frequently asked idioms and phrases in competitive exams

Cake – Walk means : easy success

A bird of passage means : a person who roams from place to place

Cut the cackle means : stop talking

Down in the dumps means : depressed

Salt of the earth means : very best kind of people

Touch and go means : very doubtful

Hobson’s choice means : no choice at all

Blue – eyed boy means : favourite

A close – fisted man means : a great miser

Penelope’s web means : a work which never seems to come to an end

Above board means : honest

A sheet anchor means : main support

A good hand means : expert

A rolling stone means : one who never sticks to one place

Neck and Crop means : completely

To smell a rat means : to detect something suspicious

A man of straw means : a weak person

Gift of the gab means : a question still open to discussion

Red tapism means : official delay

To kick up row means : to quarrel

Dead to the world means : utterly exhausted

Under the thumb means : under the influence

A stepping stone means : help

Adam’s ale means : pure water

At the eleventh hour means : at the last moment

Drink like a fish means : to drink too much wine

Next to nothing means : almost nothing

A bosom friend means : a very close friend

Rank and file means : the humble people

Devil – may – care means : reckless or heedless

To play ducks and drakes means : to spend lavishly

Cut and dried means : readymade

One foot in the grave means : near death

A wolf in a sheep’s clothing means : a hypocrite

To catch a tartar means : to listen eagerly

Chicken feed means : a trifling amount of money

Red tape means : official routine and delay

A feather in one’s cap means : achievement

An axe to grind means : to have some personal motive

A cry in wilderness means : a useless cry

Second to none means : the best

Blue in the face means : completely exhausted

In a jiffy means : very soon

At daggers drawn means : to be inimical

Milk of human kindness means : human compassion

Wild goose chase means : unfruitful efforts

Creature comforts means : material comforts

An uphill task means : a difficult task

To give up the ghost means : die

Turn on one’s heels means : run away

Apple of discord means : cause of quarrel

Black and white means : in writing

Alpha and Omega means : the beginning and the end

Double dutch means : language that cannot be easily understood

Lip service means : insincere praise

Put about means : disturbed

All the rage means : extremely popular

At logger heads means : hostile

Ad – Labium means : to any extent

A block head means : stupid fellow

All the rage means : fashionable

Spick and span means : neat and clean

All Greek means : beyond one’s comprehension

Hand and glove means : very intimate

An olive branch means : child

On tenterhooks means : very tense

A dog in the manager means : a selfish person

Small fry means : an ordinary person

A rainy day means : a time of trouble and difficulty

On one’s beam ends means : completely without money

A blue stocking means : cultured

Hanky Panky means : cheating

Queer fish means : strange person

Evil – starred means : unfortunate

A snake in the grass means : a secret foe

At the outset means : in the beginning

All and sundry means : everyone

Alive and kicking means : active and healthy

Half baked means : weak in mind

Alma mater means : institution where one receives education

Behind the scenes means : privately

Creature comforts means : material comforts

At length means : in detail

Play a second fiddle means : to be less important than someone else

Tears and tatters means : torn to pieces

To make a clean breast of means : to make a confession

Crocodile tears means : pretended tears of grief

On the wane means : decreasing

Drop someone a line means : write to someone

Neither fish nor flesh means : neither one thing not the other

Off and on means : now and then

Ball of fire means : an active and energetic person

Chew someone out means : verbally scold someone

To pick holes means : to find some reason to quarrel

A close-fisted man means : a miser

Beauty is only skin deep means : physical beauty is not important

Chicken hearted means : lacking in courage

Dead from the neck up means : stupid

To win laurels means : to achieve success

Apron strings means : be controlled by someone

Against a rainy day means : for time of need

A bad hot means : a bad person

To abide by means : to carry out

To be at home in means :  to be well versed in

From hand to mouth means : from day to day

To bite one’s lips means : to be angry

Gray area means : an undefined matter

Above board means : frank and fair

Argus eyed means : vigilant

Come to one’s mind means : to remember

Every inch means : completely

To build castles in the air means : to have hopes and dreams that are unlikely to become real

To turn one’s coat means : to change to the opposition party

A good hand means : expert

A bird’s eye view means : an overall or cursory look at something

At sixes and sevens means : in confusion or disorder

At home in means : familiar with

A feather in the cap means :  a very good achievement

The man in the street means : average man

All the day means : continually

As easy as pie means : very easy

At a stretch means : continuously

Hang in balance means : remain undecided

After a fashion means : barely adequate

A blessing in disguise means : something good that isn’t recognized at first

To catch a tartar means : to listen eagerly

Armed to the teeth means : fully armed

To take the biscuit means : to be the worst example of something

To make a bee-line for means : to go to the shortest way

Above par means : better than average

Chicken feed means : a trifling amount of money

To give a wide berth to means : to avoid someone or something

To lead astray means : to mislead

All but means : almost

To beat about the bush means : to avoid talking about what is important

In full swing means : at the height of activity

Bad blood means : ill feeling

In a fix means : in confusion

By hook or by crook means : by fair or foul means

A red letter day means : an important or significant day