Idioms of the week: Halloween


In this blog series, we’re breaking down common English expressions that are used in everyday conversation, so you’ll be able to expand your language skills and have fun with new English phrases. This week, we prepared a spooky list of idioms in the theme of Halloween.

1. to have skeletons in the closet (noun phrase): to have embarrassing or incriminating secrets from the past
Ex: Mike became defensive when I asked him why he got fired. He probably has some skeletons in the closet.

2. devil’s advocate (noun phrase): person who disagrees with others so that there will be an interesting discussion about some issue
Ex: Everybody in the class had the same opinion,so the teacher asked a few students to play devil’s advocate to create a more lively debate.

3. a witch-hunt (noun phrase): an attempt to find and punish people whose opinions are not popular
Ex: Social media have become the ultimate tool of the modern witch-hunt; it’s now really easy for people to share information online and track somebody.

4. make someone’s blood run cold (verb phrase): to shock or horrify someone
Ex: My blood ran cold when I saw police at a crime scene two blocks from my house.

5. ghost town (noun): a deserted town
Ex: The campus turns into a ghost town during the holidays because all the students are gone.

6. pale as a ghost (noun phrase): when a person’s face is lacking color, and he/she appears scared or sick
Ex: Mary was as pale as a ghost when she came to work this morning, so I told her to go home and rest.

7. curiosity killed the cat (proverb): being inquisitive about other people’s affairs may get you into trouble
Ex: When Sara started asking too many personal questions to his new colleague, he simply replied that curiosity killed the cat.

8. night owl (noun): a person who is usually active at night
Ex: I never go to bed before 2 or 3 a.m., even on weekdays—I’ ve always been a night owl!

9. to come back to haunt someone (verb phrase): to cause problems for (someone) in the future
Ex: I never imagined that something I did in college would come back and haunt me 10 years later.

10. over my dead body (noun phrase): in no way, under no circumstances
Ex: “Mom, I’m dropping out of college.”
“Over my dead body!”

Try using these idioms the next time you practice your English skills. You’ll find yourself using them more naturally in conversation in no time!