Phrases and Idioms - English Grammar Teaching Notes | EduRev

English Grammar

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Teaching : Phrases and Idioms - English Grammar Teaching Notes | EduRev

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1. All and sundry—all without exception
Ex.—He gave sweet to all and sundry.

2. All at once—suddenly
Ex.—All at once he left the room.

3. All but—nearly, almost
Ex.—He is all but ruined.

4. All one—just the same
Ex.—It is all one to me whether you come or not.

5. All over/up with—undone, or dead
Ex.—It is all over/up with the patient.
It is all over/up with the matter.

6. All the same—(i) nevertheless; (ii) no difference
Ex.—You treated me ill; I love you all the same.

7. Anything but—far from
Ex.—Your statement is anything but true.

8. A scape goat—a person who is made to suffer for the misdeeds of another.
Ex.—He always suffers from the misdeeds of the members of his family, he is a scape goat.

9. At a discount—poorly esteemed
Ex.—Women's education is no longer at a discount.

10. At all events—whatever may happen.
Ex.—I will do it at all events.

11. At all hazards—in spite of all difficulties
Ex.—He will do it at all hazards.

12. At a low ebb—decreasing
Ex.—His popularity is at a low ebb.

13. At a pinch—in case of emergency
Ex.—Keep this money with you, it will do at a pinch.

14. At cross purposes—misunderstanding each other
Ex.—They are going at cross purposes.

15. At ease—easily
Ex.—He can do it at ease.

16. At home—(i) Familiar; (ii) Comfortable
Ex.—I am quite at home with/in Mathematics.
I felt quite at home there.

17. At finger ends/finger's ends/finger tips—well memorised
Ex.—He has his lessons at his finger ends/finger's end/finger tips.

18. At wit's end/wits' end—perplexed
Ex.—He was at his wit's end for money to pay for the food he wanted to have as he was very hungry.

19. To be at one—agree
Ex.—He was at one with me on all points.

20. At sea—perplexed
Ex.—He was quite at sea on that moment.

21. To be at the end of one's tether—at the end of resources
Ex.—He was at the end of his tether by spending foolishly.

22. At the first blush—at first sight
Ex.—The proposal appeared worthless at the first blush.

23. At times—occasionally
Ex.—At times he behaves abnormally.

24. Bad blood—ill feeling
Ex.—Let there be no bad blood between the brothers.

25. Read between the lines—find out the secret meaning
Ex.—Read the letter between the lines to know his real intention.

26. Body and soul—wholly, entirely
Ex.—He gave himself body and soul to the pursuit of physical pleasures.

27. But for—without
Ex.—But for you, I would have been ruined.

28. Look black at somebody—look angrily
Ex.—He looked black at me when I disobeyed him.

29. Black tidings—sad news, causing despair
Ex.—He was informed of black tidings when he woke up.

30. Black art—magic used for evil purpose
Ex.—Dr. Faustus was much interested in learning black art.

31. Black comedy—comedy with a tragic element or basic passimism
Ex.—A black comedy is being shown in a theatre.

32. Black leg—person who offers to work when the regular workers are on strike
Ex.—Now-a-days there are a number of black legs when there is a strike in a firm.

33. Black sheep—good for nothing person
Ex.—Why are you relying on him for this work when you know he is a black sheep.

34. By a long chalk—majority
Ex.—He won the election by a long chalk from his nearest opponent.

35. By fits and starts—impussively and irregularly
Ex.—She is always doing her work by fits and starts.

36. By fair means or foul—by hook or by crook, by any means, direct or indirect
Ex.—He got the assets by fair means or foul.

37. By far/by long odds—without fail/undoubtedly
Ex.—She is by far the best student of her college.

38. Day in, day out—day and night/everyday/continuously.
Ex.—She is really tired of doing the same work day in, day out.

39. Down in the mouth—out of spirits
Ex.—He is looking down in the mouth today.

40. Ever and anon/ever soon—often
Ex.—Ashok comes here ever and anon.

41. Fair and Square—honest
Ex.—Be a fair and square in your dealings.

42. Few and far between—rare
Ex.—The visit of my friends are few and far between.

43. For good/for good and all—forever.
Ex.—He left the village for good/for good and all.

44. From time immemorial—from very ancient times
Ex.—This has been the custom here from time immemorial.

45. Hand and glove/hand in glove—very intimate
Ex.—I am hand and glove/hand in glove with Suma.

46. Head and front—the main part
Ex.—The head and front of my offence is this.

47. High and dry—abandoned
Ex.—He was left high and dry by his relatives when he lost all his money.

48. Hole and corner—secret
Ex.—I abhor hole and corner policy.

49. In abeyance—in a state of suspension
Ex.—The other has been kept in abeyance.

50. In a body—together
Ex.—They left the place in a body.

51. In deep water—great difficulties
Ex.—She is in deep water and needs your help, sir. That's why she comes here to work.

52. Ins and outs—full details
Ex.—I know the ins and outs of the matter.

53. In black and white—in writing
Ex.—Put it down in black and white.

54. In fine—in short
Ex.—In fine, he assured me of his support.

55. In one's element—in congenial position
Ex.—He is in his element in politics.

56. In round numbers—roughly
Ex.—The cost will be Rs. 500 in round numbers.

57. In the red—in debt
Ex.—The company is in the red right from the inception.

58. Lock, stock and barrel—entirely
Ex.—The office was shifted from here lock, stock and barrel.

59. Neck and crop—completely
Ex.—He was turned out neck and crop.

60. Of the first water—of rare excellence
Ex.—He is a painter of the first water.

61. Once in a way—rarely
Ex.—Men like him are born once in a way.

62. On one's last leg—coming close
Ex.—The tournament is on its last legs.

63. On the cards—likely
Ex.—A change of the ministry is on the cards.

64. On the dot—in time
Ex.—He is never marked late in his office, he reaches office on the dot.

65. On the rocks—failings
Ex.—Their business is on the rocks.

66. On the sly—secretly
Ex.—He helped your party on the sly.

67. On tiptoe—greatly excited
Ex.—They are on tiptoe because, the result will be published tomorrow.

68. On the wane—gradually declining
Ex.—His popularity is on the wane.

69. Out and away/out and out—by far
Ex.—He is out and away the best boy here.

70. Be out of one's wits—be mad
Ex.—He is out of his wits.

71. Out of sorts—unwell
Ex.—I am out of sorts today.

72. Out of spirits—gloomy
Ex.—You seem out of spirits today.

73. Out of the blue—unexpectedly
Ex.—We faced a situation which arose just out of the blue.

74. Out of the wood—free from difficulties
Ex.—I am not out of the wood yet.

75. Over head and ears—deeply
Ex.—He is over head and ears in love.

76. Rank and file—the common people
Ex.—Don't ignore the rank and file.

77. Spick and span—bright, clean and tidy
Ex.—He looks smart in his spick and span coat.

78. Sum and substance—the purpose
Ex.—I know the sum and substance of the story.

79. Weal and woe—happiness and misery
Ex.—I shall follow you in weal and woe.

80. With one accord—all agreeing together
Ex.—They left the place with one accord.

81. Armchair critic—person who offers criticism without being actively involved
Ex.—I don't care of an armchair critic like him.

82. All moonshine—visionary talk
Ex.—His ideas are all moonshine.

83. All the crow flies—straight
Ex.—My house is 5 kms. from the station as the crow flies.

84. A bear garden—a place full of noise and quarrels
Ex.—The members turned the meeting into a bear garden.

85. Birds of passage—persons who don't stay in a country
Ex.—They were only birds of passage in India.

86. A bitter pill to swallow—something unpleasant to accept
Ex.—The new posting to him was a bitter pill to swallow but he had no choice.

87. Chip of the old block—worthy son of a worthy father
Ex.—Shyma Prasad Chatterjee was a chip of the old block.

88. Cog in the machine—an unimportant person of a big enterprise
Ex.—He is just a cog in the machine.

89. Cry in the wilderness—in effective demand
Ex.—The demand for a stadium at Gaya is a city in the wilderness.

90. Dead beat—extremely tired
Ex.—I am a dead beat now. Go away. Don't disturb me.

91. A fly in the ointment—a small thing that spoils everything
Ex.—The party was well attended but her absence was a fly in the ointment.

92. Hammer and tongs—always quarrel
Ex.—They live hammer and tongs.

93. Herculean task—a difficult task
Ex.—Solving this problem is a herculean task.

94. High and mighty—haughty and proudy
Ex.—He is high and mighty in his attitude.

95. Hush-money—bride for silence
Ex.—He offered me hush-money not to give out the secret but I refused it.

96. Ifs and buts—doubtful, conditional
Ex.—I don't like ifs and buts, give me a straight answer.

97. Itching palm—habits of taking bribe
Ex.—I abhor him because he has an itching palm.

98. Moot point—a question not yet decided, yet open to discussion
Ex.—The Kashmir problem is a moot point.

99. On the carpet—under consideration
Ex.—He wanted to know what on the carpet in the meeting.

100. Pillar to post—from one difficulty to another
Ex.—The rebel chief was driven from pillar to post by the king's men.

101. Point blank—directly
Ex.—I told him point blank that I cannot support him.

102. Poles apart—widely separate
Ex.—The members of the committee are poles apart.

103. Queer fish—eccentric person
Ex.—I cannot make friendship with a queer fish.

104. Rift in the lute—a small defect that mars the general result
Ex.—Short temper is the rift in the lute of his character.

105. Root and branch—completely
Ex.—The tree has been removed root and branch.

106. Rope of sand—something nominally effective but in reality worthless
Ex.—I relied on his help but it proved to be a rope of sand.

107. Running sore—a constant source of trouble
Ex.—Untouchability is a running sore of Hindu society.

108. Salt of the Earth—ideal man
Ex.—Men like Gandhiji are the salt of the Earth.

109. Sharp practice—perception, cheating
Ex.—She was guilt of sharp practice.

110. Shot in the arm—encouragement
Ex.—His victory in the election is a shot in the arm.

111. Shot in the locker—no money in one's pocket
Ex.—I have a shot in the locker.

112. Skin of one’s teeth—escape narrowly
Ex.—The boat sank, but he escaped with (or by) the skin of one's teeth.

113. Soft soap—flattery
Ex.—She won promotion by applying a soft soap.

114. Straight from the horse's mouth—information direct from a reliable person
Ex.—I got the news straight from the horse's mouth.

115. Storm in a tea-cup—great excitement over a small matter
Ex.—You have raised a storm in a tea-cup.

116. Tom, Dick and Harry—ordinary
Ex.—Any Tom, Dick and Harry can do this job.

117. Wolf in sheep's clothing—enemy posing as a friend
Ex.—You must not trust him, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

118. Bear away the palm—win
Ex.—I hope you will surely bear away the palm in the contest.

119. Bury the hatchet—end quarrel
Ex.—Let us burry the hatchet and make friendship again.

120. Buying pig in a poke—buy a thing without knowing its value
Ex.—I know nothing of that company, so there is no question of buying a share. Because it would be a buying pig in a poke.

121. Cleanse the Augean stables—remove long accumulated evils
Ex.—Rekha is a strong woman. She can cleanse the Augean stables.

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