Top 25 Idioms IELTS Speaking part 2: Describe a person

In the IELTS Speaking Part 2, “Describe a person” is a topic that appears frequently in the IELTS test.

1. (to be) dressed (up) to the nines

Meaning: to be wearing very fancy or formal clothes for a special occasion.

Example: We had a great time at my high school graduation. My friends and I were all dressed up to the nines.

2.  (to be) easy on the eye

Meaning: someone (or something) that is beautiful, or very nice or pleasant to look at.

Example: My next door neighbour is quite easy on the eye.

The architect did a great job. The new building is quite easy on the eye.

3. (to be) like two peas in a pod

Meaning: two people who have very similar appearance or characteristics.

Example: Stewart and James are like two peas in a pod, I always get them confused.

4. (to be) as pretty as a picture

Meaning: used to describe someone who looks pretty

Example: Michelle looks as pretty as a picture in this photo. In real life, she’s as ugly as sin.

5. (to be) as skinny as a rake

Meaning: used to describe someone who is very thin

Example: When I was young I was as skinny as a rake. These days I’m quite fat and overweight.

6. (to) stick out like a sore thumb | stand out like a sore thumb

Meaning: someone (or something) that is very noticeable

Example: If you wear that gold watch while walking around this poor neighbourhood, you’re going to stand out like a sore thumb.

I was the only one who came to the party wearing a costume, I stood out like a sore thumb

7. (to be) as ugly as sin

Meaning: someone (or something) that is quite ugly or horrible to look at.

Example: Michelle looks as pretty as a picture in this photo. In real life, she’s as ugly as sin.

The new shopping mall is as ugly as sin from the outside.

8.  (to be) as agile as a monkey

Meaning: someone who is able to move quickly and easily

Example: I couldn’t catch the kids when they stole my candy. They’re as agile as monkeys, running and jumping over all the furniture.

9. (to be) as blind as a bat

Meaning: someone who can’t see very well, and probably needs to wear glasses.

Example: My grandma’s as blind as a bat without her glasses on.

10. (to be) a couch potato

Meaning: someone who likes to sit at home and watch a lot of TV, and doesn’t do much exercise.

Example: I used to be a couch potato when I was younger. Then I became addicted to playing sport and doing exercise. Now I hate sitting at home watching TV.

11. (to be) an early bird

Meaning: someone who likes to wake up early in the morning (opposite of a night owl)

Example: I’m kind of an early bird. I hate to sleep in and waste the day.

12. (to have) eyes like a hawk

Meaning: to have exceptionally good eyesight or to be very observant

Example: Craig managed to find my key in the long grass. He’s got eyes like a hawk.

I can’t even go to the toilet without my boss noticing I’m gone. He’s got eyes like a hawk.

13. (to be) from all walks of life

Meaning: used to talk about a variety of people, regarding their age, race, gender, social status, job, etc

Example: I love my job. It really enables me to meet people from all walks of life.

14. (to have) the gift of the gab

Meaning: someone who is very good at talking in a way that is entertaining or persuading.

Example: The new salesman has really got the gift of the gab. He’s sold more computers this week than I have all month!

My friend Ben is so entertaining to be around, he’s really got the gift of the gab.

15. (to be) as graceful as a swan

Meaning: someone who moves with grace or elegance

Example: The show was amazing. The dancer moved as graceful as a swan.

16. (to be) a green thumb

Meaning: someone who loves, or is good at, gardening.

Example: My grandparents are real green thumbs. They spend hours in their garden every day.

17. (to be) a jack of all trades (master of none)

Meaning: someone who is quite skilled in many different areas, but none in particular

Example: My father is a jack of all trades. He can fix just about anything.

Janes a jack of all trades when it comes to music. She can play guitar, piano, drums and saxophone, but she hasn’t mastered any of them yet.

18. (to have) a memory like a sieve |a memory like a goldfish

Meaning: to have a terrible memory.

Example: Bob’s got a memory like a goldfish. I tell him something and he immediately forgets.

19. (to be) a night owl

Meaning: someone who likes to stay up and do things late at night (opposite of an early bird)

Example: When I was at university I was a real night owl. I was always studying until early in the morning.

20.  (to be) as quick as a flash | as quick as a wink | as quick as lightning

Meaning: to move or do something very quickly

Example: When I was a youngster, I was as quick as a flash. Now I can barely walk up the stairs.

21. (to be) as slow as a snail | as slow as a tortoise

Meaning: to be or do something very slowly (opposite of quick as a flash)

Example: I hate working with Jill, she’s as slow as a snail.

22. (to be) a spring chicken | no spring chicken

Meaning: used to describe someone is quite young. Usually used in the negative form.

Example: I used to be able to run for miles, but these days I get tired after about 10 minutes, I’m no spring chicken anymore.

23. (to be) as strong as an ox

Meaning: someone who is extremely strong

Example: When I was young, I was as strong as an ox. I could carry a 100 pounds on my back for miles.

24. (to) talk until the cows come home

Meaning: to talk for a very long time, usually with no real result or purpose.

Example: Oh my god, here comes Bill. Be careful not to get into a conversation with him, he can talk until the cows come home.

25. (to be) as tough as old boots

Meaning: used to describe someone or something that is very strong and long lasting, or something that can withstand a lot of rough treatment, like a pair of good, old, leather boots.

Example: Don’t worry about John, he’ll recover from his accident. He’s as tough as old boots.

I’ve been driving this car for years and it’s never broken down. It’s as tough as old boots