More Idioms Peppered With People: English Idioms Inspired by People

handyman123102114As we saw in our last discussion of idioms, people are a popular source of some of the English-language’s most common (and colorful) expressions. Here are a few more English idioms inspired by people:

  • A Jack Of All Trades – a person who has many (often useful) talents.

Example: Rick’s father was a real jack of all trades. He could not only fix electrical and plumbing problems but also repair cars and even do great housepainting!

Note: Some people capitalize the name Jack when using this idiom while others do not. As is the case in other situations where there is no one correct answer it is simply important to be consistent!

  • A Man Of Means – a wealthy or otherwise successful person

Example: Despite the fact that he is a man of means and can buy literally anything he desires, Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man, rarely flaunts his wealth in public.

  • Tom, Dick, or Harry – anybody, an average person

Example: We don’t need a rocket scientist to make the coffee for us – any Tom, Dick, or Harry will do!

Note: These three names are used (and always capitalized) in this idiom because they are considered to be extremely common. Because of this a “Tom, Dick, or Harry” is nothing special.

  • A Wise Guy / A Smart Aleck – a person who acts as if they are an expert in everything; a know-it-all

Example: Bobby is such a wise guy; even when he is completely lost he refuses to ask for directions and pretends he knows where he is going.

OR

Example: James, you shouldn’t be such a smart aleck – it is okay to admit you don’t know something for once!

Note: These two expressions have the same basic meaning although some would argue that a smart aleck is a more negative term.

Now if all of that was not enough and you want to be a real wise guy – no idiom intended! – be sure to check out our other Idiom blogs for examples and extra practice.


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