IDIOMS and PHRASES

1) Rank and file – Ordinary persons

2) By fits and starts – In short periods, not regularly

3) A wee bit – A little

4) Out of the wood – Free from difficulties and dangers

5) Under his thumb – Under his control

6) At one’s wits end – In a state where one does not know what to do

7) Between the devil and the deep blue sea – Between two dangers deep sea

8) Burn the midnight oil – Work or study hard

9) Call a spade a spade – Speak frankly and directly

10) Come off with flying colours – Be highly successful

11) Hoping against hope – Without hope

12) Hit the nail on the head – Do or say the exact thing

13) An axe to grind – A personal interest in the matter

14) To get rid of – Dispose of

15) At daggers drawn – Bitterly hostile

16) To play ducks and drakes – To act foolishly or inconsistently

17) To take the bull by the horns – To tackle a problem in a bold and direct fashion

18) Rain cats and dogs – Rain heavily

19) To move heaven and earth – To make a supreme effort

20) No avail – Without any result

21) Bark up the wrong tree – Accuse or denounce the wrong person

22) Keep one at bay – Keep one at a distance

23) Make a clean breast of it – Confess – especially when a person has done a wrong thing

24) Have a card up one’s sleeve – Have a secret plan in reserve

25) Like a cat on hot bricks – Very nervous

26) Cat and dog life – Life full of quarrels

27) Cock and bull story – Made up story that one should not believe

28) Cry for the moon – Ask for the impossible

29) The pros and cons – The various aspects of a matter in detail

30) Be in a tight corner – In a very difficult situation

31) Cross one’s t’s and dot – Be precise, careful and one’s i’s exact

32) Keep one’s fingers crossed – The anxiety in which you hope that nothing will upset your plans

33) Spread like wild fire – Spread quickly

34) The gift of the gab – Talent for speaking

35) Throw out of gear – Disturb the work

36) Tooth and nail – With all one’s power

37) Take to one’s heels – Run away

38) Die in harness – Die while in service

39) Out of the way – Strange

40) Read between the lines – Understand the hidden meaning

41) In cold blood – Deliberately; without emotion

42) Show a clean pair of heals – Run away

43) A thorn in the flesh – A constant source of annoyance

44) Smell a rat – Suspect something foul

45) Nip in the bud – Destroy in the early stage

46) Out of the question – Impossible

47) Stick to one’s guns – Remain faithful to the cause

48) A man of straw – A man of no substance

49) Leave no stone unturned – Use all available means

50) Harp on the same string – Dwell on the same subject

51) Take a leaf out of one’s book – Imitate one

52) Like a fish out of water – In a strange situation

53) At one’s beck and call – Under his control

54) Bury the hatchet – End the quarrel and make peace

55) Feather one’s own nest – Make money unfairly

56) Leave one in the lurch – Desert one in difficulties; leave one in a helpless condition

57) To eat humble pie – To apologize humbly; to yield under humiliating circumstances

58) To eat your words – To take back what you have said

59) To make both ends meet – To live within one’s income

60) In high spirits – Very happy

61) Kill two birds with one stone – To achieve two results with one effort

62) Let the cat out of the bag – Reveal a secret

63) Put the cart before the horse – Put or do things in the wrong order

64) A hard nut to crack – A difficult problem

65) In hot water – In trouble

66) Wash one’s dirty linen – Discuss unpleasant in public private matters before strangers

67) On tenterhooks – In a state of suspense and anxiety

68) To all names – To abuse

69) To bell the cat – To face the risk

70) A big gun – An important person

71) To blow one’s own – To praise one’s own trumpet achievement

72) A bosom friend – A very close friend

73) A brown study – Dreaming

74) A close shave – Narrow escape

75) To cut a sorry figure – To make a poor show

76) Take one to task – Rebuke

77) Turn a deaf ear – Disregard / ignore what one says

78) By hook or by crook – By fair or foul means

79) Gain ground – Become popular

80) Pay off old scores – Take revenge

81) Put a spoke in one’s wheel – To upset one’s plans

82) Turn over a new leaf – Change for the better

83) Make up one’s mind – Decide

84) In the long run – Eventually; ultimately

85) In the nick of time – Just at the last moment

86) Through thick and thin – Under all conditions

87) With a high hand – Oppressively

88) Sitting on the fence – Hesitate between two decisions

89) Bring to light – Disclose

90) Burn one’s fingers – Get into trouble by interfering in other’s affairs

91) Laugh one’s head off – Laugh heartily

92) Chew the cud – Ponder over something

93) Hard and fast rules – Strict rules

94) Play second fiddle – Take an unimportant part

95) Above board – Honest and open

97) At the eleventh hour – At the last moment

98) At sixes and sevens – In a disordered manner

99) An apple of discord – A cause of quarrel

100) At home – Comfortable

101) Alpha and omega – The beginning and the end

102) At sea – Confused and lost

103) At one’s beck and call – At one’s service

104) An acid test – A critical test

105) Add fuel to the fire – To aggravate the situation

106) At a snail’s pace – Very slowly

107) To beat about the bush – Talk irrelevantly

108) A bone of contention – A source of quarrel

109) To burn one’s boats – Go back on a decision

110) To burn candle at both ends – To waste lavishly

111) To build castles in the air – Make imaginary schemes

112) A bolt from the blue – Something unexpected

113) By leaps and bounds – Rapidly

114) A burning question – An important topic

115) A big gun – An important person

116) To blow one’s own – To praise one’s own trumpet achievement

117) A bosom friend – A very close friend

118) To cut a sorry figure – To make a poor show

119) Take one to task – Rebuke

120) Run through – To squander or waste

121) Run over – To drive over

122) Alive and kicking – Active and healthy

123) Behind one’s back – In the absence of

124) To break the ice – To break the silence

125) A cold fish – A person devoid of emotions

126) To cross the Rubicon – To take a decisive step

127) Double-dealing – Deceiving

128) To die hard – Change with great difficulty

129) To fight a losing battle – Struggle without hope of success

130) Once in a blue moon – Very rarely

131) At a premium – Difficult to get or obtain

132) To play the game – To act honestly

133) To plough a lonely furrow – To work without help or support

134) Lock, stock and barrel – Completely

135) The long and the short – The main point

136) The bottom line – The final criteria

137) To kick one’s heels – To wait with nothing to do

138) Make off with – To run away with

139) Pass away -To die

140) To make a pig of oneself -To over-eat

141) Donkey’s years – A very long time

142) To pull one’s leg – to joke; tease someone

143) To talk through one’s hat – To talk ignorantly

144) To make one’s mouth water – To stimulate one’s appetite

145) By word of mouth – By spoken message

146) To get the better of someone – To take advantage of someone

147) To rub shoulders – To come into close contact

148) A snake in the grass – A hidden enemy

149) A close shave – A narrow escape

150) Chip off the old block – As good as one’s father

151) To pull a long face – To look sad

152) To turn a deaf ear – To ignore

153) To turn the tables – To reverse the situation

154) To call someone names – To abuse someone

155) Above board – Honest and open

156) At arm’s length – To keep at a distance

157) To build castles in the air – Make imaginary schemes

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