Directions (Qs. 1 - 42): In each sentence, an idiom/ phrase is used which is given in CAPITALS. Under each sentence four alternatives are given and numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. One of the alternatives expresses BEST the meaning of the idiom/ phrase. Pick out that alternative as your answer.
1. Beating the English cricket team in the recently concluded test series by 3-1 is indeed a FEATHER IN India's CAP.
1) an award 2) a medal 3) a title 4) a proud achievement
2. To get permission sanctioned for starting a new business in the Corporation Complex, my brother had to GREASE THE PALM of the Mayor.
1) to beseech 2) to buy 3) to bribe 4) to bend
3. There was only one old cab at the taxi stand outside the Railway station that night and I took it to reach home as it was my HOBSON'S CHOICE.
1) great choice 2) only choice 3) my son's choice 4) my hubby's choice
4. When we send our servant Seenu on shopping work, he often LINES HIS POCKETS.
1) make money dishonestly 2) stitch one's pockets
3) show one's pockets 4) stand in queues
5. Most of us show great interest in the SIDE LIGHTS about the personal life of our film personalities.
1) incidental information 2) income details
3) irritating incidents 4) insides of a studio
6. My brother is leading a luxurious life because besides his big salary income, he has some SIDE LINES.
1) he lives near railway tracks 2) he lives in civil lines
3) he has extra income sources 4) he sidelines others
7. After spending a week in coma, my uncle has TURNED THE CORNER.
1) stand at a corner 2) take a turn at a corner
3) become better 4) become worse
8. In his long and eventful singing career, late S P Balasubramanyam often BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE with his performance.
1) pull down a theatre 2) entertain very successfully
3) purchase a house 4) fail to entertain successfully
9. Buying a duplex house in a posh location in Mumbai COSTS A BOMB for a person.
1) very expensive 2) very rare 3) very cheap 4) very easy
10. In the ghastly flyover accident in Hyderabad, my friend Hari escaped by THE SKIN OF HIS TEETH.
1) bite with teeth 2) escape narrowly
3) end up losing teeth 4) bear out one's teeth.
11. When two close friends are quarrelling, some people, in the name of settling the dispute, ADD FUEL TO THE FLAMES.
1) pour petrol into fire 2) to excite the situation further
3) increase the heat 4) incite others to fight
12. In the recent elections, I BACKED THE WRONG HORSE.
1) to buy an old horse 2) to return the horse
3) to support a wrong person 4) to attack a wrong person
13. At his first meeting with the parents of his girl friend, Mohan CUT A SORRY FIGURE.
1) to create poor impression 2) to cause a cut to them
3) to chop a figure 4) to chalk out a figure
14. Old people often like TO CHEW THE CUD about the things gone by.
1) to reflect on the past 2) to eat sugarcane
3) to munch 4) to murmur about something
15. My neighbours often BLOW THEIR OWN TRUMPET.
1) play the trumpet often
2) talk highly about themselves
3) to sound the horn of the car
4) to have a baby elephant at home
16. Most of us often EGG ON our team to win.
1) to urge 2) to hit with eggs 3) to sit on eggs 4) to discourage
17. My friend Rafi sings very well and I am sure that one day I see his NAME IN LIGHTS.
1) to burn 2) to become famous
3) to take a new name 4) to display his name plate
18. Some people become very rich overnight and such people often PUT ON AIRS.
1) behave in a proud manner 2) to use air bags
3) to become fat 4) to wear costly dresses
19. TO CUT CHEESE in public is bad manners, they say.
1) to eat cheese in public 2) to fart (to release gas) in public
3) to use a knife to cut cheese 4) to cut a cake in public
20. When students come up with new ideas, don't give them A COLD SHOULDER.
1) to support 2) to help 3) to encourage 4) to discourage
21. Education in English medium in AP primary schools is a BURNING QUESTION.
1) on fire 2) a live issue 3) a settled issue 4) a neglected issue
22. Our Principal at a staff meeting yesterday gave us A BIRD'S EYE VIEW of our College Day function.
1) an incomplete view 2) a half view only
3) a view of something with full details 4) an aerial view
23. Between marriage and further education, Leela is caught ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA.
1) caught among cows 2) held up in traffic
3) unable to sleep 4) unable to choose and decide
24. The car gifted to me by my father some twenty years ago has now become my WHITE ELEPHANT.
1) something useless and costly maintenance
2) something very useful
3) an antique piece
4) a memorable item
25. Apply for all competitive exams in time, otherwise you may MISS THE BUS.
1) be early 2) be late for and lose something
3) be ready for all times 4) be lazy
26. When the 6-year old Sita had lost her parents in a road accident, her grandmother BROUGHT HER UP.
1) purchased 2) nourished 3) lived in a hut 4) ignored
27. When the VC agreed to fulfil all their demands, the students CALLED the strike OFF.
1) cancelled 2) completed 3) continued 4) condensed
28. Many parents are destined to BEAR WITH their unruly children.
1) to attack 2) to punish 3) to endure 4) to expel
29. There are many old and meaningless laws in our country and one day we have to DO AWAY WITH them.
1) to change 2) to amend 3) to attack 4) to abolish
30. When Balu's parents went on a long tour to America, his grandmother LOOKED him AFTER.
1) to observe 2) to beat 3) to take care of 4) to leave alone
31. My granddaughter TAKES AFTER her father.
1) to resemble 2) to run after 3) to catch 4) to cry for
32. Geeta and Sita often FALL OUT with each other.
1) to stumble 2) to fight 3) to help 4) to greet
33. Whenever I go to Hyderabad, I PUT UP at a hotel in Ameerpet.
1) to wait at 2) to stay 3) to rent 4) to buy
34. My boss TURNED DOWN my request for a pay hike.
1) to push 2) to pull 3) to reject 4) to return
35. After the sudden demise of his young wife, Vasu TOOK TO drinking.
1) to become addicted 2) to keep crying
3) to sell drinks 4) to give up drinks
36. Hundreds of fans TURNED UP to see their favourite actor at the stadium.
1) to come 2) to clap 3) to travel 4) to walk
37. A powerful bomb WENT OFF at the station yesterday.
1) to grow 2) to explode 3) to plant 4) to detect
38. Inspite of many warnings from the Principal, some students CARRY ON ragging on the campus.
1) to avoid 2) to continue 3) to encourage 4) to love
39. After 3 years of courting, Krishna and Radha decided to BREAK UP.
1) to move on 2) to live together 3) to separate 4) to marry
40. My Principal TICKED me OFF yesterday for coming late to college.
1) to scold 2) to mark absent 3) to send out 4) to appreciate
41. To get a party ticket for the assembly elections, Anil RAN FROM PILLAR TO POST.
1) to run miles 2) to send letters
3) to make every effort 4) to sell every thing
42. In everything and at all times, Madhu is my MAN FRIDAY.
1) he meets her on Fridays
2) a person born on Friday
3) a faithful and efficient aide
4) a person faithful on Fridays
Key: 1-4; 2-3; 3-2; 4-1; 5-1; 6-3; 7-3; 8-2; 9-1; 10-2; 11-2; 12-3; 13-1; 14-1; 15-2; 16-1; 17-2; 18-1; 19-2; 20-4; 21-2; 22-3; 23-4; 24-1; 25-2; 26-2; 27-1; 28-3; 29-4; 30-3; 31-1; 32-2; 33-2; 34-3; 35-1; 36-1; 37-2; 38-2; 39-3; 40-1; 41-3; 42-3.
Some more Exercise
Directions (Qs. 1 - 22): Select the most appropriate meaning of the given idioms and phrases.
1. Trying to find my lost ring in the college is like
looking for a needle in a haystack.
1) Doing something impossible
2) Doing something unimportant
3) Doing something secretly
4) Making a big deal of a large thing
Explanation: The idiom “Looking for a needle in a haystack” means ‘to search for something that is very difficult to locate’.
2. Off and on I take a break from my hectic schedule to refresh myself.
1) Rarely 2) Periodically 3) Immediately 4) Seldom
Explanation: The phrase “Off and on” means periodically, intermittently. Ans: 2
3. Our Prime Minster is received with open arms wherever he goes.
1) Honourably 2) Promptly 3) Warmly 4) Harmoniously
Explanation: The idiom “With open arms” means ‘enthusiastically, warmly, happily’.
4. In spite of her severe accident she took heart and moved forward.
1) Acted promptly 2) Felt depressed 3) Overcame problems 4) Gathered courage
Explanation: The phrase “Take heart” means ‘to gather confidence, courage or happiness’.
5. As the flood waters hit the coastal village, several families had a close shave.
1) a narrow escape 2) to have no livelihood
3) nothing to eat 4) to lose all possessions
Explanation: The idiom “A close shave” means ‘a narrow escape’. Ans: 1
6. The abrogation of article 370 was achieved in the teeth of tough resistance.
1) in direct opposition to
2) in a state of uncertainty
3) in collaboration with
4) in a short span of time
Explanation: The idiom “in the teeth of tough resistance” means ‘in a state of uncertainty’. Ans: 2
7. He is completely at sea about where to invest his hard-earned money.
1) in shock 2) sure 3) confused 4) committed
Explanation: The phrase “At sea” means ‘in a confused state’. Ans: 3
8. Unless you are above board in your dealings, you will not be able to win the trust of your clients.
1) smart and deceptive 2) exceptionally talented
3) bold and reckless 4) honest and frank
Explanation: The phrase “above board” means ‘honest and frank’. Ans: 4
9. The thieves made off with all the cash and jewellry in the house.
1) ran away 2) squandered 3) discovered 4) transferred
Explanation: The phrase “make off” means ‘to run away’. Ans: 1
10. My brother has decided to settle in Mumbai for good.
1) for better income 2) forever
3) for a while 4) for new opportunities
Explanation: The phrase “for good” means ‘forever’. Ans: 2
11. In spite of the high-sounding words, his speech fell flat on the audience.
1) appealed to the sentiments of the audience 2) impressed a lot
3) failed to make an impact 4) could not be heard clearly
Explanation: The phrase “fall flat” means ‘fail to make an impact’. Ans: 3
12. Simran was under tremendous stress because she had too many irons in the fire.
1) She had made a lot of risky investments
2) She was suffering from many ailments
3) She had too many clothes to iron
4) She was involved in many activities
Explanation: The idiom “Have too many irons in the fire” means ‘to be involved in many activities.’ Ans: 4
13. The suspect made a clean breast of it during the enquiry.
1) confessed his crime 2) took off his shirt
3) blamed his companion 4) asked for a fresh shirt
Explanation: The idiom “To make a clean breast of” means ‘to confess a crime’. Ans: 1
14. Left out in cold
1) to be criticised 2) to be ignored 3) to stand out 4) to be indecisive
Explanation: The idiom “Left out in cold” means ‘to be ignored’. Ans: 2
15. Work against the clock
1) work late in the night 2) work against all problems
3) work in great hurry 4) work with concentration
Explanation: The idiom “Work against the clock” means ‘to try to do something in a very limited amount of time’. Ans: 3
16. Handle with kid gloves
1) to show someone your creativity 2) to accomplish something too ambitious
3) to remove all hurdles to start something 4) to treat someone with extreme care
Explanation: The idiom “Handle with kid gloves” means ‘to treat someone with extreme care’. Ans: 4
17. Run around in circles
1) to keep doing something without achieving much
2) to keep running to set a record
3) to work excessively hard by keeping two jobs
4) to remain busy with your work
Explanation: The idiom “Run around in circles” means ‘to waste one's time and energy in futile things’ or ‘to keep doing something
without achieving much’. Ans: 1
18. Up in arms
1) to be rude 2) to be angry 3) to be nervous 4) to be defensive
Explanation: The phrase “Up in arms” means ‘to be angry’. Ans: 2
19. At the drop of a hat
1) Frequently 2) Normally 3) Instantly 4) Usually
Explanation: The idiom “At the drop of a hat” means ‘instantly’. Ans: 3
20. Make a beeline for
1) Make a line for honey 2) Go for freebies
3) Stand in a queue 4) Go straight to
Explanation: The idiom “Make a beeline for” means ‘go straight to’. Ans: 4
21. Till the cows come home
1) For a long, long time 2) For a large part
3) In the evening 4) Till the work is finished
Explanation: The idiom “Till the cows come home” means ‘for a very long/ indefinite amount of time’. Ans: 1
22. Touch and go
1) Unimportant 2) Uncertain 3) Undoubted 4) Unchanging
Explanation: The phrase “Touch and go” means ‘uncertain about someone or something’. Ans: 2
Some examples of idioms
1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Meaning: Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.
Example: Here is some good advice: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
2. A blessing in disguise
Meaning: Something good that isn't recognized at first.
Example: Losing his job was a blessing in disguise really, because he ended up in a much more enjoyable career.
3. A chip on your shoulder
Meaning: Being upset for something that happened in the past.
Example: I had a dirty great chip on my shoulder - I thought everybody was against me.
4. A dime a dozen
Meaning: Anything that is common and easy to get.
Example: Experts in the teaching field are a dime a dozen.
5. A doubting Thomas
Meaning: A sceptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something.
Example: I was a real doubting Thomas. I didn't believe the stuff would work.
6. A drop in the ocean
Meaning: A very small part of something big or whole.
Example: The 10 crore rupees saving is likely to be a drop in the ocean.
7. A fool and his money are easily parted
Meaning: It's easy for a foolish person to lose his/ her money.
Example: Mithun likes living in style – but then a fool and his money are easily parted.
8. A house divided against itself cannot stand
Meaning: Everyone involved must unify and function together or it will not work out.
Example: I wish Bharat and Sharath would learn to get along. After all, a house divided against itself cannot stand.
9. A leopard can't change his spots
Meaning: You cannot change who you are.
Example: The teacher tried to be kind to her students, but a leopard can't change its spots, she was still very mean.
10. A penny saved is a penny earned
Meaning: By not spending money, you are saving money (little by little).
Example: I'm going to give you one thousand rupees, but I want you to put it in the bank; a penny saved is a penny earned!