Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

In yesterday’s episode, we talked about idioms for being happy. Go back and check it out if you missed it!

Unfortunately, we’re not always happy.

We also have many idioms and expressions for expressing negative emotions.

Today we are going to share some opposing idioms.

These are native, natural phrases for expressing sadness and a feeling of being unwell or sick.


#1: Down in the dumps

This idiom means you feel sad.

You can use it if you’ve received some bad news or are just feeling out of sorts.

  • “I just feel a little down in the dumps today.”

the dump: a place in the United States where garbage and trash is ‘dumped’

It would be a terrible thing to literally be down in the dump!

Idiomatically, it’s also not fun.

Use it anytime you feel sad or depressed.

#2: Down in the mouth

This idiom is very similar to ‘down in the dumps,’ so you’d think the meaning would be very similar.

However, it is used specifically to mean we feel sick or unwell.

It is usually used for minor illnesses, such as a cold or cough.

  • “You don’t look so great. Are you feeling ok?”
  • “I actually feel a bit down in the mouth. I should go home and rest.”

These two idioms are so similar, with only one word different.

However, there is a big difference in meaning!

Use them correctly, as one means ‘sad’ and one means ‘sick.’


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#3: Feeling blue

This idiom also means to feel sad or depressed.

It can be seen often in songs, such as “Blue Christmas” by Elvis.

Now that you know it, you will likely hear it everywhere, as it’s quite common.

  • Television shows
  • Films
  • Podcasts
  • Songs

In English, we associate the color blue with the emotion of sadness.


#4: Not a happy camper

In the previous episode, we taught the idiom ‘happy camper.’

This is used to describe anyone that is happy.

It doesn’t actually have anything to do with camping.

We also use this idiom to describe someone as ‘NOT a happy camper.’

This means someone is upset, sad or angry.

  • “Uh oh, she is NOT a happy camper. What happened?”

With this idiom, we emphasize the word “not.”



There are many great idioms for feeling both happy and sad.

Use these to boost your English level and sound more native and natural.

Instead of saying, “I’m sad,” say you feel blue or you’re down in the dumps.

Using idiomatic language is a great way to connect with people!

Practice using one of these today!


When is the last time you felt blue?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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