A conjunctional idiom is an idiom that performs the function of a conjunction. Usually, it appears as a compound conjunction or a conjunctional phrase. Some examples are:

  • as long as (while).
  • as if (as though).
  • in that (because).
  • for certain (for the fact).
  • in that (because).
  • on account of (owing to; for)


Idioms composed of pairs of words:

Majority of the idioms in this category go in pairs, making use of the co-ordinating conjunction “and” in joining the two nouns involved; for example:

  • all and sundry – collectively and individually.
  • beck and call – ready to obey.
  • in black and white – in writing.
  • fits and starts – irregularly.
  • gall and wormwood – annoyance.
  • hue and cry – noise.
  • null and void – worthless, ineffective.
  • kith and kin – relatives.
  • far and wide – everywhere.
  • under lock and key – safe.
  • odds and ends – tit-bits.
  • left and right – on all sides.
  • safe and sound – very secure.
  • to and fro – backwards and forwards.
  • well and good – all right.
  • dilly-dally – vacilate, hesitate, waste time.
  • hush-hush – confidential, secret.



Partial idioms are those that have one of their parts or words explainable in logical terms while the other word(s) has a meaning peculiar to the particular sequence: for example, red hat refers to hat but the expression red hat refers to cardinal’s hat, not to every red-coloured hat. It rained cats and dogs means that the rain fell heavily, beating all things, not only cats and dogs.


Incorrect idioms emerge when two apparently similar phrases are confused or misconstrued to mean the same thing. It is therefore necessary that one does not mistake the unidiomatic for the idiomatic expression. Consider these, for instance: die with (unidiomatic); die of (idiomatic).



Idiomatic expressions refer to the correct use of idioms in spoken and written expressions, or simply, the use of idioms in the expression of ideas, thoughts, facts and feelings.

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