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Do You Know All Of These UK Phrases?

  • September 08, 2021

Understanding those around you can make such a difference when settling into a new country. If you want to “hit the ground running” on your first day within the NHS, you might want to familiarise yourself with some British phrases that are used by both patients and fellow healthcare professionals. You have probably already passed your OET or IELTS, but the English language can still trip you up! We have outlined some of the most popular sayings that have confused a lot of people in the past, we hope that by understanding them you can feel a little more at home here in the UK.

An idiom is an expression that takes on a figurative meaning when certain words are combined, which is different from the literal definition of the individual words. For example, you have probably heard someone say they feel “under the weather” meaning they feel unwell. Here are some of the most common ones, how many do you already know?

  1. “Don’t beat around the bush”

Meaning: Get straight to the point

If someone tells you not to beat around the bush, they are telling you to get straight to the point. In a medical setting they may be asking you to simplify information that you are giving them or to summarise.

  1. “Pot calling kettle black”

Meaning: To criticize someone for a fault you also possess.

If someone says this phrase to you, they a redirecting the criticism you gave out back to you.

  1. “Piece of cake”

Meaning:  Very easy.

Referring to something as a piece of cake is often used to describe a situation that was easy or required little effort.

  1. “In a bit of a pickle”

Meaning: In a difficult position.

If you are in a pickle, you are finding something complicated or have a problem to which no easy answer can be found.

  1. “Swings and roundabouts”

Meaning: Two choices or situations are basically the same because they have an equal number of advantages and disadvantages.

The whole saying is "what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts". It's originally a saying of fairground folk, and it means that a loss in one field (selling tickets for the swings) is balanced by profit in another (selling tickets for the roundabouts).

  1. “Driving me up the wall”

Meaning: To be annoyed

If you say that something or someone is driving you up the wall you are emphasising that they annoy and irritate you.

  1. “Over the moon”

Meaning: To be very pleased.

If you say that you are over the moon you mean that you are very pleased about something. The phrase in its current sense perhaps originated in Ireland, since all its early instances are found in texts by Irish authors.

  1.  “I’m gutted”

Meaning: Deeply disappointed.

When something upsets us, losing an important game for example, we metaphorically feel like somebody has ripped our guts out. Hence, we say we feel gutted.

  1.  “It’s raining cats and dogs”

Meaning: Heavy rain

It rains a lot in the UK so you might hear this phrase a lot to describe the wet weather!

  1. “Sitting on the fence”

Meaning: To be unsure.

If someone says they are ‘on the fence’ about something this means they are unsure on what to do.

How Can We Help?

If you’re an international doctor looking to relocate to the UK, please email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK.

Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of vlogs and blogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!

Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go to IMG Advisor the Podcast. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.


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