me again.

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more information

For more information on English grammar rules, English collocations and English idioms, check out the links below:

Intermediate English travel vocabulary

English vocabulary related to driving

You can always study English advanced level at Learning English with the BBC and British Council Learn English.

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