what on earth: six fav idioms for earth day

what on earth: six fav idioms for earth day

There’s a really funny scene in the movie Annie Hall when after a totally spacey monologue by Christopher Walken’s character Duane to Woody Allen’s character Alvy Singer, Allen stands up, and says, “Well, I have to go now Duane, I’m due back on the planet earth.”

That’s a tangent of an idiom we use a lot – back to earth.

I did a project in sixth grade English where I illustrated idioms, and I’ve loved them ever since. I love them on their own, but I think they’re great now more than ever because of social media –  they make great IG captions, tweet teasers or even headlines and sub-headlines.

First a refresher course – an idiom.

Idiom – ˈidēəm/ – “an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either grammatically (such as no, it wasn’t me) or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (such as ride herd on for ‘supervise’)”

With it being Earth Day, here are five fav idioms that use the word earth.

The Salt of the earth

What it means: the best of the best; the good guy; the real deal; the hardworking, genuine, authentic type

Fun fact: It’s actually a biblical reference used by JC for those who were persecuted for their loyalty to him. (Read it now: Matthew 5:13)

How to use it: He’s the real salt of the earth; the first to give support whenever it’s needed and without a question.


heaven on earth

What it means: something that’s just ah-mazing; it can be a place, an experience, a thing – anything really that is enjoyable, pleasurable, etc.

How to use it: That resort is just heaven on earth; it’s warm and sweet; beautiful and peaceful.  It’s just erfect.


The ends of the earth

What it means: the utmost limit; far, deep, wide; going to the extreme for something or someone

How to use it: She would go to the ends of the earth for her children to make anything possible for them and their future.


what on earth

What it means: An expression to show surprise, shock, anger, disgust, consternation, younameit.

How to use it: “What on earth is going on here?” Mom said as she walked into the living room and saw crayon smudges all over the cloud-white walls.


bring (one) down to earth

What it means: To bring someone back to reality after daydreaming, fantasizing or perhaps just asking weird being overly optimistic to remember or consider reality.

How to use it: It’s time to bring her back down to earth; she seems to think she can move to NYC, afford her own apartment and just start a blog for a living.


earth to someone

What it means: People say earth to someone if that person is not paying attention or – let’s just say it – acting strangely. (I tend to send the Lionel Richie Hello? GIF when I need to say earth to someone.)

How to use it: “Hello, earth to Mallory?” The group echoed, trying to get a daydreaming Mallory back to the reality of paying the brunch bill.


not have an earthly chance

What it means: No chance whatsoever. ‘nuf said.

How to use it: They had no earthly chance of getting into that restaurant without a reservation.



hey, want to use the word earth, but in less english-major way? another one of our favorite phrases written with the word ‘earth’ as the punchline – this famous scene from independence day.


happy earth day.

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