Idioms for Success: Meanings and Useful Examples


Girl Learning Idioms For Success

idioms for successIdioms for success are an essential part of the English language. They come up almost every day, in spoken and written English alike. Idioms make the language more masterful and expressive for native speakers and writers alike.

However, it’s not the same thing for those people who are still in the process of learning English. Why? Idioms for success don’t always make sense, especially the first time you hear one. You have to familiarize yourself with their meanings and usage, or else you’ll get lost every time you hear them.

It might seem challenging and involves a lot of work, but learning English idioms is fun, especially when you compare their meanings to the idioms in your mother tongue.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, as you can learn English idioms one by one. Don’t throw in the towel! Today, let’s start with the English idioms for success. There are many ways to describe success with idioms.

Learning the meanings of the English idioms for success

You ca develop your English speaking and writing skills by finding out the meaning of common English idioms. Of course, since you are just in the process of learning, we recommend to start with common English idioms, the ones that most native speakers use almost every day.

idioms for success
Learn English idioms on Youtube!

Take each idiom one by one and move on to the rest only once you are confident you can remember and use these typical English idioms.

Idioms for Success: Meanings and Examples

  1. Ace a test – to obtain a high score in a written or oral examination
  • I’ll take you to your favorite ice cream parlor on the weekend if you ace your Mathematics test today.
  • Make your parents proud! Ace a test today!
  1. Be in the bag – success is likely to come; success is achievable
  • With so much support from the provinces, victory seems to be in the bag for the Republican candidate.
  • Your dream job is in the bag only if you start pursuing it.
  1. On the crest of a wave –achieving extreme success for something, or the feeling of being extremely satisfied and delighted
  • The sales team is on the crest of a wave because they’ve outperformed all departments in profit reports.
  • We’ll be on the crest of a wave if the clients pick our proposal.
  1. On the up and up – when a person is consistently moving forward, achieving new goals one after the other.
  • My brother has been on the up and up since he nailed the top spot in the professional licensure examination.
  • The designer is on the up and up since the US President praised her for her works in the White House.
  1. Turn/come up trumps – someone who has got unexpected or surprisingly good results.
  • Our football team came up trumps in the cup final against the pressure of the noisy fans.
  • Despite the equipment failure, I still came up trumps in my presentation, eventually getting myself a good deal.
  1. Have the world at your feet – to be greatly admired for what you have achieved.
  • Julia Roberts has the world at her feet — thanks to her beauty and acting talent.
  • The young but genius founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has the world at his feet with all his money and accomplishments.

Getting Engrossed? Here’s More!

  1. To pass with flying colors – to finish something with greatness.
  • My parents cried in happiness when I graduated from med school with flying colors.
  • Do I really need to finish my studies with flying colors just to make you proud?
  1. Got it made – when someone has successfully achieved their goals, the feeling of completeness.
  • I can finally say, I got it made with a new house, car, a dream job, and a happy family!
  • My sister once took three jobs at a time, but she finally got it made when she hit the lottery jackpot.
  1. To hit pay dirt – for someone to get lucky with something and earn a lot of money, recognition, or other rewards.
  • Robert finally hit pay dirt with his latest jazz album.
  • My college buddy finally hit pay dirt with his latest AI invention.
  1. To make a killing – for someone to make a lot of money, financial success.
  • Everybody felt surprised when John, an amateur businessman, made a killing on the falling stock market.
  • Those who invested early in Bitcoin, the crypto with over $10000 trading price today, definitely made a killing.
  1. Ride/riding high – when someone is enjoying a period of success
  • I’ve been riding high since I became a part of a successful foreign film.
  • Joseph is riding high right now. It began when he became a part of the national team.
  1. Sail through – for someone to achieve their goal without difficulty.
  • James sailed through his final examinations in college, thanks to his tutors and intense dedication on his lessons.
  • With your skills and qualifications, there’s no doubt you’ll sail through that dream job of yours!

Looking for more? We got a long list for you!

  1. Alive and Kicking – for someone to be healthy and thriving, for something that is still in trend.
  • Grandfather is still alive and kicking despite turning 100 years old last week!
  • Korean music is alive and kicking among the younger generation.
  1. To bear fruit – to yield fruitful results, for a plan to result in a good thing
  • The team’s new marketing strategy will definitely bear fruit.
  • If you want your plan to bear fruit, you must start executing them.
  1. To make a go of – when someone is trying to achieve success in a particular area.
  • Robert made a go of his online business after resigning as an accountant in our office.
  • I decided to make a go of my passion instead of being stuck as a 9-5 office employee.
  1. Every dog has its day – This proverb/idiom means that every one of us has our own time for success.
  • Every dog has its day. If you failed today, don’t give up. Try again next time.
  • I finally made it after multiple times of trying to get accepted to college. Indeed, every dog has its day!

 

Idioms for success with opposite or related meanings

idioms for success

In the English language, some idioms for success are related to the meaning of success itself, albeit in the opposite manner. The following are the most commonly used examples:

  1. To back the wrong horse – to support someone or to do something that is eventually unsuccessful, to try and fail.
  • Your candidate has an ongoing case for graft and corruption. You’ll just back the wrong horse if you endorse him.
  • You know the skills of the applicant. Don’t back the wrong horse just because he’s your relative.
  1. To be dead in the water / a dead loss– for something or someone to have no chance of achieving success in the future, to have no chance to succeed.
  • I hope the economy will not be dead in the water after the new coronavirus pandemic.
  • The workshop is dead in the water. Nobody wants to enroll anymore because of the recent scandal involving the owner.
  1. To count one’s chickens before they hatch – for someone to assume success way too early, to assume victory before it is certain.
  • The opponent is still fighting. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. He might just be waiting for the opportunity to beat you.
  • There’s still an hour before the counting. Don’t count your chickens right away.

Helpful Tricks to Memorize Idioms for Success

Do not just focus on the meaning of the expression alone. Instead, you must aspire to understand the context. This step can help you remember the particular idiomatic expression better.

List the idioms you have learnt already. Today, you don’t need to carry a diary. You can just note down your new learnings in a smartphone’s notepad app. This way, it also comes handy in case you get confused, especially if you’re just in the process of learning English.

Learn new idioms one at a time. Learning them in groups would just lead you to cramming.

Relate idiomatic expressions to visual imagery. Link them to stories as well if possible. This would help your brain remember the meaning of the phrases better.

Try to find out the origin of idioms you want to learn. Trust us, most of them are really interesting. Doing so would help you to better understand the meaning and usage of such phrases.

Always try online exercises that can enhance your knowledge. There is no shortage of free exercises on the Internet.  You can also practice using what you have learned while you’re talking to a native English speaker.

You’ll get better in time!

Learning English is fun! We hope you can use these tips and examples in discovering and learning the idioms for success. There are many English idioms to learn, but as we said above, take each one step by step! Eventually, you will learn to use these idioms in your everyday life as well!

You can learn a new idiom everyday with our Idioms & Sayings videos on Youtube.

idioms for success

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