Speech Idioms


We’re talking shop this month at Pronunciation Studio. That’s right – idioms about speaking. Here are 10 really useful ones that are used to describe speech. I’ll stop talking in circles then and spit it out:

1. has the cat got your tongue?

Question used when someone won’t speak.

“What’s wrong Penny? You don’t seem to have much to say all of a sudden. Has the cat got your tongue?

2. gift of the gab

Ability to speak freely and fluently about a certain topic.

“Jenny’s doing well at the home exhibition, she’s really got the gift of the gab.”

3. talk until one is blue in the face

To talk to people without them listening or paying attention.

“I could talk until I was blue in the face but my housemates would still put the rubbish with the recycling.”

4. spill the beans

To tell people secret information.

“Oh go on Camilla, we saw you with him yesterday, spill the beans.”

5. spit it out

Used to ask somebody to speak more quickly or tell something they don’t want to.

“We haven’t got all day, just spit it out, will you?”

6. talk in circles

To speak in a vague or roundabout way.

“Do stop talking in circles Gerald, what’s the real reason for your call?”

7. talk shop

To converse about work

“You can all come to my party this weekend on one condition, nobody talks shop!”

8. chew the fat

To speak in an informal, relaxed way.

“We just met for a couple of drinks and chewed the fat for a few hours.”

9. bite somebody’s head off

To critisize or shout at somebody.

“Alright, alright, there’s no need to bite my head off, I’m only a couple of minutes late.”

10. tongue-tied

Momentarily unable to speak fluently.

“I hate talking on the phone in French, somehow I always end up tongue-tied.”