Understanding the Idiom: "around the corner" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English

The idiom “around the corner” is a commonly used phrase that refers to something that is nearby or imminent. It can be used in various contexts, such as referring to a physical location or an event that is about to happen. This idiom has been around for many years and has become ingrained in everyday language.

When someone says that something is “around the corner,” it often implies a sense of anticipation or excitement. For example, if someone says that their vacation is just around the corner, they may be eagerly looking forward to it. On the other hand, if someone says that a deadline is just around the corner, they may feel stressed or anxious about completing their work on time.

“I heard there’s a great new restaurant just around the corner from here.”
“The end of the school year is right around the corner.”

The idiom “around the corner” can also be used metaphorically to refer to abstract concepts like opportunities or challenges. In this context, it suggests that these things are within reach but require effort or action to attain them.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “around the corner”

The phrase “around the corner” has been used in English language for a long time, with its origins dating back to centuries ago. The idiom is often used to indicate that something is imminent or close by. It can refer to a physical location, such as a street corner or an intersection, but it can also be used metaphorically.

Historically, the phrase was first recorded in print in 1870s and became popular during the early 20th century. It was widely used in literature and movies of that time period. The idiom gained popularity due to its versatility and ability to convey different meanings depending on context.

In terms of etymology, there are several theories about where the phrase comes from. One theory suggests that it originated from horse racing where horses would turn around corners during races. Another theory proposes that it comes from navigation where sailors would use landmarks like corners to navigate their ships.

Regardless of its origin, “around the corner” remains a commonly used idiom today across various contexts and situations. Its historical significance speaks volumes about how idioms have evolved over time while still retaining their meaning and relevance in modern times.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “around the corner”

The idiom “around the corner” is a commonly used phrase that conveys the idea of something being close or imminent. It can be used to describe a variety of situations, from upcoming events to potential opportunities. The versatility of this expression allows it to be adapted in various contexts, resulting in several variations and nuances.


One common variation of this idiom is “just around the corner,” which emphasizes how close something is. Another variation is “right around the corner,” which adds emphasis on immediacy. Additionally, some people may use “around the bend” as an alternative form of this expression.


This idiom can be used in many different scenarios. For example, it can be used when talking about upcoming holidays or events such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve: “Christmas is just around the corner.” It can also refer to opportunities that are coming up soon: “A promotion could be right around the corner for you.”

Furthermore, this expression can also convey a sense of warning or danger when referring to negative outcomes that may occur soon: “If we don’t act fast, bankruptcy could be just around the corner.” In contrast, it can also express hope and positivity when discussing positive possibilities: “With hard work and determination, success could be right around the corner.”

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “around the corner”

When we talk about something being “around the corner,” we often mean that it is imminent or close at hand. This idiom can be used to describe a variety of situations, from exciting opportunities to impending challenges. However, there are many other phrases that convey similar meanings and nuances.

Some synonyms for “around the corner” include “just ahead,” “upcoming,” and “on the horizon.” These expressions all suggest that something is approaching in time or space. On the other hand, antonyms for this idiom might include phrases like “far away,” “distant future,” or even simply “not yet.”

It’s worth noting that idioms like these can vary greatly across cultures and languages. For example, in some parts of Asia, people might use a phrase like “in sight” instead of saying something is around the corner. Similarly, different regions within English-speaking countries may have their own unique idiomatic expressions.

Understanding these cultural differences can be especially important when communicating with people from diverse backgrounds. By learning more about how language varies across cultures, we can become better equipped to navigate cross-cultural communication challenges.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “around the corner”

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blank

Complete each sentence with an appropriate form of “around the corner”.

  1. The grocery store is just ____________.
  2. I can’t believe that my birthday is already ____________!
  3. We need to start preparing for winter because it’s ____________.

Exercise 2: Conversation Practice

Practice using “around the corner” in conversation. Find a partner and take turns asking and answering questions using this idiom. Here are some examples:

  • “What do you think about our upcoming vacation?” – “I’m really excited! It’s just around the corner.”
  • “Do you have any plans for Halloween?” – “Not yet, but I know it’s right around the corner.”

Note: Remember to use proper intonation when using idioms in conversation.

By completing these exercises, you’ll be able to confidently use “around the corner” in everyday conversations. Keep practicing and soon enough, it will become second nature!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “around the corner”

When using idioms in English, it is important to understand their meanings and how they are used in context. The idiom “around the corner” is commonly used to describe something that is coming soon or will happen shortly. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when using this idiom.

Avoiding Literal Interpretations

One mistake that people often make when using the idiom “around the corner” is taking it too literally. This can lead to confusion and miscommunication, as the phrase does not actually refer to a physical corner or location. Instead, it should be understood as a metaphorical expression for something that is imminent or close at hand.

Avoiding Overuse

Another mistake that people make when using this idiom is overusing it in conversation or writing. While it can be an effective way of conveying a sense of urgency or immediacy, using it too frequently can diminish its impact and come across as cliché or unoriginal.


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