Idioms with nationalities and countries

Here is a list of idioms using the names of countries, with meanings and examples 


Go Dutch 

If two or more people go Dutch, each of them pays their own meal when they eat together. 
  • We'll go Dutch on dinner.

Dutch courage 

courage or confidence that a person gains from drinking alcohol 
  • I'll have a vodka to give me Dutch courage. 

Take French leave (British) 

to be absent from work without asking permission 
  • I think he's taking French leaveHe is not seriously ill. 

Excuse/pardon my French 

This phrase is used to apologize for using an impolite word 
  • Pardon my French, but that’s total bullshit. 

It's (all) Greek to me 

This phrase is used to describe something that you do not understand at all. 
  • She tried to explain how to use the system, but it was all Greek to me. 

Indian summer 

used to refer to unusually warm, dry and calm weather in late autumn 
  • We 're having an Indian summer, even though it is October. 

Mexican standoff 

used to describe a situation in which an agreement cannot be reached because neither side is willing to change its opinion 
  • The negotiations ended in a Mexican standoff. 

Chinese whispers 

a gossip that is told by one person to another, and is changed slightly each time.
  • The stories of her resignation are just Chinese whispers. 

Scotch mist 

You can refer to a think drizzly mist as Scotch mist. 

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