ENGLISHEnglish Vocabulary

SSC EXAMS: IDIOMS & PHRASES

IDIOMS & PHRASES

Here is the list of IDIOMS AND PHRASES that a candidate should know if he wants to clear the following exams of the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) or Grade-II DASS Exam of the DSSSB, and other similar exams well:

1. Combined Graduate Level (CGL) Exam Tier-I & Tier-II

2. Combined Higher Secondary (10+2) Exam (CHSL) Tier-I

3. SI in Delhi Police and CPO Exam Paper-I & Paper-II

4. Grade-II DASS Exam conducted by Delhi Staff Subordinate Services (DSSSB)

This list has 683 entries in all, which I think should be well enough for the aspirants. The list is divided into 26 parts, each part beginning with separate English letters i.e. A, B, C, and so on so that your studies on Idioms & Phrases could become easy.

A

1. A big cheese = an important or a powerful person in a group or family —- Apparently her father is a big cheese in one of the major banks.
2. A herculean task = tough task —- It is a herculean task for the government to eliminate poverty from the country.
3. A queer fish = a strange person —- I knew his father and he was a queer fish too.
4. A white elephant = something very costly to maintain —- At first, Rita was excited to inherit the farm, but it soon proved to be a white elephant she couldn’t afford.
5. A wild goose chase = fruitless work —- After two hours spent wandering in the snow, I  realized  we were on a wild goose chase.
6. A wake up call = an event done to warn someone —- For the insurance industry, these floods  were a wake-up call.
7. A bird’s eye view = a view from a very high place which allows you to see a large area —- We had a bird’s eye view of the old town from the top of the city walls.
8. A bed of roses = comfortable and easy work —- Farming is no bed of roses.
9. A house of cards = a poor plan —- Their partners began to suspect that the company was a financial house of cards.
10. A boon/blessing in disguise = a benefit in loss —- Losing that job was a blessing in  disguise  really.
11. A red letter day = an important day —- The day I first set foot in America was a red-letter  day  for me.
12. A nine days wonder = pleasure for a short time —- Don’t worry about the story about you in the newspaper. It’ll be a nine days’ wonder and then people will forget.
13. A bone of contention = something that people argue for a long time —- The examination system has long been a serious bone of contention.
14. A lame excuse = unexpected lies —- You should not make lame excuses to avoid work.
15. A laughing stock = someone or something that seems stupid or silly, especially by trying to be serious or important and not succeeding —- She was the laughing stock of her class.
16. A cock and a bull story = a story or an explanation which is obviously not true —- He gave me some cock-and-bull story about having to be at his cousin’s engagement party.
17. A black sheep = someone who is thought to be a bad person by the rest of their family —- My father was the black sheep – he ran away at 16 to become an actor and his parents never forgave him.
18. A rainy day = a time when money might unexpectedly be needed —- She had saved  some  money  for a rainy day.
19. A cuckoo in the nest = someone in a group of people but not liked by them —- For Sonika, her new father was a cuckoo in the nest.
20. A bolt from the blue = something important or unusual that happens suddenly or unexpectedly    —- The resignation of the chairman came like a bolt from the blue.
21. A fair weather friend = someone who remains a friend only when things are going well but abandons others during times of trouble or difficulty —- I thought Mahima and I had a strong friendship, but I learned she was just another fair-weather friend when she stopped talking to me after my divorce.
22. A litmus test = a method which clearly proves something —- The president’s  policy on  abortion  is regarded as a litmus test of his views on women’s rights.
23. A fool’s paradise = a state of being happy for foolish —- I’m afraid that Ritu’s marital happiness is a fool’s paradise; there are rumors that her husband is unfaithful.
24. A dead letter = an agreement or a law which still exists but which people do not obey or which is not effective any more —- The ceasefire agreement was a dead letter as soon as it was signed since neither side had any intention of keeping to it.
25. A lion’s share = the largest part or most of something —- The lion’s share of the museum’s budget goes on special exhibitions.
26. A tall talk = boasting —- Rita has such a habit of indulging in tall talk that everybody listens to here stories but nobody believes them.
27. An early bird = someone who gets up or arrives early in the morning —- We farmers are early birds, you know.
28. An old flame = long time love —– He met his old flame in the market yesterday but prudently avoided eye contact.
29. An iron-will = strong will power —- Have an iron will; decide and do.
30. An old head on young shoulders = to be more matured than one’s own age —- He is an old head on young shoulders as he teaches Physics at a university at young age of 25.
31. An eye wash = a pretense —- The whole investigation was just an eye wash as no one was held guilty.
32. An open secret = already known —- It’s an open  secret  around the office that they’re having an affair.
33.  An hair-breadth escape = very narrow escape —- He had a hair-breadth escape when his bike skid on the oil drenched road.
34. At a loss = not to know what to do or say —- I’m at a loss to know how I can help you.
35. At one’s fingers tips/ends = to be expert in —- All the important topics of history are at my finger tips/ends.
36. At logger heads = to be at strife —- Congress is always at logger heads with the BJP.
37. At one’s wit end = worried and confusion —- I have a problem that has me at wit’s end, and I’m hoping you can help.
38. At random = unsystematically —- Chose a card at random from the deck.
39. At a stone’s throw = at a little distance —- Jama Masjid is at a stone’s throw from my house.
40. At the drop of the hat = that you do something easily and without any preparation —- We’re all packed and ready to go; we can leave at the drop of a hat.
41. At sea = to be confused —- He was at sea when he saw the question paper.
42. At the crack of the dawn = very early in morning —- I got up at the crack of dawn.
43. At odds = in disagreement —- Various political parties are at odds in the matter of Women Reservation Bill.
44. At sixes and sevens = in a confused, badly organized, or difficult situation —- We’ve been at sixes and sevens in the office this week.
45. At stake = ready to be won or lost; at risk; hanging in the balance. —- That’s a very risky investment. How much money is at stake?
46. At large = absconding —- Many terrorists are at large and posing serious threat to the security of India.
47. At the bottom of the ladder = at the lowest level —- Most people start work at the bottom of the ladder.
48. At the eleventh hour = at the last possible moment or opportunity —- I was shocked that they reached an agreement at the eleventh hour after weeks of arguments.
49. At/On the heels of = to follow someone —- There was a rainstorm on the heels of the windstorm.
50. At an arm’s length= to keep at a distance —- He has long fought to keep the government at arm’s length from big business.
51. Afraid of one’s own shadow = to become easily frightened —- After Mohit was robbed, he was even afraid of his own shadow.
52. Above board = honest and straightforward —- The deal was completely open and above board.
53. Against the clock = to be in a hurry to do something before a particular time —- In a race against the clock, they rushed the accident victim to the hospital.
54. Apple of someone’s eye = someone loved very much —- His youngest daughter was the apple of his eye.
55. Ask for the moon = to ask for too much —- The striking workers say they just want to be paid what they’re worth. They’re not asking for the moon.
56. Achilles’ heels = a small but fatal weakness —- I’m a good student, but I know I won’t score high enough on the scholarship test because math is my Achilles’ heel.
57. Add insult to injury = to make a bad situation worse; to hurt the feelings of a person who has already been hurt —- My car barely started this morning, and to add insult to injury, I got a flat tire in the driveway.
58. Add a new feather in one’s cap = to acquire a new honour or distinction –– It’s a real feather in our cap to be playing in the state championship.
59. Add fuel to fire = to make a matter worse —- Shouting at a crying child just adds fuel to the fire.
60. Apple of discord = something that causes unhappiness or trouble. —- Why aren’t you talking to Seema Agrawal? What is the apple of discord here?
61. After one’s own heart = similar to you —- Seeing your inclination towards art and literature, I can say that you are clearly a person after my own heart.
62. Assume airs = to pretend superiority —- After becoming an IAS officer he has assumed airs.
63. All in all = overall; mostly —- Sure, it rained on our vacation, but all in all we had a great time. 

B

1. Be above board = to be honest and legal —- I expected that big company to try to take advantage of us, but so far all of their dealings with us have been above board.
2. Be bouncing off the walls = excited and full of nervous energy —- We need to get out for a walk. The children are bouncing off the walls.
3. Be tailor made for something = to have all the right skills and  abilities for a particular task —- It  sounds as though you’re tailor-made for the job.
4. Be in good books of = to be in kind favour —- She is in good books of her employer as she is very efficient and hardworking.
5. Be in bad books of = out of favour —- She is in bad books of her parents as she went to see a movie without informing them.
6. Be in good odour of = to be in good favour —- An honest minister is always in good odour of the public.
7. Be in bad odour of = to be out of favour —- A corrupt minister is always in bad odour of the public.
8. Be as clear as mud = to be impossible to understand —- His traffic directions were as clear as mud.
9. Be on cloud nine = be very happy —- “Was Pooja pleased about getting that job?” “Pleased? She was on cloud nine!”
10. Be in the doldrums = not very successful or nothing new is taking place —- Her career was in the doldrums during those years.
11. Be in the driving seat = to take the whole responsibility —- Ramesh is the eldest son and so he is in the driving seat after his father’s death.
12. Be on the edge = to be nervous or worried about something —- After the horrible events of the last week, we are all on the edge.
13. Be in seventh heaven = extremely happy —- Neeru was really in seventh heaven when she got a car of her own.
14. Be at each other’s throat = two persons arguing angrily —- Those two are always at each other’s throats.
15. Bad egg = a worthless person —- We could tell he was a bad egg even at a young age.
16. Bad blood = feelings of hate between people —- There is no bad blood between us. I don’t know why we should quarrel.
17. Beat the drum = to promote or support someone or something —- I spent a lot of time beating the drum for our plans for the future
18. Beat the air = to make useless efforts —- Trying to reform a hard-core criminal is like beating the air.
19. Beat one’s head against the wall = to try to do something that is hopeless —- You’re wasting your time trying to figure this puzzle out. You’re just beating your head against the wall.
20. Beat one’s brain out = to work hard —- She beat her brains out studying for the exam.
21. Beat about the bush = to avoid talking about what is important —- Don’t beat around the bush, get to the point!
22. Behind closed doors = done in secret —- The planning board of the finance division constantly meets behind closed doors, in case its negotiations become known in advance.
23. Behind the scene = secretly —- A lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes.
24. Bet on/Backed the wrong horse = to misread the future —- When I voted for him I was convinced he would win, but I bet on the wrong horse.
25. Bent on doing = to be determined to do something —- I believe you are bent on destroying the entire country. I am bent on saving the planet.
26. Bend your ears = to talk to someone for a very long time about something boring —- She spent the day at a conference bending the ears of some high school teachers.
27. Bite the bullet = to face a difficult situation bravely —- hate going to the dentist, but I’ll just have to bite the bullet.
28. Bite the dust = to be defeated —- In every match , the Pakistani team bit the dust.
29. Bite your tongue = to stop yourself from saying something because it would be better not to —- wanted to tell  him  exactly what I thought of him, but I had to bite my tongue.
30. Bitter pill to swallow = an unpleasant fact that must be accepted —- It was a bitter pill for her brother to swallow when she married his enemy.
31. Below the belt = to strike unfairly —- One must compete with others in a fair manner and should not hit anyone below the belt.
32. Blow someone’s mind = excite someone —- The loud guitar music was so wild. It blew my mind.
33. Blow hot and cold– confused —- He’s been blowing  hot and  cold about the trip to Brazil.
34. Blow one’s trumpet = to praise oneself —- No one likes to talk to those who are always blowing their own trumpet.
35. Blue in the face = exhausted and speechless —- You can argue until you’re blue in the face, but I refuse to go.
36. Blue stocking = an educated intellectual lady —- She was intelligent but in no sense a blue stocking.
37. Blue blood = belonging to high social class —- Because his great-grandparents made millions, he is regarded as one of the city’s blue bloods.
38. Burn a hole in one’s pocket = to spend money quickly —- Don’t wait until the money’s  burning a hole in your pocket, plan ahead.
39. Burn one’s boats = point of no return —- By signing the agreement he burnt his boat. Now he will have to work in this organization for two more years.
40. Burn the midnight oil = to study till late of night —- I have a big exam tomorrow so I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight.
41. Button one’s lip = to keep quite —- Don’t tell him what I said, please. You know he can’t keep his lips buttoned.
42. Book worm = a person who reads a lot —- She is not a book worm but still comes first.
43. Break a leg = to wish good luck —- Let’s all go and do our best. Break a leg!
44. Break the ice = to attempt to become friends with someone —- A nice smile does a lot to break the ice.
45. Break the news = to give bad news —- He broke the news of her husband’s death very gently so as to lessen the intensity of the shock.
46. Ball of fire = an ambitious and enthusiastic person —- I always knew that Sarika would grow up to be successful—she was a real ball of fire as a kid.
47. Back stairs influence = improper and private influence —- He tried to get a government job by back stair influence
48. Black and blue = full of bruises (= black marks caused by being hit) —- He was beaten black and blue at boarding school.
49. By hook or by crook = by one means or another —- He is determined to obtain first division in his class by hook or by crook
50. By and large = on the whole —- My friend is by and large an honest person.
51. By the rule of thumb = according to practical experience —- A good rule of thumb is to plant your seedlings around the end of May.
52. By dint of = because of something —- They got the building finished on time by dint of hard work.
53. By fair or foul means = by any way right or wrong —- He will try to get a job by fair or foul means but will ultimately lose his peace of mind.
54. By fits and starts = irregularly —- The car was almost completely broken down, but by fits and starts, we were able to get it to a mechanic.
55. By and by = gradually —- The rain poured down in a torrent, but by and by, the clouds thinned and the sun eventually came out again.
56. By leaps and bounds-rapidly —- The profits of my company are increasing by leaps and bounds.
57. Bee in one’s bonnet = go on talking about something which other people think is not important —- She has a bee in her bonnet about recycling of waste material.
58. Bury the hatchet = to make peace —- India and Pakistan must bury the hatchet to bring about peace to the region.
59. Bring to light = to disclose —- He will bring to light all the points of yours to your mother.
60. Bring home = to explain —- I was unable to bring my views home before my parents.
61. Bring down the house = receive great applause —- She is a rising star as a comedian, always able to bring down the house during each performance.
62. Bring to book = to punish —- The guilty should be brought to book.
63. Beside oneself = to feel extremely nervous or worried —- Before any exam I am beside myself.
64. Besides the mark = irrelevant; not to the point —- Her answer is besides the mark, so she will not be given good marks.
65. Bed of roses = an easy and comfortable situation —- His life was a bed of roses.
66. Begin to see the light = to begin to understand —- My sister began to see the light and decided to leave her boyfriend.
67. Bag and baggage = with all things; completely; leaving behind nothing —- On his retirement Ramesh had to quit the government accommodation bag and baggage.
68. Blot out = erase or remove —- He blots out the painful memories by keeping very busy.
69. Between the devil and deep blue sea = a type of situation where you must choose between two equally unpleasant situations —- For most people a visit to the dentist is the result of a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea – if you go you suffer, and if you don’t go you suffer.
70. Bear the brunt of = to bear the main shock of —- The poor have to bear the brunt of increasing prices.
71. Bell the cat = to take first step at personal risk —- Someone has to bell the cat and tell the boss we aren’t going to come in to work on Saturdays anymore.
72. Bank upon = depend on —- You can bank upon us at the time of need.

C

1. Come across = meet by chance —- I came across a problem when I was solving the equation.
2. Come true = to prove true —- My dreams have come true as I have got selected.
3. Come home to = to understand —- The importance of the events of the day finally came home to me.
4. Come to a pass = a difficult situation —- The accident came to pass due to the negligence of the driver.
5. Come in handy = to be useful —- This money will come in handy when we go on vacation.
6. Chickenhearted = coward —- Yes, I’m a chicken-hearted boy. I never try anything too risky.
7. Count chickens before they are hatched = to plan how to utilize good results of something before those results have occurred —- You may be disappointed if you count your chickens before they hatch.
8. Crack a book = to open book to study —- You’d better start cracking the books if you  want  to  pass the test.
9. Cross swords = to argue with someone —- We don’t always agree, in fact I’ve crossed swords with her several times at committee meetings.
10. Cross a bridge before one comes to it = worry about the future in advance —- She’s always crossing bridges before coming to them. She needs to learn to relax.
11. Cross one’s mind = to occur to oneself —- I was resting when suddenly a new idea crossed my mind.
12. Crocodile tears = a false display of grief —- The prime minister’s crocodile tears belie the government’s involvement with the massacre of its citizens.
13. Cut a sorry figure = to be ashamed —- She cut a sorry figure in her maiden speech.
14. Cut throat = tough —- We face cut throat competition these days in every field.
15. Cut no ice = if something cuts no ice with someone,  it does not cause them to change their opinion or decision —- I’ve heard her excuses and they cut no ice with me.
16. Cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth = to live within one’s means —- They can’t afford a vacation abroad—they have to cut their coat according to their cloth.
17. Cut both ends = to argue in support of both sides of the issue —- Mahesh always cuts both ends and hence he has neither friends nor enemies.
18. Curry favour = to win favour by flattery —- Many developing countries curry favour with America.
19. Cave in = yield —- Finally, the manager caved in to the customer’s demands.
20. Call a spade a spade = to say the truth about something, even if it is not polite or pleasant —- Let’s call a spade a spade. The man is a liar.
21. Call names = to abuse —- He has a bad habit of calling names.
22. Carry coals to Newcastle = to do something unnecessary —- Hemant is so rich that he doesn’t need any more money. To give him a gift certificate is like carrying coals to Newcastle.
23. Carry matters with a high hand = to deal with a person strictly —- The police normally carry matters with high hand.
24. Carry the day = to win —- Sarita carried the day in the inter-school debate competition.
25. Carry the can = to take the blame or responsibility for something that is wrong or has not succeeded —- She suspected that she’d be left to carry the can for her boss’s mistakes.
26. Cast in the same mold/mould = to be very similar —- Everyone who works for that firm seems to be cast in the same mould.
27. Cast a shadow over/on sth  = to spoil a good situation with something unpleasant —- Her father’s  illness had cast a shadow over the birth of her baby.
28. Cast a slur = to bring disgrace —- Such an action would cast a slur on your reputation.
29. Change horses in midstream = to change plans —- The house is half-built. It’s too late to hire a different architect. You can’t change horses in midstream.
30. Corporal punishment = bodily punishment —- Corporal punishment is banned in schools.
31. Capital punishment = death penalty —- Capital punishment should be abolished as it is the cruelest form of punishment.
32. Cry your eyes out = to cry a lot —- I was so upset that day, I cried my eyes out.
33. Cry for the moon = to desire the unattainable —- Thinking of getting an officer’s job with so ordinary a qualification is to cry for the moon.
34. Cry over spilled milk = regret in vain for what cannot be undone —- Yes, we made a mistake, but there’s no point in crying over spilled milk.
35. Cool one’s heels = to be kept waiting —- We sat down and cooled our heels for the minister who didn’t turn up.
36. Close shave = a narrow escape —- His family had a close shave in the bus accident.
37. Cat and dog life = If people lead a cat and dog life, they are always arguing —- They were so happy together when they first started dating, but after 10 years together, they’ve started leading a cat-and-dog life.
38. Caught red-handed = to be caught while committing a crime —- Rohan felt ashamed when he was caught red handed taking bribe.
39. Child’s play = a very easy task —- It is not a child’s play to address a crowd.
40. Castles in the air = day dream/a hope or desire unlikely to be realized —- Before you start building castles in the air, just think how much all this is likely to cost.
41. Cold reception = not a hearty welcome —- She got a cold reception when she went to see her old friend.
42. Cat’s paw = a person used by another as a dupe or tool —- Poor people easily become a cat’s paw in the hands of the politicians.
43. Clip one’s wings = to weaken the power —- Sonia Gandhi clipped the wings of some ministers by withdrawing the powers delegated to them.
44. Carrot and stick = You use both awards as well as punishments to make someone do something —- Our company uses a carrot and stick; more money is the carrot, loss of your job is the stick.

D

1. Drive a wedge between = to cause people to oppose one another or turn against one another —- The argument drove a wedge between Anuj and his father.
2. Dancing on someone’s grave = to profit from someone’s misfortune —- That guy who wants to own a monopoly won’t be dancing on anyone’s grave when the police notice.
3. Dances to the tune = to always do what someone tells you to do —- Powerful local residents seem to have the city council dancing to their tune.
4. Days of reckoning = a time when the effects of one’s past mistakes or misdeed catch up with one —-  The day of reckoning seemed to have come.
5. Down and out = lacking funds, resources or prospects —- He was down and out when his house was burnt.
6. Down in the mouth = to be visibly sad or depressed —- Madan has been down in the mouth ever since Seema broke up with him.
7. Dead letter = a law or ordinance that is no longer enforced —- The state’s Sunday law is a dead letter as many stores open and conduct business on that day.
8. Dead broke = penniless —- Due to recession he has become a dead broke.
9. Dressed up to the nines = wearing fancy clothes —- Rahim went out dressed to the nines.
10. Dark horse = a person who keeps their interests and  ideas  secret, especially  someone who has a surprising ability or skill —- Neha’s such a dark horse – I had no  idea  she’d published a novel.
11. Drop in the ocean = a very small amount compared to the amount needed —- My  letter of protest was just a drop in the ocean.
12. Dutch courage = bravery under alcoholic influence —- His dutch courage will vanish when he will gain his sense.
13. Dragging your/its feet/heels = delaying in decision, not showing enthusiasm —- We don’t want to look as if we’re dragging our heels over promoting women to senior positions.
14. Die-hard = obstinately resistant to change —- He is a die-hard fan of Devanand.
15. Die a dog’s death = to fail and end —- The principle of free health care for everyone is likely to die a death in the next ten years.
16. Die in harness = die while in service —- With medicine and healthcare improving at such vast rates, far fewer people die in harness than ever before.
17. Ducks and drakes = to waste money —- I cannot allow you to play ducks and drakes with my hard earned money.
18. Dig one’s own grave = to do something which causes you harm —- You are digging your own grave by writing your pass word in your diary.
19. Don’t wash your dirty laundry/linen in public = do not talk about your private family problems in public —- Grandson: How are we going to make Dad stop drinking? Grandmother: Hush! Don’t wash your dirty linen in public.
20. Donkey work = to do the hard, boring part of a job —- Why should I do all the donkey  work while you sit around doing nothing?
21. Donkey’s years = for a long time —- I’ve been doing this job for donkey’s years.
22. Dog’s life = very miserable life —- I’ve got to go to the supermarket, then cook a meal, then pick Pooja up from the station – it’s a dog’s life!
23. Dog in the manger = someone who keeps something that they do not really want in order to prevent anyone else from having it —- Stop being such a dog in the manger and let your sister ride your bike if you’re not using it.
24. Drawn battle = a battle or match in which no party wins —- The drawn battle created a lot of excitement till the last ball.
25. Double dealing = dishonest behaviour and actions intended to deceive —- The local  business community has been destroyed by corruptioncheating and double-dealing.
26. Double-edged sword = act that will harm oneself as well as the others —- Corruption is a doubled edged sword for both the public and the Government.
27. Damp squib = complete failure though earlier thought to be exciting —- The party turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. Half the people who’d been invited didn’t turn up.
28. Draw a line = set a limit —- I like a beer or two as you know but even I draw the line at sitting in a pub on my own and drinking.

E

1. Enough and to spare = more than required —- God has given me enough and to spare; I may help you.
2. End in smoke/fiasco = come to nothing —- He spoke a lot about his new film but it all ended in smoke and it flopped on box office.
3. Ever and anon = now and then, sometimes —- He visits his parents ever and anon.
4. Eleventh hour decision = decision that is made at the last possible minute —- The government made an eleventh-hour decision to save the hospital.
5. Easy money = bribe —- Many officers make easy money.
6. Eagle eyed = with keen eye sight —- The umpire kept his eagle eye on the tennis match.
7. Hardly/scarcely earth-shattering = not very surprising or shocking —– We were all expecting the announcement. It wasn’t exactly earth-shattering news.
8. Eat one’s words = take a statement back —- I warned my friend to be very careful in her speech otherwise she would have to eat her own words.
9. Eat humble pie = to act very humble when one is shown to be wrong —- You think you’re so smart. I hope you have to eat humble pie.
10. Elbow room = sufficient scope to move or function —- We were tightly squashed in at dinner, with very little elbow room.
11. Elephant in the room = an elephant in the room is a problem that everyone knows very well but no one talks about because it’s embarrassing —- We all sat sipping our tea quietly; no one wanting to bring up the elephant in the room about Hema’s expulsion from college.
12. Eke out = supplement income —- To eke out his income he also works as a part time accountant in the evening.
13. Every dog has his day = good fortune comes sooner or later —- When he bagged three movies in a row, he realized that every dog has his day.
14. Every Inch = Completely —- She is an honest person by every inch.
15. Egg on your face = If someone has egg on their face; they are made to look foolish or embarrassed —- I was completely wrong, and now I have egg on my face.
16. Egg on = to urge somebody —- The Captain egged the players on to continue to play foul till the end of the match.
17. Eye for an eye = Punishment in which an offender suffers what the victim has suffered —- If you murder someone you deserve to die. An eye for an eye.
18. See eye-to-eye = showing agreement/to agree —- The two competitors never see eye to eye.
19. Eyes are bigger than one’s stomach = one has taken more food than one can eat —- I can’t eat all this. I’m afraid that my eyes were bigger than my stomach.
20. Eye wash = ineffective remedy which is just for show —- The committee set up to look into the multiple scams was just an eye wash.

F

1. From cradle to grave = during the whole span of your life —- You can feel secure and well-protected from the cradle to the grave.
2. From the bottom of one’s heart = very sincerely —- I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for his timely help.
3. From hand to mouth = to pass life in difficulty —- My father earned very little and there were four kids, so we lived from hand to mouth.
4. From pillar to post = rush in all directions and suffer much harassment —- You may rush from pillar to post, but you stand no chance of getting what you want without a bribe.
5. Fringe benefits = an additional benefit apart from salary —- Fringe benefits include a company car and free health insurance.
6. Few and far between = very rare —- The houses in this remote village are few and far away.
7. Fish in troubled waters = to take advantage of the trouble of others —- Shrewd businessmen fish in troubled waters when there is scarcity of things.
8. Face the music =to accept punishment for something you have done —- Every leader has to face the music if he doesn’t fulfill promises made by him.
9. Feel the pinch = to have problems with money —- Consumers have felt the pinch of higher pulse prices.
10. Feel the pulse of = to survey something to learn about its progress or state —- Two executives came in to take the pulse of the local business unit.
11. Fan the flame = to aggravate —- I don’t want to fan the flame of the tension between the husband and the wife.
12. Few and far between = very rare —- Some people think that good movies are few and far between.
13. Fall on your own sword = to accept defeat —- So, because I lost the contract, I am supposed to fall on my sword or something?
14. Fall/Land on our feet = have good luck or success —- After some ups and downs he has finally landed on his feet.
15. Fall flat = to have no effect —- The minister’s speech fell flat on the audience.
16. Fall short = to lack something; to lack enough of something, such as money, time, etc. —- We fell short of money at the end of the month.
17. Fingers and thumbs = to move your hands in an awkward way —- I’m all  fingers  and  thumbs today. That’s the second plate I’ve dropped this morning.
18. Flash in the pan = sudden success —- The success of Indian cricket team is never constant and steady. It is generally a flash in the pan.
19. Fair weather friend = selfish friend —- I thought Ankita and I had a strong friendship, but I learned she was just another fair-weather friend when she stopped talking to me after my divorce.
20. Follow your nose = go in a straight line —- Turn left, then just follow your nose and you’ll see the shop on your left.
21. Follow suit = to act in a like manner —- If you do not obey your elders, your children will follow suit.
22. Fool’s paradise = A fool’s paradise is a false sense of happiness or success —- I’m afraid that Neha’s marital happiness is a fool’s paradise; there are rumors that her husband is unfaithful.
23. Fool’s errand = a fruitless mission or undertaking —- Many projects of Mohammad-bin-tuglaq were fool’s errand.
24. Foot in mouth = to say something stupid, insulting, or hurtful —- When I told Neeru that her hair was more beautiful than I had ever seen it, I really put my foot in my mouth. It was a wig.
25. Foot the bill = bear expenses —– Although he hosted the feast, his brother had to foot the bill.
26. French leave = leave without information —- If you take French leave, you will be fined.
27. Fair and square = honestly and straightforwardly —- We won the match fair and square.
28. For a song = If you buy or sell something for a song, it is very cheap —- She bought the bed for a song at an auction.
29. For good = forever; permanently —- They tried to repair it many times before they fixed it for good.
30. Flesh and blood = the quality of being alive —- The paintings of this artist are lifeless. They lack flesh and blood.
31. Feather in one’s cap = something that you achieve and proud of —- A new television series will be another feather in his cap.
32. Flog a dead horse = to waste one’s energy —- He keeps trying to get it published but I think he’s flogging a dead horse.
33. Fancy price = very high cost —- I have paid a fancy price for this ordinary table.
34. Firing on all cylinders = to be operating as powerfully and effectively as possible —- Hitesh will be firing on all cylinders after two months of fitness training.
35. Foul Play = a criminal act that results in serious damage or  injury, especially murder —- It is not clear what caused the explosion, but the police do not suspect foul play.
36. Fight to the finish = fight to the end —- Indian Army has vowed to fight to the fish and turn every intruder out of Indian territory.
37. Fly off the handle = to lose one’s temper —- When his father questioned him about money, he flew off the handle.
38. Fair sex = women — Neha’s father hated the idea of me joining the army. He always said it wasn’t a suitable occupation for the fair sex.

G

1. Get off scot-free = to escape without punishment —- My younger sister caused endless trouble as a child, but because she was the baby of the house, she usually got off scot-free.
2. Get into a scrape = find oneself in a difficult or awkward situation —- By signing the bond he will get into a scrape.
3. Get off the hook = free from all obligations —- Ankit’s agreed to go to the meeting in my place, so that lets me off the hook.
4. Get the better of = to defeat someone —- She played well, but her opponent got the better of her.
5. Get into hot waters = get into trouble —- He’s finally paid his tuition fee and is out of hot water with the school.
6. Get a raw deal = bad or unfair treatment —- He said that many children in the city’s schools were getting/being given a raw deal by being taught in classes that were too large
7. Get wind of = to know the secret = The police got wind of the illegal drug deal.
8. Got the wind up = to become nervous or frightened —- When he saw  his  opponent  he got the wind  up.
9. Got the slap on the wrist = got light punishment —- They rob someone on the street and they get a slap on the wrist – thirty days in jail.
10. Get away with = to succeed in avoiding punishment for something —- If I  thought I could get away with it, I wouldn’t pay my taxes at all.
11. Get on one’s nerves = to annoy someone a lot —- Sometimes watching TV really gets on my nerves because of all the commercials.
12. Get rid of = take action so as to be free of a troublesome or unwanted person or thing —- We have been campaigning to get rid of the car tax for 20 years.
13. Grease the palm = to bribe —- You should not grease the palm of anyone to eradicate the corruption.
14. Gain ground = to progress/advance —- Due to the misgovernance by the ruling party, the opposition is gaining ground.
15. Go back on one’s word = to break a promise that one has made —- Going back on your promise makes you a liar.
16. Go to the dogs = to become worse in quality or character —- It is sad to report that this once first-class hotel has gone to the dogs.
17. Go broke = to completely run out of money and other assets —- I made some bad investments last year, and it looks as if I may go broke this year.
18. Go oneself into a mess = to drift into trouble —- I got into a real mess at work.
19. Go bananas = If you go bananas, you are wild with excitement, anxiety, or worry —- Sorry, I just went bananas for a minute.
20. Go/Come under the hammer = If something goes under the hammer, it is sold in an auction —- private  collection of her early paintings is expected to go/come under the hammer next year.
21. Go through fire and water = to experience many difficulties or dangers in order to achieve something —- They went through fire and water to ensure the prince’s safety.
22. Give a wide berth = to keep a reasonable distance from someone or something; to steer clear —- The dog we are approaching is very mean. Better give it a wide berth.
23. Give someone a bird = to make a very impolite sign by raising your middle finger towards someone in order to show that you are angry with them —- If he’d shouted at me like that I’d have flipped him the bird.
24. Give up the ghost = to die —- My grandfather gave up to ghost last Sunday.
25. Give a good account of oneself = to do well or thoroughly —- Harish gave a good account of himself when he gave his speech last night.
26. Give me a hand = to give someone help —- Could you give me a hand with these  suitcases?
27. Give the devil his due = even the wicked person should be given the credit due to him —- I don’t like the man but – give the devil his due – he works incredibly hard.
28. Give currency = to make publicly known —- We give no currency to those stories. His actions gave currency to the rumor that he was about to leave.
29. Give cold shoulder = pay no attention to —- He went to the police for help but they gave him cold shoulder.
30. Give someone a piece of your mind = If you give someone a piece of your mind, you criticize them strongly and angrily —- I’m going to give that mechanic a piece of my mind if the car’s not  fixed this time.
31. Give somebody enough rope = to allow someone to do what he wants to, knowing that he will probably fail or get into trouble —- I let him speak on, knowing that he would offend the director, and gave him just enough rope.
32. Good Samaritan = one who helps strangers —- His father is really a good Samaritan.
33. Green horn = an inexperienced or immature person, especially one who is easily deceived —- He incurred heavy loss because he relied on the green horn who was his own nephew.
34. Good turn = an act of kindness —- You did me a good turn warning me that Reema was going to be there.
35. Great hand = expert —- She is a great hand at organizing public meetings.
36. Gentleman at large = wealthy man with time on his hands —- Here he was, talking like a gentleman at large who was free to come and go and roam about the world at pleasure.
37. Golden opportunity = very favourable opportunity or chance —- He missed the golden opportunity by declining the offer.
38. Gala day = celebration day —- Republic Day is a gala day for whole of India.
39. Green room = a lounge in a theater or studio for the performers to get ready —- When I got backstage for the interval the green room was still fairly quiet.

H

1. Hard-nosed = Tough and aggressive —- His hard-nosed business approach is  combined with a very real concern for the less fortunate in society.
2. Hard and fast = definite —- There is no hard and fast rule for solving these numerical questions.
3. Hard of hearing = unable to hear well or partially deaf —- Anuj is hard of hearing, but is not totally deaf.
4. Hard pressed = having a lot of difficulties doing something, especially because there is not enough time or money —-The latest education reforms have put extra  pressure  on  teachers who are already hard-pressed.
5. Hard nut to crack = difficult person or problem to deal with —- This problem is getting me down. It’s a hard nut to crack.
6. Have/Give a go = make an attempt —- never  sat  on a horse before but I’ll give it a go.
7. Have a big mouth = one who gossips more or tells secret —- You shouldn’t say things like that about people all the time. Everyone will say you have a big mouth.
8. Have an eye = have an extra talent —- She has a good eye for detail.
9. Have the mind = have the willingness —- The captain of the guard looked as if he had a mind to challenge them.
10. Have one’s hands full = to be completely occupied/busy —- You have your hands full with managing the store.
11. Have a one track mind = to think about one particular thing and nothing else —- And no, Riya, I wasn’t talking about sex – you have a one-track mind!
12. Have one’s way = the way one wants —- Karuna always has to have her own way when it comes to dividing responsibilities for group assignments.
13. Hen-pecked husband = of a man, thoroughly and continually dominated by a woman, especially his wife or girlfriend. —- I hope I never become some henpecked husband like my father was.
14. Hold in camera = not open to the public —- The trial was held in camera because the accused  was only 14 years old.
15. Hold one’s jaw = to stop talking —- Please hold your jaw else I shall go away.
16. Hold good = valid/applicable —- Rule of triple talaq doesn’t hold good even in the Islamic countries.
17. Hold the enemy at bay = prevented the enemy from coming near —- I held the attacker at bay while Rubina got away and called the police.
18. Hold one’s ground/fort = to stand firm —- The Indian soldiers held their ground to the end.
19. Hold one’s horse = be patient —- Now, just hold your horses and let me explain.
20. Hold water = to stand up to critical examination —- Your argument does not hold water.
21. Hot water = trouble —- Your brother is in hot water due to his controversial speech.
22. Herculean task = work required great effort —- It is a herculean task for the government to eliminate poverty from the country.
23. Harp on the same string = to keep on talking on the same topic —- Hari is always harping on the same string about how little money he makes.
24. Hang in balance = have two equally possible results/be uncertain —- After the opposition party won the election, whether or not the new highway will be built, hangs in the balance.
25. Hang by a thread = be in a risky situation —- The mayor’s political future has been  hanging by a thread since the fraud scandal.
26. Hang over one’s head = to have something bothering or worrying one —- He committed suicide because troubles and court cases hung over his head.
27. High and low = everywhere —- I searched high and low for a new teacher.
28. High and dry = in a deprived situation (alone) —- All the children ran away and left Sangeeta high and dry to take the blame for the broken window.
29. High and mighty = behaving as though one is more important than others — He could punish her for being high and mighty.
30. High words = angry words —- High words passed between them.
31. Himalayan blunder = a serious mistake —- He committed a Himalayan blunder by leaving for work without his body guards and was shot dead.
32. Hammer and tongs = with great effort or energy —- What started as a minor disagreement has escalated into a heated argument, and the two have been going at it hammer and tongs ever since.
33. Heart and soul = with complete faith and dedication —- He has put heart and soul in his work.
34. Heart to heart = very frankly —-The two friends had a heart to heart talk as they met after many years.
35. Hand in glove = if one person or organization is working hand in glove with another, they are working together, often to do something dishonest —- It was rumoured at the time that some of the gangs were working hand in glove with the police.
36. Hand to mouth = having only just enough money to live —- Low wages mean a hand-to-mouth existence for many people.
37. Hit the bull’s-eye = to achieve the goal perfectly —- Your idea really hit the bull’s-eye. Thank you!
38. Hit below the belt = to strike unfairly —- Manoj hit below the belt when he said it was all her fault because she had become ill during the trip.
39. Hit the jackpot = to have a big success or make a big profit, usually through luck —- He seems to have hit the jackpot with his new invention.
40. Hit the nail on the head = to act in the right way —- You have hit the nail on the head by making the bid at the right time.
41. Hobson’s choice = no alternative —- It’s  a case of Hobson’s choice, because if I don’t  agree to their terms, I’ll lose my job.
42. Hue and cry = any loud public outcry —- There was a hue and cry when the city government tried to build houses on the playing field.

I

1. In the red = in debt —- What with all those car repairs, we’re going to be in the red this month.
2. In the blues = in dumps, depressed —- After his failure in the examination he is in the blues these days.
3. In a fix = in a difficult mental state —- He was in a fix when he saw his mother in ICU.
4. In a fair way = hopeful —- The doctor feels that patient is in a fair way on to recovery.
5. In doldrums = to be depressed —- He was found in doldrum when he could not succeed even in his third attempt.
6. In tune = in a mood —- The teacher asked the students if they were in tune for study.
7. In a tight corner = in difficult situation —- I found myself in a tight corner when I lost my journey ticket.
8. In cold blood = to do something deliberately —-The child was murdered in cold blood.
9. In no time = in a very short time —- He can solve any mathematical problem in no time.
10. In a flutter = excited —-My sister is in a flutter today because she is going for the interview.
11. In a nutshell = in very brief form —- She put the matter in a nutshell.
12. In one’s teens = from thirteen to nineteen years of age —- He is still in his teens so he won’t marry.
13. In black and white = in printed or written form —- She had abandoned all hope of getting her contract down in black and white.
14. In the air = in circulation/in people’s thoughts —- Spring is in the air, and many people’s thoughts are turning to travel.
15. In lieu of = instead of —- They gave some books in lieu of payment for the work I did.
16. In the family way = pregnant —- She has applied for leave as she is in the family way.
17. In full swing = at a stage when the level of activity is at its highest —- When we got there, the party was in full swing.
18. In quest of = in search of —- They went into town in quest of a reasonably priced restaurant.
19. In the good books of = to be in favour with a person —- People usually flatter their boss to remain in their good books.
20. In the long run = over or after a long period of time; eventually —- It saves money in the long run.
21. In the nick of time = at the last possible moment —- We got there just in the nick of time.
22. In the prime of life = in the best and most productive and healthy period of life —- The good health of one’s youth can carry over into the prime of life.
23. In the limelight = at the centre of attention —- Mahima always tries to remain in the lime light.
24. In the same boat = sharing the same problems —- Suddenly Ranjan was in the same boat as any other worker who had lost a job.
25. In vogue = in the current fashions —- This style of coat is no longer in vogue.
26. Ins and outs = secrets —- The servants are generally familiar with the ins and outs of the family.
27. Ivory tower = imaginary world —-Those who talk of non-violence as a useful tool in international politics live in Ivory tower.
28. Iron hand/Iron fist = rigorous control —- He ruled the company with an iron hand.
29. Itsy-bitsy = very small or tiny —- She has these itsy-bitsy little hands and feet.

J

1. Jack of all trades and master of none = a person who knows many different kinds of work but is a master of none —- It’s true he does a lot of things, but he probably doesn’t do them all terribly well. A jack of all trades is a master of none, you know.
2. Jail bird = A criminal who has been jailed repeatedly —- This guy doesn’t learn his lesson, he’s such a jail bird.
3. Jump to a conclusions = to guess the facts about a situation without having enough information —- Don’t jump to conclusions! Perhaps it was his daughter he was dancing with.
4. Jump on the bandwagon = if people jump on the bandwagon, they get involved in something that has recently become very popular —- After a couple of politicians won elections by  promising  to  cut taxes, most of the others jumped on the bandwagon.
5. Jump the gun = if you jump the gun, you start doing something before the appropriate time —- When we took the test, Meera jumped the gun and started early.
6. Jump the track = jumping the track is suddenly changing from one plan, activity, idea, etc, to another —- Seema’s mind jumped the track while she was in the play, and he forgot his lines.
7. Jet-black = a completely black colour —- After emitting a Jet Black he was admitted to the hospital.
8. Just for the record = let me make myself clear —- Just for the record, I didn’t vote for him.

K

1. Keep one’s cards close to one’s chest = hiding something —- I never know what Sonika’s next move will be. She plays his cards close to his chest.
2. Keep one’s fingers crossed = to hope that things will happen in the way that you want them to —- Let’s  keep  our  fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain.
3. Keep at an arm’s length = to keep at a distance —- You must keep bad habits at arm’s length.
4. Keep one’s word = to keep one’s promise —- You know that I always keep my word.
5. Keep at bay = to keep someone at a distance —- He held the police at bay with a gun for several hours.
6. Keep the ball rolling = to maintain the progress of a project or plan —- Suresh started the project, and we kept the ball rolling.
7. Keep body and soul together = to be able to pay for just those things that you need in order to live —- They can barely keep body and soul together on what he earns.
8. Keep the wolf from the door = have enough money to avert hunger or starvation —- I work part-time to pay the mortgage and keep the wolf from the door.
9. Keep the pot boiling = to keep going on actively —- One has to keep the pot boiling in spite of all odds one has to face in life.
10. Keep an eye on = to watch or give your attention to someone or something —- The woman kept a close eye on her purse.
11. Keep one’s eye on the ball = to remain alert to the events occurring around oneself —- Rohit would do better in his classes if he would just keep his eye on the ball.
12. Keep a level head = remain cool and composed —- It’s not easy to keep a level head when you’re under strong emotion.
13. Keep up appearance = to keep one’s prestige/to maintain outward show —- In spite of being a bankrupt, he is able to keep up his appearance.
14. Keep your nose clean = keep out of trouble —- Our son Arun is in trouble with the police again. I really wish he’d learn to keep his nose clean.
15. Keep an open table = to entertain all —- It is not very difficult to keep an open table in a party.
16. Keeps a good table = to be a good host —- I kept a good table when my guests visited me.
17. Kiss the dust = to be humiliated —- In Indo-China war our enemies had to kiss the dust.
18. Knock against = to hit against —- I couldn’t see the transparent door and knocked against it.
19. Kangaroo court = an illegal court —- You have turned this interview into a kangaroo court.
20. Kick one’s heels = wait impatiently to be summoned —- The whole day we kicked our heels outside the court room.
21. Kick the bucket = to die —- He kicked the bucket and left his family in extreme financial difficulty.
22. Kill two birds with one stone = to  succeed in achieving two things in a single action —- killed two birds with one stone and picked the kids up on the way to the supermarket.
23. Kith and kin = friends and relatives; people known to someone —- I was delighted to find all my kith and kin waiting for me at the airport to welcome me home.
24. Kick your heels = to be forced to wait for a period of time —- I’m fed up kicking my heels at home while all my friends are out enjoying themselves.

L

1. Lady’s man = a man who is fond of the company of women —- The new boss is always flirting with the women in the office. He’s a bit of a ladies’ man.
2. Lose the day = to be defeated —- My favourite football team lost the day.
3. Lay bare = to make something obvious that was not known before —- Her story lays bare the conflicts between two ambitious brothers.
4. Look blank = be expressionless, appear dumbstruck —-When I asked her how to get to the hospital, she looked blank.
5. Look down upon = to hate a person —- I hate those people who look down upon the poor.
6. Live-wire = energetic —- Vaibhav’s such a live wire that it’s tough to keep up with his stories!
7. Lame excuse = false excuse/ baseless excuse —- You should not make lame excuses to avoid work.
8. Laugh in one’s sleeves = to laugh secretly —- Our neighbours laughed in their sleeves when they saw my grandfather wearing a pair of fashionable goggles.
9. Long and short = all that can or need be said —- The long and short of the whole discussion will be made available soon.
10. Like a fish out of water = in a very awkward manner —- When I am with your friends, I feel like a fish out of water.
11. Live in an ivory tower = where one can be aloof from the realities of life —- The queen lived in an ivory tower and did not know the meaning of poverty.
12. Let the grass grow under the feet = to not waste time by delaying doing something —- We can’t let the grass grow under our feet – we’ve really got to get going with this project.
13. Let nature take its course = to allow someone to live or die naturally —- He could be kept alive artificially, but I think it would be kinder to let nature take  its  course.
14. Let by-gones be by-gones = to forget old things —- India and Pakistan must start bi-lateral talks and let by-gones be by-gones.
15. Let the cat out of the bag = reveal the secret —- I was trying to keep the party a  secret, but Sangeeta went and let the cat out of the bag.
16. Leave high and dry = to leave someone helpless —- All my workers quit and left me high and dry.
17. Leave no stone unturned = to make all possible efforts —- He worked very hard to pass the Combined Graduate Level Exam and left no stone unturned.
18. Lion’s share = large part —- The lion’s share of the museum’s budget goes on special exhibitions.
19. Leaps and bounds = rapidly —- The profits of my company are increasing by leaps and bound.
20. Leap in the dark = to do something though there is uncertainty about the outcome —- To play lottery is to leap in the dark.
21. Look through coloured glasses = with an attitude that things are better than they really are —- Looked at through rose-colored glasses, the story of women’s role in the state’s politics could be considered a success.
22. Lick the dust = to get defeated —- The team licked the dust in the final match.
23. Look off colour = look ill or unhealthy —- She is looking a bit off-colour today.
24. Lead by the nose = to lead someone by coercion/to guide someone very carefully —- I had to lead him by the nose to the meeting. He will never find his way through the admission form unless you lead him by the nose.

M

1. Man of means = someone who has a lot of money —- I could tell from her address that she was a woman of means.
2. Man of iron = man with strong will-power —- Nothing can deter a man of iron.
3. Man of letter = a man, usually a writer, who knows a lot about literature —- A distinguished statesman and man of letters, he was born just before the turn of the century.
4. Man in the street = common man —- The life of a man in the street has become very difficult because of rising price.
5. Man of spirit = a courageous man —- Bhagat Sing was a man of spirit.
6. Man of word = true to one’s word —- I’ve found Himanshu to be a man of his word so far, so I’m confident he’ll get us the best deal possible.
7. Man of the world = an experienced person —- You’re a man of the world, Shiv, I’d appreciate your advice on a rather delicate matter.
8. Move heaven and earth = to do everything you can to achieve something —- He’ll move heaven and earth to get it done on time.
9. Midas touch = a touch which turns anything into gold/ability to success in all projects —- Today’s  market  has convinced dozens of kids barely out  of college  that  they’ve  got  the Midas touch.
10. Meet half-way = to compromise with someone —- They settled the argument by agreeing to meet each other halfway.
11. Middle of the road = avoiding extremes; moderate. —- They adopted a sensible, middle-of-the-road  policy  on  defence spending.
12. Maiden name = a women’s surname before marriage —- Mrs Meera’s maiden name was Pinky.
13. Maiden speech = first speech —- Reena cut a very good figure in her maiden speech.
14. Make much of = to give a lot of importance to something —- Don’t make too much of the test results.
15. Make both ends meet = to have just enough money to pay for the things that you need —- My wages were so low that I had to take a second job just to make ends meet.
16. Make one’s mark = to achieve distinction —- India has made its mark in the field of technology.
17. Make hay while the sun shines = to take the benefit of an opportunity —- Pushpa: While my husband’s out of town, I’m going to watch all the movies he wouldn’t take me to see. Ritu: Why not? Make hay while the sun shines.
18. Make out = to understand —- I could not make out what he was saying.
19. Make a mountain out of a mole hill = to make a slight difficulty seem like a  serious problem —- You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. You wrote  one  bad  essay – it doesn’t mean you’re going to fail.
20. Make castles in the air = to daydream; to make plans that can never come true —- I really like to sit on the porch in the evening, just building castles in the air.
21. Make a fortune = to grow rich —- He made a fortune by selling smuggled goods.
22. Make one’s bed and lie on it = suffer the consequences of one’s actions —- It’s unfortunate that it turned out badly, but Preeti made her bed and now she must lie in it.
23. Make amends = to compensate —- He had to make amends for his bad behavior.
24. Make a dry face = show disappointment —- She made a dry face after the refusal.
25. Make head or tail of = to understand —- The doctor could not make the head or tail of his illness.
26. Make up one’s mind = to determine —- She has made up her mind to divorce her cruel husband.

N

1. Null and void = having no legal force —- The election was  declared null and void.
2. Narrow escape/Close Shave = to escape by a little margin —- Wow, that was a close shave. I thought the guard would spot us.
3. Not having a leg to stand for = not having proof —- If you have no witnesses, you don’t have a leg to stand on.
4. Not to mince words = to say what you mean clearly and directly, even if you upset people by doing this —- The report does not mince words, describing  the  situation  as foolish.
5. Neither chick nor child = no child —- She feels very lonely because she has neither chick nor child.
6. No smoke without fire = If unpleasant things are said about someone or something, there is probably a good reason for it —- She says the accusations are not true, but there’s no smoke without fire.
7. No love lost = having no love —- There is no love lost between these two neighbours who are fighting an endless court case.
8. Nook and corner = at every place —- I searched for my book at every nook and corner of the house.
 9. Now and then = occasionally; infrequently —- I read a novel every now and again.
10. Nine day’s wonder = something that arouses great interest but for a very short period — Don’t worry about the story about you in the newspaper. It’ll be a nine days’ wonder and then people will forget.

O

1. On the bandwagon = with the majority —- Chandan always has to climb on the bandwagon. He does no independent thinking.
2. On one’s guard = alert against someone or something —- Try to stay on guard against pickpockets
3. On pins and needles = anxious; in suspense —- We were on pins and needles until we heard that your plane had landed safely.
4. On the carpet = to be in trouble with someone in authority —- He’s going to be on the carpet for his rudeness.
5. On the hook = If you are off the hook, you have escapedfrom a difficult situation —- Vikas’s agreed to go to the meeting in my place so that gets/lets me off the hook.
6. On and off/Off and on = occasionally, now and again —- He only came to class on and off.
7. On the cards = to be likely to happen —- “So you think they’ll get married next  year?” “I think it’s on the cards.”
8. On one’s last legs = a person who is on their last legs is very tired or near to death —- We’d been out walking all day and I was on my last legs when we reached the hotel.
9. On and on = to continue —- She went on and on but nobody listened to her.
10. Open Pandora’s box = to discover more problems —- You should be cautious with people who are upset. You don’t want to open Pandora’s box.
11. Open secret = known to all —- He is bankrupt and this is an open secret now.
12. Open question = an unresolved issue, one that has not been finally determined —- Whether the town should pave all the unpaved roads remains an open question.
13. Once in a blue moon = very rarely —- My sister lives in the USA, so I only see her once in a blue moon.
14. Order of the day = some common things of the time —- Following new fashion is the order of the day.
15. Over the moon = being too happy —- They’re going on holiday on Wednesday so they’re all over the moon.
16. Old flames die hard = it’s very difficult to forget old things —- Renu retired last year, but she still gets up as early as she used to when she had to go to work. Old habits die hard.
17. On the wrong side of forty/fifty, etc. = looking younger/older than a particular age —- She looks to me as if she’s on the wrong side of 50.
18. Once and for all = completely and finally —- We have to decide, once and for all, whether we want to ask Dad for money.
19. Once in a while = occasionally, not very often —- Once in a while I enjoy going fishing.
20. Once for all/Once and for all = for the last time / permanently —- I’m going to get this place organized once and for all!
21. Off-hand = no longer under one’s jurisdiction, within one’s responsibility, or in one’s care —- We finally got that project off our hands.
22. Oily tongue = flattering words —- You can win almost everyone with oily tongue.
23. Oil someone’s hands = to bribe —- We should stop oiling the officials’ hands.
24. One’s cup of tea = something suitable, appropriate,  or attractive to one —- Horror movies are just not my cup of tea.
25. Out and out = complete or in every way; used to emphasize an unpleasant quality  of a person or thing —- The whole project was an out-and-out disaster.
26. Out of the wood = out of difficulties —- At last India came out of the wood and got independence.
27. Out of place = awkward and unwelcome —- I feel out of place at formal dances.
28. Out of pocket = without money —- We can’t go; I’m out of pocket right now.
29. Out of question = to be an event that cannot possibly happen —- There’s no question of agreeing to the demands.
30. Out of thin air = appear suddenly —- Suddenly, out of thin air, the messenger appeared.

P

1. Pick someone to pieces = to criticize someone or something harshly or unduly —- You have just picked her to pieces. Leave her alone!
2. Pour oil on troubled waters = to pacify the anger of others —- He solved the matter by pouring oil on troubled waters with his good behaviour.
3. Pen is mightier than the sword = thinking and writing have more influence on  people and  events than the use of  force or violence —- Believing that the pen is mightier than the sword, the rebels began publishing an underground newspaper.
4. Part and parcel = if something is part and parcel of an experience, it is a necessary part of that experience which cannot be avoided —- Being recognised in the street is all part and parcel of being famous.
5. Piece of cake = a very easy task or accomplishment —- I thought I was going to fail the test, but it turned out to be a piece of cake!
6. Petticoat-Government = rule by, or undue influence of women —- Petticoat government may adversely influence your whole project.
7. Paint the town red = to go out and enjoy yourself in the evening, often drinking a lot of alcohol and dancing —- Varun finished his exams today so he’s gone out to paint the town red.
8. Pros and cons = advantages and disadvantages —- We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of buying a house.
9. Pay one back in one’s own coin = tit for tat —- The person doing wrong should be paid back in his own coin.
10. Pay through the nose = to pay too much for something —- If you bring a car into the city, you have to pay through the nose for parking it.
11. Past master = an expert —- He is a past master in cheating others.
12. Prodigal son = a man or boy who has left his family in order to do something that the  family disapprove of and has now returned home feeling sorry for what he has done —- The prodigal son has returned to the team after a three-year absence.
13. Pull ones’ legs = to make fun of or to tease —- Don’t believe him. He’s just pulling your leg.
14. Pull the string = to exercise secret influence —- When I saw extreme level of red-tapism in the organization, I had to pull my strings to get my work done.
15. Pull a long face = to get angry —- She pulls a long face when her mother scolds her.
16. Pull up the shocks = to make an effort to improve your work or behaviour because it is not good enough —- He’s going to have to pull his socks up if he wants to stay in the team.
17. Pick/Pull to pieces = to criticize someone or something severely —- The  moment  she left, the rest of the family started to pull her to pieces.
18. Play second fiddle = to be at a subordinate position —- I’m tired of playing second fiddle to John. I’m better trained than he, and I have more experience.
19. Play one’s cards well = to do the correct things to achieve a desired result —- If you play your cards well, you will get selected.
20. Play fast and loose = be unreliable —- How can you trust a man who plays fast and loose changing his statement every minute?
21. Play ducks and drakes = to waste money —- He played ducks and drakes with his property.
22. Play a double game = to act dubiously —- My friend was playing a double game.
23. Play the fool = to act foolishly —- Why do you play the fool when it comes to spending money?
24. Put a spoke in one’s wheel = to spoil someone else’s plans and stop them from doing something —- Tell him you’re using the car that weekend – that should put a spoke in his wheel.
25. Put up with = to tolerate —- Maharana Pratap could not put up with insult.
26. Put in cold storage = to keep a work pending —- He aims to please even if it means putting his principles in cold storage.
27. Put to the sword = to kill —- Nadir Shah put even children to the sword.
28. Put one’s foot down = to use your authority to stop  something happening —- When she  started  borrowing  my clothes without asking, I had to put my foot down.
29. Put the saddle on the right horse = to blame the really guilty person —- The court put the saddle on the right horse and passed the right order.
30. Put the cart before the horse = to do things in the wrong order —- Deciding what to wear before you’ve even been invited to the party is rather putting the cart before the horse, isn’t it?
31. Put pen to paper = to start writing —- In my board examination I put my pen to paper without wasting a second.
32. Put the cat among pigeons = to do or say something that causes trouble and makes a lot of people angry or worried —- Tell them all they’ve got to work on Saturday. That should set the cat among the pigeons.
33. Put an end to = put a stop to something —- The lights went out, and that put an end to our game of cards.

Q

1. Quarrel with one’s bread and butter = to fight with the executive or employer, who is providing one’s means of living —- He quarreled with bread and butter and lost his job.
2. Quiet as a cat = to make very little noise —- You must have been quiet as a cat  because I did not hear a thing.
3. Quiet as a mouse = if someone’s as quiet as a mouse, they make absolutely no noise —- She was as quiet as a mouse. I didn’t even know she’d come in.
4. Queer somebody’s pitch = upset one’s plan —- She queered my pitch by asking for promotion before I did.
5. Queer fish = a strange person —- I knew his father and he was a queer fish too.

R

1. Red carpet = if you give someone the red-carpet treatment, you give them a special welcome to show that you think they are important —- The minister was given the red-carpet treatment.
2. Red tape = strict adherence to excessive paper work and official formalities —- We must cut through the red tape.
3. Red letter day = a memorably important or happy occasion —- The day I first set  foot in America was a red-letter day for me.
4. Red rag to a bull = something that will surely produce a violent reaction —- The racial comments against the Indians proved to be a red rag to a bull and the riot took place.
5. Reduce to ashes = if something is reduced to ashes, it is destroyed or made useless —- His infidelities reduced their relationship to ashes.
6. Rub shoulders with = to meet and spend time with —- He claims to have rubbed shoulders with Salman Khan during his journey to Sydney.
7. Read between the lines = to understand the hidden meaning —- After listening to what she said, if you read between the lines, you can begin to see what she really means.
8. Rolling stone gathers no moss = said to mean that a person who is always  travelling  and changing jobs has the advantage of having no responsibilities, but also has disadvantages such as having no permanent place to live —- Dev was a bit of a rolling stone before he married and  settled  down.
9. Roll up one’s sleeves = to prepare for hard work —- There’s a lot of work to do, so roll up your sleeves and get busy.
10. Rise to the occasion = to show that you can deal with a difficult situation —- Mahatma Gandhi rose to the occasion and dared the British.
11. Ride the high horse = to feel proud —- She is riding the high horse because of her father’s recent success in the business
12. Rain cats and dogs = rain very heavily —- It’s raining cats and dogs out there! It’s a wonder any of the men can see what they’re doing!
13. Rule the roost = to be the person who makes all the decisions in a group —- In that family it is the grandma who rules the roost.
14. Rock the boat = if you rock the boat, you do or say something that will upset  people or cause problems —-Don’t rock the boat until the negotiations are finished.
15. Run short/Hard up = not proving sufficient, shortage of money/something —- I am running short of money these days. If you are hard up, you can come to me.
16. Run down = reduced in health/to criticize —- I was worried because she looked run down.
17. Run riot = If people run riot, they behave in a way that is not controlled,  running in all directions or being noisy or violent —- dread them coming here because they  let their kids run riot.

S

1. See red = to become very angry —- People who don’t  finish job really make me see red.
2. See the light = to be born —- Many female babies are aborted before they see the light.
3. See through = not be deceived by; detect the true nature of —- He can see through her lies and deceptions.
4. Shake a leg = to go fast, hurry —- She told me to shake a leg, so I hurried the best I could.
5. Sail under false colours = to pretend to be something that you are not —- Himanshu was sailing under false colours – he never told her he was a journalist.
6. Save ones’ skin = to save oneself —- Thanks for saving my neck! I would have fallen down the stairs if you hadn’t held my arm.
7. Spill the beans = to expose a secret —- My husband was afraid to spill the beans about the cost of his purchases.
8. Showing the door = asking someone to leave —- Your boss isn’t going to show you the door just because you made a mistake.
9. Song and a dance = a long and complicated statement or story, sometimes one that is not true —- She gave me some song and dance about how busy she is.
10. Set at naught = to ignore —- He set my advice at naught and then suffered.
11. Storm in a tea cup = much hue and cry over a little matter —- Do not worry about these silly rows. They are just storm in a tea cup.
12. Shoulder to shoulder = with united effort —- The two armies fought shoulder to shoulder against the joint enemy.
13. Stand in good stead = to be of great service —- Your experience will always stand in good stead when you join a full time job.
14. Stand on one’s own legs/feet = to be independent and provide yourself with all the things that you need to live without having to ask anyone else to help you —- I’ve supported those children long enough – it’s time they learned to stand on their own two feet.
15. Sine die = indefinitely —- The case was adjourned sine die.
16. Snake in the grass = some hidden enemy —- Many leaders are snake in the grass creating disharmony in the society.
17. Slip of the tongue = something that you say by accident when you intended to say something else —- I called her new boyfriend by her  previous  boyfriend’s name – it was just a slip of the tongue.
18. Sink fast = to deteriorate in quality or condition —- The patient was sinking fast.
19. Smell a rat = to suspect of something wrong done —- I don’t think this was an accident.
20. Set price on one’s head = to offer reward for killing or helping in the arrest of a criminal —- The government of America had set price on Osama’s head.
21. Smooth sailing = easy progress —- We had a hard time setting up the new computer system but it’ll be smooth sailing from here on.
22. Seal of love = kiss —- They validated their marriage with a seal of love.
23. Step into another’s shoes = to take over a job/responsibility of some other person —- I was prepared to step into the boss’s shoes, so there was no disruption when he left for another job.
24. Scratch one’s head = to be perplexed —- I scratched my head when I saw the puzzles in the Combined Graduate Level Exam.
25. Shot in the arm = something that has a sudden and positive effect on something,  providing encouragement and new activity —- Fresh  investment  would provide the shot in the arm that this industry so badly needs.
26. Sitting on the fence = hesitate between two options —- No one knows which of the candidates Rajan will vote for. She’s sitting on the fence.
27. Speak volumes = to express something very clearly and completely —- He didn’t say anything about what happened at the meeting, but his furious expression spoke volumes.
28. Speak one’s mind = speak what one really thinks —- Will you give me a chance to speak my mind or am I supposed to agree with everything you say?
29. Steal someone’s thunder = to do what someone else was going to do before they do it, especially if this takes successor praise away from them —- Kanchan stole  my  thunder when she announced that she was pregnant two days before I’d planned to tell people about my pregnancy.
30. Steer clear of = avoid —- Steer clear of fatty food.
31. Sum and substance = summary —- In trying to explain the sum and substance of the essay, Rajiv failed to mention the middle name of the hero.

T

1. To while away = to spend time in a relaxed way because you have nothing to do —- We whiled away the afternoon playing cards in front of the fire.
2. To and fro = in one direction and then in the opposite direction —- She was gazing  out the  windowrocking  rhythmically to and fro.
3. To be at one’s finger’s tips/ end = to be expert in —- All the important topics of history are at my finger tips.
4. To blow hot and cold = to be changeable or uncertain —- He keeps blowing hot and cold on the question of moving to the country.
5. To brace oneself for = to prepare for the shock or force of something —-As the boat leaned to the right, I braced myself for whatever might happen next.
6. To bell the cat = to undertake or agree to perform a risky, dangerous, or impossible job or task —- Someone has to bell the cat and tell the boss we aren’t going to come in to work on Saturdays anymore.
7. To look through colored/rose glasses = to see only the pleasant things about a situation and not notice the things that are unpleasant —- She’s always  looked  at life through rose-tinted glasses.
8. To come of age = to become an adult —- Of all the kids who come of age this year, how many will actually vote?
9. To sentence/condemn to death = to award punishment of death —- The jury quickly convicted her and sentenced/condemned her to death.
10. To cross one’s mind = to come into your thoughts as a possibility —- It never crossed my mind that Amit might be lying.
11. To cry over spilt milk = to be unhappy about what cannot be undone —-It can’t be helped. Don’t cry over spilled milk.
12. To cut both ends/ways = to affect both sides of an issue equally —-If our side cannot take along supporters to the game, then yours cannot either. The rule has to cut both ways.
13. To cut your teeth = to get your first experience of a particular type of work and learn the basic skills —- She cut her teeth on a local newspaper before landing a job on a national daily.
14. To fool around = to behave in a silly way, especially in a way that might have  dangerous results —- Don’t  fool  around with  matches.
15. To foot the bill = to pay —- My boss took me out for lunch and the company footed the bill.
16. To get the axe = to be dismissed from a job —- Senior staff are more likely to get the axe because the company can’t afford their high salaries.
17. To hang up one’s hat = to leave your job for ever —- When I stop enjoying my work, that’ll be the time to hang up my hat.
18. To hit the nail on the head = to be right about something —- Manoj hit the nail on the head when he said most people can use a computer without knowing how it works.
19. To keep one’s head above water = to manage to survive, especially financially —- It’s hard to keep your head above water on this much money.
20. To keep the ball rolling = to maintain progress —- Who will keep the ball rolling now that she is gone?
21. To mean business = to be serious —- I could tell from the look on her face that she meant business.
22. To pass the buck = to blame someone or make them responsible for a problem that you should deal with —- She’s always trying to pass the buck and  I’m  sick of it!
23. To pay the debt of nature = to die —- When I’m ready to pay my debt to nature, I hope I’m surrounded by my family.
24. The fat end = the last part of a period of time, usually the least interesting or least exciting part —- We went away at the fag-end of summer when all the shops and restaurants were starting to close.
25. Think twice = to consider carefully before deciding —- You should think twice before quitting your job.
26. Tooth and nail = violently —- We fought tooth and nail to get the route of the new road changed.
27. Tit for tat = an action done to revenge against a person who has done some wrong to you —- noticed she didn’t send me a card – I think it was tit for tat because I  forgot  her  birthday  last year.
28. Touch and go = if a situation is touch-and-go, it is uncertain —- The doctor says that it’s touch-and-go whether Parul will be okay.
29. Through thick and thin = through good times and bad times —- Over the years, we went through thick and thin and enjoyed every minute of it.
30. Turn up one’s nose at = to not accept something because you do not think it is good enough for you —- They turned their noses up at the only hotel that was available.
31. Turn one’s coat = to change one’s party —- Some people are so ambitious that they often turn their coat.
32. Turn a deaf ear = to ignore someone when they complain or ask for something —- In the past they’ve tended to turn a deaf ear to such requests.
33. Turn the tables = to change the situation completely —- The ruling party had an easy victory in the last Lok Sabha election but inflation and corruption have totally turned the table.
34. Turn over a new leaf = to be entirely changed (for good) —- I have made a mess of my life. I’ll turn over a new leaf and hope to do better.
35. Turn turtle = to overturn —- The car ran off the road and turned turtle in the ditch.
36. Throw off balance = to confuse —- The teacher was thrown off balance by the students’ difficult questions.
37. Throw light on = to make something easier to understand —- I wanted to throw light on the pitiful life of the bar dancers.
38. Throw cold water upon = to criticize or stop something that some people are enthusiastic about —- The proposal seemed reasonable enough, but authorities quickly threw cold water on it.
39. Throw mud at = try to make a low opinion of someone by saying unpleasant things about him —- Companies should think carefully before slinging mud at someone who may respond with a libel action costing it crores of rupees.
40. Talk big = to boast —- I don’t believe he’s ever shot even a duck, but he sure talks big about hunting.
41. Talk of the town = to be what everyone is talking about —- The new statue in the park is the talk of the town.
42. Take heart = to feel encouraged —- Take heart. You’ll be done soon, and you won’t have to think about this paper ever again.
43. Take into account = to consider —- I’ll try to take into account all the things that are important in a situation like this.
44. Take to one’s heels = to run away —- When the police came, the robber took to his heels.
45. Take your medicine = if you take your medicine, you accept the consequences of something you have done wrong —- Cattle thieves would confess their guilt and proudly take their medicine.
46. Take the bull by the horns = to face danger with courage —- Bhagat Singh took the bull by the horns and bravely challenged the British Empire.
47. Taste of your own medicine = if you give someone a taste of their own medicine, you do something bad to someone that they have done to you to teach them a lesson —- Now you see how it feels to have someone call you names! You are getting a taste of your own medicine!
48. Take pains = to work hard —- She took pains to bring up her children after her husband’s death.
49. Take a leaf out of another man’s book = to imitate another person —- He has no originality of thought; he only takes a leaf out of another man’s book to make quick money.
50. Take an exception to = to be offended by something —- She took an exception to his joke.

U

1. Upset the apple cart = to cause trouble, especially by spoiling someone’s plans —- I don’t want to upset the apple cart now by asking you to change the date for the meeting.
2. Under fire = during an attack; being attacked —- There was a scandal in city hall, and the mayor was forced to resign under fire.
3. Under a cloud = under suspicious conditions —- Ever since the rumours of corruption started, the former chief minister has been under a cloud.
4. Under lock and key = if something is under lock and key, it is stored very securely —- The rifle was stored under lock and key.
5. Under the rose = secretly —- He is selling confidential documents under the rose.
6. Under the nose of = to be in a placethat you can clearlysee —- spent  all  morning looking for the book, and it was right under my nose the whole time.
7. Under one’s own steam = by one’s own power or effort —- I missed my ride to class, so I had to get there under my own steam.
8. Up one’s sleeves = to have secret plans or ideas —- If I know Ankur he’ll have one or two tricks up his sleeve.
9. Up to the mark = up to standard —- I have to watch my staff all the time to keep them up to the mark.
10. Ups and downs = good and bad times —- Like most married couples we’ve had  our  ups and downs, but life’s like that.
11. Uphill task = difficult task —- We’re trying to expand our business, but it’s an uphill battle.

V

1. Velvet glove/Iron fist in a velvet glove = A person who has a gentle appearance, but who in reality is particularly severe, forceful, and uncompromising —- The new leader of the country rose to power by promises of democracy and equality to its citizens, but as his despotic intentions came to light he soon proved to be an iron fist in a velvet glove.
2. Vicious circle/cycle = a situation in  which an attempt to  resolve one problem  creates new problems  that lead back to the original situation —- Many people get caught/trapped in a  vicious circle  of  dieting and weight gain.
3. Virgin territory = a completely new area of activity —- The  company is  moving  into markets  that until now have been virgin territory.

W

1. Wear and tear = the damage that happens to an object in ordinary use during a period —- Seat covers on buses take a lot of wear and tear.
2. Wear a long face = to look gloomy —- In spite of losing his job, he did not wear a long face.
3. Wear heart on sleeves = exposing innermost feeling to others —- Because she wears her heart on her sleeve, it’s easy to hurt her feelings.
4. Wee hours of the day = the early hours of the morning, between twelve o’clock at night and the time when the sun rises —- He was up until the  wee hours  trying to  finish his work.
5. Weigh one’s word = to carefully think about everything you are going to say before you say it —- He gave evidence to the courtweighing each word as he spoke.
6. Win laurels = to win honours —- Sachin won laurels for India a great deal.
7. Wild goose chase = useless efforts —- Pakistan’s efforts to grab Kashmir have proved to be a wild goose chase.
8. Wash dirty linen in public = to expose private affairs in public —- There is nothing as bad as washing one’s dirty linen in public.
9. Wheels within wheels = interacting processes —- It’s difficult to find out just which government agency is responsible; there are wheels within wheels.
10. Windfall = sudden gain received unexpectedly —- Investors each received a windfall of Rs 3,000,00.
11. Word for word = using exactly the same words —- She listened to everything I said and repeated it word for word to her mum.
12. Well-to-do = wealthy; prosperous —- Hers is a well-to-do family.
13. Word of mouth = given or done by people talking about something or telling  people about something —- We get most of our work through word-of-mouth  recommendations.
14. Weather the storm = survive by coming out of difficulties —- Ritesh lost his job, but somehow his family weathered the storm.
15. Wolf in sheep’s clothing = a dangerous person pretending to be harmless —- Sangita thought the handsome stranger was gentle and kind, but I suspected he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
16. Wet blanket = one who spoils the enjoyment —- Don’t invite Sunita to the party. She’s such a wet blanket that she’ll probably just complain the whole time.
17. Walking on broken glass = when a person is punished for something —- As I reached school late my teacher had me walking on broken glass.
18. White lie = a minor lie —- Every little white lie you tell is still a lie and it is still meant to mislead people.
19. Wash one’s hand of = to be free from —- Police have washed their hands of the kidnapping case.
20. Wet behind the ears = someone who is wet behind the ears is either very young or inexperienced —- He may be wet behind the ears, but he’s well-trained and totally competent.
21. White elephant = expensive but of no use —- At first, I was excited to inherit the farm, but it soon proved to be a white elephant I couldn’t afford.
22. Window shopping = to look at the goods displayed but not for buying —- They go to the shopping centre just to window-shop.

X

1. X factor = a unique and noteworthy quality that makes someone or something exceptional —- A lot of similar products are on the market right now—ours has to have an X factor!
2. X-rated = sexually explicit, vulgar, or obscene —- This film should be X-rated; it’s not suitable for children.

Y

1. Yeoman’s service = excellent work —- This rickety wooden ladder has done me yeoman’s service over the years, but now it’s time to upgrade.
2. Yellow press = newspaper publishing sensational news —- The yellow press is full of sensational news every other day.
3. Yes-man = someone who agrees with everything their boss or leader says in order to please them —- He denies that he’s simply a yes man, and insists he’ll be making major changes to the way the club is run.
4. Yesterday’s man/woman = someone, especially a politician or celebrity, whose career is over or on the decline is yesterday’s man or woman —- Rohit is never going to give up his cushy job—he’s yesterday’s man, and his next career move is retirement!
5. You are what you eat = this is used to emphasise the importance of a good diet as a key to good health —- Pooja: I’m feeling more energetic now that I’ve started eating more salad. Reshma: You are what you eat!
6. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink = this idiom means you can offer something to someone, like good advice, but you cannot make them take it —- I made all the arrangements, bought the ticket, and even took him to the airport, but he just wouldn’t get on the plane. Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.
7. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks = it is difficult to make someone change the way they do something when they have been doing it the same way for a long time —- You’re never going to teach your father at the age of 79 to use a computer. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you know.
8. You get what you pay for = something that is very low in price is not usually of very good quality —- “I really like this car, but the price is a bit high.” “Well, you get what you pay for.”
9. You reap what you sow = everything that happens to you is a result of your own actions —- If you treat your friends like that, of course they drop you. You reap what you sow in this life.

Z

1. Zero hour = the time at which something starts —- I have so much studying left to do before the exam, and zero hour is 8 AM!
2. Zero tolerance = if the police have a zero tolerance policy, they will not overlook any crime, no matter how small or trivial —- Because of the zero tolerance rule, the kindergartner was expelled from school because his mother accidentally left a table knife in his lunch box.
3. Zip it/Zip your lip = a rude and angry way of telling someone to stop talking —- Just zip it – I’m tired of listening to your complain

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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