501+ Best Idioms with Examples and Meanings for Everyday Usage [Download PDF]

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Idioms with Examples: An idiom is an expression or phrase whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words. In other words “Idioms mean something different than the individual words.” However, students often confuse proverbs with idioms.

But, one should know that proverbs are well-known for stating a piece of advice or general fact. For example, a picture worth a thousand words is a proverb – a general truth. Now, let us consider the idiom ‘bite off more than you can chew‘. What you meant is that you are trying to do something too hard for you.

For students looking to explore more about idioms in their essays, Essaypay.com can be a great resource. You can even order essays online for in-depth insights into various idioms. In the meantime, read this blog to learn more than 501 useful and common idioms with examples and meanings.

Also Read: Essay on Peer Pressure

What is an Idiom? – Meaning and Definition

A set of words, or, to put it another way, a phrase, that has a meaning beyond the words’ literal meanings are known as idioms. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an idiom as “a group of words in a fixed order that has a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own,” while the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an idiom as “a statement in the usage of a language that is distinctive to itself either in having a meaning that cannot be deduced from the conjoined meanings of its constituents” (e.g., up in the air for “undecided”) or in its grammatically unconventional word usage (e.g., give way).

Idioms and their Meanings Quiz

Why Use Idioms in Sentences?

The fact that one cannot just rely on the meaning of individual words to grasp what the full phrase means is the sole thing that makes studying idioms a time-consuming process.

Idioms should not be utilised in writing for academic or professional purposes. In a more lighthearted setting, idioms may add personality to your work or speaking. Idioms can also be used to convey sarcasm or puns.

The only issue is that it would be meaningless or have no impact on a group of individuals who are unfamiliar with the idiom you are employing. Therefore, you should always make sure that the audience you are utilising idioms with can understand their meaning.

Also Read: Idioms for IELTS

List of 20 Common Idioms with Examples for Everyday Usage

Have to come across commonly used idioms in English while watching TV shows or movies? As idioms do not always make literal sense, students should be familiar with their meanings and how to use them. This may appear to be a lot of work, but idioms are fun!

So, here’s a list of the top 100 common idioms with their meanings and sentence examples:

S.No. List of IdiomMeaning
1.Beat around the bushTo avoid talking about what’s important
2.Get your act togetherGet organized and do things effectively
3.Hit the sackGo to sleep
4.Your guess is as good as mineI do not know
5.Good things come to those who waitTo have patience
6.Back against the wallStuck in a difficult circumstance with no escape
7.Up in armsBeing grumpy or angry about something
8.Scrape the barrelMaking the most of the worst situations or things
9.Burn your boats/bridgesDoing something that makes it impossible to go back to the original state.
10.Break fresh/new groundDoing something that has never been done before
11.Sell like hot cakesQuick sellout
12.Run around in circlesPutting efforts into something that is not a worthwhile result
13.On cloud nineBeing very happy
14.Left out in the coldBeing ignored
15.Blow hot and coldAlternate inconsistently between moods and actions
16.Cut cornersDoing something in an easier and least expensive manner
17.Boil the oceanTaking up an almost impossible or overly ambitious project
18.Keep an ear to the groundStaying informed about everything
19.Eat like a horseEating too excessively
20.A snowball effectThe aspect of momentum in every event and how they build upon each other

Download 100+ Idioms with Examples & Meanings PDF

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Important Tip to Learn Idioms with Examples and their meanings:
It is comparatively easier to remember words unlike idioms because idioms (phrases) contain 3 or more words. And, remembering a chain of words and then speaking them in the correct sequence is not easy. But, one thing you can do is to repeat the idiom and its meaning a few times loudly and then use it in 2 to 3 different sentences.

79+ Idioms & Phrases with Meaning for Advance Vocabulary

Idioms are used as figurative language, i.e. the use of words imaginatively and unusually. Take a look at more idioms with examples.

1. In for a penny, in for a pound

Meaning: That someone is intentionally investing his time or money for a particular project or task.
Example: When Athlead was booming, Jim was in for a penny and in for a pound, that’s how dedicated he was. 

2. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush

Meaning: An opportunity in hand, currently, is better than a prospect in the future, because time never repeats itself.
Example: The detective apprehended 3 criminals and saw another one running but didn’t chase him, because she knew a bird in one hand was better than two in the bush.

3. Chip off the old block

Meaning: A person is similar in behaviour or actions to his parents.
Example: When grandmother saw her grandson collecting coins like her son used to do, she knew he was a Chip off the old block.

4. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Meaning: Treat people the same way you want to be treated.
Example: I felt Peter was a little cold today towards that homeless man, he should do unto others as he would have them do unto him, because who knows about time.

5. Don’t cry over spilt milk

Meaning: Don’t cry over what has happened as it can not be fixed.
Example: Walter failed his examination but his dad came and said just one thing, “Son, Don’t cry over spilt milk.

6. Every cloud has a silver lining

Meaning: Bad things one day eventually lead to good things.
Example: See, yesterday you were so morose as your phone was stolen but look at you today, you got a promotion. Is it rightly said that every cloud has a silver lining?

7. Beside yourself with joy

Meaning: To be extremely happy.
Example: I can see that you are beside yourself with joy on being selected for the job, congratulations. 

8. Fair and square

Meaning: Being direct or fair.
Example: To tell you fair and square, I did everything that I was meant to do, but I still feel unfulfilled. 

9. Having an Ace up the sleeve

Meaning: Have an advantage that is currently being withheld for future purposes. 
Example: Brian kept quiet at the board meeting, who knew he had an Ace hidden up his sleeve the whole time?

10. A black sheep

Meaning: Being a disgrace to the family.
Example: They don’t talk about Olive anymore, turns out he was the Black sheep for the family, and he married someone else while he was still married to his fiancé. 

11. Hook, line and sinker

Meaning: Doing something or trying to achieve something with thoroughness and passion.
Example: I have set my mind to go through the spreadsheets by Monday and I am working for it Hook, line and sinker.

12. Looking to your laurels

Meaning: Do not be lost in your achievements and lose sight of what is supposed to happen.
Example: Look on your laurels but do not rest on them. 

13. Bear a grudge

Meaning: To continue to feel angry or unfriendly toward someone or something because of a particular past incident.
Example: I Bear a grudge against him for not taking me into confidence.

14. By the skin of your teeth

Meaning: To just barely get by or make it.
Example: Lester made the dance team By the skin of his teeth, you see the audition gates were about to get closed.

15. Down for the count

Meaning: Tired; giving up.
Example: My pet dog is down for the count after playing the whole day with the frisbee.

16. Draw the line

Meaning: To stop before a point where something okay gets not okay.
Example: Hey buddy, that’s enough, Draw the line before someone comes and beats you to a pulp.

17. Easier said than done

Meaning: Not as easy as it appears to be.
Example: Listen, losing weight is easier said than done, many people lack commitment. 

18. Break a leg

Meaning: Saying good luck to someone.
Example: Hey Barry, it’s time for you to get on the stage and present your monologue, break a leg.

19. Up a creek without a paddle

Meaning: In an unlucky situation.
Example: Dan tried to dine and dash yesterday at a Chinese place but he was stopped by the waiters, guess he was up a creek without a paddle yesterday.

20. Give it a whirl

Meaning: To give something a try.
Example: I am terrified of skydiving, but I think once in my life, I will give it a whirl.

21. Fish out of water

Meaning: To be out of your comfort zone.
Example: Tom felt like a fish out of water when his girlfriend took him to a Star Wars convention in LA.

22. In the fast lane

Meaning: A life filled with excitement.
Example: When Chris turned forty, he decided to live his life in the fast lane and quit his job for his hobbies.

23. Go the extra mile

Meaning: To make an extra effort.
Example: He was willing to go the extra mile for the love of his life, Mia.

24. Snug as a bug in a rug

Meaning: Warm and cosy.
Meaning: The baby looks as snug as a bug in a rug next to her mother.

25. Step up your game

Meaning: To start performing better
Example: Jennifer better step up her game if she wants to make big in Basketball.

Besides, knowing about various idioms with examples, a good vocabulary can take you to places in competitive exams as well as in life. Here’s our blog on 50 difficult words with meanings for you to master your speaking skills now!

26. To not see the wood for the trees

Meaning: To be so involved in trivial matters that you don’t get the important facts.
Example: He always argues on the silliest topics, it’s like he can’t see wood for the trees.

27. Lose your marbles

Meaning: To go insane.
Example: Our mailman has lost his marbles, every day he drops Mr. Smith’s mail on our door. 

28. Straight from the Horse’s mouth

Meaning: Directly from the person involved.
Example: Listen to the news straight from the horse’s mouth, his factory burned down right in front of his eyes. 

29. Crying Wolf

Meaning: To ask for help when you don’t need it.
Example: You have been a crying Wolf so many times that no one believes you now.

30. Palm off

Meaning: Pass off something as genuine when it is spurious.
Example: This shopkeeper always palms off old stock to the customers.

31. Has bigger fish to fry

Meaning: Has more important work to do.
Example: Please don’t bother me today with any calls, I have bigger fish to fry.

32. Look before you leap

Meaning: Calculate the risks before advancing towards a possibility.
Example: You can’t just sell all of your shares when the market is low, look before you leap, Trump is coming tomorrow, and the shares may grow.

33. On thin ice

Meaning: In a precarious or risky situation.
Example: Andy played hooky from work for a week saying he was sick, and now his boss said that he is on thin ice.

34. Play devil’s advocate

Meaning: To argue, just for the sake of it.
Example: He was not agreeing to back off as if he was playing devil’s advocate.

35. Rain on someone’s parade

Meaning: To spoil a moment.
Example: He told his wife that he didn’t want to rain on her parade, but they had to shift their vacation dates.

36. Take a rain check

Meaning: Postpone a plan.
Example: He asked me whether I would like to have dinner with his family, but I had a thing so I said, rain check.

37. Take it with a grain of salt

Meaning: Don’t take it too seriously.
Example: She tells great tales but we take whatever she says with a grain of salt

38. Like a cakewalk

Meaning: So easy task.
Example: Everyone took hours to write the code but Adam did it like a cakewalk.

39. Throw caution to the wind

Meaning: Take a risk.
Example: The caretaker threw caution to the wind by taking a sick baby outside. 

40. Penny-wise and Pound foolish

Meaning: Careful in trivial matters but wasteful or extravagant in large matters.
Example: That man eats Ramen noodles daily for dinner but for his dog, he throws a big party. He is indeed penny-wise and pound-foolish.

41. The whole nine yards

Meaning: Everything, all the way.
Example: I want to know everything there is to know about this merger, the whole nine yards of the deal.

42. The best thing since sliced bread

Meaning: A really good invention.
Example: Bluetooth is officially the best thing since sliced bread

43. Bite off more than you can chew

Meaning: Take on difficult work that is beyond your capabilities. 
Example: Andrew told his boss that he would triple the sales but in reality, he bit off more than he can chew and now all of us are in trouble.

44. Play by the ear

Meaning: To improvise.
Example: I just went to Canada and did everything playing by the ear, no itinerary, no schedules.

45. Ignorance is bliss

Meaning: You are better off not knowing some things.
Example: His wife always asked him what it was he did late at night, turned out, he was insider trading. But she knew nothing about this so she won’t be convicted, sometimes ignorance is bliss. 

46. Put something on ice

Meaning: To put something on hold.
Example: As per the boss’ order, Michael has put his personal matters on ice.

47. You can say that again

Meaning: That’s absolutely true.
Example: “The Earth is bleeding”, you can say that again, pal.

48. Bite the bullet

Meaning: To get something over with because it is inevitable.
Example: Vik was diagnosed with second-stage cancer but he didn’t want to get chemotherapy. By the will of his wife, he bit the bullet.

49. Go back to the drawing board

Meaning: Start over.
Example: It is not too late to go back to the drawing board and assess your mistakes.

50. Call it a day

Meaning: Stop working on something.
Example: Ah! So if we didn’t complete the puzzle today, let’s call it a day and come back again tomorrow.

It is important to note that idioms themselves do not create complete sentences and they require additional context to give them a sense. Take a look at some more idioms with examples and their meanings:

51. Beating Around the Bush

Meaning: To talk about unnecessary things.
Example: When I asked my secretary about the missing file and documents, she was beating around the bush.

52. Be in a Tight Corner

Meaning: Being in a difficult situation.
Example: Radha’s low grades despite her constant efforts have put her in a very tight corner.

53. At the 11th Hour

Meaning: At the last moment.
Example: While leaving for Shimla, Harshit kept his mobile phone charger in the bag at the 11th hour.

54. Swan Song

Meaning: The last piece of work of an artist before his/her death.
Example: This painting was M.F Hussain’s swan song.

55. Wild Goose Chase

Meaning: Futile Chase
Example: Catching the two thieves together on a jam-packed road was no less than a wild goose chase for the policeman.

56. Bury the Hatchet

Meaning: Ending a quarrel to make peace.
Example: My father buried the hatchet by equally dividing the pasta between me and my sister.

57. To Bell the Cat

Meaning: To face a risk.
Example: He belled the cat when he was trying to escape the prison.

58. Turn a deaf ear

Meaning: To ignore what someone is saying.
Example: Whenever her mother complained of her excessive use of her mobile phone, Anu turned a deaf ear.

59. At Sea

Meaning: Confused
Example: I was at sea while choosing a lehenga for my sister’s wedding at Manish Malhotra’s store.

60. To be in the doldrums

Meaning: To be in a low spirit
Example: When I got to know about the increasing cases of COVID-19 in my area, I was in the doldrums.

61. Hit the books

Meaning: Going to study
Example: I won’t be able to come for dinner as I have to hit the books for my half-yearly examinations. 

62. Twist someone’s arm

Meaning: To convince someone
Example: I was not planning to come to the party but by reminding me of all the good food you twisted my arm!

63. Stab someone in the back

Meaning: To betray a close person
Example: My uncle trusted his driver so much but he stabbed him in the back when he saw all the money bags.

64. Go cold turkey

Meaning: To quit or stop addictive or dangerous behaviour
Example: No one could believe that my father left eating sweets! He went cold turkey when the doctors told him that he had diabetes. 

65. Ring a bell

Meaning: Sounds familiar
Example: Why does this name ring a bell in my head? Was this girl in my school?

66. Cut to the chase

Meaning: Getting to the important point
Example: As the submissions were to be made tonight, the boss cut to the chase and asked us to start working. 

67. Blow off steam

Meaning: Experiencing strong feelings like anger or stress
Example: Shina went running to blow off steam as she had a huge fight with her mother. 

68. Face the music

Meaning: Face the reality
Example: Shikha asked her husband to not run away from the problem and just face the music once!

69. To have sticky fingers

Meaning: Thief
Example: The cashier had a sticky finger, he stole around $2000 and ran away from the bank. 

70. Break the bank

Meaning: To be very expensive
Example: I had to break the bank to buy these shoes!

71. Face the music

Meaning: Confront the unpleasant consequences of one’s actions.
Example: We have done it and now it’s time to face the music!

72. It is always darkest before the dawn

Meaning: Things will get better
Example: I know you have gone through the worst, but remember it is always darkest before the dawn.

73. Jump the gun

Meaning: To act on something promptly before the right time
Example: I think I jumped the gun by sending the e-mail before they told me the time.

74. Wear your heart on your sleeve

Meaning: Expressing yourself too openly
Example: She wears her heart on her sleeve and often gets hurt.

75. Cut no ice

Meaning: Fail to make an impact
Example: Your poetry cuts no ice with me

76. Light at the end of the tunnel

Meaning: Seeing signs of improvement in the future
Example: I see the light at the end of the tunnel for my relationship with her

77. Through thick and thin

Meaning: Through good and bad times
Example: Books and music stay by your side through thick and thin.

78. Cry for the moon

Meaning: To ask for something that is rather difficult
Example: You are crying for the moon for this concert’s tickets!

79. Read between the lines

Meaning: Understanding the real message behind something
Example: If you try to read between the lines, her song is actually about Nizagara

80. Don’t give up a day’s job

Meaning: You are not very good at something or you could not do it professionally
Example: I love painting, but I shouldn’t give up a day’s job just yet.

20 More Idioms with Examples to Improve Vocabulary

Here are the most common 20 idioms with their meanings and sentences:

81. A left-handed compliment
Meaning: Saying something insulting in the form of appreciative words.
Example: Her words on my blog seem like a left-handed compliment.

82. Once in a blue moon
Meaning: Not very often
Example: I visit her place once in a blue moon

83. Call a spade a spade
Meaning: Talking frankly
I will not lie about it and call a spade a spade.

84. Flesh and blood
Meaning: Referring to someone in the family or human nature
It’s flesh and blood to feel such strong emotions at this time.

85. Jam on the brakes
Meaning: Press brakes of a vehicle suddenly
Example: I had to jam on the brakes when I saw the deer.

86. Notch up
Meaning: To win or create a record
One Direction notched up the finale with their amazing voice!

87. A slap on the wrist
Meaning: Just a small punishment
You will get a slap on the wrist for painting this wall but don’t dare to do it again.

88. Knee Jerk Reaction
Meaning: A quick response
: The statement was just a knee-jerk reaction.

89. Once bitten, twice shy
Meaning: Afraid of doing something again
Example: Once bitten twice shy, he can’t ski.

90. Forty winks
Meaning: A short nap
I will be just in for forty winks, I promise.

91. Up for grabs
Meaning: Available for everyone
: This pizza slice is up for grabs!

92. Old as the hills
Meaning: Someone very old
Example: The man looks as old as the hills.

93. Back to square one
Meaning: Start all over again
Your mistake brought us back to square one.

94. Round the bend
Meaning: Crazy
Example: My neighbour is around the bend, don’t try to mess with her.

95. Against the clock
Meaning: Rushed
Example: I have to hurry for the meeting, I am against the clock.

96. Black and blue
Meaning: Something bruised
Example: What happened? Your eyes look black and blue.

97. Have the blues
Meaning: Sad
: After meeting her, I am feeling the blues.

98. Be glad to see the back of
Meaning: Happy when someone leaves
: Tomorrow, I will be glad to see the back of her.

99. Blackout
Meaning: Faint
Example: I blacked out after two drinks.

100. Get in Shape
Meaning: To become strong or fit
Example: I need to make a proper schedule to get in shape before the graduation ceremony.

55 Best Idioms & Phrases for Competitive Exams

1.At First Blush – First sight
Example: At first blush, the proposal seems promising, but upon closer examination, its flaws become apparent.

2. A wet blanket – A person who discourages enjoyment or enthusiasm
Example: Sarah’s constant pessimism and negative comments about potential challenges threw a wet blanket on their celebration.

3. Your Guess is as Good as Mine – To have no idea about anything
Example: “Will this flight reach on time?” “Your guess is as good as mine.”

4. Tuck in – To put something in a secure place, to start eating, or to encourage someone to start eating something.
Example: Mother cooked some delicious food and asked us to tuck in.

5. Speak of the Devil – The person you’re talking about shows up at the exact time
Example: I hope he doesn’t show up to the office today – oh, speak of the devil, here he comes.

6. Not a spark of decency – No manners
Example: The class showed not a spark of decency by refusing to stand up when their principal entered the classroom.

7. In the heat of the Moment – Overwhelmed by what is happening at the moment
Example: I’m afraid I was very arrogant; I was caught up in the heat of the moment.

8. Hear it on the grapevine – To hear rumours
Example: I heard on the grapevine that my brother-in-law got the promotion, but I really don’t know much about it.”

9. To cook the books – To alter facts and figures
Example: Their accountant was charged with cooking the books, and now he’s in jail.

10. Devil’s Advocate – A person who advocates an unpopular cause for the sake of an argument.
Example: I don’t really believe all that – I was just playing devil’s advocate.

11. A cash cow – A product or service that generates a lot of revenue for a company.
Example: A singer deemed a cash cow for the record label.

12. Burn the midnight oil – Work or study hard
Example: I have a big exam tomorrow, so I’ll be burning the midnight oil to review all the material.”

13. By fits and starts – In short periods, not regularly
Example: The project progressed in fits and starts, with periods of intense productivity followed by long periods of inactivity.

14. Under his thumb – Under his control
Example: I feel like I’m always under his thumb.

15. Out of the way – Strange
Example: Alex realized they were in a tight corner when the client demanded a lower price.

16. Be in a tight corner – In a very difficult situation

17. Keep one’s fingers crossed – The anxiety in which you hope that nothing will upset your plans
Example: I have a job interview tomorrow, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well and I get the position.

18. The gift of the gab – Talent for speaking
Example: With his natural charisma and the gift of the gab, he could effortlessly captivate any audience with his storytelling.

19. Cost an Arm and a Leg – Be very expensive
Example: The vintage car restoration ended up costing me an arm and a leg, but it was worth it to see it gleaming again.

20. Smell a rat – Suspect something foul
Example: After seeing how eager he was to sell his car for such a low price, I began to smell a rat and suspected that there might be something wrong.

21. By hook or by crook – By fair or foul means
Example: She was willing to do whatever it took—by hook or by crook—to meet the deadline.

22. Spread like a wildfire – Spread quickly
Example: The news of the new product launch spread like wildfire through social media, garnering attention and excitement from users around the world.

23. Out of gear – Disturb the work
Example: The sudden power outage threw the entire production process out of gear, causing delays and disruptions.

24. Die in harness – Die while in service
Example: Even in his old age, he continued to teach and inspire his students until he eventually died in harness, doing what he loved most.

25. To be snowed under – To be very busy
Example: I can’t go out tonight, I’m snowed under with work and deadlines

26. To get the sack – To be dismissed from your job
Example: After consistently showing up late for work, he eventually got sacked from his job

27. To cook the books – To modify financial statements

28. To balance the books – To make certain that the amount of money spent is not more than the amount of money received
Example: The company was accused of balancing the books to inflate its profits and deceive investors.

29. A ballpark figure – A general financial figure
Example: The project manager gave us a ballpark figure for the budget, estimating it to be around $50,000, but the actual costs could vary.

30. Yellow press – Newspapers that publish sensational and unscrupulous stories and exaggerate the news to attract readers.
Example: Don’t believe everything you read in the yellow press. They often exaggerate stories for sensationalism

31. A nine day’s Wonder – An event which relates a sensation for a time but is soon forgotten
Example: The new gadget was a nine-day wonder, capturing everyone’s attention for a short time before they moved on to the next big thing.

32. One swallow does not make a summer – It is unreliable to base one’s conclusions on only a single test or incident
Example: Just because John aced one test doesn’t mean he’ll excel in the whole course. Remember, one swallow does not make a summer.

33. To move heaven and earth – To exert all efforts
Example: Sarah was determined to move heaven and earth to ensure her project’s success.

34. A miss is as good as a mile – Comes nowhere near the target
Example: She didn’t win the race, but her coach reminded her that in the end, a miss is as good as a mile.

35. Lock, stock and barrel – The whole of everything
Example: After years of negotiations, they finally decided to buy the company lock, stock, and barrel.

36. Make hay while the sun shines – Take advantage of all opportunities
Example: You should go and make hay while the sun shines, as this could be your chance to secure a great job.

37. All that glitters is not gold – Things that appear attractive or valuable on the surface may not always be as good as they seem.
Example: She realized that all that glitters is not gold and that a high-paying job isn’t always worth sacrificing her happiness and health.

38. To jump from a frying pan into the fire – To come out of one trouble and get into a worse
Example: He ended up jumping from the frying pan into the fire when he started his new job at a company.

39. Foul play – Cheating
Example: The police suspected foul play in the sudden disappearance of the valuable painting from the museum.

40. A fish out of water – Anyone in an awkward
Example: Sarah felt like a fish out of water at the fancy gala, surrounded by wealthy socialites and unfamiliar customs.

41. A burnt child dreads the fire – One who has had a previous unpleasant experience is always scared of situations where such experiences are likely to be repeated
Example: After getting food poisoning from a street vendor, she never ate street food again; a burnt child dreads the fire.

42. To set the Thames on fire – To do something sensational or remarkable
Example: It’s clear that he thinks he’s going to set the Thames on fire with his revolutionary ideas.

43. A white elephant – A useless possession which is extremely expensive to keep
Example: He was getting a great deal when he bought that antique vase, but it turned out to be a real white elephant.

44. To throw dust in one’s eyes – To try to deceive someone or mislead someone
Example: The company’s CEO tried to throw dust in everyone’s eyes by giving a carefully crafted speech.

45. Every dog has his day – Sooner or later, everyone has his share of good fortune
Example: When he unexpectedly won the Employee of the Month award, he proved that every dog has his day.

46. Give a dog a bad name and hang him – Once a person loses his reputation
Example: They’re just trying to give a dog a bad name and hang him, without any concrete evidence to support their claims.

47. Go to the devil – Be off
Example: After enduring his rude comments for far too long, Jane finally had enough and told him to go to the devil.

48. To step into a dead man’s shoes – To come into an inheritance
Example: Jane found herself having to step into the dead man’s shoes and lead the company through these challenging times.

49. Halcyon Days – Refers to a period of peace, tranquillity, and happiness
Example: She would often talk about the halcyon days she spent at her grandparents’ farm.

50. Evil days – A period of misfortune
Example: Many families struggled to make ends meet and faced evil days as they navigated through job losses and financial instability.

51. Cut and dried – Readymade
Example: Sarah was cut and dried, as she had consistently outperformed her colleagues and had the most experience in the department.

52. Too many cooks spoil the broth – There are more workers than necessary leading to disappointment
Example: Everyone had their own ideas for the project, but too many cooks spoiled the broth, and the final result ended up being confusing and ineffective.

53. To commit to memory – To learn by heart
Example: I spent hours studying the poem so that I could learn it by heart and recite it perfectly during the poetry recitation competition.

54. To throw cold water upon anything – To discourage efforts
Example: The manager threw cold water on their ambitious ideas by pointing out the potential budget constraints.

55. A cock and bull story – A foolishly incredible story
His explanation for why he was late to the meeting was a foolishly incredible story about being abducted by aliens.

35 More Idioms for Competitive Exams – SSC CGL Preparation

56. Close-fisted – To be mean
Example: As known for being close-fisted when it came to lending money to his friends.

57. To square the circle – To attempt something impossible
Example: Trying to convince her strict parents to let her go on a solo backpacking trip was like trying to square the circle.

58. The ball is in your court – Refers to the fact that it’s time for action now
Example: She did her best and the ball is now in your court.

59. To pick and choose – To make a careful selection
Example: She can’t just pick and choose which tasks she wants to do.

60. Clean Bill of Health – A person or a system or organisation has been examined and found in good condition, without facing any significant problems or issues.
Example: The company’s financial statements and issued a clean bill of health.

61. Stress out – Means to become extremely anxious, overwhelmed, or mentally strained
Example: She’s been really stressed out lately because of her heavy workload.

62. She is no chicken – She is older than she says
Example: Despite her age, she is no chicken when it comes to taking on challenging tasks and responsibilities.

63. Clean Swipe – Winning without facing any defeat.
Example: The ruling party made a clean sweep in the election, winning all the seats in the parliament.

64. To Catch One’s Eye – To attract attention
Example: Her vibrant red dress and confident demeanour were enough to catch anyone’s eye as she walked into the room.

65. Care killed the cat – Don’t fret and worry yourself to death
Example: She couldn’t resist opening the mysterious package despite the warning label and care killed the cat.

66. To burn the candle at both ends – Expend energy in two directions at the same time
Example: Seems like he’s been burning the candle at both ends, trying to balance his responsibilities.

67. Good wine needs no bush – no need to advertise something good
Example: Handcrafted wines spread far and wide, proving that good wine needs no bush.

68. To kick the bucket – To die
Example: He was truly prepared to kick the bucket on his feet rather than live on his knees.

69. If the cap fits, wear it – If the remarks refer to you, then accept the criticism
Example: Well, if the cap fits, wear it. You’ve been known to misplace things too.

70. To make bricks without straw – To do something without proper materials
Example: Trying to complete this project with such limited resources feels like trying to make bricks without straw.

71. A Bolt from the Blue – Something completely unexpected that surprises you
Example: Getting a job offer from that prestigious company was like a bolt from the blue.

72. In Cold Blood – Deliberately
Example: In cold blood, she betrayed her closest friend, revealing all of their secrets to the world without a hint of remorse.

73. To bite the dust – To be defeated in battle
Example: The ambitious project eventually bit the dust due to a lack of funding and support.

74. Behind the scenes – In private
Example: Behind the scenes, the dedicated team of engineers worked tirelessly to ensure the flawless execution of the event.

75. To cause bad blood – To create feelings of resentment, hostility, or animosity
Example: Spreading rumours about others eventually caused bad blood between her and the rest of the office.

76. To backbite a person – To speak negatively about someone in their absence
Example: Sarah often backbites her colleagues, spreading rumours about them when they are not around.

77. Bag and baggage – The idiom is used to indicate the entirety of someone’s belongings
Example: They left nothing behind, departing with their bag and baggage.

78. To have no backbone – Used to describe someone who lacks courage
Example: He never takes any action to improve his situation; it’s clear that he has no backbone.

79. To take up arms – To prepare for battle or engage in a conflict
Example: The labor union decided to take up arms against unfair working conditions.

80. On pins and needles – To be anxious or agitated
She was on pins and needles when I went on for the first time.

81. Below the belt – To pass a disrespectful, insulting or unethical comment
Example: One candidate resorted to personal attacks and hit below the belt by bringing up his opponent’s family issues.

82. Roll up your sleeves – To prepare for hard work, mainly physical task
Example: She rolled up her sleeves and helped the team instantly.

83. The other side of the coin – To look at different aspects of a situation
Example: Teams might elevate the sales rate but the other side of the coin is overburdening the employees.

84. Rock the boat – Doing something that causes problems
Example: We already have too much homework; let’s not rock the boat and get more!

85. Take with a pinch of salt – When someone tells you something based on their opinion, rather than facts or evidence.
Take his advice with a pinch of salt, he is not very experienced in this field.

86. Call it a night – Halt your evening or nighttime activities.
Probably best to call it a night for today!

87. Clean as a whistle – Meaning is free from dirt
Example: Like a fresh start, everything was clean as a whistle.

88. Two heads are better than one – Refers to the idea that having more than one person participate in an activity improves the quality.
Example: Since two heads are better than one when it comes to solving problems.

89. A Rising tide lifts all boats – It is associated with economic growth, wealth, and prosperity.
Example: How a rising tide lifts all boats, as it helps the major corporate sector employees save money.

90. Like a cat on hot tin roof – In an uneasy or nervous state
Example: She’s waiting for the doctor to call with her test results, so she’s been like a cat on a hot tin roof all day.

Also Read: Idioms for Beginners

Here are the most common 30 idioms with their meanings and sentences:

1.Shoot from the hip
To speak bluntly or rashly without thinking carefully
Example: Don’t feel bad about what he said. He has a habit of shooting from the hip, but he means no harm

2. Shoot oneself in the foot
To harm one’s own cause inadvertently
Example: Foolishly harm one’s own cause, as in He really shot himself in the foot, telling the interviewer all about the others who were applying for the job he wanted.

3. In cold blood
: If you do something violent and cruel in cold blood, you do it deliberately and in an unemotional way.
Example: In a purposely ruthless and unfeeling manner, as in The whole family was murdered in cold blood. 

4. Draw first blood
If you draw first blood, you cause the first damage to an opponent in a conflict or contest.
Example: To be the first to gain an advantage or score against an opponent. I drew first blood in the tournament and quickly dispatched my opponent.

5. Ace up one’s sleeve
A secret or hidden advantage that you can use when you need it
Example: Cheating at a card game by hiding a favourable card up one’s sleeve. I have an ace up my sleeve for this race—my stamina.

6. Play your cards right
Meaning: To behave or work in a way that gives you an advantage or improves your odds of success.
Example:  Play your cards right in college and you’ll get a great job after you graduate

7. Egg on your face
Meaning: If you’ve egg on your face, you look stupid and face embarrassment because of something you’ve done.
Example: Terry had an egg on his face after boasting that the examinations were really easy, but ended up failing most of his papers.

8. Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
Meaning: To destroy something that gives you a lot of money to get immediate returns
Example:  Tearing down the top attraction in the theme park, “The Haunted House”, would be akin to killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

9. An arm and a leg
If something costs an arm and a leg, it costs a lot.
Example:  I want to buy a house by the beach, but it may cost me an arm and a leg.

10. Behind one’s back
: If you do something behind someone’s back, you do it secretly without their knowledge (used negatively).
Example: My colleague is nice to me but I don’t trust him because I know he talks negatively about me behind my back

11. Stab someone in the back
Harm someone who trusts you.
Example: Don’t trust George; he’s been known to stab his friends in the back

12. Take a back seat
If you take a back seat, you choose not to be in a position of responsibility or power.
Example: The founder of the company decided to take a back seat and let the board members run the business.

13. Back to the drawing board
: If you go back to the drawing board, you make a fresh start or try another idea because the earlier one didn’t succeed.
Example: It looks like my plans to kill the weeds in the garden failed. Back to the drawing board

14. Right off the bat
: If you do something right off the bat, you do it immediately.
Example: Nathan was in the mood for a cheeseburger, so he hopped into his car and bought some fast food. After unwrapping the burger, he took a bite and right off the bat he knew that something was wrong; it didn’t taste right.

15. Heart misses (skips) a beat
If your heart misses a beat, you feel excited or nervous.
Example: Her heart missed a beat when she heard her name called out in the list of finalists, or When the bear appeared in front of us, my heart skipped a beat, or My heart stands still at the very thought of flying through a thunderstorm

16. Have your heart in your mouth
If you’ve your heart in your mouth, you’re feeling extremely nervous.
Example:  You sure don’t seem relaxed—in fact, it seems like your heart is in your mouth.

17. Not the only fish in the sea
Not the only suitable thing or person one can find
Example: When Bob walked out on Sally, all we could tell her was that he was not the only fish in the sea, or Bill knew she wasn’t the only pebble on the beach but he was determined to win her over.

18. Not your cup of tea
If you say that someone or something is not your cup of tea, you mean that they’re not the kind of person or thing you like.
Example: We couldn’t decide which movie to watch, so we ended up settling on a comedy. Halfway through the movie, I concluded that its humour was not my cup of tea.

19. A piece of cake
: If something is a piece of cake, it’s easy to do.
Example: The boy found the project to be a piece of cake because it was incredibly easy.

20. Call it a day
: If you call it a day, you stop what you’re doing because you’re tired of it or you’ve not been successful.
Example: I think we have done enough work today, I am feeling tired now, let’s call it a day.

21. The pot calling the kettle black
Accusing someone of faults that you have
Example: I can’t believe that you are upset because I was late. That is the pot calling the kettle black. Peter called me a liar! That is the pot calling the kettle black.

22. Call a spade a spade
To speak the truth even if it’s unpleasant
Example: That dress made her look fat, let’s call a spade a spade before she goes out wearing it and embarrasses herself

23. A bolt from the blue
: A sudden, unexpected event
Example: Let us hope the pandemic disappears. It came as a bolt from the blue in 2020.

24. In the same boat
If two or more persons are in the same boat, they’re in the same difficult situation.
Example: If you lose your job, I’ll lose mine. We are both in the same boat.

25. Miss the boat/ bus
To miss an opportunity
Example: He missed the boat when he did not apply for the job in time. 

26. Over my dead body
: If you say something will happen to your dead body, you mean you dislike it and will do everything you can to prevent it.
Example: I told John that he could shave his head, over my dead body. 

27. Make one’s blood boil
: To make someone extremely angry
Example: When I hear stories of cruelty to animals, it makes my blood boil.

28. Bounce something off someone
If you bounce something off someone, you discuss ideas or plan with someone to get their view on it.
Example: I caught the rubber ball when it bounced off the wall. The light bouncing off of that mirror is blinding me—can we close the curtains?

29. Bell the cat
: To undertake a risky or dangerous task.
Example: Someone has to bell the cat and tell the commissioner that his own started the violence.

30. Pour out one’s heart

Meaning: To express openly

Example: I can’t pour my heart out to you if you are too distracted by everything around you.

5 Best Idioms with Examples for Happiness

Sometimes it’s difficult to express yourself, so idioms help you to express your feelings in a better and more sophisticated way. There are a lot of idioms you can use to express happiness, some of them are mentioned below.

  • On Top of The World: She was on top of the world after he agreed to marry him.
  • In Seventh Heaven: I was in seventh heaven when I saw my appraisal letter.
  • Over The Moon: When she sent me chocolates and a note, I was over the moon.
  • Walking on Air: He’s been walking on air ever since he got the job.
  • On Cloud Nine: She was on cloud nine when she saw her result.

Also Read:  Top 10 Idioms For Excitement That You Should Know!

10 Best Idioms for Money You Should Know

Here are the top 10 idioms related to money, along with their meanings and examples:

  1. Break the Bank: To spend a lot of money or exceed one’s budget.
  2. Rolling in Dough: To be very wealthy or have a lot of money.
  3. Penny-Pincher; Someone who is extremely frugal and careful with their money.
  4. Cash Cow: A consistent and reliable source of income or profits.
  5. Broke the Bank: To deplete all available funds; to spend more than expected or affordable.
  6. Cost an Arm and a Leg: Something that is very expensive.
  7. In the Black: To be financially successful
  8. On a Shoestring Budget: Operating with very limited funds or resources.
  9. Money Talks: The power and influence that come with having a lot of money.
  10. Rob Peter to Pay Paul: To take from one source to pay off another, often resulting in a cycle of debt or financial instability.

Also Read: 9+ Best Idioms for Angry You Should Know

7+ Idioms for Great Things or Ideas

Here are 10 idioms that convey the idea of greatness, along with their meanings and examples:

  • The Bee’s Knees: Her performance in the play was simply the bee’s knees
  • The Cream of the Crop: Only the cream of the crop made it to the final round of the quiz.
  • A Cut Above the Rest: His culinary skills were a cut above the rest, making him the top chef in town.
  • Have the World at One’s Feet: After winning the championship, he seemed to have the world at his feet.
  • In a League of One’s Own: Her dedication to her craft put her in a league of her own among her peers.
  • Rise Above the Crowd: Her ability to stay focused helped her rise above the crowd and achieve her goals.
  • Second to None: The quality of their customer service is second to none in the industry.
  • Stand Head and Shoulders Above: Her innovative approach to problem-solving allowed her to stand head and shoulders above her colleagues

Also Read: Top 9 Idioms for Expensive You Should Know!

Here are some of the best idioms that every kid should know:

  • A Piece of Cake: The math test was a piece of cake for me.
  • Break a Leg: Break a leg on your performance tonight.
  • Cat Got Your Tongue: Why aren’t you answering my call? Cat got your tongue?
  • Cry over Spilled Milk: Don’t cry over spilt milk, let’s just clean it up.

Explore more exciting reads on idioms here!

Top 10 Idioms for Help7+ Best Idioms for Surprise
Idioms for “Experience”7 Best Idioms for Hard Work
Top 10 Idioms for Reading11+ Idioms for Difficult Task
11+ Idioms for Celebration9 Idioms About Education
9 Common Idioms For Travelling7 Idioms for Health


Suggests some Idioms for Kids

It’s raining cats and dogs is an idiom, that means it is raining very hard.

What are examples and idioms?

Idioms are expressions that are difficult to understand by examining the meanings of their constituent words alone. We frequently utilize colloquial language. Your friend is avoiding having a frank conversation with you if they are “beating around the bush.”

What is an easy Idiom in English?

It’s a doddle, it means there’s nothing to it.

What are Idioms and phrases with examples?

Get your act together, it means you need to improve your behaviour/work
Pull yourself together, it means calm down
I’m feeling under the weather, it means I’m sick
It’s a piece of cake, it means it’s easy
Break a leg, it means good luck

What is an Idiom?

A set of words, or, to put it another way, a phrase, that has a meaning beyond the words’ literal meanings is known as an idiom.

Where to not use any idiom?

Idioms should not be utilised in writing for academic or professional purposes.

Learning idioms with examples and their meaning is the best way to master them and make your writing more engaging. Try to practice idioms with examples of your own. If you wish to seek further guidance on your English-language proficiency test preparation like TOEFL or IELTS and your career, you can check out Leverage Edu today and schedule a free consultation session now.

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  1. I would really like to use idioms more often when communicating in English please send more with examples