English Idioms in Songs
Music is a great way to learn English idioms and slang. In this lesson, I'll share 5 songs titles from the 2000s that are also idioms. Do you know about white flags, dirty little secrets, gold diggers, all-stars, and crying a river? After this lesson, you will!
Dirty Little Secret
The idiom "dirty little secret" refers to something that you are ashamed and embarrassed about, and don't want anyone to find out. So what about you? Do you have any dirty little secrets? Maybe one you want to share with us? Don't worry, we won't tell.
In this song, The All-American Rejects sing about their dirty little secret. They never make it explicit, but they are referring to an affair they are having.
You have to be careful about using this idiom: gold digger. It refers to a person (usually a woman) who dates or marries a man for only one reason: his money. It's actually quite a sexist term, so I don't recommend you use it.
In this song, Kanye West sings about a woman. And is she a gold digger? Well, he doesn't want to say it directly, but he does imply it. What do you think about it?
You probably know that a star is something in outer space that is bright and beautiful. But we have stars on earth as well. In English, the word 'star' means someone who is famous and well-liked. And the word all-star is used for an even more extreme version of this.
Here, Smash Mouth sings about how you are an all-star. And what should all-stars do? They should live up to their potential and do something great. So do it!
Cry Me a River
If someone tells you "cry me a river," that means they think you are whining and complaining about something that actually isn't that bad. And doing it in a sarcastic way. Have you ever heard this term? If you want to use, make sure you know the person well and that they can handle a joke.
In this song, Justin Timberlake, repeats the line again and again. What is he singing about? Well, his girlfriend cheated on him. Then he found out. And now she wants him back. And while she's begging to be taken back, she lets him know she's feeling sad. His response? Cry me a river, I don't feel sorry for you at all.
Have you ever waved the white flag? It means that you've given up. Both in a war (literally) and in anything else (metaphorically).
Dido sings about not waving the white flag, and not giving up or surrendering. It's quite a beautiful song.
All the Songs!