idioms starting with i

133+ Idioms Starting with I | List with Meaning

An idiom is a phrase or expression 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.

Here are the list of idioms starting with I.

Idioms Starting with I

1. I hereby give notice of my intention

Meaning: Hereby is used sometimes in formal, official declarations and statements to give greater force to the speaker’ or the writer’s affirmation. People will say it sometimes to emphasize their sincerity and correctness.

2. I may be daft, but I’m not stupid

Meaning: I might do or say silly things occasionally, but in this instance I know what I am doing (Usually used when someone questions your application of common-sense).

3. I should cocoa

Meaning: This idiom comes from ‘I should think so’, but is normally used sarcastically to mean the opposite.

4. I’ll cross that road when I come to it

Meaning: I’ll think about something just when it happens, not in advance.

5. I’ll eat my hat

Meaning: You can say this when you are absolutely sure that you are right to let the other person know that there is no chance of your being wrong.

6. I’ve got a bone to pick with you

Meaning: If somebody says this, they mean that they have some complaint to make against the person they are addressing.

7. I’ve got your number

Meaning: You have made a mistake and I am going to call you on it. You are in trouble (a threat). I have a disagreement with you. I understand your true nature.

8. Icing on the cake

Meaning: This expression is used to refer to something good that happens on top of an already good thing or situation.

9. Idle hands are the devil’s handiwork

Meaning: When someone is not busy, or being productive, trouble is bound to follow.

10. If at first you don’t succeed try try again

Meaning: When you fail, try until you get it right!

11. If I had a nickel for every time

Meaning: When someone uses this expression, they mean that the specific thing happens a lot. It is an abbreviation of the statement ‘If I had a nickel for every time that happened, I would be rich’

12. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Meaning: Any attempt to improve on a system that already works is pointless and may even hurt it.

13. If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed

Meaning: If something cannot or will not happen the easy way, then sometimes it must be done the hard way.

14. If the cap fits, wear it

Meaning: This idiom means that if the description is correct, then it is describing the truth, often when someone is being criticised. (‘If the shoe fits, wear it’ is an alternative)

15. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

Meaning: This means that wishing for something or wanting it is not the same as getting or having it.

16. If you are given lemons make lemonade

Meaning: Always try and make the best out of a bad situation. With some ingenuity you can make a bad situation useful.

17. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Meaning: Originally a Harry S. Truman quote, this means that if you can’t take the pressure, then you should remove yourself from the situation.

18. If you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows

Meaning: If you wish to be associated with a particular high risk and/or high profile situation and benefit from the rewards of that association, you have to accept the consequences if things go wrong – you cannot dissociate yourself.

19. If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas

Meaning: This means that if you become involved with bad company, there will be negative consequences.

20. If you lie down with the Devil, you will wake up in hell

Meaning: This means that if you become involved with bad company, there will be negative consequences.

21. If you will

Meaning: ‘If you will’ is used as a way of making a concession in a sentence: He wasn’t a very honest person, a liar if you will. Here, it is used a way of accepting that the reader or listener might think of the person as a liar, but without commit the writer or speaker to that position fully.

22. If you’ll pardon my French

Meaning: This idiom is used as a way of apologizing for swearing.

23. Ill at ease

Meaning: If someone is ill at ease, they are worried or uncomfortable.

24. Ill-gotten gains

Meaning: Ill-gotten gains are profits or benefits that are made either illegally or unfairly.

25. In a cleft stick

Meaning: If you are in a cleft stick, you are in a difficult situation, caught between choices.

26. In a fix

Meaning: If you are in a fix, you are in trouble.

27. In a flash

Meaning: If something happens in a flash, it happens very quickly indeed.

28. In a fog

Meaning: If you’re in a fog, you are confused, dazed or unaware.

29. In a heartbeat

Meaning: If something happens very quickly or immediately, it happens in a heartbeat.

30. In a jam

Meaning: If you are in a jam, you are in some trouble. If you get out of a jam, you avoid trouble.

31. In a jiffy

Meaning: If something happens in a jiffy, it happens very quickly.

32. In a nutshell

Meaning: This idiom is used to introduce a concise summary.

33. In a pickle

Meaning: If you are in a pickle, you are in some trouble or a mess.

34. In a rut

Meaning: In a settled or established pattern, habit or course of action, especially a boring one.

35. In a tick

Meaning: If someone will do something in a tick, they’ll do it very soon or very quickly.

36. In a tight spot

Meaning: If you’re in a tight spot, you’re in a difficult situation.

37. In all honesty

Meaning: If you say something in all honesty, you are telling the complete truth. It can be used as a way of introducing a negative opinion whilst trying to be polite; in all honesty, I have to say that I wasn’t very impressed.

38. In an instant

Meaning: If something happens in an instant, it happens very rapidly.

39. In another’s shoes

Meaning: It is difficult to know what another person’s life is really like, so we don’t know what it is like to be in someone’s shoes.

40. In apple-pie order

Meaning: If something is in apple-pie order, it is very neat and organized.

41. In broad daylight

Meaning: If a crime or problem happens in broad daylight, it happens during the day and should have been seen and stopped.

42. In cahoots

Meaning: If people are in cahoots, they are conspiring together.

43. In cold blood

Meaning: If something is done in cold blood, it is done ruthlessly, without any emotion.

44. In dire straits

Meaning: If you’re in dire straits, you’re in serious trouble or difficulties.

45. In donkey’s years

Meaning: ‘I haven’t seen her in donkey’s years.’ – This means for a very long time.

46. In dribs and drabs

Meaning: If people arrive in dribs and drabs, they come in small groups at irregular intervals, instead of all arriving at the same time.

47. In droves

Meaning: When things happen in droves, a lot happen at the same time or very quickly.

48. In for a penny, in for a pound

Meaning: If something is worth doing then it is a case of in for a penny, in for a pound, which means that when gambling or taking a chance, you might as well go the whole way and take all the risks, not just some.

49. In full swing

Meaning: If things are in full swing, they have been going for a sufficient period of time to be going well and very actively.

50. In high gear

Meaning: If something is in high gear, it is in a quick-paced mode. If someone is in high gear, they are feverishly on the fast track.

51. In high spirits

Meaning: If someone is in high spirits, they are in a very good mood or feeling confident about something.

52. In his cups

Meaning: If someone is in their cups, they are drunk.

53. In hot water

Meaning: If you are in hot water, you are in serious trouble.

54. In light of

Meaning: ‘In light of’ is similar to ‘due to’.

55. In like Flynn

Meaning: Refers to Errol Flynn’s popularity with women in the 40’s. His ability to attract women was well known throughout the world. (‘In like flint’ is also used.)

56. In my bad books

Meaning: If you are in someone’s bad books, they are angry with you. Likewise, if you are in their good books, they are pleased with you.

57. In my book

Meaning: This idiom means ‘in my opinion’.

58. In my good books

Meaning: If someone is in your good books, you are pleased with or think highly of them at the moment.

59. In one ear and out the other

Meaning: If something goes in one ear and out the other, you forget it as soon as you’ve heard it because it was too complicated, boring etc.

60. In over your head

Meaning: If someone is in over their head, they are out of the depth in something they
are involved in, and may end up in a mess.

61. In perfect form

Meaning: When something is as it ought to be. Or, when used cynically, it may refer to someone whose excesses are on display; a caricature.

62. In rude health

Meaning: If someone’s in rude health, they are very healthy and look it.

63. In so many words

Meaning: This phrase may be used to mean ‘approximately’ or ‘more or less’. I think it may have a sarcastic connotation in that the individual listening needed ‘so many words’ to get the point. It also may suggest the effort on the part of the speaker to explain an unpleasant truth or difficult concept.

64. In someone’s pocket

Meaning: If a person is in someone’s pocket, they are dependent, especially financially, on them.

65. In spades

Meaning: If you have something in spades, you have a lot of it.

66. In stitches

Meaning: If someone is in stitches, they are laughing uncontrollably.

67. In tandem

Meaning: If people do things in tandem, they do them at the same time.

68. In that vein

Meaning: If you do something in that (or this) vein, you do it in the same distinctive manner or style.

69. In the bag

Meaning: If something is in the bag, it is certain that you will get it or achieve it

70. In the ballpark

Meaning: This means that something is close to the adequate or required value.

71. In the black

Meaning: If your bank account is in credit, it is in the black.

72. In the cards

Meaning: If something is in the cards, it is bound to occur, it is going to happen, or it is inevitable.

73. In the catbird seat

Meaning: If someone is in the catbird seat, they are in an advantageous or superior position.

74. In the clear

Meaning: If someone is in the clear, they are no longer suspected of or charged with wrongdoing.

75. In the clink

Meaning: If someone is in the clink, they are in prison.

76. In the club

Meaning: If a woman’s in the club, she’s pregnant. ‘In the pudding club’ is an alternative form.

77. In the dock

Meaning: If someone is in the dock, they are on trial in court.

78. In the doghouse

Meaning: If someone is in the doghouse, they are in disgrace and very unpopular at the moment.

79. In the driver’s seat

Meaning: If you are in the driver’s seat, you are in charge of something or in control of a situation.

80. In the face of

Meaning: If people act in the face of something, they do it despite it or when threatened by it.

81. In the family way

Meaning: If a woman is in the family way, she is pregnant.

82. In the flesh

Meaning: If you meet or see someone in the flesh you actually meet or see them, rather than seeing them on TV or in other media.

83. In the gravy

Meaning: If you’re in the gravy, you’re rich and make money easily.

84. In the hole

Meaning: If someone is in the hole, they have a lot of problems, especially financial ones.

85. In the hot seat

Meaning: If someone’s in the hot seat, they are the target for a lot of unwelcome criticism and examination.

86. In the know

Meaning: If you are in the know, you have access to all the information about something, which other people don’t have.

87. In the lap of luxury

Meaning: People in the lap of luxury are very wealthy and have have everything that money can buy.

88. In the long run

Meaning: This means ‘over a long period of time’, ‘in the end’ or ‘in the final result’.

89. In the loop

Meaning: If you’re in the loop, you are fully informed about what is happening in a certain area or activity.

90. In the lurch

Meaning: If you are left in the lurch, you are suddenly left in an embarrassing or tricky situation.

91. In the making

Meaning: When something is in the making, it means it is in the process of being made.

92. In the offing

Meaning: If something is in the offing, it is very likely to happen soon.

93. In the pink

Meaning: If you are in very good health, you are in the pink.

94. In the pipeline

Meaning: If something’s in the pipeline, it hasn’t arrived yet but its arrival is expected.

95. In the red

Meaning: If your bank account is overdrawn, it is in the red.

96. In the saddle

Meaning: If you’re in the saddle, you are in control of a situation.

97. In the same boat

Meaning: If people are in the same boat, they are in the same predicament or trouble.

98. In the short run

Meaning: This refers to the immediate future.

99. In the soup

Meaning: If you’re in the soup, you’re in trouble.

100. In the swim

Meaning: If you are in the swim, you are up-to-date with and fully informed about something.

101. In the swing

Meaning: If things are in the swing, they are progressing well.

102. In the tall cotton

Meaning: A phrase that expresses good times or times of plenty and wealth as tall cotton means a good crop.

103. In the twinkling of an eye

Meaning: If something happens in the twinkling of an eye, it happens very quickly.

104. In the zone

Meaning: If you are in the zone, you are very focused on what you have to do.

105. In turn

Meaning: This means one after the other. Example: She spoke to each of the guests in turn.

106. In two minds

Meaning: If you are in two minds about something, you can’t decide what to do.

107. In your blood

Meaning: A trait or liking that is deeply ingrained in someone’s personality and unlikely to change is in their blood. A similar idiom is ‘in his DNA.’

108. In your element

Meaning: If you are in your element, you feel happy and relaxed because you are doing something that you like doing and are good at. “You should have seen her when they asked her to sing; she was in her element.”

109. In your face

Meaning: If someone is in your face, they are direct and confrontational. (It is sometime written ‘in yer colloquialism)

110. In your sights

Meaning: If you have someone or something in your sights, they are your target to beat.

111. Indian file

Meaning: If people walk in Indian file, they walk in a line one behind the other.

112. Indian giver

Meaning: An Indian giver gives something, then tries to take it back.

113. Indian summer

Meaning: If there is a period of warmer weather in late autumn, it is an Indian summer.

114. Ins and outs

Meaning: If you know the ins and outs of something, you know all the details.

115. Into each life some rain must fall

Meaning: This means that bad or unfortunate things will happen to everyone at some time.

116. Into thin air

Meaning: If something vanishes or disappears without trace, it vanishes into thin air; noone knows where it has gone.

117. Iron fist

Meaning: Someone who rules or controls something with an iron fist is in absolute control and tolerates no dissent. An iron fist in a velvet glove is used to describe someone who appears soft on the outside, but underneath is very hard. ‘Mailed fist’ is an alternative form.

118. Irons in the fire

Meaning: A person who has a few irons in the fire has a number of things working to their advantage at the same time.

119. Is Saul also among the prophets?

Meaning: It’s a biblical idiom used when somebody known for something bad appears all of a sudden to be doing something very good.

120. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings

Meaning: This idiom means that until something has officially finished, the result is uncertain.

121. It cost an arm and a leg

Meaning: If something costs an arm and a leg, it is very expensive indeed.

122. It cost the earth

Meaning: If something costs the earth, it is very expensive indeed.

123. It never rains but it pours

Meaning: ‘It never rains but it pours’ means that when things go wrong, they go very wrong.

124. It takes a village to raise a child

Meaning: It takes many people to teach a child all that he or she should know.

125. It takes two to tango

Meaning: This idiom is used to suggest that when things go wrong, both sides are involved and neither side is completely innocent.

126. It’s an ill wind that blows no good

Meaning: This is said when things have gone wrong; the idea being that when bad things happen, there can also be some positive results.

127. It’s no use crying over spilt milk

Meaning: This idiom means that getting upset after something has gone wrong is pointless; it can’t be changed so it should be accepted.

128. It’s not the size of the dog in fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog

Meaning: Usually refering to a small dog attacking a larger animal, this means that fierceness is not necessarily a matter of physical size, but rather mental/psychological attitude.

129. It’s not the size of the man in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the man

Meaning: This idiom means that determination is often more important than size, strength, or ability. (‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.’ is also used.)

130. It’s your funeral

Meaning: The other person has made a decision that you think is bad. However, it is their choice; it is their funeral.

131. Itch to

Meaning: If you are itching to do something, you are very eager to do it.

132. Itchy feet

Meaning: One gets itchy feet when one has been in one place for a time and wants to travel.

133. Ivory tower

Meaning: People who live in ivory towers are detached from the world around them.

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