Idioms Expressing Change
Change means many things to different people. It enters our lives on so many different levels - personally, socially and culturally - and takes us voluntarily or involuntarily from the ❛known❜ into the ❛unknown❜. Anatole France, a French writer and winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature, once said:
❝All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.❞
This process of leaving behind the familiar to enter into new and often uncertain territory has its own vocabulary. Here is a list of 15 English idioms that all - in one way or another - have something to do with the concept of ❛change❜:
1. a change for the better / a change for the worse
A ❛positive change❜ is referred to as a change for the better; whereas a ❛negative change❜ is a change for the worse.
2. children of tomorrow
This idiom has been taken from Klaus Meine’s (of the Scorpions) song Wind of Change and refers to ❛the next generations to come❜.
Example: The changes that are made today will ensure the happiness of the children of tomorrow.
3. nothing ventured, nothing gained
This English proverb means that ❛if you do not take risks, you won’t profit or improve your situation❜.
Example: Margi and Namdev invested their life savings in the education of their children. They agreed with the philosophy ❛nothing ventured, nothing gained❜.
4. to be at a crossroads
When you are at a crossroads, ❛you are at a stage of your life when you have to make an important decision that will affect your future❜.
Example: When he lost his job, Alek was at a crossroads. He had to make a decision as to which direction he was going to go in.
5. to blaze a trail
If you blaze a trail, ❛you are doing something that no one has ever done before, something from which others will benefit❜. If this describes you, you are a trail blazer.
Example: The well-known scientist blazed a trail in the area of diabetes research.
6. to break new ground
The English idiom to break new ground means ❛to do something revolutionary - something different from anything that has been done before❜.
Example: The company’s early technological advances broke new ground.
7. to change course
To change course means ❛to change your direction, plan or strategy❜.
Example: After Fukushima, the German government quickly changed its course on the subject of nuclear energy.
8. to change with the times
If you ❛accept and use new ways❜, you are changing with the times.
Example: Today, many older politicians are also on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. They have changed with the times.
9. to make headway
The English idiom to make headway means ❛to make progress in reaching a goal❜.
Example: Have we made any headway in our attempts to save the world’s rain forests?
10. to move mountains
If you can move mountains, you can ❛do the impossible❜.
Example: When you believe in what you are fighting for, you can move mountains.
11. to open new doors
If something opens new doors, it ❛brings new chances or opportunities your way❜.
Example: Moving to Istanbul opened new doors for Ada.
12. to open/ to pave the way for something
The English expression to open/to pave the way for something is used to say how ❛one event can help make something else possible❜.
Example: Accepting the job in Berlin, paved the way for my career as a journalist.
13. out with the old and in with the new
This idiom is one of the simpler ones to understand. It means ❛to replace old things or old people with new things or new people❜.
Example: Firing the company’s management marked a new beginning. Out with the old and in with new.
14. when one door closes, another door opens
This positive English phrase expresses the belief that ❛a failure or disappointment will lead to a new opportunity❜.
Example. I am a firm believer that when one door closes, another door opens.
15. winds of change / wind of change
The winds of change is an expression that symbolizes ❛revolutionary changes that come into effect within the world, a country, a system, organization or group❜.
Example: Change has not taken hold of this region overnight; but the winds of change have been felt.
The expressions children of tomorrow and wind of change are both found in the Scorpions’ song Wind of Change, which celebrates the end of the Cold War and was the 10th best-selling single of all time in Germany, not to mention a worldwide hit. You can watch a video of the Scorpions performing this song, which was written by the band’s lead singer Klaus Meine, below. Unfortunately, this video’s sound and picture quality are not the best but what is so nice is that you can read the lyrics.