Independence Day Idioms and Expressions

the American Dream

Happy 4th of July! 
Independence Day is an American holiday to mark the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. We usually celebrate with fireworks, BBQ parties, good beer, and good times with our families and friends. 

Study the idioms and expressions below for a unique look at American culture.  

1. the American dream = the idea that anyone can succeed
• My grandparents immigrated to this country chasing the American dream.
• I started as a dishwasher. Now, I have my own restaurant. I’m living the American dream. 

2. American as apple pie = very American 
The funny thing is Apple pie doesn’t come from the US – it comes from England. Sometimes people say “as American as mom and apple pie”. 

• College football is as American as apple pie! 
• I was born in Washington D.C. on the 4th of July. I’m as American as mom and apple pie! 

3. born on the 4th of July = very patriotic
• My dad’s birthday is in June, but he’s so patriotic we say he was born on the 4th of July. 
• Did you see that Tom Cruise movie, Born on the 4th of July? 

4. fireworks 
a. anger, yelling, and noise

• My neighbor was really angry at her husband yesterday. The fireworks lasted a long time. 

b. something exciting
A: Wow! Look outside! The sunset is SO beautiful. 
B: Well, when the fireworks are over, come eat your dinner. 

5. ugly American = a person who is all the negative stereotypes of the US
• Donald Trump is a perfect example of the ugly American; loud, boastful, arrogant, and jingoistic. He is everything awful about America in a single person. 
• Mr. Rogers is the complete opposite of the ugly American; a kind-hearted, warm, and generous man. 

6. not my first rodeo / barbecue = I have experience / I’ve done this before / this isn’t my first time
A: Are you ready to give your presentation tomorrow? 
B: Sure. This isn’t my first rodeo. 

7. hot dog
a. expression = Wow! 
A: Look! I got a new bike!
B: Hot dog! That looks great! 

b. hotdog (verb) / hot dog (noun) = show off 
• Quit hotdogging around on your bike. You’re going to crash! 
• A: How did you break your leg?
  B: Trying to be a hot dog on my bike. 

8. These colors don’t run! = Americans (red, white, and blue) are brave
Colors “run” when they get wet. To “run” also means to run away. 
• I’m not scared of anything. These colors don’t run. 
• A: Do you think the American team can win? 
  B: Of course! These colors don’t run. 

9. Merica! = a playful name for the US. This is often used with self-aware irony about very typically American things. 
• I can’t wait for the Super Bowl. Merica! 
• Hot dog! The BBQ is this weekend. Merica! 

10. the stars and stripes = the American flag (or used as a decorative motif) 
• I’m going to decorate the yard with the stars and stripes. 
• Let’s get some stars and stripes to hang up in the event hall. 

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