What does the idiom "work a miracle" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does work a miracle mean? In what situations is work a miracle used?

Meaning of "work a miracle"


The idiom 'work a miracle' has two meanings. The first meaning is to perform an extraordinary feat, typically of a spiritual or magical nature, to bring about a good result, usually seeming to defy the laws of nature. This usually occurs when something seemingly impossible is accomplished. The second meaning is to achieve an outstanding result, typically in a difficult situation or with limited resources. In other words, it is used to describe someone or something that is able to accomplish a great amount in a short amount of time, or with little to no resources.


The idiom 'work a miracle' has been used since the late 15th century. It originally had a religious context, and was most likely derived from the Latin phrase “miraculum Dei” meaning “wonder of God”. The phrase was then adapted to refer to any extraordinary feat or accomplishment.


The idiom 'work a miracle' is used in both formal and informal contexts to describe an incredible or amazing feat or accomplishment. It can be used in both a positive and negative manner, depending on the context. For example, one could say “He worked a miracle,” to describe a positive accomplishment, or “She was unable to work a miracle,” to describe a negative outcome.

Example Sentences

  • The doctor worked a miracle in saving the patient's life.
  • The teacher was able to work a miracle in inspiring her students.
  • Despite their limited resources, the team was able to work a miracle and finish the project on time.

The meanings of the words in the "work a miracle" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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