CLAT: Idioms And Phrases

  • Above all (chiefly, mainly)

  • On Account of (due to, for the reason)

  • On no account (not for any reason)

  • Above board (honest, beyond reproach)

  • To give a good account of oneself (to act with credit to oneself)

  • A fidus Achates (a faithful friend)

  • The heel of Achilles (a week point)

  • An Adonis (a very handsome man)

  • To build castles in the air (To day dream)

  • To assume airs (to affect superiority)

  • To air one's opinions (to give vent to one's feeling in public)

  • To stand aloof (To keep to oneself and not mix with others)

  • To lead to the altar (to marry)

  • An Amazon (a warlike masculine woman)

  • An Ananias (a liar)

  • An Apollo (a man with perfect physique)

  • The apple of discord (cause of quarrel)

  • To upset the apple cart (to disturb the peace)

  • Apple pie order (in perfect order)

  • Arcadian life (a blissful, happy, rural and simple life)

  • To keep a person at an arm's length (to avoid and keep distance from a person)

  • To take up arms (to fight, to go to war)

  • To have an axe to grind (to have some selfish objective in view)

  • Not to know a B from a bull's foot (to be ignorant of even the simplest things)

  • A Babel (a confused noise)

  • To break the back of any thing (to perform the most difficult part of it)

  • To get one's back up (to rouse one's anger)

  • To backbite a person (to slander or speak ill of someone)

  • He has no backbone (he has no will of his own)

  • To cause bad blood (to cause enmity)

  • Bag and baggage (with all one's belongings)

  • To keep the ball rolling (to keep things going)

  • Baptism of fire (a soldier's first experience of actual war)

  • To call to the bar (to admit as a barrister)

  • Barmecide's feast (imaginary benefits)

  • To beat about the bush (to approach a matter in an indirect and round about manner)

  • To be dead beat (worn out by fatigue)

  • Bed and board (lodging and food)

  • As you make your bed, so must lie on it (you will have to bear the consequences of your crimes or your own mistakes or misdeeds)

  • To take to one's bed (to have to be confined to bed as a result of sickness)

  • Bee-line (the shortest distance between two places)

  • To go a begging (to be sold very cheaply because no one cares to buy)

  • Behind one's back (without one's Knowledge)

  • Behind the scenes (in private, out of sight)

  • To bell the cat (to undertake a dangerous task and the enemy is common)

  • To hit below the belt (to act unfairly in a contest)

  • His better half (a man's wife)

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (certainty is better then possibility)

  • An old bird is not to be caught with chaff (experienced people are not easily fooled or deceived)

  • To take the bit between one's teeth (to get out of control)

  • To bite the dust (to be defeated in battle)

  • The biter bit (to cheat the cheater)

  • His bark was worse than his bite (he usually makes a lot of vain verbal threats)

  • A wet Blanket (a person who is a discourage)

  • In cold Blood (deliberately)

  • Blood is thicker than water (One usually takes the side of ones relation against another who is not one's own blood)

  • To blow hot and cold (to do one think at one time and the opposite soon after)

  • A blue stocking (a learned woman)

  • Once in a blue moon (a very rare occurrence)

  • Blue ribbon (the highest prize in any sport competition)

  • At first Blush (at first sight)

  • In the same boat (in the same misfortune or circumstances)

  • A bolt from the blue (a sudden)

  • A bone of contention (a cause of dispute)

  • A Book-worm (a person always poring over books)

  • By leaps and bounds (with remarkable speed)

  • Breach of promise (failure to keep a promise to marry one of whom you are betrothed)

  • One's bread and butter (one's means of livelihood)

  • His bread is well butter (he is in fortunate circumstance)

  • The bread winner (one who provides the means of livelihood for himself and his family)

  • To Break in (to tame, to control in a gentle manner)

  • To break the news (to tell someone some important news, usually bad news)

  • To break the ice (to be the first to begin)

  • To breadth one's last (to die)

  • To breadth freely again (to be no longer in a fear or anxiety)

  • To make bricks without straw (to attempt to do something without proper materials or due preparations)

  • Never cross the Bridge until you come to it (don't anticipate difficulties)

  • It is an broad as it is long (it is the same whichever way you view it)

  • To brow beat (to bully)

  • To kick the bucket (to die)

  • John bull (an Englishman)

  • To burry the hatchet (to forget past quarrels and be friends again)

  • Good wine needs no bush (there is no need to advertise something good)

  • To raise cain (to rebuke severely)

  • To take the cake (to take the first prize)

  • To burn the candle at both ends (to expend energy in two directions at the same time)

  • If the cap fits, wear it (if you think the remarks refer to you)

  • Capitan punishment (the death sentence or penalty)

  • To put the cart before the horse (to do first what ought to be done afterwards)

  • To let the cat out of the bag (to expose the trick)

  • To fight like cats and dog (to be always quarrelling and fighting)

  • Care killed the cat (don't fret and worry yourself to death)

  • See which way the cat jumps (sit on fence)

  • To rain cats and dogs (to rain incessantly)

  • He is a cat's paw (one used as a to something dangerous)

  • To Catch one's eye (to attract attention)

  • To take the chair (to preside a meeting)

  • She is no chicken (she is older than she says)

  • Chicken hearted (weak, timid)

  • Don't count your chickens before they are hatched (don't calculate your gains before they are realized)

  • A chip of the old block (a son resembling his father in face disposition, habits etc.)

  • Hobson's choice (no alterative)

  • To pick and choose (to make a careful selection)

  • Every cloud has a silver lining (adverse conditions do not last for ever)

  • To square the circle (to attempt something impossible)

  • Close fisted (mean)

  • To have one's head in the cloud (to live in dreamland)

  • To carry coals to New castle (to do any thing superfluous)

  • Cut your cloth according to your cloth (live within your income)

  • A cock and bull story (a foolishly incredible story)

  • To be cock sure (to be absolutely certain)

  • To throw cold water upon anything (to discourage effort)

  • Off color (not in the usual form)

  • To came off with flying color (to succeed brilliantly)

  • To commit to memory (to learn by heart)

  • Too many cooks spoil the broth (when there are more worpkers than necessary)

  • To send to Coventry (to boycott)

  • An admirable Crichton (a very talented person)

  • Crocodile tears (hypocritical tears)

  • By hook or by crook (by fair or foul means)

  • As the crow flies (in a direct line)

  • To take up the cudgels (to champion or flight for someone)

  • To curry favour (to seek favour by flattery)

  • Cut and dried (ready made)

  • To cut a dash (to make an impression)

  • To be at daggers drawn (to be deadly enemies)

  • A dare-devil (a fearless, reckless man)

  • Up to date (recent, modern)

  • Out of date (obsolete)

  • Evil days (a period of misfortune)

  • Halcyon days (A time when there is peace and happiness in the land)

  • To step into dead man's shoes (to come into an inheritance)

  • To give the devil his due (give a person credit for his good qualities however worthless he may be)

  • Go to the devil (be off)

  • Devil's playthings (playing cards)

  • Devil's bones (dice)

  • To be between the devil and the deep sea (to be faced with two dangerous situations, each of which is to be dreaded as much as the other)

  • To be on the horns of dilemma (to in such a position that it is difficult to decide what to do)

  • Give a dog a bad name and hang him (once a person loses his reputation)

  • To be a dog in the manger (to prevent others from using what one can't use oneself)

  • Every dog has his day (sooner or later, every one has his share of good fortune)

  • To be in the doldrums (to be in low spirits, to be out of spirits)

  • Ups and downs (varying fortunes; changes and chances of life)

  • To throw dust in one's eyes (to try to deceive some one)

  • Dutch courage (bravery induced by alcoholic liquors)

  • Eagle eye (quick to discover; very discerning)

  • A bad egg (a worthless person)

  • Don't put your eggs in one basket (Don't stake all your money on a single industry)

  • A white elephant (a useless possession which is extremely expensive to keep)

  • At the eleventh hour (at the last moment)

  • To make both ends meet (to keep expenses within one's income)

  • An eye for an eye (tit for tat to return evil for evil; retaliate)

  • Bad faith (dishonest intentions)

  • A breach of faith (to act contrary to what one had professed)

  • To fall out (to quarrel)

  • To fall through (fail)

  • Birds of a feather flock together (people of similar tastes and dis-positions crave each other's company)

  • To set the Thames on fire (to do something sensational or remarkable)

  • A burnt child dreads the fire (one who has had a previous unpleasant experience is always scared of situations where such experience are likely to be repeated)

  • A fish out of water (anyone in an awkward)

  • Other fish to fry (more important business to attend to)

  • By fits and starts (spasmodically)

  • Foul play (cheating)

  • To jump from a frying pan into fire (to come out of one trouble and get into a worse)

  • To gain ground (to make progress in any undertaking)

  • To play to the gallery (to endeavour to gain cheap popularity)

  • To give up the ghost (to die)

  • Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones (people who do not live blameless lives should not find fault with others)

  • All that glitters is not gold (things are not always as attractive as they appears)

  • A good for nothing (a worth less person)

  • A good Samaritan (a friend in need)

  • A wild goose chase (a vain attempt)

  • To kill the goose that laid the golden egg (to lose a valuable source of income though greed)

  • To cut a Gordian knot (to solve a difficult problem by adopting bold and drastic measures)

  • From hand to hand (from one person to another)

  • Hard and fast rules (strict rules)

  • Hard to hearing (almost deaf)

  • Back in harness (to resume work after a holiday)

  • To die in harness (to continue at one's occupation until death)

  • More haste less speed (work done hurriedly is apt to be badly done)

  • Make hay while the sun shines (take advantage of all opportunities)

  • To be in hot water (to be in trouble or difficulty)

  • To eat an humble pie (to submit oneself to humiliation and insult)

  • To kiss the book (to take an oath in a produce or commodities)

  • To kiss the dust (to be defeated in battle)

  • A laconic speech (a concise)

  • To look to one's laurels (to take care not to lose one's place)

  • To win laurels (to gain distinction or glory in s contest)

  • To smell of the lamp (to show signs of strenuous preparation for an examination or a speech etc)

  • Look before you leap (think before action)

  • To stand on one's own legs (to depend entirely on one's own resources)

  • To give the lie to (to prove to be false)

  • To bring to light (to reveal)

  • A Lilliputian (a pygmy)

  • The lion's share (the largest part)

  • Lock, stock and barrel (the whole of everything)

  • A Martinet (a very strict disciplinarian)

  • A miss is as good as a mile (comes nowhere near it)

  • To move heaven and earth (to exert all efforts)

  • To hit the nail on the head (to mention the true facts of a case)

  • A stitch in time saves nine (If we give our attention to the little details of life)

  • In a nutshell (Summed up in a few words)

  • Out of temper (angry)

  • To pick to pieces (to analyses critically)

  • The proof of the pudding is in eating (people are judged by their actions)

  • To put down a person (to degrade or humiliate a person)

  • To make a silk purse out of a sow's ear (to attempt to accomplish great things with inferior materials)

  • Pyrrhic victory (a victory that is as costly as defeat)

  • To be like a drowned rat (to be soaking wet)

  • Red flag (the symbol of revolution)

  • To be caught red-handed (to be caught in the very act of committing a crime)

  • Red letter-day (a memorable day)

  • Red tape (a team used to describe the delay in attending to matters in government department because the official routine and formality)

  • Rome was not built in a day (it takes time to accomplish anything really worthwhile)

  • To be between Scylla and Charybdis (to be faced with two dangerous alternatives)

  • To see daylight (to begin to understand)

  • A close shave (a narrow escape)

  • A skeleton in the cupboard/the family skeleton (a dreadful domestic secret)

  • By the skin of the teeth (very narrowly)

  • A snake in the grass (an enemy who strikes under cover)

  • A Spartan life (a life of extreme self discipline)

  • To call a spade a spade (to be brutally frank)

  • A rolling stone gathers no moss (unstable people never achieve anything worthwhile)

  • One swallow does not make a summer (it is unreliable to base one's conclusions on only a single test or incident)

  • Empty vessels make the most noise (those who know or have little knowledge often shout the loudest)

  • If wishes were horses, beggars might ride (if all people's wishes came true every body would be rich)

  • A nine days'wonder (an event which relates a sensation for a time but is soon forgotten)

  • Yellow press (newspapers which publish sensational and unscrupulous stories about crime, sex etc.)

Discussions & Questions