Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Idioms And Phrases


 There are a number of idioms and phrases in English language.They, though cannot be translated as such, add to its beauty and forceful expression to a great extent.Good and impressive English requires their use in written as well as oral statements.Therefore,in order to pick up an impressive and workable knowledge of English, every learner should be familiar with them.:---

( A )  Idiomatic Adjective And Noun Phrases

1. Achilles' heel (one weak point in a man's character)

* John is a heavy drunkard. This is an Achilles' heel. He is sure to be insulted in life.

2. An apple of discord (cause of contention ) 

* This house is an apple of contention  between Mohan and Sohan.

3.The apple of one's eye ( very dear ) 

* Kamla is the apple of her parents' eye.

4. Animal spirits ( vigour and vivacity of healthy youth )

*  Mohit is full of animal spirits.

5. Apple-pie order ( neat and clean )  

* She puts her house in apple-pie order.

6. Augean stables ( a great abuse ) 

* The minister is trying hard to cleanse the Augean stable of corruption and bribery.

7. A beast of prey (a beast that lives by killing and eating other animals ) 

* The lion is a beast of prey.

8. A bed of roses ( avery comfortable situation )

*  Life is not a bed of roses.

9. A bird of passage ( a person who wanders from place to place )

* Shamu is a bird of passage.

10. A black sheep (an evil person ) 

* Decoits are black sheep in a good society.

11. A blue stocking ( a lady who pretends to be of literary taste ) 

* It is true that a blue stocking does not make a good domestic wife.

12. A big-gun (a person of great importance )

*  Amitabh Bachchan is a big-gun in film industry.

13. A bull in China shop (presence of a person at a place where he will do a great damage) 
* A mad man among sanes is like a bull in a China shop.

14. A cock and bull story ( a  false story ) 

* A wise man should never believe a cock and bull story.

15. A chicken-hearted fellow ( a cowardly fellow ) 

* Sonu cannot face his enemy. He is a chicken hearted fellow.

16. A close-fisted man (miser) 

* Mukesh does not spend money on neccessary things. He is a close-fisted man.

17. A cry in in the wilderness (an ineffective demand )

*  If we do not have a sound basis for demands, they will prove a cry in the wilderness.

18. A fool's paradise (false expectations)

*  It is harmful to live in a fool's paradise.

19. A man of letters (a literary man ) 

* Pt. Nehru was a man of letters. 

20. A cold blooded murder (deliberate and cruel murder ) 

* We should condemn a cold blooded murder.

21. A broken reed (a weak support ) 

* In my calamity my friend proved to be a broken reed.

22. Crocodile tears (pretended sorrow )

*  He is worried about his brother's death. He is simply shedding crocodile tears.

23. A clean slate ( a fresh begining )

*  Mr. Rajiv Gandhi started with a clean slate in politics.

24. Dutch courage (courage excited by wine ) 

* Some soldiers acquire dutch courage in the battle field.

25. Evil-genius (an able person beat upon doing mischief ) 

* Ravan was an evil-genius.

26. Fair play (no underhand play )

* We should observe fair play in every walk  of life.

27. A fair-weather friend (a friend who deserts us in bad days) 

* Life is full of fair-weather friends.

28.The fag end (the close ) 

* He is at the fag end of the staff-roll.

29. A Herculean Task (A hard task )

* The solution of dowry system is a Herculean task.

30. A gala day ( a colourful day )

* 15th August is a gala day in the History of India.

31. A henpecked husband (a husband under the influence of his wife)

* A henpecked husband cannot do anything against the wishes of his wife.

32. Hush money (bribe) 

* He gave the magistrate hush money and purchased justice.

33. An iron will (strong will) 

* Sardard Patel was a man of iron will.

34. A jail bird (a notorious offender who has been to jail several times )

* The thief who broke into her house, was a jail-bird.

35. A laughing stock (one at whome everybody laughs ) 

* Kallu is a laughing stock.

36. A man of straw (an insignificant man ) 

* No body believes Sohanlal. .He is a man of straw.

37.The olive branch (offer of peace )

* Pakistan is not prepared to hold out the olive branch to India.

38. Point blank (directly) 

* Shomu refused to help me point blank.

39. A past master (an expert) 

* Mr.Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a past master in speaking effectively.

40. A red-letter day (a fortunate day )

* 15th August is a red-letter day in the history of India.

41. A rainy day (a time of adversity)

*  We must save money for a rainy day.

42. Red tape (excessive official formality) 

* The main cause of delay of justice is red tape policy.

43. Scot -free (free from punishment) 

* If criminals go scot free, crimes will increase .

44. A moot point (a point still open for discussion )

*  Please let me know a moot point of the meeting.

45. A nine day's wonder (something the charm of which will soon fade away) 

* Raj is spending money lavishly.It is a nine day's wonder.

46. A swan song (an achievement before death) 

* "The Testament of Beauty "was the swan song of " Robert Bridges."

47. A Utopian scheme (an ideal plan) 

* Gandhiji's Harijan Uplift movement was an Utopian scheme.

48. An uphill task ( a very difficult task)

*  Indo-Pak Pact  on   Nuclear disarmament  seems to be uphill task.

49. A tall talk ( boastful talk )

*  Kamal should not indulge in tall talk, otherwise none will believe him.

50. A thankless task ( selfless work for which one should expect nothing)

* Do not help him in his mischiefs. It   is a thankless task.

51. A wet blanket ( a person whose presence checks enthusiasm) 
* Do not request him to attend the meeting. He is a wet blanket.

52. A white elephant (a highly priced thing) 
* A car for a peon is a white elephant.

53. A wild goose chase (a foolish attempt) 

* To pass the I.A.S. examination, is a wild goose chase without hard labour.

54. A slow coach (a dull fellow ) 

* Harish is a slow coach. He cannot succeed in his mission.

55. A.B.C. ( elementary knowledge ) 

* Hira does not know even the A.B.C. of Urdu.

56. Alpha and omega (the begining and the end ) 

* Alpha and omega of the whole discussion is that you must work hard.

57. A snake in the grass (a secret foe ) 

* Beware of him. He is a snake in the grass.

58. Birds of the same feather (persons of similar character )

*  Birds of the same feather flock together.

59. Child's play (easy matter ) 

* Teaching is not achild's play ; it is  a tough job.

60. Cog in the machine (an unimportant part of something )

*  Generally people do not care for a cog in the machine.

61. Bag and baggage (with all one's luggage ) 

* The inspector has left Agra , bag and baggage.

62. A bolt  from the blue (a sudden and unexpected misfortune ) 

* The news of General Vaidya's assassination came to the countrymen as abolt from the blue.

63. Castles in the air (imaginary schemes )

* Mr. Bharat always builds castles in air. He has done nothing.

64. A cat and dog life (a quarrelsome life ) 

* Girish and Kalpana are husband and wife.They are leading a cat and dog life.

65. A man of word (one who fulfills his promise )

* He will do what he has said .He is a man of word.

66. A storm in a  tea-cup (a big quarrel over a triffle )

* The brothers fought for a small piece of cloth. It proved to be a storm in a tea cup.

67. A Jack of all trades ( a person turning his hand to any kind of business but not expert in anything )

*  He is a jack of all trades but master of none.

68.The lion's share ( the major portion ) 

* The eldest brother tried to get the lion' share in his father's property.

69. A man of spirit ( a courageous man ) 

* He faced his enemy boldly. He is a man of spirit.

70. A man of parts ( a man of extraordinary qualities ) 

* Lal Bahadur Shastri was a man of parts .

71.The milk of human kindness ( kind feelings ) 

* Macbeth full of the milk of human kindness .

72. Penelope's web ( an endless job )

* The problem of Punjab has become a Penelope's web.


73.The sinews of war ( money and material to carry on war ) 

* The bodies of men and money may be justly called the sinews of war.

74. A serpant in the egg (in the initial stage )

*  We must not let the evil grow , we must kill a serpant in  the egg.

75. A stone's throw (very near ) 

* His college  is not more than at a stone's throw from the home.

76. A sword of Democles ( a hovering danger) 

* The danger of the third world war is always hanging over our heads like the sword of Democles .

77. A Yeoman's service ( exellent work )

*  Abdul Hamid did a Yeoman's service during The Indo-Pak War of 1965.


  ( B )  


  (A)  Idiomatic Pairs of Nouns

1. Bread and butter (material welfare )
 *  We should work hard for our   bread and butter.

2. Body and soul ( entirely )
 *  Dinesh has given himself to the pursuit of pleasure, body and soul.

3. At the beck and call (at the service)
  *  My friend is always at my beck and call.

4. (To play) ducks and drakes (to waste money )
 *  Mohit has ruined himself by playing ducks and drakes.

5. (Through) fire and water ( through every sort of difficulty )
 *  Seema remained with Sohan through fire and water.

6. Flesh and blood ( human nature )
 *  Flesh and blood can bear it no longer.

7. ( By) fits and starts ( irregularly )
 *  Mita does her work by fits and starts.

8. Fire and fury ( enthusiasm )
*  The Principal's speech was full of fire and fury.

9. By hook or by crook (by fair or foul means )
 *  Today, every one wants to get ajob by hook or crook.

10. Heart and soul ( earnestly )
 *  He is working heart and soul to pass the examination in a good division.

11. Kith and kin (blood relations )
  *  One should love one's kith and kin.

12. By leaps and bounds ( rapidly )
  *  The population of India is increasing by leaps and bounds.

13. Over head and ears (excessively )
  *  He is running in debt over head and ears.

14. Ins and Outs ( ull details)
  *  Everyone should know the ins and outs of their business.

15. Under lock and key (in a safe place)
  *  Kanta keeps her ornaments under lock and key.

16. Latin and Greek (unintelligible)
  *  Her speech proved to be Latin and Greek to the audience.

17. Odds and ends (bits)
  *  The last chapter of his thesis deals with odds and ends.

18. Pros and cons (For and against)
  *  Please consider the pros and cons of this issue.

19.Time and tide (course of time)
 *  Time and tide wait for none.

20. Tooth and nail (vehemently)
 *  Gandhiji fought for India's freedom tooth and nail.

21. Part and parcel (a thing which is a component part of a specified whole)
 *  Every citizen should consider himself as a part and  parcel of India.

22.The rank and file (all with distinction)
 *  The government should make schemes keeping in view the wider interest of the rank and file.

23. Sum and substance (the whole meaning)
  *  He told me the sum and substance of his plans.

24. Ups and downs (change in fortunes)
  *  Life is full of ups and downs.

25. Null and void (illegal)
  *  The order of the court has become null and void.

26. Ways and means (neccessary funds)
  *  We should find out ways and means to carry out our plans.


    ( C ) 

Idiomatic Pairs of Adjectives

1. All in all (Supreme, of the first importance )

*  The Principal is the all in all in college.

2. All and sundry (all without distinction)

 *  He invited all and sundry to the feast.

3. In black and white (in writing)

  *  The witness gave his statement in black and white.

4. Fair and square (honest and proper)

  *  The sons made a fair and square distribution of their ancestral property among themselves.

5. Blow hot and cold (to be in favour at one time and against at another)

  *  Harish blows hot and cold. None believes him.

6. Hard and fast (strict, definite)

  *  There is no hard and fast rule in English.

7. High and low (everywhere)

  *  God is high and low.

8. Long and short (the sum and substance)

  *  Please tell me the long and short of this matter.

9. Rough and ready (not elaborate)
  *   I have prepared a rough and ready scheme for building my house.

10. Slow and steady (resolute,constant)
  *  Slow and ateady wins the race.

11.Safe and sound (quite well)
  * Mukesh returned from forest safe and sound.

12. Right or wrong (if it be right or wrong)

  *  Right or wrong, I will do this work.

13. Well and good (well as a thing goes)

  *  Well and good, you should try to help her.

14. Better half (wife)
  *  My better half is a good companion of mine.

15. High and mighty (arrogant)
  *  The manager is very high and mighty in his behaviour.

16. (At ) sixes and seven (in a state of disorder)
  *  When I reached his house, I found his books at sixes and sevens.


  ( D )  

Idiomatic Pairs of Adverbs
1. Again and again (very often)
*  One must try again and again to achieve one's goal.

2. Once for all (finally)
  *  Ihave settled the matter once for all.

3. By and by (gradually)
  *  By and by he has won three promotions.

4. Over and above (besides)
  *  He was awarded rupees five hundred over and above a shield.
5. Ever and anon (now and then)
  *  He comes to me ever and anon.

6. Off hand (without forethought)
  *  Very few people can talk on literary topics off hand.

7. By heart (to commit to memory)
  *  Our ancestors used to learn every-thing by heart.

8. Far and wide (everywhere)
  *  Mrs. Gandhi's fame haspread far and wide.

9. Few and far between (very small in number)
  *  Persons of Tulsi's merit are few and far between.

10. First and foremost (of greatest priority)
  *   Our first and foremost duty should be to unite the country as a whole.

11. Hither and thither (here and there)
  *  The teacher wandered hither and thither in the class to check the exercise-books.

12. On the spur of the moment (at once)
  *  He replied the letter on the of the moment.

13. Off and on (occassionally)
  *  I visit the library off and on.

14. Out and out (completely)
  *  This book is out and out a standard book.

15.Through and through (completely)
  *  Seeing the lion, Mohan was frightened through and through.

16. Once and again (repeatedly)
  *  The teacher told the student once and again to be punctual in the class.

17. To and fro (backward and forward)
  *  The fox was wandering to and fro in search of food.


  ( E )  

Adverbial Phrases

1. In the nick of time (just at the right time)
  *  He reached the office in the nick of time.

2. In full swing (at its peak activity)
  *  The cllege is now running in the full swing.

3. At the eleventh hour (at the last moment)
  *  It is not a good habit to do any work at the eleventh hour.

4. At stake (in danger)
  *  If you do not keep your word, your fame will be at stake.

5. Out of sorts (unwell)
  *  Ramakant is out of sorts these days.

6. Well off (in a sound position)
  *   Mukesh is well off these days.

7. With might and main (with full power)
  *   I will do my work with might and main.


 Prepositional  Phrases

1. In the teeth of  in the face of)
  *   He could do nothing in the teeth of danger.

2. In quest of (in search of)
  *  He went to market in the quest of his friend.

3. Instead of (in place of)
  *  One may offer Hindi Literature instead of Sanskrit.

4. In the air (under consideration)
  *  The proposal to grant high salary grades is still in the air.

5. In case of (under certain condition)
  *  In case of sickness, he will not be able to act in the play.

6. In the heart of  (in the centre of)

 *  Jama Masjid is situated in the heart of Delhi.

7. In view of (considering)
  *  In view of his qualifications, he must be selected for the job.

8. In a nutshell (in short)
  *  I can explain in a nutshell.

9. In the nick of time (just in time)
  *   Bihari reached the meeting in the nick of time.

10. Under the thumb of (under control of)
  *  Mahesh is under the control of his wife.

11. At home in (familiar with)
  *  Mr. Tiwari is at home in English.

12. In vogue (in fashion)
  *  Steel utensils are now in vogue.

13. At sea (perplexed)
  *  When my younger brother was falsely involved in a case, I was at sea.

14. From pillar to post (from one place to another)
  *  An unemployed man has to run from pillar to post in search of a job.

15. Between the devil and the deep sea (between two equal dangers)
  *  Mr. Gyan was asked either to resign  his post or to turn the refuge out of his house . He was between the devil and the deep sea.

16. At odds (in conflict)
  *  The Principal and the manager are at odds these days.

17. In the dumps (in low spirits)
  *   Owing to several hardships, Kiran  is in the dumps these days.

18. At large (at liberty)
  *  His dog being at large bit his friends.



  1. To be up to ( to be equal to, to be acquainted with )
   ** His work is up to the mark.

  2. To be up and doing ( to be actively engaged )
  ** If he wants to succeed in his mission, he must be up and doing.

  3. To be at a loss ( to be perplexed )
  ** Sunil was at a loss what to do in his case.

  4. To be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth ( to be born in a rich family )
  ** Pt. Nehru was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

 5.To be worthwhile (worth spending the time which the attempt would require)
  ** It is worthwhile to do something or the other than to sit idle.

  6. To be all ears ( to be an attentive audience )
  ** I was all ears when the Prime Minister made his speech.

  7. To be weak in the storey ( to be feeble-minded )
  ** He cannot be depended on. He is weak in the upper storey.

  8. To be at daggers drawn ( to be bitter enemy )
  ** Ram and Shyam were fast friends. But now they are at daggers drawn.

  9. To be at one's wit's end ( to greatly perplexed )
  ** When he saw the lion in the forest, he was at his wit's end.

 10. To be at the helm of ( to be at the main position )
   ** Manish is the head of the family. He is, therefore, at the helm of affairs.

 11. To be beside oneself with joy or grief (overwhelmed with joy or grief )
  ** To hear of his friend's bright success in the I.A.S. examination' Vijay was beside himself with joy.

 12. To be on the horns of a dilemma (to be in a fix )
  ** When asked for support, he was on the horns of a dilemma and could not understand what to do.

 13. To bear the brunt of ( to feel the full force of )
  ** The Indian Battalian had to bear the brunt of the German attack in the World War II .

 14. To beat about the bush ( to approach a matter in a round about way )  
  ** Please let me know the matter directly and do not beat about the bush.

 15. To beggar description ( to be indescribable )
  ** The beauty of the Taj is beggar's description.

 16. To bell the cat ( to lead in a danger )
  ** Everyone hates mafias but nobody dares to bell the cat.

 17. To bid fair ( to seem likely )
  ** He has topped the list of successful candidates. He bids fair to be a genius.

 18. To break the ice ( to break silence in conversation )
  ** Mohan broke the ice by asking his friend for a match-box.

 19. To blow one's own trumpet ( to indulge in self praise )
  ** Mr. Sen is in the habit of blowing his own trumpet.

 20. To breath one's last ( to die )
  ** His father breathed his last in peace.

 21. To burn the candle at both ends ( to spend money lavishly )
  ** He is ruining himself by burning the candle at both ends.

 22. To bear the palm ( to be victorious )
  ** In the Indo-Pak War of 1971,India bore the palm.

 23. To bring to book (to punish )
  ** At best, the thief was brought to book.

 24. To bury the hatchet (to put an end to old enmity )
  ** Let us bury the hatchet and be friends again.

 25. To be like a fish out of water ( to be in a disagreeable situation )
  ** His father stopped supporting him,then he was like a fish out of water.

 26. To back up ( support )
  ** If you back me up, I shall be able to face the difficulties.

 27. To bear in mind (to remember )
  ** You must bear in mind that only the hard work will succeed in the life.

 28. To be true to one's salt ( to prove faithful )
  ** The guard will not deceive me. He is true to his salt.

 29. To be the order of the day ( to be the fashion of the day )
  ** To ask for dowry has become the order of the day.

 30. To beat the air ( to make useless efforts )
  ** His words carry no weight. He is merely beating the air.

 31. To be in good books ( to be favourite )
  ** Nowadays none can harm him because he is in good books of his boss.

 32. To call in question ( to express doubt )
  ** Mr. Vajpayee's patrotism cannot be called in question.

 33. To call a spade a spade ( to speak in plain terms )
  ** People get offended when he calls a spade a spade.

 34. To cast pearls before swine ( to offer to a person a thing which he cannot understand or appreciate )
  ** If you talk of space flight to an uneducated man, you will simply cast pearls before swine.

 35. To pour oil on troubled water ( to make the situation calm )
  ** There was a quarrel between the two brothers. The father came and poured oil on troubled water.

 36. To chew the end ( to meditate on ome idea )
  ** Lal Bahadur Shastri was in habit of chewing the end .

 37. To come to a standstill ( to come to atop )
  ** Due to want of petrol. the car came to a standstill.

 38. To come off with flying colours ( to achieve distinction )
  ** Manik has come off with flying colours in M. A. examinations.

 39. To cut one's coat according to one's cloth ( to spend within the range of income )
  ** Everyone should cut his coat according to his cloth.

 40. To cry for the moon ( to desire for an impossible thing )
  ** To top the list of successful candidates is simply to cry for the moon for him.

 41. To come to light ( to be revealed )
  ** Mohan's guilt has now come to light.

 42. To cry over spilt milk ( to feel sorry for the past losses )
  ** To feel sorry for the past losses is simply to cry over spilt milk.

 43. To catch red-handed ( to catch in the very act )
  ** The thief was caught red-handed while he was breaking into the house.

 44. To come of age ( to attain maturity )
  ** You must look after your affairs yourself as you have come of age.

 45. To die in harness ( to die while working )
  ** Nelson died in harness while fighting.

 46. To dance attendance on a person ( to please a person by flattering him )
  ** Kawal always dances attendance on his boss.

 47. To do a yeoman's service ( to help in need )
  ** They did a yeoman's service by helping the persons in the drought- stricken area.

 48. To dig a grave of one's reputation ( to do something to destroy one's reputation )
  ** By joining the company of drunkards, he is trying to dig the grave of his father's reputation.

 49. To end in smoke ( to fail )
  ** He wanted to earn a lot of money, but all his plans ended in smoke.

 50.To eat one's words (to withdraw one's words )
  ** He promised to help me, but when the time of help came, he ate his words.

 51. To eat the humble pie ( to pocket an insult )
  * He had to eat the humble pie when he was defeated in the election.

 52. To fan the flame ( to excite the anger )
  ** His father turned him out of his house. But when he came back, his entrance fanned the flame of his father's anger.

 53. To fall flat ( to have no effect )
  ** The good advice of the parents fell flat on the son.

 54. To face the music ( to face a difficult situation )
  ** The notorious dacoit who was arrested by the police, is facing the music in the jail.

 55. To fall foul of ( to quarrel with )
  ** I do not want to fall foul of my neighbours.

 56. To feel the pulse ( to find out one's inner feelings )
  ** Smt. Indira Gandhi was a great politician. She had felt the pulse of her countrymen.

 57. To fight shy of ( to be shy )
  ** He fights shy of talking with girls.

 58. To follow suit ( to follow example )
  ** If you are sincere and punctual to your duty, your sub-ordinates will also follow suit.

 59. To follow the beaten track ( to be traditionalist )
  ** Most of our country-men follow the beaten track in every affair.

 60. To gain ground ( to succeed slowly and steadily )
  ** The separatists should not be allowed to gain ground.

 61. To get the upper hand ( to get the superior position )
  ** The two swimmers are trying to get the upper over each other in the swimming competition.

 62. To get into hot water ( to be in difficult and complicated circumstances )
  ** Vijay has picked up a quarrel with his boss. He has now got into hot water.

 63. To go to the wall ( to fare badly )
  ** The poorest have to go to the wall.

 64. To gird up the loins ( to be ready )
  ** Everyone should gird up the loins for service of motherland.

 65. To give up the ghost ( to die )
  ** The old man has given up the ghost this evening.

 66. To give the devil his due ( to give a bad man credit for his good deeds )
  ** The evil personrarely does a good deed. If he does so, please give the devil his due.

 67. To go with the tide ( to do as the others do )
  ** When in other countries, we should not impose our traditions on others. We should go with the tide.

 68. To go with a tail between the legs ( to go with a beaten cowardly look )
  ** When Shetty was surrounded, he had to go with a tail between his legs.

 69. To graese the palm ( to bribe )
  ** I could not get an appointment in the police department as I did not grease the palm of the recruiting officer.

 70. To go through the fire and water ( to undertake all sort of risks )
  ** Mahatma Gandhi went through fire and water to unite the Hindus and Muslims.

 71. To have an old head on young shoulders ( to be wiser than one's age )
  ** Priya has an old head on her young shoulders.

 72. To have too many irons in fire ( to be engaged in too many enterprises )
  ** He has no time to spare since he has too many irons in fire.

 73. To have an axe to grind ( to have some private end to serve )
  ** He visits his boss daily at his home. Perhaps he has an axe to grind.

 74. To harp on the same string ( to dwell upon the same subject repeatedly )
  ** He keeps talking of his family. By so doing he harps on the same string.

 75. To hit the nail on the head ( to speak to the point )
  ** He spoke on some national problems. Really, he hit the nail on the head.

 76. To have a thing at one's fingertips ( to know a thing thorohghly )
  ** He has all the formulae of the mathematics at his fingertips.

 77. To hold good ( to remain in force )
  ** The Hindu Code Bill is still holds good.

 78. To hold water ( to stand examination )
  ** This argument  does not hold water.

 79. To hunt with hounds and run with the hare (to play a double and deceitful game )
  ** No one should play a double game. It is not good to hunt with the hounds and run with the hare.

 80. To hang in the balance ( to remain undecided )
  ** The fate of Punjab is hanging in the balance.

 81. To hope against hope ( to hope even when  the case is almost hopeless )
  ** He has made no preparation for the examination yet he hopes against hope that he will pass.

 82. To have clean hands ( to be perfectly innocent )
  ** He has nothing to fear as he has clean hands.

 83. To hold one's tongue ( to stop talking )
  ** His father was speaking. So he had to hold his tongue.

 84. To have the gift of the gab ( to have a talent for speaking )
  ** Mr. Sharma has the gift of the gab, so he has risen in the eyes of the public.

 85. To hit below the belt ( to play foul )
  ** Please try to convince me, Do not hit below the belt.

 86. To have a finger in every pie ( to mendle in every affair )
  ** It is not a good habit to have a finger in every pie.

 87. To join the majority ( to die )
  ** Everyone has to join the majority one day or the other.

 88. To keep the wolf from the door ( to avoid starvation )
  ** He works day and night to keep the wolf from the door.

 89. To keep abreast of ( to go with the time )
  ** We must keep abreast of time.

 90. To kill two birds with one stone ( to succeed in two things by making one effort )
  ** To help the poor is to do both social and national service. It is just killing two birds with one stone.

 91. To keep another in dark ( to keep in ignorance )
  ** He does not say what he is going to do. He keeps another in the dark.

 92. To keep pace with ( to go with the same speed as others )
  ** India should keep pace with the other forward countries of the west.

 93. To laugh in one's sleeves ( to laugh secretly )
  ** When Mr. Sharma began to boast himself, I laughed in my sleeves.

 94. To leave one in lurch ( to desert a person in a difficult situation )
  ** When his friend needed help, he left him in lurch.

 95. To leave the beaten track ( to do something uncommon )
  ** I am a man of progressive views. So I want to leave the beaten track.

 96. To leave no stone unturned ( to use all possible means )
  ** He left no stone unturned to please his employer.

 97. To let the cat out of the bag ( to disclose a secret )
  ** Pakistan is supporting infiltrators, but it does not let the cat out of the bag.

 98. To lead a cat and dog life ( to be always quarreling )
  ** Ramesh and his wife are leading a cat and dog life.

 99. To lick the dust ( to come to humiliation )
  ** Ibrahim Lodi had to lick the dust in the first battle of Panipat with Babar.

100. To lend a hand ( to help )
  ** We should lend a hand to the poor.

101. To live from hand to mouth ( to lead the life of bare neccessities )
  ** Hari is a poor man. He lives from hand to mouth.

102. To make headway ( to make progress )
  ** Mohan is making headway in his life.

103. To make amends for ( to compensate  )
  ** The aggressive man made amendments for the harm he made to his enemy.

104. To make a mountain of a molehill ( to exaaggerate a thing ) 
  ** The enemy tried to make a a mountain of a molehimm to lower my reputation.

105. To make an ass of oneself ( to act foolishly )
  ** He made a mistake in the meeting and made an ass of himself.

106. To make both ends meet ( to live within one's income )
  ** He is a poor man. He hardly makes both ends meet.

107. To move heaven and earth ( to do one's best )
  ** I shall move heaven and earth to improve my division.

108. To nip in the bud ( to destroy at an early stage )
  ** He planned for a mischief but it was nipped in the bud.

109. To pay one back in one's own coin ( to give tit for tat )
  ** One day me misbehaved with me. I, too, paid him back in his own coin.

110. To pick holes in another's pocket ( to find fault with others )
  **   A mischievous man always tries to pick holes in another's pocket.

111. To play a second fiddle ( to be in subordinate position )
  ** Mr. Verma is not prepared to play a second fiddle to anyone.

112. To play one's trump card ( to use one's best chance of success )
  ** It is bad to play one's trump card to defeat others.

113. To put the cart before the horse ( to reverse the natural order )
 ** To teach multiplicatin before counting is to put the cart before the horse.

114. To play ducks and drakes ( to waste money )
  ** Do not play ducks and drakes otherwise none will help you in a rainy day.

115. To pocket an insult ( to bear an insult )
  ** He tried to befool his friend. But when the fact was discovered he had to pocket an insult.

116. To play the truant ( to be absent without leave )
  ** Most of our staff members play the truant.

117. To plough the sand ( to do something useless )
  ** Why are you ploughing the sand by helping the vagabond.

118. To pull one's leg ( to play a joke upon )
  ** Generally old students pull new students' legs.

119. To rain cats and dogs ( to rain heavily )
  ** It is raining cats and dogs.

120. To read between the lines ( to trace the hidden meaning )
  ** He has given me a notice. I am trying to read between the lines.

121. To rise to the occasion ( to prove worthy of expectations )
  ** After Indira's assassination, Rajiv Gandhi had risen to the occasion.

122. To run the gauntlet ( to expose oneself to criticism )
  ** If you do this work, you will have to run gauntlet.

123. To rub shoulders ( to mix up freely ) Raju can rub shoulders with any stranger.

124. To stem the tide of ( to check )
  ** Our government should try its best to stem the tide of terrorism.

125. To spread like a wild fire ( to spread rapidly )
  ** The bitterness between one community and another is spreading like a wild fire.

126. To stir a finger ( to make a least effort )
  ** He wants to pass I. A. S. examination only by stirring his finger.

127. To show a clean pair of heels ( to run away out of fear )
  ** The cowards show a clean pair of heels in the battle field.

128. To see eye to eye ( to agree )
  ** In the expenditure of the Boys' Fund amount, the Principal did not see eye to eye with the President.

129. To strike while the iron is hot ( to act at a favourable opportunity )
  ** Last night theft has occurred at his place. He should immediately lodge a report with the police, to strike while the iron is hot.

130. To set at naught ( to challenge, to disregard )
  ** If dharma is set at naught, nothing will exist in limits.

131. To turn over a new life ( to change for the better )
  ** The Principal has turned over a new leaf in the history of the college.

132. To throw cold water ( to discourage )
  ** He wanted to go to America, but his father threw cold water on his aspirations.

134. To turn a deaf ear ( to disregard )
  ** His father advised him to give up smoking, but he turned a deaf ear.

135. To turn the tables ( to reverse position )
  ** The invention of big sputniks had turned the tables in favour of Russia.

136. To take to one's heels  ( to flee )
  ** As soon as the thief saw the police, he took to his heels.

137. To take French leave ( to go away without permission )
  ** The clerk who was on French leave yesterday, has been punished.

138. To throw light upon ( to explain )
  ** In Ramcharit Manas, Tulsidas has thrown light upon the life of Ram.

139. To talk tall ( to boast )
  ** Kuldeep always talks tall.

140. To take aback (to astonish )
  ** I was taken aback to see the magician climbing up the rope hung in the air.

141. To take the bull by the horns( to make a bold attack on a dangerous thing )
  ** He faced the dacoits boldly and thus he took the bull by the horns.

142. To take anything to heart ( to take a thing seriously )
  ** Vimal is an intelligent boy. He took my advice to heart.

143. To wash dirty linen in public ( to reveal private affairs in public )
  ** You have been insulted by him but do not wash this dirty linen in public.

144. To win laurals ( to be victorious )
  ** A debate took place in the college. Naresh won laurels in it.

145. To wear one's heart upon one's sleeves ( to show one's innermost feelings to everybody )
  ** He is in the habit of wearing his heart upon his sleeves. It is a weakness in his personality.

146. To worship the rising sun ( to honour the man who is coming into power )
  ** The newly appointed Principal has taken over the charge. The staff have started worshipping the rising sun.