Idioms and phrases

List of Idioms and Phrases | English

Idioms and phrases

1. At one’s wit’s end (perplexed)—Sohan was at his wit’s end to find that his younger brother has taken poison.
2. At one’s fingertips (complete knowledge)-All the rules of synthesis are at his fingertips.
3. At the spur of the moment (without delay)—In an interview we must reply at the spur of the moment.
4. All in all (most important)—As he was the only son in a big family, he was all in all in his home.
5. At close quarters (close examinations)-Many of my friends proved selfish at close quarters.
6.Apple-pie order (in perfect order)—On the eve of inspection everything was kept in apple-pie order.
7. Above board (honest and straightforward)—He is known for his above board conduct.
8. Above all (before everything else)— Above all, he is blunt and dare devil.
9. As fit as a fiddle (strong and healthy)—He has recovered from illness and now he is as fit as a fiddle.
10. At random (aimlessly)-The militants fired at random killing a lot of innocent persons.
11. At a loose end (unoccupied, idle)-Now-a-days he is at a loose end because he has wound up his business.
12. At logger heads (to be at strife)—The partners of our firm are at logger heads these days.
13. At odds (in dispute)- The members of the group were at odds over the selection procedure.
14. An apple of discord (cause of quarrel)-Ancestral property is an apple of discord between two sisters.
15. At cross purposes (have conflicting intentions)-How can there be peace in their family when husband and wife are at cross purposes.
16. After one’s own heart (to one’s liking)-When Deepa met a man after her own heart, she got married to him.
17. At the bottom of (to be mainly responsible for)—It was found later that Shanu was at the bottom of the whole trouble.
18. At a loss (to be unable to decide)—I am at a loss to know what to do.
19. At dagger’s drawn (to have bitter enmity)—The quarrel between the two brothers has grown more bitter now and they are at dagger’s drawn.
20. At large (abscond, to keep unchained)—People keep their dogs at large at night.
21. At sea (applied to a person confused)—My sister is quite at sea in Maths she cannot solve a single problem.
22. Add fuel to the flame or fire (to make matter worse)—The attempt to suppress the agitation of the strikers only added fuel to the flame.
23. At sixes and sevens (in disorder)—There was a robbery in our neighborhood last night and when I entered the house to inquire, everything was at sixes and sevens.
24. Assume airs (to pretend superiority)—The rich are in the habit of assuming airs in the presence of their poor relations. .
25.Argus eyed (careful, observant)—As a politician, he is Argus eyed and never overlooks even a small matter.
26. At a stone’s throw (very close)—My friend’s house is at a stone’s throw from mine.
27. A pipe dream – A hope or plan that will never come true.



1. 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
2. Bear the brunt of (to bear the main shock of)-The poor have to bear the brunt of increasing prices.
3. Bell the cat (to take first step at personal risk)—Many people can boast of their bravery, but very few can bell the cat.
4. Bid defiance (to ignore)—Rohan bade defiance to his father’s wish of becoming a doctor and instead became an engineer.
5. Blow one’s trumpet (to praise oneself)—No one likes to talk to those who are always blowing their own trumpet.
6. 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.
7. Burn a hole in one’s pocket (money spent quickly)-Money given to a spendthrift only burns a hole in his pocket.
8. Bury the hatchet (to make peace)—India and Pakistan must bury the hatchet to bring about peace to the region.
9. Beside oneself (to feel excessively)-Due to the accidental death of his wife he was beside himself with grief.
10 Bad blood (bitter relations) – The riots have created bad blood between the two communities in India.
11. Black and blue (to beat mercilessly)-The thief was beaten black and blue by the police.
12. Beat about the bush (to talk in a round about manner)-We should always come to the point and should not beat about the bush.
13.Beat the air (to make useless efforts)—Some speakers merely beat the air in speech while preaching
14. Build castles in the air (to make visionary schemes)—Many people who live in dreams build castles in the air and do not succeed in life.
15.Break the ice (to speak first after prolonged silence)—In the meeting Rajesh broke the ice and suggested the plan to solve the problem.
16. Bring to book (to punish, to call to account)—The manager was bought to book for his negligence.
17. Breathe one’s last (to die)—He breathed his last in the prime of his life.
18. Back stairs influence (by unfair means)—These days many persons are given good posts through back stairs influence.
19. Bird’s eye view (concise view)—We had a bird’s eye view of the whole fair from the top of a giant wheel.
20. Bolt from the blue (sudden or unexpected shock)-The news of her husband’s death in the air crash came to her as a bolt from the blue.
21. Burn one’s boats (point of no return-We had burnt our boats by declaring that we were not going to sign C.T.B.T. Ni la 0 SYN POST
22. By the by (by the way)-By the by, what is your age?
23. Be up to (to be equal to)-He is up to all the tricks of the trade to grind his own axe.
24. Bated breath (in anxiety, expectancy)-The fate of the match hung in balance and every body waited for the result with hated breath.
25. Bandy words (to wrangle, to afgue) Obedient children don’t bandy words with their parents when they are advised.
26. Bee in one’s bonnet (to be fussy)—She seems to have a bee in her bonnet because she is always finding faults with others.
27. Bite the dust (to be defeated)-Pakistan had to bite the dust in the final of the World Cup.
28. Blue stocking (educated but pedantic lady)—No body likes to mix with her because she is a blue stocking.
29. Book worm (a person in the habit of pouring over books)—He has no time for social activities because he is a book worm.
30. Bring down the house (receive applause)—Though it was his maiden speech, he brought down the house because of his oratory skill.
31. Brow beat (to bully)—The President of the college union always tries to brow beat
the students opposed to him.
32. Bad egg (a worthless)—He comes of a noble family but he himself is a bad egg.
33. Beside the mark (irrelevant)-No body agreed with him because his arguments were beside the mark.
34. Burn one’s fingers (to get into trouble)-Those who interfere in the affairs of others, often burn their fingers.
35. Brown study (reverie, day-dream)–He could not follow the significance of offer. He was in brown study.
36. Bank on (depend on, count on)-The rich always bank on money to get things done.
37. Blaze the trail (to start a movement)—Surinder Nath Bannerjee blazed the trail of Indian National Movement.
38. Bull in a China shop (one who causes damage)-Most of the leaders of the freedom struggle have proved bulls in a China shop.
39. By the rule of thumb (according to practical experience)-In older times business was run by the rule of thumb.
40.Big draw (a huge attraction)—The match between India and Pakistan is always a big draw.
41. Broken reed (support that failed)—When he needed help, his friend proved a broken reed.
42. By the skin of the teeth (narrowly)—He escaped death in the accident by the skin of the teeth.
43. Bone of contention (cause of quarrel)—Since India got independence, Kashmir problem has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan.
44. Bit/piece of one’s mind (to scold)—My father wrote to my brother giving a piece of his mind about his insulting conduct.
45. Born with silver spoon (to be born in a rich family)–My friend does not have to worry about spending any amount of money as she is born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
46. Burn candle at both ends (squander)–After the death of his father he is burning candle at both ends.
47. By fits and starts (irregularly)—If we study by fits and starts we can never be successful in our exams.
48. By dint of (by force of)—He achieved success in life by dint of hard work.
49. Blow hot and cold (to speak in favor and against at the same time)-Do not trust those who blow hot and cold in the same breath.
50. By and by (gradually)—He is recovering by and by after long illness.
51. Blue blood (aristocratic blood)-Though my friend has blue blood yet her conduct is very mean and vulgar.


1. Carry matters with a high hand (to deal with a person strictly)-The owner of the industry carried matters with a high hand and expelled two workers who were caught doing mischief in the office.
2. Clip one’s wings (to weaken the power)-My elder sister is very ambitious but my mother will surely clip her wings

3. Come home to (to understand)-Seema wanted to be a teacher in the college but soon it came home to her that she was not fit for the job as she was only a graduate.
4. Come to a standstill come to a sudden stop)-When we were going to Mussourie yesterday, our car came to a standstill right in the middle of the journey.
5. Come off with flying colours (to come out successfully)—The final football match was very crucial but finally we won and came off with flying colours.
6. Cross one’s mind (to occur to oneself) In the examination hall it crossed my mind that I had left my pen outside on the table.
7. Cry for the moon (to wish for something impossible)-The hope of winning the lottery amounting to lakhs of rupees is simply crying for the moon.
8. Curry favour with (win favour of somebody)-Neena gave a lot of costly presents to her science teacher to carry favour with him.
9. Call a spade a spade (to speak plainly)—People often get angry when one calls a spade a spade.
10. Carry the day (to win a victory)-After initial setback India carried the day in the Test match.
11. Cut a sorry figure (to give a poor show)—The speaker cut a sorry figure in the meeting
12. Cry over split milk (repent—Careless students often have to cry over split milk during the exams.
13. Cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth (to live within one’s means)-A wise man always cuts his coat according to his cloth if he wants to be successful in his life.
14. Call names (to abuse)- Neeta called me names, so she was severely punished by the teacher.
15. Curtain lecture (a reproof by wife to her husband)—My brother never pays any attention to his wife’s curtain lecture and does what he thinks.
16. Chip of the old block (resembling one’s parents in habits)-My friend is quite helpful like her father, so she is a chip of the old block.
17. Cave in (yield)—Although our team fought bravely, yet had to cave in before the superior power play of the opposite team.
18. Cloven hoof (the evil intention)-The Chinese showed the cloven hoof in
19. Cut throat (tough)-It is very difficult for Indian Industry to survive in the teeth of international cut throat competition.
20. Call in question (doubt)-You should not call in question my honesty.
21. Cheek by jowl (close together)-In metropolitan cities it is common that affluence and poverty exist cheek by jowl.
22. Come to a pass (a difficult situation)The things have come to such a pretty pass that he is financially ruined.
23. Close shave (a narrow escape)—As he was driving recklessly in a crowded street, he had a close shave.
24. Cut and dried (ready made form)There is no cut and dried formula for success in life.

25. Clinch the issue (decide the matter)-When he agreed to leave the house for good, it clinched the issue in favour of his wife.
26. Carry one’s point (win approval)-After heated discussion he was able to carry his point
27. Chequered/Checkered career (full of ups and downs)–Politicians have generally chequered career all along.
28. Cut both ends (argue in favour of both sides)—He is ambiguous because he always cuts both ends.
29. Cock sure (very sure and certain)—He was so cock sure of his success that he applied for the job before the declaration of the result.
30. Cock a snook (to show impudent contempt)—She is so proud of her wealth that she always cocks a snook at the acts of her husband.
31. Chapter and verse (in full detail, to give proof)-He has such a sharp memory that he can narrate the story chapter and verse.
32. Cool one’s heels (to be kept waiting)—He had to cool his heels before he could meet the President of the party.
33. Carrot and stick policy (reward and punishment)—A successful businessman follows the carrot and stick policy towards his employees.
34. Come in handy (to be useful)-Take some woolen clothes. They may come in handy in Simla. Changed color-turned pale.


1. Dig the grave (to tarnish, to destroy)—By taking side of the culprit he dug the grave of his reputation.
2. Draw the long bow (exaggerate)-In calling him the best politician of the world, his followers draw the long bow.
3. Die in harness (die while working)-Our Principal died in harness.
4. Dutch courage (bravery under alcoholic influence)-Drunkards often indulge in Dutch courage and boast of their imaginary qualities.
5. Dare devil (fearless person)-Only a dare devil can face the land mafia.
16. Dead broke (penniless)—On account of reckless spending he is dead broke these days.
17. Down and out (poor and ruined)—After a slump in share market he is down and out these days.
8. Draconian law (extremely severe law)-During emergency in 1.975 the Govt. imposed draconian laws to subdue opposition.
9. Die-hard (persistent in struggle)-He is a die-hard person and will not easily surrender.
10. Days of reckoning (time to answer for one’s actions)—You may commit crime after crime but days of reckoning are never far off.
11. Down in the mouth (out of elements)—Now-a-days he is down in the mouth because ‘he has suffered heavy loss in business.
12. Dog in the manger (a person who prevents others from enjoying what he himself cannot)—By disrupting Parliament Session the Congress is following a dog in the manger policy
13.Damp squib (complete failure)-The visit of our Foreign Minister to China proved a damp squib on border issue.


1.Eat humble pie (to apologize)—In spite of his constant bragging he lost the match and had to eat humble pie.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Egg on (to urge somebody)—The Captain egged the players on to continue to play foul till the end of the match.
5. Eke out (supplement income)—To eke out his income he also works as a part time accountant in the evening.
6. Every dog has his day (good fortune comes sooner or later)-Don’t be disappointed. It is truly said that every dog has his day.
7. Ever and Anon (now and then, sometimes)-He visits his parents ever and anon. 


1. Flesh and blood (human nature)—People in some villages are so poor that their sufferings are more than a flesh and blood can endure.
2. Fish in troubled waters (to take advantage of the trouble of others)—Shrewd businessmen fish in troubled waters when there is scarcity of things.
3. Follow suit (to act in a like manner)—If you do not obey your elders, your children will follow suit.
4. Fall flat (to have no effect)-The minister’s speech fell flat on the audience.
5. Fight shy of (to attempt to avoid a thing or a person)-I generally fight shy of confronting my elder sister as she is in the habit of making sickening comments.
6. Fabian policy (policy of delaying decisions)— Politicians generally follow a Fabian policy in order to keep everyone satisfied.
7. For no rhyme or reason (any reason whatsoever)-Seema did not appear for her final examinations for no rhyme or reason.
8. Fight to the finish (fight to the end)—Indian Army has vowed to fight to the finish and turn every intruder out of Indian territory.
9. Few and far between (very rare)—His visits to his home town are few and far between because of his expanding business.
10. Flog a dead horse (to revive interest in old matters)—The rivals always flog a dead horse to insult their enemies.
11. Fool’s errand (useless undertaking)—His visit to the States to earn money proved to be a fool’s errand.
12. Fall foul of (to quarrel)- They were once bosom friends but now they have fallen foul of each other.
13. Fly off the handle (to lose one’s temper)-When his father questioned him about money, he flew off the handle.
14. French leave (to be absent without permission)-Those who take french leave should not be pardoned.
15.Fair and square (upright)—My father advised me to be fair and square in business dealings
16. Feather one’s own nest (to provide first for one self)-Our leaders are busy feathering their own nests and have no concern for the poor.
17. 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.
18. Foot the bill (bear expenses)—Although he hosted the feast, his brother had to foot the bill.
19. Fast weather friend (selfish friend)—A fair weather friend will never stand by you in difficulty.
20. 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.
21. Fit to hold a candle to (match for, equal in quality)-He is the son of a famous writer but he is not fit to hold a candle to his father.
22. The Fourth Estate (the press)-The newspaper is regarded as the Fourth Estate of the state.
23. Feather in one’s cap (additional success)-His success in his M.A. exams has added a new feather in his cap.
24. Fly in the face of (to defy)-It is disobedience on their part to fly in the face of the orders of the Principal.


1. Gain ground (to succeed slowly & steadily)—The belief in the abolition of dowry system is gaining ground.
2. Get off Scot free (to escape without punishment)—A murderer can also very easily get off Scot free for lack of evidence.
3. Grease the palm (to bribe)-Now-a-days if you want to get your work done, you will have to grease the palm of someone or the other.
4. Gird  up the loins (to prepare for hard work)—Indians must gird up the lions to face any foreign attack on their country.
5.Go to the dogs (to be ruined)-The rich industrialist will go to the dogs because of his son’s bad habits.
6. Get oneself into a mess (to drift into trouble)-Due to sheer ignorance, Vijay seems to have got himself into a mess in his office.
7. Give a wide berth (to avoid –We should always give a wide berth to all selfish and mean persons
8. Gentleman at large (an unreliable person)-We must not believe a gentleman at large.
9. Good Samaritan (one who helps strangers)-He is a good Samaritan because he always comes to the help of the old and the children in difficulties.
10. Give a good account of oneself (to act creditably) -As the eldest son of his family he gave a good account of himself when calamity befell the family.
11. Give the devil his due (give credit to a worthless person for his good qualities)— We should give the devil his due for his good qualities.
12. Green horn (inexperienced)-Though a green horn in political field, he appears to have a bright future.
13. Give up the ghost (pass away, die)-After long illness he gave up the ghost last week
14. Go the whole hog (to do something thoroughly)-You will have to go the whole hog to come out of this mess.
15. Get into a scrape (awkward situation)-He got into a scrape when his wife refused to let him help his sister.
16. Go broke (become bankrupt)-As a result of heavy gambling he had to go broke in the long run.
17. Get into hot waters (get into trouble)-He got into hot waters by marrying a girl of another caste.
18. Give currency (to make publicly known)-The Government has refused to give currency to a number of scams.
19. Great hand (expert)-He is a great hand at organism social parties.
20. Get down to brass tacks (to deal with the matter straight)-Instead of wasting time in discussion, please get down to brass tacks.
21. Give one a long rope (to let someone commit mistakes)—He never gives his employees a long rope.
22. Good turn (an act of kindness)—He did me a good turn by recommending me for the post of Vice-president.


1. Hold water (sound, tenable)-His statement will not hold water as it is not based on facts.
2. Hang together (support one another)— The two statements delivered by the leader of the party do not hang together.
3. Hope against hope (hope in spite of disappointment)-Sohan’s case is very weak and everybody knows that finally he will lose, but he is still hoping against hope.
4.Have an axe to grind (to have a selfish interest) —Reema is very selfish but the way she is being polite with everyone gives the impression that she has an axe to grind.
5. Have the gift of the gab (art of speaking)—Meena is not highly qualified but she has the gift of the gab.
6. Hit below the belt (to strike unfairly)—We should always face the enemy boldly and never hit him below the belt.
7. Hold one’s tongue (to keep quiet)—We should always hold our tongue before our elders.
8. Herculean task (very difficult)—It is a Herculean task to root out corruption in India. Haul over the coals (to take to task)—She was hauled over the coals by her parents for her misconduct.
10. Have one’s finger in everyone’s pie (to partake of something)—My best friend likes to have her finger in everyone’s pie as she is in the habit of meddling with the affairs of others.
11. Halcyon days (peaceful days)-The days we spend in our school life are the halcyon days of our life.
12. Have an iron will (strong will)—If we have to live among the mean and selfish people, we must have an iron will.
13. Hold out an olive branch (offer of peace)—The terrorists are not prepared to hold out an olive branch to the Government of India.
14. Hanky Panky (jugglery)—None of this hanky panky, tell me the truth.
15. Have feet of clay (full of faults)- The C.B.I. inquiry has revealed that many ministers have feet of clay.
16. Heart and soul (devotedly)—He took part in the annual function heart and soul.
17 Hard and fast (strict)—No hard and fast rule is laid down about being regular in the college.
18. Hang fire (remain unsolved)—Kashmir problem has been hanging fire for many years.
119. High & dry (a difficult situation)—He was left high & dry by his business partners.
20. Hit the nail on the head (to do the right thing at the right time)-He hit the nail on the head by resigning his job.
21. Hobson’s choice (no alternative)-The employees in the private sector have Hobson’s choice because they are forced to accept what they are ordered to do.
22. Have too many irons in the fire (doing many things at a time)-He is fickle minded and has too many irons in the fire.
23. Hold in abeyance (postpone)-Tor lack of funds the district administration has held the construction of road in abeyance.
24. High and mighty (proud persons)—The high and mighty forget that everything in the world is transient.
25. Hard nosed attitude (aggressive)—I don’t know why my teacher always has a hard nosed attitude towards me.
26. Hold in leash (to restrain)—As a responsible leader of a party you must hold criticism of party workers in leash.
27. Head and shoulders (superior)-Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee is head and shoulder above his predecessors.
28. Hold a brief (to defend someone) It is very improper for parents to hold a brief for their children who are in the wrong.
29. Hush money (a bribe)—He managed to escape punishment by paying hush money
30. Hold at bay (to prevent enemy from coming)—Maharana Partap could not hold the Mughal army at bay for long.
31. Hit the jack pot (unexpected success) —He hit the jack pot by investing his money in shares.
32. Helter Skelter (here and there)-When the police arrived the rioters ran helter skelter.
33. Have a brush with (to have encounter)–Our principal had a brush with the Vice Chancellor over the appointment of a lecturer.
34. Hornet’s nest (raise controversy)-The speaker stirred up hornet’s nest by referring to impending changes in the rules.
35. Hold somebody to ransom (to demand concession by making someone captive)—It is a pity that a handful of militants are holding the nation to ransom
36. Hole and corner (secret)- I have come to know of your hole and corner method of dealing with people.                                                                                                               


1. Ill at ease (uncomfortable)-A student is often ill at ease when he has to see the principal after he has done something wrong.
2. In a fix (In a dilemma)—The whole police department is in a fix about the threatening letters written by the kidnappers.
3. In a fair way (hopeful)-The doctor feels that patient is in a fair way on to recovery.
4. In the good books of (to be in favour with a person)-Sunita’s brilliant success in her final examination has led her to be in the good books of her teachers.
5. In tune (in a mood)-The teacher asked the students if they were in tune for study.
6.In the lurch (to leave a friend in difficulty)—You must never leave your best friend in the lurch.
7. Ins and outs (secrets)— The servants are generally familiar with the ins and outs of the family.
8. In the blues (in dumps, depressed)—After his failure in the Examination he is in the blues these days.
9. In the red (suffer a loss)—Most of our Public Sector Undertakings are in the red for lack of efficient administration.
10. In the limelight (prominent)-After being out of favour with the leader of the party he is again in the limelight these days.
11.In a tight corner (in difficult situation) -After losing in gambling heavily, he is in a tight corner.
13. In cold blood (to do something deliberately)-The child was murdered in cold blood.
14. In doldrums (to be depressed)—After his failure in the examination he is in doldrums these days
15. In the family way (pregnant)—She has been advised complete rest because she is in the family way.
16. Ivory tower (imaginary world)— Those who talk of non-violence as a useful tool in international politics live in Ivory tower.
17. In the dumps (in low spirits) —Her visit cheered me up as I was in the dumps before her visit.
18. In a flutter (excited)—My sister is in a flutter today because she is going for the interview.


1. Jaundiced eye (prejudice)—You must not evaluate the success of your rivals with a jaundiced eye.


1. Keep body and soul together (to maintain life)—These days because of rising prices it is difficult to keep body and soul together.
2. Keep at an arm’s length (to keep at a distance)—Selfish people should always be kept at an arm’s length.
3. Keep the wolf from the door (to avoid starvation)-In India millions of people struggle hard to keep the wolf from the door.
4. Kith and kin (blood relation)—If we have no love for our kith and kin, we cannot be expected to love humanity.
5. Knit the brow (to frown)—Her mother-in-law always knits the brow at everything she does.
6. Kick the bucket (to die)—He kicked the bucket after long illness in the prime of his life.
7. Keep up appearances (to maintain outward show)—Though he is in financial crisis, he is able to keep up appearances.
8. Keep one’s fingers crossed (to wait expectantly)—We had to keep our fingers crossed till the last ball was bowled.
9. Keep the pot boiling (earn hardly enough for living)—He is earning only to keep the pot boiling.
10. Kick one’s heels (to waste time in waiting)-As the train was late we had to kick our heals at the station.
11. Keep abreast of (not to fall behind)—It is very important for the young persons to keep abreast of political developments in the country.


1.Lost in the clouds (confused)—My psychology teacher is often lost in the clouds as she sometimes is unable to explain the questions clearly.
2. Lose ground (fail to keep position)-The belief in prophecies and horoscopes is losing ground these days.
3. Laugh in one’s sleeves (to laugh secretly)—The students laughed in their sleeves a the teacher’s ignorance of the subject.
4. Leave no stone unturned (to make all possible efforts)—The minister assured the poor that he shall leave no stone unturned to uplift their condition.
5. Leap in the dark (to take a risk deliberately)—You must not leap in the dark by entering the business without experience.
6. Look sharp (to make haste) —Look sharp, the bus is moving.
7. Let the cat out of the bag (to disclose)—Sunita has, at last, let the cat out of the bag, by confessing that she had stolen her brother’s money.
8. Live in a fool’s paradise (false hope)—My brother is living in a fool’s paradise if he thinks that he can be a rich man without working hard.
9. Lion’s share (large part)—Generally the sons as compared to daughters have a lion’s share of their mother’s affection.
10. Loaves and Fishes (material benefit)—Most of the ministers are more concerned with the loaves and fishes of office than the service of man.
11. Live-wire (energetic)—India needs live-wire political leaders who can put
the country on the right track.
12. Look a gift horse in the mouth (criticize a gift)-One should not look a gift horse in the mouth because it is given out of love and regards.
13. Lose one’s head (to be carried away)—One should not lose one’s head even in such a victory
14. Long and short (in brief)—The long and short of the principal’s speech was that examination would be held on time.
15. Latin and Greek (incomprehensible)—The speech of literary persons is always Latin and Greek to illiterate persons.
16. Last nail in the coffin (causing ruin)—Second world war proved to be a last nail in the coffin of British imperialism.
17. Lead up the garden path (to cheat)—The traders lead the credulous customers up the garden path by assuring them of warranty.
18.Leaps and bounds (rapidly)—In comparison to India, China has progressed by leaps and bounds in every field.
19. Last straw (the final trial of patience)-The Rowlet Act was the last straw on the Camel’s back and the whole India rose in protest against the British rule.
20. Let the grass grow under feet (to delay the matters)-We are bound to suffer if we let the grass grow under feet by postponing action.


1. Make both ends meet (to live within one’s means)-As my uncle has to bring up five children, he finds it difficult to make both ends meet.
2. Mend one’s fences (to make peace)—It is high time for the two brothers to bury the hatchet and mend their fences.
3. Make a clean breast (to confess)—When asked by the Magistrate sternly, the thief made a clean breast of the whole crime.
4. Make amends (to give compensation)-The government made amends to the family for the loss of their earning member in the war,
5. Make the most of (to utilize time)—Students should make the most of their time if they want to get an administrative job.
6. Move heaven and earth (to try utmost)—Ramesh moved heaven and earth to gain his end but failed.
7. Make sure (to ascertain)—We went to the office to make sure if our exams would start in the next week.
8.Make neither head nor tail (not to understand)—The students can make neither head nor tail of what Mr. Dev teaches them.
9. Moot point (a debatable point, undecided)—The question of abolition of child marriage is a moot point as far as Indians are concerned.
10. Meet one’s Waterloo (to face final defeat)—Tipu Sultan met his Waterloo in the fourth battle of Mysore.
11. Man of letters (literary person)-Dr. Radhakrishnan was a man of letters.
12. Make light of (not to care)-He is in the habit of making light of the advice of his parents.
13. Midas touch (a touch which turns anything into gold)—Our manager seems to be gifted with Midas touch because he is capable of selling every product.
14. Man of parts (a man of qualities)–Our Principal is a man of parts and is respected by a all and one.
15. Mealy mouthed (soft spoken)—A mealy mouthed shopkeeper is always successful.
16.Man of straw (a weak person)-The king being a man of straw, his orders were often disobeyed.
17. Mince matters (hide the truth and pretend)—Tell the truth to your parents because it does not pay to mince matters.
18. Mare’s nest (a false invention)—The involvement of teachers in the scheme proved to be a mare’s nest.


1. Null and void (ineffective)—Strangely, the laws made by the British in India are not yet null and void.
2. Next to nothing (almost nothing)— The thieves made off with everything from the kitchen and there was next to nothing left.
3. Neck and crop (completely)—The decoits finished him off neck and crop beyond recognition.
4. No love lost intense dislike)–There is no love lost between the two neighbors.
5. Nip in the bud (to destroy in the very beginning)-The evils of the society must be nipped in the bud.
6. Not worth one’s salt (not deserving)-We should not help the persons who are not worth their salt.


1. Off hand (without preparation or delay)—I am very poor in English grammar & can’t answer all the questions off hand.
2. Over head and ears (excessively)—Mohan is over head and ears in love with Neena.
3. Out of question (certain)—His success is out of question because he is working hard these days.
4. Out of the question (unlikely, uncertain)-His success is out of the question because he is not working hard these days.
5. Out of the woods (out of danger)—The patient is not out of the woods yet.
6. Order of the day (in fashion)—It is difficult to get any work done without bribery because bribery is the order of the day.
7. On the score of (on the grounds of)-He was debarred from appearing in the
examination on the score of indiscipline.
8. On that score (for the reason)—You need not worry on that score.
9. Over and above (moreover, besides)—I shall lend you books over and above what I have promised to give you in cash.
10. Out and out (completely)—Shri Bhagat Singh was a patriot out and out.
11. Off and on [occasionally (now & then)]—Since she is over busy these days, she visits me off and on.
12. One’s Achilles heel (a weak point)—Howsoever powerful a person may be, he is vulnerable because of his Achilles’ heel.
13. Off colour (not in usual form)-Once a glamorous actress, she is off colour these days.
14. Odds and ends (scattered things)— The thief made away with the odds and ends lying about the drawing room.
15. Off the hook (out of trouble)-He is not yet off the hook because Income Tax
department is making a thorough inquiry into his financial status.
16. Oily tongue (flattering words)—He has often won over the enemies by his oily tongue.
17. On the horns of dilemma (in a fix-He is on the horns of dilemma in the matter of his marriage.
18. One’s cup of tea (to one’s liking)-Teaching is not my cup of tea.
19. Out of sorts (to be unwell)-Sohan had been out of sorts the whole day and could not do his office work properly.
20. On its last legs (about to collapse)-In many sections of Indian society the system of child marriage is on its last legs.
21. On the carpet (to be under consideration)-What is on the carpet these days


1.Palmy days (prosperous, affluent days)—We still remember the palmy days of our life when we had nothing much to do and still got everything to fulfill our needs.
2. Part and parcel (inseparable part)—Every Indian citizen living in India must regard himself as part and parcel of a larger whole.
3. Pass the buck (to blame each other)—Political parties pass the buck on to one another for failure on economic front.
5. Pay off old scores (to take revenge)—The way he is treating his younger brother makes it quite obvious that he is paying off old scores.
6. Pay through one’s nose (to pay dearly)—A hapless customer has to pay through his nose when there is shortage of goods in the market.
7. Pay lip service (pretend to regard)—Most of the political parties pay lip service to the plight of the poor.
8. Pay one back in the same coin (tit for tat)—We should not hesitate in paying China and Pakistan back in their own coins.
9. Pin-money (allowance given to housewife for personal use)—She is frugal and saves even out of pin-money.
10. Pell-mell (great confusion)—After the thieves had ransacked the house, every thing was pell-mell.
11. Play fast and loose (repeatedly change one’s attitude)—No one can trust Rohan as he) is used to playing fast and loose with his friends.
12. Play second fiddle to (to play a subordinate part)—A self-respecting man can never play second fiddle to anyone.
13. Play truant (to be absent from duty without permission)—It is a very bad habit of the employees to play truant from office.
14. Play to the gallery (to gain cheap popularity)—The speeches of our leaders are not sincere; they are intended to play to the gallery.
15. Play ducks and drakes (to squander money)—After the death of his father he got into heavy debt by playing ducks and drakes with money.
16. Play foul (to do something wrong)—Don’t play foul with your well wishers.
17. Plough the sands (futile labor)-He cannot make money because he appears to be ploughing the sands.
18. Pour oil on troubled waters (to pacify the matters)— The two good friends exchanged hot words but the intervention of their teacher poured oil on troubled waters.
19. Pull a long face (to look sad) Seema pulled a long face when she was scolded by her teacher for her carelessness.
20. Pull one’s socks up (work hard) You must pull your socks up to get over financial problems.
21. Pull strings (to exercise influence secretly)-He managed his promotion by pulling strings.
22. Put heads together (consult seriously)–Our leaders should put their heads together to solve national problems.
23. Put a spoke in a wheel (to obstruct)-He would not like me to succeed; so he always put a spoke in a wheel.
24. Put the cart before the horse (to do wrong thing first)–Our leaders put the cart before the horse by neglecting villages in the name of industrial progress.
25. Pros and cons (for and against a thing)—We must always consider the pros and cons of any new project that we take in hand.
26. Pyrrhic victory (victory at a high cost)—Greek victory over Trojans proved to be Pyrrhic victory.
27. Pick holes (to find fault with)—He is always picking holes in every project.


I. Queer fish (strange person)—One cannot make anything out of Sohan’s attitude as he is such a queer fish.
2. Quixotic project (foolishly ideal)—Being not worldly wise he wasted his money in quixotic projects.


1. Rise to the occasion (to act as the occasion demands)—To face critical situations boldly you should rise to the occasion.
2. Run short of (shortage)—These days due to some financial crises my friend is running short of money.
3. Rank and file (common man)—If we want our country to progress in every field, we must improve the economic lot of the rank and file.
4. Red tapism (official delay)-Red tapism is a bane of Indian bureaucracy.
5. Rest on one’s laurels (complacent, self satisfied)—Ambitious persons never rest on their laurels because they dream of unending achievements.
6. Rock the boat (upset the balance)—If your party withdraws the support from the Government, it may rock the boat.
7. Red herring (something to distract attention)—The demand of inquiry into his conduct is just a red herring as there is no truth in it.
8. Rip up old sores (to revive forgotten quarrel)—Rahul and his wife can’t live in peace; they are always ripping up old sores.
9. Read between the lines (to understand the hidden meaning)-If her essay is read between the lines, we will find that she has made comments against the Government.
10. Rule the roost (to dominate)-Today the rich rule the roost.
11. Red rag to a bull (anything that provokes)— The law against the dowry system is, for the greedy persons, like a red rag to a bull.
12. Ride rough shod over (to treat in a high handed fashion)-Don’t ride rough shod over a person when he is down and out.
13. Rub one the wrong way (annoy)—If you rub him the wrong way, he is bound to  react.


 1. Sit on the fence (not to commit oneself)—When the party split Ramesh was accused of sitting on the fence.
2. Smell a rat (to be suspicious)—I smelt a rat in the bargain that my uncle made with
3. Shed crocodile tears (to show false sorrow)—The mother shed crocodile tears on the death of her step daughter.
4. Split hair (to indulge in over refined arguments)—We should not try to split hair with our elders.
5. Stand in good stead (to be helpful in need)—During the time of distress the advice of elders always stands in good stead.
6. Show white feather (to show cowardice)—Brave people never show white feather in the face of difficulties.
7. See eye to eye (to agree)—Neema could never see eye to eye with her elder brother.
8. Set store by (to value)—I have always set store by my father’s opinion.
9. Snap one’s fingers at (to show contempt)—The industry owner feels that he may snap his fingers at the demands of his workers, but he is greatly mistaken.
10. Speak volumes for (to have abundant proof)—The amount of sacrifice made by Reena’s friend speaks volumes for her true love for her friend.
11. Steal a march (to get ahead secretly)—Rohan stole a march on my brother in business and is very rich today.
12. Steer clear of (to avoid)—Everyone, if possible, should steer clear of selfish people.
13. Swan song (last creation)—’Lament was the swan song of Shelley.
14. Shake in the grass (a secret enemy)—The country is always betrayed by the snakes in the grass.
15. Sword of Damocles (facing imminent danger)—A sword of Damocles is always hanging over the head of a soldier in the event of war.
16. Sail under false colors (a hypocrite)—We should not believe our leaders because they sail under false colors.
17. Spartan life (life of ascetic)-Swami Vivekanand led a spartan life for promoting health of mind and body.
18. Save one’s face (to avoid disgrace)—He is making lame excuses to save his face because he could not qualify the examination.
19. A scarlet woman (a woman with loose morals) Being a scarlet woman she is looked down upon by her neighbors.
20. Set people by ears (to incite people)-The communal speeches set people by ears.
21. To set Thames on fire (to achieve something impossible)-Qualifying Civil Services examination for you is like setting Thames on fire.
22. Sweat of the brow (hard labour)-The honest persons live by sweat of the brow.
23. Steal someone’s thunder (make a better impression)-The young actor performed so well that he stole his rival’s thunder.
24. Straight from the shoulders (candidly)-My lawyer told me straight from the shoulders that my case was weak.
25. Shop lifter (one who steals from the shop)—A shop lifter often visits a shop as a customer.
26. Spick and span (in order)-Her house looked spick and span because everything was in its place.
27. Shot in the arm (encouraging)—A victory in Kargil war proved a shot in the arm of our Defense Forces.
28. Something up one’s sleeve (a secret plan)—She is quite a mischievous lady. There is always something up her sleeve.
29. Send about one’s business (to dismiss)—His employees sent him about his business when he behaved insolently.
30. Stand one’s ground (remain firm)-He did not yield to pressure and stood his ground till the end.
31. Small fry (insignificant person)—Who cares for him, he is a small fry in the office.
32. Seamy side of life (immoral side of society)—The picture depicts realism and presents the seamy side of life in modern India.
33. Sow wild oats (irresponsible pleasure seeking)—After sowing his wild oats Ram has decided to stick to the straight and narrow path in future.
34. Spill the beans (to give information)-Continuous interrogation finally made the man spill the beans and the disaster was averted.
35. A stalking horse (pretense)-The trade union’s seemingly rightful demand is only a stalking horse to black-mail the management and way Bury


1. Turn the tables (to reverse the condition)—A batsman often turns the table on the opposite team by his good batting.
2. Turn up one’s nose (to take lightly with contempt)—Meena has failed twice in her class and yet she turns up her nose at my advice.
3. Turn coat (one who changes political affiliations)-Anti-defection bill is aimed at checking the evil practices indulged in by turn coats.
4. Take up the cudgels (to support or defend)-One of my lawyer friends took up cudgels on my behalf to defend me always indulges in tall talk.
5. Turn the corner (to pass a critical stage)-After long illness at last my friend turned the corner .
6. Tall talk (exaggerate the matters)-No one likes to be in the company of Neema as she tall talk.
7.Tooth and nail (violently)-All the students revolted tooth and nail against the partiality of the teachers towards some students.
8. Throw in a towel (to be defeated)-When the wrestler could not resist the opponent, he had to throw in a towel.
9. Take with a pinch of salt (to accept with doubt)-Everybody takes Rahul’s problems with a pinch of salt because he is an unreliable
10. Turn a hair (show any reaction) – Although his friends provoked him against Rohit, he did not turn a hair and remained calm.
11. Tall stories (exaggerated stories)—Since he retired from Army, he has been famous for his tall stories which regale the villagers.
12. Take the floor (make a speech)—When the Prime Minister took the floor in the cabinet meeting there was pin drop silence.
13. Take lying down (accept insult)—It is impossible for me to take his remarks lying down. It amounts to meek surrender.
14. Turn to account (turn to advantage)—The brave turn their failures to account.
15. Take heart (feel bold)—You must take heart and face life boldly.
16. Take to heart (feel excessively)—He took his failure to heart and lost interest in worldly affairs.
17. Take bull by horns (to meet the danger boldly)—You can succeed in life only if you have courage to take bull by horns.
18. Through and through (entirely)—He was drenched in the rain through and through.
19. To the back bone (thoroughly)—we need leaders who are selfless to the back bone.
20. Take wind out of another’s sails (to gain advantage by anticipation Farsighted Generals can win war by taking wind out of enemy’s sails.
21. Throw down the glove/gauntlet (to challenge)—China had thrown down the glove by not recognizing Sikkim as part of India. .
22. Take leaf out of somebody’s book (to emulate) — The young should take leaf out of great men’s books.
23. Take people by storm (to surprise unexpectedly)— The successful launching of GSLV-1 took the nation by storm.
24. Tall order (something difficult)—It is a tall order to check population explosion in India.
25. Throw a spanner (to sabotage a plan)-He refused to finance my project and so threw a spanner in it.
26. Take to task (punish, ask for explanation, to scold)-To took my younger sister to task for not obeying her elders.
27. Turn a deaf ear (not to pay attention to, refuse to listen)-All the party members turned a deaf ear to their leader.
28. Throw out of gear (not working properly)-Many of our small scale industries have been thrown out of gear because of lack of finance.
29. Take to heels (to run away)-The students making mischief took to their heels on seeing the Principal.
30. Throw cold water (to discourage)-Instead of encouraging me my business partner threw cold water on my plans.
31. Turn over a new leaf (to be entirely changed)—After the sudden death of his father Rajesh turned over a new leaf and took all the responsibilities of the family.
32. Take somebody for a ride (to deceive a person)-The traders take the customers for a ride by selling fake foreign goods to them.
33. Take up arms (to fight)— The tribal of this region have taken up arms against the government.
34. To and fro (forward and backward)—He was strolling in the garden and forward and backward.
35. Throw up the sponge (surrender)—He never threw up the sponge and at last over his problems.         


1. Uphill task (difficult task)—The problem of holding exams on time is an uphill task for the V.C. of  Charan Singh University.
2. Ups and downs (change in fortune)—My uncle has experienced many ups and downs in his furniture business.
3. Under the rose (secretly)—When the parents of Amul did not agree to the marriage of their son, he married Meeta under the rose.
4. Up and doing (active)—A laborer should be up and doing daily if he has to earn his living.
5. Under a cloud (to be under suspicion)—His secret connections with the smugglers have brought him under a cloud.
6. Up to the mark (as good as should be)—Your speech was up to the mark.


1. With open arms (cordially, warmly)—When my cousin came back from England after ten years he was welcomed with open arms by all the relatives.
2. Win laurels (to win distinction)—Dr. Tagore won laurels in the world of literature.
3. White elephant (anything with less utility and more expenditure)—The Public Sector Undertakings have proved white elephants to our economy.
4. Well disposed to (friendly or helpful to somebody)-One is always well disposed to those who are honest and hard working.
5. Writing on the wall (signal, warning)–The factory owner read the writing on the wall and closed down the factory.
6. When the crunch comes (the moment of decision)—Brave persons never despair when the crunch comes.
7. Willy-Nilly (whether one wishes or not)-Willy-Nilly, she has to agree to the views of her husband all the time.
8. Window shopping (to look at goods displayed but not for buying)-Though I did not have any mind to make purchases, I just went out window shopping in the evening.
9.Wear and tear (damage caused by use)—Wear and tear of the machinery is known as depreciation in accountancy.
10. Weal and woe (joy and sorrow)—We must learn to bear weal and woe of life patiently.
11. Wash hands of (to have nothing to do)—I have washed hands of your affairs because you do not take me seriously.
12. Wide berth (keep away)—We should give a wide berth to bad characters.
13. Will o’ the wisp (elusive, unreal)—To Romantic poets reality appears to be will o’ the wisp.
14. Wry face (disappointed look)—He made a wry face when he was refused admission to the college of his choice.
15. Win hands down (win easily)—Australia won hands down in the Davis Cup finals.
16. Within an ace of (close to something)—When our team was within an ace of victory, Iraq scored a last minute goal to draw the game.
17. Wear the trousers (dominant)—It is Leena who wears the trousers and her husband simply obeys her.
18. Wee hours (at dawn)-The old couple was murdered in the wee hours of the day.
19. With a high hand oppressively)—He was a king who ruled his subjects with a high hand.
20. Wet blanket (any person that dampens enthusiasm)-The principal proved a wet blanket while the students were on picnic.
21. Wild-goose chase (unprofitable)—All the efforts of the government to remove illiteracy in India is like a wild-goose chase.
22. Wind fall (sudden gain)—The legacy left by his uncle proved a wind fall.
23. Wide berth (keep away)—We should give a wide berth to bad characters.
24. Wrangle over an ass’ shadow (to quarrel over trifles)—Their long friendship ended because they wrangled over an ass’ shadow.


 1. Yellow press (newspaper publishing sensational news)—In recent times there is a spurt of sensational newspapers making yellow press popular.
2.Yeoman’s service (excellent work)—Sardar Patel did a Yeoman’s service by welding numberless States into one strong nation.

এরকম নতুন নতুন ইতিহাসের স্টাডি মেটেরিয়ালস ও অনান্য নোটস পেতে আমাদের মেনুতে English পেজে যান এবং সেখানে সূচিপত্র হিসেবে বিভিন্ন স্টাডি মেটেরিয়ালস সাজানো রয়েছে আপনার যেটি প্রয়োজন সেটিতে ক্লিক করুন

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  1. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

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