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Idioms

An idiom is an expression whose meaning is different from the meaning of its constituent words. Knowledge of idioms is an important part of comprehension of the English language. Below is a list of some commonly used idioms in English with their meanings and usage.

TURN OVER A NEW LEAF

Changing for the better

After Ajit was released from prison, he decided to turn over a new leaf and become an honest man.

PULL UP ONE’S SOCKS

To make an effort to improve

Idioms Exercise 1

Rajesh scored only forty on his English mid-term exams. He needs to pull up his socks if he wants to do well in his finals.

HIT BELOW THE BELT

To act in an unfair manner

The candidate of the opposition party spread false rumours about the Minister. People felt that he was hitting below the belt.

GIFT OF THE GAB

The ability to speak well

Pooja was able to keep the audiences amused with her stories. She surely has the gift of the gab.

WILD GOOSE CHASE

Futile search

Searching for hidden gold in the village field is nothing but a wild goose chase.

HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS

Reconsider a decision

Rajiv began to have second thoughts about his decision to study Economics when he realised that he could not even pay attention during the lectures.

TAKE TO TASK

To reprimand someone

Payal was taken to task by her mother when she failed her Mathematics exam.

FACE THE MUSIC

To face the consequences of one’s action

I lost my father’s pen. I will have to face the music when I reach home.

BREAK THE ICE

Overcome initial shyness

The teacher asked the students to introduce themselves to each other to break the ice.

MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL

To give great importance to minor things

Manoj stopped talking to Rupa because she did not lend him her notebook. I think he is making a mountain out of a molehill.

AT LOGGERHEADS

To differ strongly

The two brothers can never work together. They are always at loggerheads.

MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES

Make the best of a good situation while it lasts

Mr. Sharma got the big contract to supply machine parts to a big Japanese company. He should make hay while the sun shines.

LET BYGONES BE BYGONES

Ignore the bad things of the past

We have not spoken to each other since the time we had a fight a few months back. We should let bygones be bygones and become friends again.

HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD

Be exact or accurate

Ram is a genius. He hit the nail on the head when he said that the car was overheating because of a leaking radiator.

THROW IN THE TOWEL

To accept defeat

I am unable to solve this question. I am ready to throw in the towel.

NO STONE UNTURNED

Make all possible efforts

Ramesh has joined two coaching classes. He is leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to get into an engineering college.

BORN WITH A SILVER SPOON IN ONE’S MOUTH

To be born in a very rich family

Priya was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her father gave her an expensive car on her eighteenth birthday.

KEEP ONE’S FINGERS CROSSED

Hope for a positive outcome

My results will come out day after tomorrow. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

BY HOOK OR BY CROOK

Using any means, fair or foul

There is a cricket match tomorrow. Raj will make sure he gets the day off from office by hook or by crook.

BURN ONE’S FINGERS

Suffer for something that one has done

I will never bet again. I burnt my fingers betting at the race course today.

Idioms Exercises