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. Examples:
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
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 thegift 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. TO KICK THE BUCKET – to die
I heard the mafia boss had kicked the bucket.
AFTER ONE’S OWN HEART – having the same ideas, preferences or behaviours as oneself You like dunking rich tea biscuits too, a man after my own heart. TO ADD FUEL TO FIRE – to make a situation worse
First he dropped the pot plant, then adding fuel to the fire he trod on it. A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME – information gained from someone who you are not going to name Let’s just say I know about it because a little bird told me. KETTLE OF FISH – A situation different or alternative to some other situation, but not nec,unfavorable. Oh, you mean knitting a jumper, well that’s a different kettle of fish entirely. CAN OF WORMS – A complex, troublesome situation arising when a decision or action producesconsiderable subsequent problems. If you promote him to captain of the football team when he is not suitable, this could open a can of worms with the other players. A FEW SANDWICHES SHORT OF A PICNIC – mad, not sane.
He talks to himself, I think he’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. BROWNIE POINT – Credit or praise for good work or a good deed. You’ll get brownie points with your girlfriend for buying her flowers. BARK UP THE WRONG TREE – to take the wrong approach to something or follow a false lead. If you think you will get him to change his mind just by asking nicely you are barking up the wrong tree. BRING HOME THE BACON – to earn a living and make money for your family to live on. Women these days not only take care of the household but also bring home the bacon.