Learn English Idioms Through Revolutionary Inventions

Obviously, the world we are living in today is very civilized, which is synonymous with our high living standards. However, this is not the case with our life in ancient times or several centuries ago. So what makes the difference? Well, there are many factors contributing to our enhanced comfort in life, and human inventions undoubtedly count for great importance.

But among various innovations since time immemorial, what are the ones that really changed the world? Continue scrolling down, and you will find the answer. Most interestingly, you will also learn some English phrases and idioms which are related to these inventions. Let’s go!


This is often said to be a masterpiece of engineering that laid the foundation for other developments. Without it, there would not be any bikes or cars that facilitate our transportation nowadays. Imagine yourself switching from travelling in your own vehicles to going everywhere on foot. The mere thought of such a scenario is challenging.

It is such an ingenious idea that it took until 3500 BC to be invented, and soon became popular across the Eastern Hemisphere. The invention of the wheel is credited to the Elamites, who were the first to create sculptures portraying wheels. In fact, its father still remains a heated debate.

So, what expression can be associated with the wheel? A common idiom is a cog in the wheel. When you say that somebody is a cog in the wheel, you mean that he/ she is a small part which has little role to play in a big organization. An alternative for this is a cog in the machine, and the opposite idiom is a big fish in a small pond.

For example: He works as a waiter in that international restaurant. He is a cog in the wheel.

Learn English Idioms Through Revolutionary Inventions


Although fire is a natural phenomenon, its discovery went down in history for its significant contributions to our lives.

Fire was invented by our ancestors since ancient times, although the time is not known for sure. The creation of fire made a big difference to people at that time, as fire protected warmth and served as a protector against wild animals. Fire was also a method for cooking food and making advanced tools for hunting, thus helping people to meet basic needs.

And spread like wildfire is a familiar idiom. Wildfire is a very big fire that spreads quickly and burns natural areas, and yes, you get the meaning.

When you say that something spreads like wildfire, you mean it is known by a lot of people in a short period of time.

Sample sentence: Fake news about the coronavirus is spreading like wildfire and instilling fear in the public.

Learn English Idioms Through Revolutionary Inventions


Don’t mistake these for your fingernails or toenails, we are talking about thin pieces of metals used for hanging items on a wall.

Bronze nails were originally found in Egypt around 3400 BC. By the 1790s and the early 1800s, hand-wrought nails were in the mainstream, says the University of Vermont.

Nails are of vital importance in our life, particularly in construction. Before the arrival of nails, wood constituted contemporary structures and they were not very stable. 

Nowadays, there are many variants of nails, namely pins, tacks and spikes, which are also widely popular.

Hardness is a typical characteristic of nails, and so we have the simile as hard as nails and as tough as nails. The former means showing no sympathy for others’ sufferings while the latter means being able to deal successfully with difficult situations. As tough as nails can also be replaced by as tough as old boots.

For instance:

  •  Despite his wealth, he went past the beggar without lending him any penny. He is as hard as nails!
  • Being a disabled teacher, she is as tough as old boots.
Learn English Idioms Through Revolutionary Inventions


It is hard to imagine our lives without electricity, as it is essential in every daily activity. It is used for cooling and heating our homes, lighting, and running appliances such as television, washing machine, refrigerator , etc. Besides such uses in households, electricity is also harnessed for commercial, entertaining, and industrial purposes. 

There are still controversies going on about the discoverer of electricity, but the majority gives the credit to Franklin Benjamin. 

An interesting idiom regarding electricity is live wire. It can be understood as a wire with power inside, but it is only the superficial meaning. The idiom live wire actually refers to people rather than objects, and it mentions energetic people to be specific. Do you confess to be a live wire?

Sample sentence: Rose is such a live wire that she never seems to be tired.

Learn English Idioms Through Revolutionary Inventions


Battery is used to power such electrical devices as mobile phones, electric cars and flashlights. Of course, its practical applications are much broader than the aforementioned items. Battery comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, which are typically categorized into four groups:

  • Miniature cells – used in headphones and other hearing aids as well as wristwatches
  • Thin cells – used in smartphones
  • Large lead acid batteries – used in vehicles
  • Huge battery banks – use in computer data centres and telephone exchanges.

The battery originates from the Parthian empire, and its first mass production was carried out by William Cruickshank in 1802.

The discoverer of the first electric battery is Alessandro Volta, who laid the foundation for Electrochemistry.  

A common idiom that is related to this invention is recharge your batteries. When you are tired, you need to recharge your batteries, which means that you need a rest to get back your energy and strength. Of course such synonyms as relax or wind down are enough for others to understand, but idioms will sound much cooler.

Learn English Idioms Through Revolutionary Inventions


No, this is not an invention, it is the sign of the end of this post. Above are five innovations that changed the world, and we hope that you acquire some useful idioms through learning about these brilliant ideas.

Do you like such posts, which provide you with understanding of the world around and English as well? If you do, remember to visit us again, and stay tuned for the next funny lesson. Bye for now!

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