Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
farmer English

Are you an urban dweller or have you ever lived on or around a farm?

If you’re like many people, then you may have very limited exposure to farm life.

You might not realize though that there are many phrases in English that originate from life on a farm.

We’re going to look at some of these farm idioms that can give your English learning a great boost.

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Talking About Farm Living

Do you know anything about farming?

Many people didn’t grow up on a farm or in a rural area, and if that’s you then you may not know much about farming.

You’re going to learn some great idioms or expressions that originate on the farm.

You might not realize that so many English phrases came from the farm or the farm culture.

There’s a huge divide between the farm and city living, which is worth considering.

The poverty level is going up in rural or farm areas, while it’s going down in urban city areas.

This is a great reason to ensure that the two connect, so that you don’t lose either part because they are both essential.

You may not have ever considered the differences between life on a farm and in a big city, but they are significant.

To have a little fun though, we’re going to show you some phrases and idioms that come from farm life.

These give you a glimpse into this way of life, and teach you some fun phrases to use in your conversations.

Common Phrases That Originate On The Farm

We’re not looking at deep philosophical meanings here, but rather fun idioms that originate from farm life.

These phrases are quite common, and they can be great for you to practice once you understand the meaning behind them.

  • Make hay while the sun shines: This isn’t a well known or popular phrase, but it has its place. It means that if you have the opportunity to do something, you should do it now. Think of the visual application of this as while the weather is nice, you want to get outside and tackle a project. You may have limited amount of time to work on something, so don’t put it off until later.
  • Early bird catches the worm: If you get up early then you can get first chance at something. If you are an early riser then you can get what you want and get things done. If you aren’t a morning person then you may miss out on things. This phrase says that the earlier that you get up, the more you get done. You may get a chance at something that others wouldn’t if they don’t get up so early. Make the most of the day!
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth: If you have good fortune in your life, don’t question it. Try not to over analyze things when they are good, but rather enjoy it and live your life with it. Be happy if you are doing well and don’t second guess it. Don’t turn away a compliment if it’s warranted, and don’t over analyze why you are here enjoying this positive thing in your life.
  • Finding a needle in a hay stack: It’s like trying to find something that is almost impossible for you to find. It may feel like a hopeless cause because you are trying to find this one thing in a much bigger and more complex environment. Think of this visually speaking and how hard it would be to find a needle in a haystack. This can apply to many different situations as well. Anytime there’s a situation where something is impossible to find, like in a huge place, then you could use this phrase and it would be perfect.
  • Don’t upset the apple cart: This is more of an old fashioned phrase, but it’s still used sometimes. It means don’t cause trouble or make waves. It means to leave things alone and not interfere with the way they are supposed to go. You might hear something like “don’t rock the boat” which has the same sort of meaning. If something is working, then don’t question it or try to change it–just leave it alone and see how it goes.

All of these phrases are commonly used in English and tie back to farm life.

Try to think of your own idioms from your culture, and see how you can use them to connect and talk about important topics.


You may not have grown up in or around a farm, and therefore you likely don’t know much about farm life.

Therefore you might be very surprised to learn just how common some of these idioms are that originate from life on a farm.

Try using some of them in conversation, and see how this phrases are popular and work well in making connections.

These phrases are well known by natives, work well, and can help you to get a visual idea of what it’s like living on a farm.

Some of these seemingly unusual phrases can be fun to say, and so it’s worth practicing with them today.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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