Talking Idioms

Learn these talking idioms so that you sound more like a native speaker of English. Plus idioms that use “word” and “chat”.

Talking idioms

Here are 20 of the most common talking idioms and phrasal verbs with “talk”.

talk nineteen to the dozen = talk fast: “She was so excited that she was talking nineteen to the dozen.”

talk the hind legs off a donkey = talk without stopping: “She can talk the hind legs off a donkey!”

talk something through / over = to discuss something: “Before we decide anything, I think we ought to talk it through.”

talk something up = to make something appear more important: “She really talked the idea up, but I don’t think that everyone was convinced.”

talk someone into doing = to persuade someone: “He talked her into buying a new car.”

talk someone through something = give step-by-step instructions: “She talked him through the procedure.”

talk down to = talk in a condescending way: “Don’t talk down to me! I understand you perfectly well.”

talk back = respond to someone in authority in a rude way: “Don’t talk back to your mother!”

This is similar to back chat: “I don’t want any back chat from you!”

talk under your breath = talk quietly so that nobody can hear you: “They talked under their breath in the meeting.”

talk rubbish = not to speak logically: “He talks complete rubbish sometimes!”
Also talk through your arse (British slang and quite rude): “You’re talking through your arse again. You know nothing about it!”

talk at cross purposes = when two people don’t understand each other because they are talking about two different things (but don’t realise it): “We’re talking at cross purposes here.”

talk / speak with a plum in your mouth = talk with a posh (=upper class) accent: “She talks with a plum in her mouth!”

talk around the subject = not get to the point: “He didn’t want to say they were in danger of losing their jobs, so he talked around the subject for half an hour.”

talk highly of someone = praise someone: “He talks very highly of you!”

to give someone a talking-to = when you talk to someone because you are angry with them: “His boss gave him a real talking-to yesterday!”

talk to yourself = to speak to yourself, maybe because you are concentrating on something: “Are you talking to yourself again?”

to be like talking to a brick wall = to not have any effect on someone: “Sometimes talking to him is like talking to a brick wall!”

talk your way out of something = get out of a difficult situation by giving a clever explanation: “Whew! I think I managed to talk our way out of that one!”

straight talking = honest words: “I want some straight talking around here!”

talk shop = talk about work in a social situation: “Whenever I go out with my colleagues, we always end up talking shop.”

Idioms with “Chat”

to chat someone up = to talk to someone because you are attracted to them: “He went to a party and chatted up every woman.”

a chatterbox = someone who talks a lot, but not saying anything important: “She’s a bit of a chatterbox at work.”

chit-chat = social conversation about unimportant subjects: “Enough of the chit-chat! I have to get on with some work.”

Idioms with “Word”

to have a word with someone = to talk to someone about something you are not happy with: “I’m going to have a word with him about his kids’ behaviour.”

to not have a good word to say about someone = to always criticise: “She never has a good word to say about the Browns.”

a word in your ear = something you say before you give some advice or a warning: “A word in your ear – the company are monitoring internet use.”

to not mince your words = say something directly, without trying to be diplomatic: “She doesn’t mince her words!”

to have words = to have an argument: “They’ve had words and now they’re not speaking.”

to get a word in edgeways = to try to contribute to a conversation: “They were talking so fast it was impossible to get a word in edgeways!”

Talking Idioms

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