English Vocabulary: Idioms with flowers Part I


(that’s “Greetings” in Spanish).

Idioms, as you know, are a very important part of the English language. Lots of idioms take inspiration from nature; from flowers, plants and trees. Today we will explain 7 idioms, complete with examples, and over the next couple of weeks, we will study some more.

Ready? Go get a pencil!

A rolling stone gathers no moss

People say this to mean that an ambitious person is more successful than a person not trying to achieve anything. Moss is a type of green plant that has very small leaves and no flowers and that grows on rocks, bark, or wet ground. When a stone is moved many times, the plants do not have time to grow.

“Laura goes from job to job to job without learning anything and you know, a rolling stone gathers no moss

Rolling stone

Barking up the wrong tree

If you are barking up the wrong tree, it means that you have completely misunderstood something or are totally wrong.

“You should stop trying to date Lisa, she likes women not men. You are barking up the wrong tree!”

Can’t see the forest for its trees

If someone can’t see the forest for its trees, they are too focused on specific details to see the picture as a whole.

“You are so obsessed with what Tom is doing that you will never finish the project. You have lost perspective and can’t see the forest for its trees

Come up smelling of roses

If someone comes up smelling of roses, they emerge from a situation with their reputation undamaged. Instead of smelling bad, like the situation they created, they come up smelling amazing.

“I don’t know how Bob does it: each time he is involved in a fight he comes up smelling of roses, even though it’s all his fault”

Grasp the nettle

If you grasp the nettle, you deal bravely with a problem. Nettles are plants that sting, or hurt, your skin if you touch them. So grabbing a nettle means grabbing a painful situation.

“I know you don’t want to tell Gina the truth, but grasp the nettle! You can do it”

Grass roots

This idioms is often used in politics, where it refers to the ordinary people or voters. It can be used to mean people at the bottom of a hierarchy.

“She is tired of working for big NGO’s, so she is starting a grass roots movement so people eat more organic food”

Hit the hay

When you hit the hay, you go to bed.

“Oh my! It’s already 3am, I am hitting the hay, good night!”

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