Idioms

Idioms

 

English idioms, proverbs, and expressions are an important part of everyday English. They come up all the time in both written and spoken English. Because idioms do not always make sense literally, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of each idiom. That may seem like a lot of work, but learning idioms is fun, especially when you compare English idioms to the idioms in your own language.

 

Learning to use common idioms and expressions will make your English sound more native, so it’s a good idea to master some of these expressions. The tables below are organized by how common the idioms are in American English. You can start by learning the very common English idioms, since these are the ones you’ll encounter regularly watching American movies or TV, or visiting the United States. When you’ve mastered those, move on to rest. None of the idioms on this page are unusual or old fashioned, so you can be confident using any of them with native English speakers from all English-speaking countries.

 

English idioms

The most common English idioms

These English idioms are extremely common in everyday conversation in the United States. You will hear them in movies and TV shows and can use them to make your English sound more like that of a native speaker.

IDIOM

MEANING

USAGE

A blessing in disguise A good thing that seemed bad first as part of a sentence
A dime a dozen Something common as part of a sentence
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree Kids are like their parents(usually used negatively) as part of a sentence
The apple  of his eye his favorite girl, the girl he desires as part of a sentence
Beat around the bush Avoid saying what you mean, usually because it is uncomfortable as part of a sentence
Better late than never better to arrive late than not to come at all by itself
Bite the bullet To get something over with because it is inevitable as part of a sentence
Break a leg Good luck by itself

Call it a day

Stop working on something as part of a sentence
Cut somebody some slack Don’t be critical as part of a sentence
Cutting corners Doing something poorly in order to save time or money as part of a sentence
Easy does it Slow down by itself
Get out of hand Get out of control as part of a sentence
Get something out of your system Do the thing you’ve been wanting to do so you can move on as part of a sentence
Get your act together Work better or leave by itself
Give someone the benefit of the doubt Trust what someone says as part of a sentence
Go back to the drawing board Start over as part of a sentence
Hanging in there Don’t give up by itself

Hit the sack

English idioms

Go to sleep

English idioms

as part of a sentence
It’s not rocket science It’s not compicated by itself
Let someone off the book To not hold someone responsible for something as part of a sentence
Make a long story short Tell something briefly as part of a sentence
Miss the boat It’s too late as part of a sentence
no pain, no gain You have to work for what you want as part of a sentence
On the ball Doing a good job as part of a sentence
pull something’s leg To joke with someone as part of a sentence
pull yourself together  Calm down by itself
So far so good Things are going well so far by itself
Speak of the devil The person we were just talking about showed up! by itself
That’s the last straw My patience has run out by itself
The best of both worlds An ideal situetion as part of a sentence
Time flies when you’re having fun You don’t notice how long something lasts when it’ s fun by itself
To get bent out of shape

To get upset

English idioms

as part of a sentence
To make matters worse Make a problem worse as part of a sentence
Under the weather Sick as part of a sentence
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it Let’s not talk about that problem right now by itself
Wrap your head around something Understand something complicated as part of a sentence
You can say that again That’s true, I agree by itself
You guess is as good as mine I have no idea by itself

English idioms

Common English idioms & expressions

These English idioms are used quite regularly in the United States. You may not hear them every day, but they will be very familiar to any native English speaker. You can be confident using any of them when the context is appropriate

IDIOM

MEANING

USAGE

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush What you have is worth more than you might have later by itself
A penny for your thoughts Tell me what you’re thinking by itself
A penni saved is a penny earned Money you save today you can spend later by itself
A perfect storm

The worst possible situation

English idioms

as part of a sentence
A picture is worth 1000 words Better possibto show than tell by itself
Actions speak louder than words Believe what people do and not what they say by itsef
Add insult toinjury To make a bad situation worse as part of a sentence
Barking up the wrong tree To be mistaken, to be looking for solutions in the wrong place as party of a sentence

Birds of a feather flock together

English idioms

people who are alike are often friends(usually used negatively) by itself
Bite off more than you can chew Take on a project that you cannot finish as part of a sentence
Break the ice Make people feel more comfortable as part of a sentence
By the skin of your teeth just barely as part of a sentence
Comparing apples to oranges Comparing two things that cannot be compared as part of a sentence
Do something at the drop of hat Do something without having planned beforehand as part of a sentence
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch Don’t count on something good happening until it’s be fixed by itself
Costs an arm and a leg Very expensive as part of a sentence
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Treat people fairly. Also know as “The Golden Rule” by itself

English idioms

Don’t cry over spilt milk

English idioms

there’s no reason to reason to complain about something that can’t be fixed

 

by itself

Don’t pul all your eggs in one basket What you’re doing is too risky by itself
Every cloud has a silver lining Good thing come after bad things by itself
Get a taste of your own medicine Get trated the way you’ve been treating others(negative) as part of a sentence

Don’t give up your day job

English idioms

You are not good at this by itself
Give someone the cold shoulder Ignore someone as part of a sentence
Go on a wild goose chase To do something pointless as part of a sentence
Good things come to those who Be patient by itself
He has bigger fish to fry He has Bigger things to take care of than what we are talking about now by itself
He’s chip off the old block The son is like the father by itself
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right by itself
Ignorance is bliss You are better off not knowing by itself
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings This isn’t over yet by itself
It takes one to know one You are just as bad as I am by itself

It’s piece of cake

English idioms

It’s easy by itself
It’s raining cats and dogs It’s raining hard by itself
Kill two birds with one stone Get two things done with a single action by itself
Let the cat out of the bag Give away a secret as part of a sentence
live and learn I made a mistake by itself
Look before you leap Take only calculated risk by itself

On thin ice

English idioms

On probation. If you make another mistake there will be trouble as part of a sentence
Once in a blue moon Rarely as part of a sentence
Play devil’s advocate To arque the opposite, just for the sake of argument as part of a sentence
Put something on ice Put a projet on hold as part of a sentence
Rain on someone’s parade To spoil something as part of a sentence
Saving for a rainy day Saving money for later as part of a sentence
Slow and steady wins the race Reliability is more important than speed by itself
Spill the beans Give away a secret as part of a sentence
Take a rain check postpone a plane as part of a sentence

English idioms

Take it with a grain of salt

 

Don’t take it too seriously

as part of a sentence
The ball is in your court It’s your decision by itself
The best thing sience sliced bread A really good invention as part of a sentence
The devil is in the details ıt looks good from a distance, but when you look closer, there are problems by itself
The early bird gets the worm The first people who arrive will get the best stuff by itself
The elephant in the room The big issue, the problem people are avoiding as part og a sentence
The whole nine yards Everything all the way as part of a sentence
The are other fish in the sea It’s ok to miss this opportunity. others will arise. by itself
There’s a method to his medness He seems crazy but actually he’s clever by itself
There’s no such thing as a free lunch nothing is entierly free by itself
Throw caution to the wind Take a risk as part of a sentence
You can’t have your cake and eat it too You can’t have everything by itself
Youcan’t junde a book by its cover This person or thing may look bad, but it’s good inside by itself

English idioms

Learn 20 idioms in English that will make you sound like a native English speaker. These British and American idioms (expressions) will help you build your vocabulary and speaking skills

 

Familiar English idioms & proverbs

These English idioms and proverbs are familiar and easily understood by native English speakers, but they are not usually used in everyday conversation. If you haven’t mastered the more frequent idioms yet, they are a better place to start, but if you’re already familiar with those expressions, the idioms below will further spice up your English.

Idiom

Meaning

Usage

A little learning is a dangerous thing People who don’t understand something fully are dangerous by itself

A snowball’s effect

English idioms

Events have momentum and build upon each other as part of a sentence
A snowball’s chance in hell No chance at all as part of a sentence
Astitch in time saves nine Fix the problem now becouse it will get worse later by itself
A storm in a teacup A big fuss about a small problem as part of a sentence
An apple a day keeps the doctor away Apples are good for you by itself
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure You can prevent a problem with little effort. Fixing it later is harder by itself
As right as rain Perfect as part of a sentence
Bold from the blue Something that happend without warning as part of a sentence
Burn bridges Destroy relationships as part of a sentence

English idioms

Calm before the storm

 

Something bas is coming, but right now it’s calm

as part of a sentence
Come rain or shine No matter what as part of a sentence
Curiosity killed the cat Stop asking questions by itself
Cut the mustrad Do a good job as part of a sentence
Don’t beat a dead horse Move on, this subject is over by itself
Every dog has his day Everyone gets a chance at leats once by itself
Familiarity breeds contempt The better you know someone the less you like him by itself

Fit as a fiddle

English idioms

ın good health as part of a sentence
fortune favours the bold Take risks by itslef
Get second wind  have more energy after having been tired as part of a sentence
Get wind of something Hear news of something secret as part of sentence

Go down in flames

English idioms

fail spectacularly as part of a sentence
Haste makes waste You’ll make mistakes if you rush through something by itself
Have your head in the clouds Not be concentrating as part of a sentence
He who laughs last laughs loudest I’ll get you back for what you did by itself
Hear something straight from the horse’s mouth Hear something from the person involved as part of a sentence
He’s not playing with a full deck He’s dumb by itself
He’s sitting on the fence He can’t make up his mind by itself
He’s off his rocker He’s crazy by itself
It is a poor workman who blames his tools If you can’t do the job, don’t blame it on others by itself
It is always darkest before the dawn Things are going to get better by itself

English idioms

It takes two to dango

English idioms

One person alone isn’t responsible. Both people are involved

by itself
Jumb on the bandwagon Follow a trend, do what everyone else is doing as part of a sentence
Know wich way the wind is blowing Understand the sitation(usually negative) as part of a sentence
Leave no stone unturned Look everywhere as part of a sentence
Let sleeping dogs lie Stop discussing an issue as part of a sentence
Like riding a bicycle Something you never forget how to do as part of a sentence
Like two peas in pod They’re always together as part of a sentence

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English idioms

Exercise-1

Choose the best answer.

1. If you’re up to your ears with homework, you …….. .

A ) don’t have much to do
B ) have a lot to do
C ) can’t wait to get started

2. If your teacher has told you it is out of the question for you to turn in your term paper late, you …….. .

A ) must turn in your paper on time
B ) have extra time to work on your paper
C ) don’t have any more questions to ask your teacher

3. If Johannes finally got rid of his old football, he …….. .

A ) is saving it for the future
B ) no longer has it
C ) loaned it to a friend for a short time

4. If Mai was the one who got the ball rolling on your group science project, she .

A ) put off working on the project
B ) rolled a ball around as part of the project
C ) started work on the project

5. If you gave your neighbor a hand with her groceries, you …….. .

A ) helped her

B ) avoided her

C ) shook hands with her

6. Stanley used a bit of wire to fix his car door for the time being. Stanley …….. .

A ) permanently fixed the car door
B ) temporarily fixed the car door
C ) didn’t know how to fix the car door

7. Carl and Monica are keeping their fingers crossed that the weather will be nice on their wedding day. They …….. .

A ) are wishing for nice weather
B ) have been told the weather will be nice
C ) don’t really care about the weather

1.B 2.A 3.B 4.C 5.A 6.B 7.A

English idioms

Exercise-2

Complete the sentences or dialogues with idioms from the list.

1. once in a blue moon 6. do without
2. come down with 7. say that again
3. be on the safe side 8. every other
4. well worth the trouble 9. inns and outs
5. under the weather 10. as a rule

English idioms

1. Although it’s warm today, I think you should take a sweater, just to …….. .
2. A: What do you usually do on weekends, Fred?
B: …….. I stay at home, but next weekend I’m going to San Francisco with a friend.
3. I forgot my notebook for class but I think I can …….. it.
4. A: You’re looking a bit tired today.
B: Well, I think I’m …….. the flu.
5. I don’t have physics every day. I have it …….. day.
6. Reynaldo is an excellent tour guide because he knows all …….. of travelling.
7. Since Alberto does not like the ballet we only go …….. .
8. A: The weather is absolutely perfect today.
B: You can …….. !
9. I’m sorry I won’t be able to go to the art exhibit with you tonight, I’m feeling …….. .
10. A: Did you have a hard time finding grandmother’s birthday present?
B: Yes, but when I saw her expression when she opened it, I knew it was …….. .
1. 3 2.. 10 3. 6 4. 2 5. 8 6. 9 7. 1 8. 7 9. 5 10. 4

English idioms

Exercise-3

Complete the sentences or dialogues with idioms from the list.

1. as a rule 6. come up with
2. get in touch with 7. a fish out of water
3. come up with 8. at all
4. Think nothing of it 9. as a matter of fact
5. get rid of 10. few and far between

English idioms

1. A: Thank you so much for helping me get my car started.
B: …….. . It was no problem at all.
2. A: Do you get pay raises where you work?
B: Yes, but they are …….. .
3. Michael felt like …….. because he was the only man in a room full of women.
4. A: I’ve got a great idea for our class reunion.
B: I knew you’d …….. something.
5. A: Is this story boring you?
B: Not …….. . I find it fascinating.
6. …….. , Carlos is very punctual, but he was late tonight.
7. A: You’re probably too tired to play another game ofracquetball, right?
B: I’m not that tired, really. …….. , I’d enjoy another game.
8. How did you …….. such a strange idea?
9. A: That old paint that you have stored in your garage is a fire hazard.
B: You’re right. I should …….. it.
10. A: Has Fred …….. you lately?
B: No, he hasn’t. I don’t think he has my new telephone number.
1. 4 2.10 3. 7 4. 6 5. 8 6. 1 7. 9 8. 3 9. 5 10. 2

Exercise-4

Complete the sentences or dialogues with idioms from the list.

1. right away 6. make a point of
2. give a hand with 7. take it easy
3. out of the question 8. for the time being
4. make up one’s mind 9. in the long run
5. few and far between 10. for good

English idioms

1. There are so many interesting dishes on the menu that it’s hard for me to …….. which one I want.
2. A: I’m nervous about my interview.
B: …….. . You’ll make a better impression if you’re relaxed.
3. A: Why do we need to get gas now? We have quite a bit left.
B: This highway goes through some empty country, and gas stations are …….. .
4. A: Are you moving to Baltimore …….. ?
B: No, just …….. . I’ll be back here in a month or two.
5. Can you …….. me …….. this luggage? It’s too heavy for me to carry myself.
6. The company may lose some money now, but …….. , this is a good investment.
7. Write down your ideas …….. . If you wait to write them down, you may forget them.
8. A: You did a fine job on this research paper, especially on the bibliography.
B: Thanks. I …….. getting the bibliography exactly right.
9. A: What did Professor Spencer say when you asked him if the final exam could be
postponed?
B: He said that it was …….. because there’s no time to reschedule the test.
 
1. 4 2. 7 3. 5 4. 10 5. 2 6. 9 7. 1 8. 6 9. 3  

English idioms

Exercise-5

Complete the sentences or dialogues with idioms from the list. Change the
verb to the correct tense when necessary.

1. watch out 6. pick out
2. look after 7. keep on
3. put off 8. try out
4. count on 9. look into
5. run into 10. talk over

English idioms

1. I …….. Caroline in the coffee shop.
2. …….. for snakes!
3. A: Who …….. that tie for you?
B: No one. I chose it myself.
4. A: What are you going to do about your tropical fish while you’re out of town?
B: I’ve asked my sister to …….. them for me.
5. A: Should we stop and spend the night at this motel?
B: No, let’s …….. driving for a few more miles.
6. The police are …….. the crime.
7. The couple had to …….. the wedding because the bride was sick.
8. I wish I’d …….. this calculator before I bought it. It doesn’t seem to be working.
9. I’m not sure if this is a suitable topic for a research paper. I need to …….. it …….. with my teacher before I start writing.
10. Can you …….. the students?
1. 5 2. 1 3. 6 4. 2 5. 7 6. 9 7. 3 8.8 9.10 10.4

English idioms

Exercise-6

Complete the sentences or dialogues with idioms from the list. Change the verb to the correct tense when necessary.

1. care for 6. count on
2. find out 7. look after
3. hold up 8. call on
4. bring up 9. figure out
5. drop our of 10. check out

English idioms

1. They …….. their children to be honest.
2. I can …….. my car. It’s very dependable and never breaks down.
3. A: Did you rent this videotape?
B: No, I …….. it …….. the library.
4. That saleswoman …….. her clients at least once a month because she thinks personal contact is important.
5. Who …….. your cat while you were out of town?
6. It took me hours to …….. how to record programs on my VCR.
7. Ben had to …….. the university because of financial problems.
8. A: How did you …….. where Warren lives?
B: I just looked up his address in the phone book.
9. Albert …….. his grandfather
10.A: What …….. your flight?
B: There was a big snowstorm in Denver that delayed a lot of flights.
1. 4 2. 6 3. 10 4. 8 5. 1 6. 9 7. 5 8. 2 9. 7 10. 3

English idioms

Exercise-7

Complete the sentences or dialogues with idioms from the list. Change the verb to the correct tense when necessary.

1. watch out 6. count on
2. care of 7. look after
3. hold on 8. run into
4. pick out 9. figure out
5. turn in 10. get through

English idioms

1. Marcia’s sister …….. her baby while Marcia is at work.
2. I asked my teacher to …….. the mistakes that I made in my essay so that I could correct them.
3. I …….. my old friend Leslie downtown yesterday. I hadn’t seen her for months.
4. If you’re on a crowded bus or subway car, you must …….. for pickpockets.
5. I’ll never be able to …….. all these books on Professor Grey’s reading list.
6. The wind is starting to blow. You’d better …….. to your hat.
7. Lucy doesn’t …….. sweets. Why don’t you get her a basket of fruit?
8. A: Do you happen to have a red notebook and an umbrella here?B: No, but why don’t you give me your phone number in case someone …….. them ?
9. A: Are you coming to my party tomorrow?
B: Yes, you can …….. me.
10. Roberto, could you help me, please? I can’t …….. how to put my little sister’s new
bicycle together.
1. 7 2. 4 3. 8 4. 1 5. 10 6. 3 7. 2 8. 5 9. 6 10. 9

Exercise-8


Choose the best meaning.

1. Steve asked for more than he could eat. His eyes were bigger than his stomach

A ) Steve thought he could eat a lot.
B ) Steve did not think he could eat much.

2. Eric became so upset that he lost control of himself.

A ) Eric was rational.
B ) Eric was irrational.

3. Stan consumes too many alcoholic beverages. He drinks like a fish.

A ) Stan spends a lot of time in bars.
B ) Stan dislikes bars.


4. Daniel eats more than anybody else I know. He eats like a horse.
A ) Daniel does not spend a lot of money on food.
B ) Daniel spends a lot of money on food.

5. Polly did too many things and got overtired. She burned herself out.

A ) Polly works hard.
B ) Polly does not like to work.

6. Ken talked and talked, but he did not change Gene’s mind. He talked until he was blue in the face.

A ) Ken did not convince Gene.
B ) Gene agreed with ken.

7. Helen ate too much. She made a pig out of herself.

A ) It was enjoyable to watch Helen eat.
B ) It was not enjoyable to watch Helen eat.

8. Brian is reading a newspaper under a tree in the park. Brian is taking it easy.

A ) Brian is relaxing.
B ) Brian is hard at work.

9. I gather from your remark that you are angry.

A ) hear
B ) understand from
C ) ignore

10.To tell you the truth, we’re starving.

A ) to be honest
B ) to explain why
C ) in other words

11. Oh, come on, Michael, we know you’re over thirty!

A ) stop saying something that isn’t true
B ) hurry
C ) come with us

12. She didn’t want to go to the party as she made up a good excuse.

A ) asked for
B ) wrote
C ) invented

13. During the press conference, the President touched on the unemployment problem.

A ) discussed fully
B ) discussed briefly
C ) avoided

English idioms

14. He wanted to buy a Cadillac but his son talked him into buying a Porsche.

A ) convinced
B ) asked
C ) told

15. He made a deal with his client.

A ) discussed it with
B ) agreed to do business with
C ) produced something with

16. After a few minutes of social talk, we got down to business.

A ) sat down
B ) talked about our jobs
C ) began to talk seriously

English idioms

17. It was impossible for him to make a living by acting.

A ) support himself financially by
B ) live without
C ) have an interesting life by

18. As a salesman, he had to deal with the public.

A ) have contact with
B ) play cards with
C ) convince

19. When I was cleaning out my desk drawer, I came across this old picture.

A ) looked for
B ) found
C ) ripped

20.Everything in this kitchen is up to date.

A ) is old
B ) is used
C ) is modem

1.A 2.? 3.? 4.? 5.A 6.A 7.? 8.A 9.? 10.A
11.A 12.? 13.? 14.A 15.? 16.A 17.A 18.A 19.? 20.?

English idioms

Exercise-9


Choose the best meaning.

1. If you get rid of these doors, you will have much more room.

A ) open
B ) remove
C ) close

2. The robbers broke in.

A ) needed money
B ) got hurt
C ) forced their way in

3. He put the blame on Perry.

A ) forgave
B ) accused
C ) attacked

4. The young salesman came up with a money-saving idea.

A ) bought
B ) exchanged
C ) found

English idioms

5. Everyone was surprised when the president showed up in blue jeans.

A ) bought
B ) displayed
C ) appeared wearing

6. He quit his job because he couldn’t cope with all the pressure.

A ) overcome
B ) avoid
C ) enjoy

7. We’re fed up with the weather here.

A ) enjoying
B ) tired of
C ) pleased with

8. It’s better not to talk to him. He got out of bed on the wrong side this morning.

A ) was in a bad mood when he went to sleep
B ) hurt himself when he got up
C ) has been in a bad mood since he got up

9. I don’t feel like going out in the rain. Let’s stay home.

A ) want to
B ) feel well enough to
C ) enjoy

10. If you don’t cut out smoking three packs of cigarettes a day, you will die before you

are fifty.
A ) think about
B ) stop
C ) limit yourself to

11.The cleaning lady objected to washing windows.

A ) avoided
B ) liked
C ) expressed a negative attitude about

12. If you want to discuss the matter, you must calm down first.

A ) become quiet, more relaxed
B ) make an appointment
C ) explain your position

13. The bus passes by her house every fifteen minutes.

A ) goes near
B ) goes past
C ) stops at

14. We should fill up the trank before we reach the highway.

A ) make completely full
B ) fix
C ) put a little gas in

15. Take it easy, dinner will be ready in a few minutes.

A ) hurry
B ) relax, be calm
C ) come here

16.It was her first trip to Rome so she got a tour guide to show her around.

A ) take on a tour
B ) translate for
C ) introduce to people

17.Speaking to reporters is against the president’s wishes.

A ) is contrary to
B ) is in agreement
C ) goes with

18.Her father isn’t looking forward to his retirement.

A ) thinking about with pleasure
B ) planning
C ) concerned about

19.We’re leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow.

A ) travelling to
B ) going away from
C ) immigrating to

1.B 2.C 3.B 4.C 5.C 6.A 7.B 8.C 9.A 10.B
11.C 12.A 13.B 14.A 15.B 16.A 17.A 18.A 19.A  

Exercise-10


Choose the best meaning.

1. Break a leg!

A ) To hell with you!
B ) Good luck!

“Break a leg!” shouted the stage manager to the young actresses. Let’s all go do our best. Break a leg!

2. Blow on it!

A ) Cool it! Take it easy!
B ) Do it! Act more aggressively!

It’s all right, Tom. Blow on it!
Hey, man. Relax. Blow on it!

3. Make it snappy!

A ) Hurry up! Make it fast!
B ) Do you best!

We are late, honey. Make it snappy!
Make it snappy, Fred. They won’t wait for us.

4. Keep your pants (or your shirt) on!

A ) Mind your own business!
B ) Wait a minute!

I’ll be right with you. Keep your shirt on!
Keep your pants on! You are next.

5. Drop it!

A ) Forget it!
B ) Stop acting like this!

Never mind! Just drop it!
Drop it! I should never have brought it up.

6. No sweat!

A ) It’s too bad!
B ) No problem!

It’s no big deal. No sweat!
No sweat! Don’t worry about it.

7. Make a lap!

A ) Sit down!
B ) Get out of the way!

Hey, make a lap and relax!
Pull up a chair and make a lap!

8. Come off it!

A ) give up your point of view; it’s incorrect!
B ) Stop doing things like this!

Come off it! You’re deadly wrong, and you know you are!
You are arguing from a foolish position. Come off it!

9. Dig up!

A ) Stand up and go away!
B ) Listen! Pay attention!
Stop talking and dig up!
Dig up, buddy! This is important.

10. You bet your boots!

A ) That’s your mistake!
B ) You can be absolutely certain!
You bet your boots I’m mad!
Am I happy? You bet your boots!

11. Hold it!

A ) Remember it!
B ) Stop right there!
Hold it! Stop!
That’s enough! Hold it!

12. That’s the way to go! or Way to go!

A ) Nicely done!
B ) Go away! Get lost!

That’s the -way to go! You did it, pal!
Way to go, Bob! Everything’s been fine!

13. What’s the good word?

A ) It can’t be that bad! Is there any solution?
B ) Hello, how are you?
Morning, Lane! What’s the good word?
Long time no see, boys! What’s the good-word?

English idioms

14. My foot!

A ) I can’t wait! Hurry up!
B ) I do not believe it!

You are the best in the team, my foot!
She is going to marry you? My foot!

15. That’s the ticket!

A ) That’s exactly what is needed!
B ) That’s the heart of the problem!

Good! That’s the ticket! Now you don’t have to worry.
That’s the ticket! Perfect! Go ahead!

16. Nothing to it!

A ) It’s so easy!
B ) Nothing doing! No way to settle a matter!

Look, anybody can do it! Nothing to it!
Operating fax machine is easy. nothing to it!

17. That does it!

A ) Well done, that’s the solution!
B ) That’s the end! That is too much!

Okey! That does it! I can’t take any more. Out you go!
Stop it! Hat does it! I’m leaving.

18. Bully for you!

A ) Shame on you!
B ) Very good for you!

You managed it, somehow! Bully on you!
You’re the winner! Bully for you!

19. Don’t sweat it!

A ) Say it as it is, don’t make things look better than they are.
B ) Don’t worry about it!

No problem! Don’t sweat it!
Don’t sweat it! We’ll see to the problem.

20. Nuts to you!

A ) Stop it! Go away!
B ) That’s great of you!

Oh, nuts to you! You are just plain rude!
Nuts to you! I will not give you the thing.

1.B 2.A 3.? 4.? 5.A 6.? 7.A 8.A 9.B 10?
11.? 12:A 13.? 14.? 15.A 16.A 17.B 18.? 19.? 20.A

English idioms Exercise-11

Choose the best meaning.

1. legal-eagle

A ) a policeman
B ) a lawyer
C ) a pilot

I’ve got a legal-eagle who can get me out of this scrape.
She keeps a whole bunch of legal-eagle.

2. super-duper

A ) excellent
B ) stupid
C ) the worst

Where is this super-duper car of ? ours?
That’s just super-duper. Couldn’t have asked for better.

3. fender-bender

A ) a minor accident
B ) a very strong man
C ) a lazy person

There are a couple offender-benders on the expressway this morning, so be careful
A minor fender-bender blocked traffic for a while.

4. pie-in-the-sky

A ) a special “Heavenly reward”
B ) something non-existent
C ) absolute nonsense

Don’t hold out for pie-in-the-sky. Get realistic.
If he didn’t hope for some heavenly pie-in-the-sky, he would probably be a real crook.

5. big league (usually plural)

A ) the government
B ) the top of the criminal world
C ) any situation where competition is keen

In the big leagues of business you’ve got to know what you are worth.
You’re in the big leagues now – no more fooling around

English idioms

6. local yokel

A ) the nearest bar
B ) a police station
C ) a local resident of the rural place

One of the local yokels helped me change the tire
The local yokels all listen to the same radio station.

7. to wheel and deal

A ) to treat someone badly
B ) to negotiate aggressively
C ) to sell second-hand cars

To settle the matter you must wheel and deal.
If you can’t wheel and deal, you can’t run for the elective office.

8. ptomaine-domain

A ) any dining facility, a cafeteria
B ) a hospital for mental clients
C ) a village
Time to go over to the ptomaine-domain.
I can’t stand food at the ptomaine-domain.

9. boob-tube

A ) subway
B ) a television set
C ) an underground passage

You spend too much time in front of the boob-tube.
What’s on the boob-tube tonight?

10. to party-hearty

A ) to love someone passionately
B ) to take one’s leave
C ) to have a great time, to celebrate

Let’s get some stuff and party-hearty.
The whole class decided to celebrate and party-hearty.

11. donkey’s years

A ) childhood
B ) a long time
C ) years spent in the army

I haven’t seen you in donkey’s years…
It’s been donkey’s years since we talked.

12. hot potato

A ) a difficult problem
B ) a thing difficult to get
C ) a very attractive and energetic woman or girl

I sure don’t want to have to deal with that hot potato.
This task is a hot potato. Ignore it for a while.

13. monkey business

A ) useless efforts
B ) silliness; dishonest tricks
C ) an unsuccessful undertaking or enterprise

That’s enough monkey business. Now, settle down.
Stop the monkey business. This is serious!

14. white hat

A ) a bureaucrat
B ) a very important person
C ) a good guy, a hero

He seems like a white hat, but he is a worm. The white hats don’t always win, you know.

15.baby-kisser

A ) a hypocritical person
B ) a parent
C ) a politician

Once those baby-kissers get in the office, they spend, spend, spend…
There were lots of promises at the town square today when four baby-kissers tried to rally interest in the upcoming election.

16. mad money

A ) money to be spent in frivolous fashion
B ) a very large sum of money
C ) easily gotten money

I got $100 in mad money for my birthday.
This is my mad money, and I’ll do with it as I please.

17. big drink

A ) a drunkard
B ) an ocean
C ) a party of male students

We flew over the big drink in an hour or two. When you are over the big drink you really get ? feel how tiny we humans are.

18. white elephant

A ) a boss
B ) a prominent politician
C ) a useless or unwanted object

Take all those white elephants to the flea market. How can I get rid of this white elephant.

1.B 2.A 3.? 4.A 5.? 6.? 7.? 8.A 9.B 10.?
11.? 12.A 13.? 14.? 15.? 16.A 17.B 18.?    

English idioms

Exercise-12


Choose the best meaning.

1. To be in fine feather.

A ) To look elegant.
B ) To look fresh and healthy.
C ) To be rich.

2. As cool as a cucumber.

A ) To be very reserved towards others.
B ) To be very strong.
C ) To be very calm in any situation.

3. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

A ) You can’t judge someone by his or her appearance.
B ) You can’t judge someone objectively if you know him or her.
C ) It’s difficult to say if the book is nice or not.

4. Bite the bullet.

A ) Eat something hard.
B ) Suffer bravely something very unpleasant.
C ) Stop something before it does you any harm.

5. To be in the soup.

A ) To be in trouble.
B ) To be in bad company.
C ) To be in bad health.

6. To be on pins and needles.

A ) Something that is very painful to you.
B ) To be very nervous.
C ) To feel very light and happy.

7. To be long in the tooth.

A ) To be very hungry.
B ) To have a long tooth.
C ) To be too old.

8. To spill the beans.

A ) To tell a secret too soon.
B ) To tell a lie to somebody.
C ) To make a mistake.

9. In a nutshell.

A ) In a small room.
B ) In a protective placeI
C ) In a few words.

10. foot-in-mouth disease

A ) tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time
B ) inclination to boast incessantly
C ) dental problems
I suffer a lot from foot-in-mouth disease.
Well, Ralph has foot-in-mouth disease again.

11. to have egg on one’s face

A ) to be extremely shy
B ) to be embarrassed by something one has done
C ) to get drunk heavily
She’s really got egg on her face. I was completely wrong, and now I have egg on my face.

12. headache department

A ) a hospital
B ) a person who habitually causes problems
C ) the central government
Here’s another letter from the headache department.
Mrs. Wilson is my least favorite headache department.

13. nutty as a fruitcake

A ) very silly or stupid
B ) something nonexistent
C ) excellent in taste

The whole idea is as nutty as a fruitcake. Tom is as nutty as a fruitcake.
They will put him in a nuttery someday.

14. cruising for a bruising

A ) working very hard but with little result
B ) asking for trouble
C ) to work as a sales agent

Who’s cruising for a bruising?
You are cruising for a bruising, you know that?

15. to talk turkey

A ) to speak carelessly
B ) to tell lies
C ) to talk serious business

We’ve got to sit down and talk turkey.
It’s time to talk turkey and quit messing around.

16. to have kittens

A ) to become enraged and/or greatly surprised
B ) to live a pleasant life
C ) to have minor problems

When I heard the news, I had kittens.
I almost had kittens, I was so mad.

17. dog and pony show

A ) something very childish
B ) a beauty contest
C ) a demonstration, a speech, or other presentation that is presented often

Wally was there with his dog and pony show about water safety.
I’ve seen that dog and pony show so many times; it’s like I know all the words.

18. to put the bite on someone

A ) to try to get money out of someone
B ) to kill or injure someone
C ) to get angry with someone

You’re already putting the bite on me for a few bucks. Go away.
Don’t put the bite on me. I’ve no money at all.

19. to play ball with someone

A ) to treat someone not seriously
B ) to cooperate with someone
C ) to try to deceive someone

Are you going to play ball, or do I have report you to the boss? You will be better off if you will play ball with me.

 
1.B 2.? 3.? 4.? 5.A 6.? 7.? 8.A 9.? 10.A
11.? 12.? 13.A 14.? 15.? 16.A 17.? 18.A 19.?  

Exercise-13


Can you complete each sentence in the list with the appropriate phrase from the second?

1. The telephone operator put through A. lack of hard works
2. I have put by B. by their younger brothers and sisters
3. She was dreadfully put out C. his shoulder, playing Rugby
4. If it rains we shall have to put off D. enough money for a winter holiday
5. How can you put up with E. your address before I forget it
6. George has put out F. the barbecue in the garden tonight
7. I must put down G. the noise and fumes of town life
8. We would be happy to put you up H. I shall stop smoking
9. We put his failure down to I. by his unkind remarks
10. If cigarettes are put up J. if you would like to stay the night
11 .Older children are often put upon K. a warm jumper and heavy coat
12. When he began to shiver he decided to put on L. the call from London
1.L 2.D 3. 4.F 5.G 6.? 7.E 8.J 9.A 10.?
11.? 12.?                

Exercise-14


Here are some idiomatic expressions which can make everyday English puzzling to foreigners. Each has one word missing. Choose from the three given below to complete the sentence.

1. He is like a bear with a sore …….. .

A ) nose

B )  head

C ) tooth

2. When he began to smile I knew he was pulling my …….. .


A ) arm

B ) leg

C ) ear

3. I am so hungry after my walk I could eat a …….. .

A ) elephant

B ) house

C ) horse

4. He had to …….. up his Russian before he visited Moscow.

A ) sweep

B ) wash

C ) brush

5. Last night I was so tired I slept like a …….. .

A ) dog

B ) log

C ) table

6. She has a …….. in her bonnet about young people.

A ) ribbon

B ) feather

C ) bee

7. He is a …….. of all trades.

A ) jack

B ) workman

C ) artist

8. The horror film on late-night television made my flesh …….. .

A ) jump

B ) crawl

C ) creep

9. His name was on the …….. of my tongue.

A ) edge

B ) tip

C ) top

10. I am sick and …….. of hearing the subject.

A ) tired

B ) angry

C) sorry

11.He always calls a spade a …….. .

A ) fork

B ) hoe

C ) spade

12.He always keeps his …….. in an emergency.

A ) head

B ) feet

C ) shirt

1.B 2.? 3.C 4.? 5.? 6.?
7.A 8.? 9.B 10.A 11.? 12.A

Exercise-15


Choose the best meaning.

1. I’ve got a frog in my throat.

A ) I keep having to clear my throat.
B ) I’ve got a sore throat.
C ) Something I’ve eaten is stuck in my throat.

2. Mary’s got butterflies in her stomach.

A ) She’s feeling nervous.
B ) She’s got indigestion.
C ) She feels sick.

3.His vase is rather a white elephant.

A ) It’s old and very valuable.
B ) Even though it was probably quite expensive, it’s useless.
C ) It’s big and simple to design.

4. He chickened out of climbing the tree.

A ) He refused to climb the tree.
B ) He apologized for not being able to climb the tree.
C ) He decided not to climb the tree after all, because he was afraid to.

5. David drives at a snail’s pace.

A ) David drives very carefully.
B ) David drives very slowly.
C ) David drives in the middle of the road.

6.There’s something fishy about him.

A ) He smells.
B ) He likes swimming.
C ) There’s something about him that I don’t entirely trust.

7.You look sheepish!

A ) You look terrified.
B ) You look ashamed of yourself.
C ) You look warm.

8.The little girl shed a few crocodile tears.

A ) She shed very big tears.
B ) Her tears were not real tears of sorrow.
C ) She was crying because she was angry.

9.I haven’t been to the cinema for donkey’s years.

A ) I haven’t been to the cinema for a few years.
B ) I haven’ been to the cinema for many years.
C ) I haven’t been to the cinema for ages.

10. Jane thinks she’s the cat’s whiskers.

A ) Jane’s too self-important.
B ) Jane’s shy.
C ) Jane’s mad.

1.A 2.A 3.B 4.? 5.?
6.? 7.? 8.? 9.? 10.A

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