Idioms in English are fun! These kinds of everyday English expressions are one of the most interesting things you can learn as you study English. It’s amazing how different cultures use images to describe different things and actions, and there is usually an interesting background story for these expressions.
Also, idioms are necessary to know. To become fluent in any language, you must understand the expressions that native speakers use. Otherwise, you could find yourself in some confusing and/or awkward situations.
In this list, we will look at six everyday English expressions, breaking down their meaning and usage. We’ll also provide a little background so you’ll have a reference for remembering each of these English expressions.(And you can also find more of these, with good memory aids, in Magoosh’s English Expressions pdf.)
*Memory experts agree that creating a story about something you want to remember boosts your memory of that thing.*
Meaning of this English Expression
The expression typically refers to quitting something that has a period of withdrawal, but it can be used to comically talk about quitting something that isn’t actually hard to quit.
“Can I get your dad a beer?”
“Nah, he’s not drinking anymore.”
“Yeah, his doctor said he was having some heart issues, so he quit cold turkey a few months ago.”
“How did your friend quit smoking?”
“I’m not sure. She had a lot of motivation because of her daughter and quit cold turkey last year.”
“She went cold turkey?”
“Yeah, it was amazing.”
“Wow, I spent so much money today. I’m done with shopping! I’m quitting cold turkey.”
“Ha! Until you get another paycheck?”
The origins of quitting ‘cold turkey’ are ambiguous, but here’s what we know about the expression. The phrase first appeared in print in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It evolved from similar English expressions like “talk cold turkey,” which was used as a request for someone to stop speaking formally and start speaking plainly.
It has always meant to abruptly stop something, but linking the phrase to addiction became more common in the early 1900s. The phrase was used to refer to the physical look of opioid addicts who had recently stopped using. Newspapers in New York City described their appearance as cold and pale. The addicts also had ‘goosebumps’ on their skin, so it solidified the term in history.
Up in the Air