How to teach English idioms

Taken from my fun book of activities for teaching teens and adults is Call My Bluff Definitions, a great game for teaching English idioms.


How To Teach English Idioms with Call My Bluff Definitions


Category: Writing, Reading - From simple vocabulary definitions to enriching knowledge of English through metaphors
Level: Beginner to Advanced 
Group size: Any class size
Materials: Enough examples are provided for a class
Preparation: Students prepare definitions for homework


Version with English Idioms and metaphors for advanced students


Students choose a metaphor or expression and give three definitions of the meaning, two fake and one true. This is an enriching exercise. Either distribute one or two of these per students, to research the meaning for homework or give students a free reign to find their own metaphors or expressions.


Students listen to the definitions and decide which the true one is. Once students have heard all three definitions have the students all stand at their desks and listen as the definitions are read out again and this time the students sit down if they think a definition is false and stand if they think it true. You can then easily see who has it correct and you can tell those students to award themselves a point if correct. Ideally, you can give the preparation task as homework so as not to use class time for the research. Note you may also do two fake answers and one true one for variety.


Airhead                        Someone who is disorganized or a bit stupid

                                    A head, with a huge amount of hair

                                    A capsule that prevents air coming out of a bicycle tire


Roadhog                     An aggressive driver who takes over the road

                                   A hog that has been run over

                                   A type of pig that uses roads to migrate


Rug rat                         A child

                                    A rat with a lot of fur

                                    A pet rat


Couch potato                A slob who spends all day watching TV

                                    A dish made of layers of cheese and potato

                                    A potato with a long flat shape


An old flame                 An ex-girl or boyfriend

                                    A fire that has nearly gone out

                                    The name given to the flame lit at the Olympics


A warm reception          When someone is welcoming

                                    A party given in a warm room

                                    A wedding reception with a lot of guests






Kind regards

Shelley Ann Vernon 
Teaching English Games


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