Examples of Idioms
Starting with the Letter "E"

This page is full of examples of idioms that start with the letter "e" (the main word starts with an "e") but if you want to see other idioms click here to go to the main idioms page

You probably already know that an idiom is a group of words whose meaning is different from the individual words if you looked them up separately in the dictionary. That's why it helps to see examples of idioms. It's also a great idea to try to practice creating sample sentences yourself. You can do that in the comments section and I will correct your example if needed.

Examples of idioms starting with letter "E"


to each one's own:  each person has his or her own opinion and/or way of doing something.

  • I don't understand how people can still smoke cigarettes—well, to each their own.
  • My boyfriend eats rice with everything, even breakfast. To each his own  I guess.


grin (smile) from ear to ear:  to make a huge smile.

  • He's smiling from ear to ear  because he just bought a new car.
  • When I admitted I was wrong my mother just grinned from ear to ear.

have an ear for something:  to be good at hearing and repeating sounds in speech or in music.

  • Your accent in French is so good—you really have an ear for languages.
  • He learned how to play the piano without taking lessons because he has an ear for music.

have the ear of someone:  to have access to speak to someone and express one's opinion.

  • Don't worry, I've got the ear of the director  so I'll make sure he knows what happened.
  • I'd love to get the ear of an editor  from a major publisher but it's really hard to get a manuscript past the literary agents.

in one ear and out the other:  when a person hears something and doesn't remember it.

  • I have to repeat everything to my kids several times; everything I say goes in one ear and out the other.
  • I have to really concentrate when my professor lectures. It's so boring that everything he says goes in one ear and out the other.

keep an ear out (for someone/something):  to actively try to hear something.

  • In looking for a new job so please keep an ear out for any positions  that may become available.
  • Can you please keep an ear out for the doorbell?  I have a package coming and I need to sign for the delivery.

play something (it) by ear:  to handle a situation as it happens without making a plan in advance.

  • I don't know exactly what I'm going to do this weekend; I'm going to play it by ear.
  • I'd like to have dinner in the city but I'm not sure how the traffic will be so let's play it by ear.

turn a deaf ear (to something):  to not listen to what someone is saying.

  • When my manager started talking about the holiday party, everyone turned a deaf ear.
  • For years my best friend has been saying he would start his own business but never did anything and now everyone turns a deaf ear  whenever he talks about it.

get an earful:   to have to listen to someone talk a long time about something.

  • When I politely said hello and asked my neighbor how she was doing I didn't expect to get an earful.
  • Couldn't you just say "yes" or "no?"  As usual, you had to give me an earful!

all ears:  ready and eager to listen to what someone is saying.

  • When my teacher said there was an easy way to pass the test I was all ears.
  • We were all ears  when the director said he has some important personnel announcements to make.

not believe one's ears:  to be very surprised about something you hear.

  • When the doctor said I was four month's pregnant, I couldn't believe my ears.
  • Our children couldn't believe their ears  when we told them we're getting a puppy this weekend.

fall  on deaf ears:  when something someone says is completely ignored.

  • My work performance has been great, but I'm still worried my request for a raise will fall on deaf ears.
  • My children constantly beg for things but my reminders for them to do their chores always fall on deaf ears.


early on:  a short time after something has started.

  • Early on  in the day I had a terrible headache but now I'm feeling fine.
  • We hoped the trip was going to be smooth but we ran into traffic early on.

it's early days (yet):   it's too soon to decide about something or make a judgment.

  • I think the chemotherapy has killed the cancer but it's early days yet.
  • So far my new assistant is doing okay but it's still early days yet.

wet behind the ears:  young, immature or not experienced.

  • I will ask the new intern to try to write the report but she's wet behind the ears  so I don't know if she can do it.
  • He's a promising tennis player but his frequent outbursts on court show he's very wet behind the ears.

music to someone's ears:  information that someone is glad to hear.

  • My son's decision to move home was music to my ears.
  • You're going to have a baby?  That's music to my ears!


at ease:  feeling relaxed and comfortable.

  • The little girl felt very at ease  with her new playmates at school.
  • I hope these examples of idioms will help you feel more at ease.

ill at ease:   feeling anxious and uncomfortable.

  • I felt very ill at ease  waiting for the results of my final exams.
  • You look ill at ease.  Is there something you  need to tell me?


eat someone alive:  to make someone feel pain, guilt or suffer.

  • Lying to my wife about our finances really ate me alive,  so I finally told her I've been using the credit cards.
  • Keeping my pregnancy secret from my colleagues the first three months at me alive.

eat away at something:  to make something a little smaller and smaller over time.

  • Every cigarette your smoking is slowly eating away at your health.
  • I'm eating away at my credit card debt  by making an extra payment with each paycheck.

eat something up:  to really like or enjoy something.

  • My best friend has a really fake laugh and I hate it but all the guys eat it up.
  • I recommend taking your kids to a climbing wall—my children really eat it up.

eat crow:  to admit in front of other people that you were wrong about something.

  • Jane had to eat crow  when the actual results of the ad campaign were announced.
  • My mother ate crow  at our graduation when they announced my "good for nothing" boyfriend was class valedictorian. 

eat like a horse:  to frequently eat a large amount of food.

  • My daughter is super skinny but you'd never believe she eats like a horse.
  • Sorry I'm eating like a horse  but I didn't have time for lunch today.

eat like a pig:  to eat with poor manners (e.g., chew with one's mouth open, make loud noises with one's lips, put a lot of food at one time in one's mouth).

  • My boyfriend eats like a pig  so I'm afraid to take him to my parent's for dinner.
  • Gross! Close your mouth while you chew. You're eating like a pig!

eat someone out of house and home:  to eat a lot of food when you're at someone's home.

  • I have to go to the supermarket again because my grandchildren are eating me out of house and home.
  • My neighbors came over yesterday to watch the game and ate us out of house and home.

eat one's words:  to admit being wrong about something.

  • I was sure that my girlfriend was going to say yes but sadly, I'm eating my words.
  • You're going to eat your words  when you lose all of your money with that investment.


(keep someone) on/at the edge of their seat:  to remain interested and excited about something because they don't know what's going to happen.

  • I was at the edge of my seat  for the entire five sets of the Australian open's finals last night.
  • This television series really keeps me at the edge of my seat.

lose one's edge:  to no longer have the skills or ability to be as successful as before.

  • He used to be the best golfer but after he got married he lost his edge.
  • If you don't continue to practice the piano you'll start to lose your edge.

on edge:  nervous, worried or agitated.

  • He's on edge  because his daughter was supposed to be at home two hours ago.
  • I hate going to my sister's house. She's always on edge  about something.

on the cutting edge (of something):  something that is the first of a new technology, etc.

  • Apple's products are always on the cutting edge, then everyone tries to copy them.
  • These models are on the cutting edge of 3D printing.

live on the edge:  1) to be very poor; 2) to be in a difficult and uncertain situation that could be dangerous.

  • Since he lost his job he's been living on the edge  and has decided to move back to his parents'.
  • Her boyfriend is an amateur racecar driver who really lives on the edge.

take the edge off:  to minimize the effect of something that's uncomfortable or unpleasant.

  • Happy hour is for people who want to take the edge off  a stressful week of work.
  • Shopping helps me take the edge off  boredom.


put all one's eggs in one basket:  to risk everything you have in a situation (e.g., money, reputation, chances) by putting everything into that one idea or plan.

  • My son put all his eggs in one basket  by only applying to Harvard University, but luckily he was accepted.
  • I hope you understand you're putting all your eggs in one basket  by dropping out of school to accompany your boyfriend and his band on their tour.
  • My grandparents put all their eggs in one basket  when they only invested in one stock back in the 90's—thank goodness it was Microsoft!

walking on eggshells: being very careful not to anger or upset someone. 

  • Whenever my mother-in-law visits I'm walking on eggshells  in my own home.
  • We've all been walking on eggshells  around my father since he lost his job.


in one's element:  comfortable doing something one likes and is good at.

  • Susie hates talking to strangers at parties but when she gets on the dance floor she's in her element.
  • I'm definitely in my element  in front of a television camera.


running on empty:  having little energy and will to do something. (Like a car that has an almost empty gas tank.)

  • By the end of the two week camping trip everyone was running on empty.
  • It's only the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and I'm already running on empty.


at the end of the day:  finally, at the end of something.

  • At the end of the day  we missed our flight because there was a long line at airport security.
  • At the end of the day,  you won't remember these examples of idioms unless you use them yourself.

at one's wit's end:  so completely frustrated and upset that you're unsure what to do.

  • I've tried to do my math homework for more than three hours and now I'm at my wit's end.
  • We're at our wits end  with our puppy—she's chewing everything in our apartment.

end of / end of story (spoken in informal English):  there is no more discussion about an issue.

  • Go upstairs now and clean up your room, end of story.
  • I'm not arguing with you any more, end of!

end up:  to reach a final place or situation.

  • I never thought I'd end up  divorced with four kids at age 33.
  • You'll end up  getting diabetes if you keep eating so much sugar.

get the short end of the stick:  to get the inferior or less favorable result of a situation compared to someone else.

  • I definitely got the short end of the stick  after my divorce—my husband got the beach house and sports car and I have to pay him alimony.
  • We got the short end of the stick  at this hotel but the tour director said we'll get the best room in the next city.

go off the deep end:  to be so upset that one cannot control one's emotions and actions.

  • When dad finds out you bent his golf club he's going to go off the deep end.
  • I went off the deep end  when my secretary told everyone I had an appointment with a plastic surgeon.

in the end:  finally, the final result.

  • In the end,  we stayed home and watched TV instead of going to the party.
  • The plane was delayed 20 minutes but we made up time in flight and in the end  we arrived on time.

hear the end (of it):  to have to listen to someone talk about something annoying for a long period of time.

  • If I don't remember to put down the toilet seat, my wife never lets me hear the end of it.
  •  Please make sure Bob gets seated at the head table or we'll never hear the end of it.

(to) no end:  a lot, very much.

  • I love my dogs no end.
  • I'm sick of working for lawyers to no end.

no end in sight:  it seems impossible for a situation to change or stop.

  • I've been cleaning the garage for two days with no end in sight.
  • There's no end in sight  of this snow and it's already the beginning of April.

no end (of something):  a lot of something.

  • I'm excited — there's no end of  good-looking guys in my class this year.
  • Those clients have no end of questions!  Can you try to help answer them?

not the end of the world:  not the worst possible thing or situation.

  • If you don't get into business school it won't be the end of the world.
  • When you reach your 70s you realize getting old is not the end of the world.

on end:  continuously for a period of time (e.g., hours, days, weeks, years).

  • When you're deployed in the military you can be away from your family for months on end.
  • Working in retail was awful for my health because I had to stand for hours on end.

on the receiving end:  getting the undesired or unpleasant effects of something.

  • When I worked for John I was on the receiving end  of his cruel criticism too many times.
  • I'm sorry you were on the receiving end  of that client's complaint. If anyone else yells at you, call me immediately.

end of the line/road:  the final part of something.

  • Our marriage really reached the end of the road  during our honeymoon — but we didn't divorce until 10 months later.
  • It's been a long summer but we're finally at the end of the line  of this hot weather.

to the bitter end:  to continue doing something (that's often unpleasant) until you reach the very end.

  • The book was so boring but I kept reading to the bitter end.
  • I was dying to walk during the marathon race but I ran slowly to the bitter end.

More examples of idioms starting with the letter "E" will be added in the future so check back again soon or sign-up for my free newsletter so you can know when there are new updates.

Which examples of idioms were easiest/hardest for you?

The best way to learn—and remember—examples of idioms is to use them yourself in sentences. This is a friendly site so please go ahead and try to write some sample sentences of your own. I will make sure your example is corrected if it's not quite right.

Which are your favorite expressions from the list?

› "E" Idioms

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