Idioms in Madonna’s Songs

If you are a music lover and you like learning English with popular songs, this blog is for you! Do you happen to be a Madonna’s fan too? You are really in luck! We’ve prepared a list of idioms used in famous songs of the Queen of Pop. So, read on, sing along and improve your English!

IDIOM: for good

MEANING: forever

FROM: “Secret” (1994)

EXAMPLES: 1. You gave me back the paradise that I thought I lost for good. 2. It looks like he has left for good this time. 3. When he was 19, he left home for good.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOMthe American dream

MEANING: the idea that the US is a place where anyone can become successful if they work hard enough

FROM: “American Life” (2003)

EXAMPLES: 1. I live the American dream. 2. The American Dream is the national ethos of the United States. 3. The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence.


IDIOM: on top

MEANING: in a situation where you are in control or winning

FROM: “American Life” (2003)

EXAMPLES: 1. I tried to stay ahead, I tried to stay on top. 2. United stayed on top throughout most of the match. 3. She came out on top in every race.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: to get under someone’s skin

MEANING: if someone gets under your skin, you are very attracted to them, especially in a sexual way

FROM: “Love Profusion” (2003)

EXAMPLES: 1. I got you under my skin. 2. I can’t get that beautiful girl I met earlier off my mind. She’s just got under my skin. 3. I’ve tried to forget him, but I know that I’ve got him under my skin.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: to be hung up on someone

MEANING: to be in love with someone who does not love you; to be obsessively or exclusively interested in someone

FROM: “Hung Up” (2005)

EXAMPLES: 1. I’m hung up on you, waiting for your call, baby, day and night. 2. Are you really that hung up on her? 3. He’s hung up on me and I hate it.


IDIOM: to hang (hung; hung) up on someone

MEANING: to stop using a telephone at the end of a conversation

FROM: “Hung Up” (2005)

EXAMPLES: 1. I’m done, I’m hanging up on you. 2. ‘Get lost!’ she shouted, and hung up on me. 3. He said he’d call again, and hung up on me.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: only so much/many

MEANING: used to say that there are limits to something

FROM: “Jump” (2005)

EXAMPLES: 1. There’s only so much you can learn in one place. 2. There are only so many hours in your working day – you cannot possibly do all the work. 3. There is only so much you can do to protect yourself.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: in the zone

MEANING: if you are in the zone, you are happy or excited because you are doing something very skillfully and easily

FROM: “Girl Gone Wild” (2012)

EXAMPLES: 1. You got me in the zone, DJ play my favorite song. 2. I’m not the best chess player in the world, but when I’m in the zone, I feel unstoppable. 3. Look at the way she’s playing. She’s really in the zone now.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: to get someone down

MEANING: to make someone feel sad or lose hope

FROM: “Turn Up the Radio” (2012)

EXAMPLES: 1. When the word starts to get you down, there’s a glow of a distant light. 2. Doing the same thing every day can get you down. 3. His rejection from Harvard has really got Michael down.


IDIOM: to go someone’s way

MEANING: (of events, circumstances, etc.) to be favorable to someone

FROM: “Turn Up the Radio” (2012)

EXAMPLES: 1. Nothing seems to go your way. 2. First, my car breaks down, then I lose the keys to my apartment – nothing’s going my way today! 3. Let’s hope things will go my way this time.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: like a thief in the night

MEANING: secretly or unexpectedly and without being seen

FROM: “Masterpiece” (2012)

EXAMPLES: 1. I’m right by your side like a thief in the night. 2. In the end, I left like a thief in the night, without telling anybody or saying goodbye. 3. The disease spread like a thief in the night.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: to let down one’s guard

MEANING: to stop being cautious about potential trouble or danger

FROM: “Living for Love” (2015)

EXAMPLES: 1. I let down my guard, I fell into your arms. 2. We’ll wait long enough for them to let down their guard before we launch our invasion. 3. There will always be people in this business looking to exploit you, so you can never let down your guard.

The lyrics are here.


IDIOM: ghost town

MEANING: a deserted town with few or no remaining inhabitants

FROM: “Ghosttown” (2015)

EXAMPLES: 1. We’ll be two souls in a ghost town. 2. After all the gold was mined, the place became a ghost town. 3. The once bustling neighborhoods, made up of ancient mosques and homes hundreds of years old, now resemble ghost towns.


IDIOM: every man for himself

MEANING: everyone should (or does) look after their own interests rather than considering those of others

FROM: “Ghosttown” (2015)

EXAMPLES: 1. Tell me how we got this far, every man for himself. 2. It might be a civilized place to shop at other times, but come the January sales, it’s every man for himself. 3. As soon as there was a crisis, it was every man for himself.


IDIOM: might/may as well

MEANING: used to suggest doing something, often when there is nothing better to do

FROM: “Ghosttown” (2015)

EXAMPLES: 1. We might as well start with us. 2. We may as well start the meeting – the others will be here soon. 3. The deadline is today, but you might as well send it in anyway – they may still accept it.

The lyrics are here.

Do you have any questions about the idioms in the songs? Are there any other idioms in Modonna’s songs that you like? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading!

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