Welcome to American English Idioms: Lesson 3. In this lesson you have 3 American English idioms to read, listen to, translate, and pronounce in English. Please focus and do your best so that you can learn and improve your knowledge of American English idioms. Don’t forget to use the comments section below to share your thoughts and what you’ve learned today.

Directions 1: Watch the video 2 or more times, and pay close attention to the audio and text.

Directions 2: Read the following text in English, then translate it using the translator on this page into your language if needed. When you finish, feel free to write a comment in the comments section below and let us know how you feel about what you’ve learned, as well as what you’ve learned.


The phrase “albatross around (one’s) neck” refers to something which is difficult to get rid of. For example, you could say that a heavy backpack is an albatross around someone’s neck because it takes up space and weight. A person with many bad habits like smoking or drinking alcohol may also be considered an albatross around someone’s neck because it is hard for them to give up these habits even if they want to.

The albatross around my neck is the pressing deadlines. It becomes more and more difficult to keep up with the demands of work, school, family, hobbies…none of which I want to sacrifice. I always feel like there’s just not enough time in the day. The problem only gets worse when one of the areas becomes much more demanding than usual, because it all drains away my energy. The solution would be to do less, but that doesn’t happen often.

An albatross around one’s neck is a difficult burden, one which is hard to shake off. This term became popular in the 1800s when travel by ship was still a common way to get from point A to point B. Sailors would often be given a large bird to carry with them on the ship as a good luck charm. In many cases, this was an albatross.

Many people have a difficult time with the idea of having a permanent job with a single employer their entire career. They feel the need to keep their options open and look for new opportunities. For some, this can be overwhelming and burdensome. This is where the idiom of an albatross around one’s neck comes from.

Many people see their jobs as an albatross around their necks because they are stuck in these jobs and cannot move on to better ones.


ALL KIDDING ASIDE is a phrase that means to speak with seriousness. It is most often used in the business world to coerce sincerity during negotiations.

In American culture, there is a trend in speech that sometimes makes it difficult for people from other countries to understand. In order to become more aware of this cultural discourse, one should read the following: “all kidding aside,” “I’m being serious,” “I’m not kidding,” and”aside from joking.” These phrases have been used frequently in recent years by many media sources.

Literally, the phrase “all kidding aside” is generally used to mean that what follows is to be taken seriously.

The phrase “all kidding aside” is often used to indicate that the speaker is about to speak seriously. The phrase is often used in contexts such as a formal speech, during which the speaker may be using wit and humor for much of their talk, before ending with an earnest message or plea.


All thumbs means that one is uncoordinated and awkward, especially with one’s hands. This term originates from the early 1800s, when those without thumbs were considered ungainly laborers and therefore less desirable as workers. The term is also used to represent people who are clumsy and awkward in general.

The improper use of one’s hands, especially when opening a door or grasping an object, is termed “all thumbs.” When people lack hand dexterity and coordination, they may also exhibit difficulty using their hands in a delicate manner. The term “thumbs” is often used in this context to describe when someone tries to use multiple fingers on one hand.

A person with all thumbs is uncoordinated and awkward, especially with their hands. This term can be used to describe someone who has difficulty navigating the world as a whole due to their lack of coordination and understanding of it.

This is not an actual disorder, but it is not uncommon for people to believe they are uncoordinated or awkward when in reality they are just unfamiliar with the activity. Especially when you are young, you may be clumsy or uncoordinated because your brain hasn’t yet developed the ability to control all of your muscles, which is what causes coordination.

3 thoughts on “ALBATROSS AROUND (ONE’S) NECK, ALL KIDDING ASIDE, and ALL THUMBS: American English Idioms #3

  1. Hello, thank you for the interresting idioms. They’re very usefull. Sometimes there is things that realy becomes an albatross around our neck.

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