- Idiom – Too many irons in the fire or Several irons in the fire
- Meaning – To have too much to do at the same time. To be engaged in too many activities at the same time.
- This expressions originates from blacksmiths. A blacksmith is a person who works with iron and steel. A blacksmith might make tools with iron or steel, or make shoes for horses. Iron or steel is heated in a forge (very hot fire) then hammered into shape on an anvil (hard metal workbench). If a blacksmith has too many irons in the fire he will be extremely busy!
- An alternative expression with a very similar meaning is too much on my plate.
- If you have too many irons in the fire, you may have to take a rain check!
When could you use this idiom?
- If you believe someone is taking on too much work.
- When you discuss someone who is extremely busy.
- A friend is tired because he has been working on too many projects at the time.
- Somebody is struggling to keep on top of their workload.
- “He’s been working on the plans for expansion, searching for new staff, and he’s trying to complete his studies. We can’t possibly give him any more work, he’s already got too many irons in the fire.”
Looking for more information about common English idioms? Check out this resource from Espresso English – Learn 300+ Idioms In An Easy & Fun Way!
- Is there an idiom like this in your country?
What is an idiom?
An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally. An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.