Ex: He does not know even the A.B.C of political science.
2. A bed of roses:
Full of joys and pleasure:
Ex: To a rich man, life is a bed of roses.
3. A bed of thorns:
Full of sufferings and sorrows:
Ex: To a poor man, life is a bed of thorns.
4. A big gun:
An important figure:
Ex: He is a big gun today
5. A black sheep:
A disgraceful man:
Ex: He is the black sheep of his family, because he has been in prison for several times.
6. A bolt from the blue.
A sudden shock or calamity:
Ex: The sad and untimely death of his young son came to him as a bolt from the blue.
- A bone of contention.
A cause of quarrel:
Ex: This small piece of land is bone of contention between the two brothers.
- A broken reed:
A person or thing that cannot be depended upon:
Ex: He is only a broken reed, how long can you depend on him?
- A burning question.
An important question or topic of the day:
Ex: Third world war is a burning question.
- A cat’s paw:
To make’s somebody a tool:
Ex: He used his friend as a cat’s paw to achieve his purpose.
- A chicken hearted person:
A cowardly person:
Ex: A chicken-hearted person like him should not think of joining army.
- A child’s play:
Something very easy:
Ex: It is not a child’s play to succeed in life.
- A clean slate:
A fresh beginning:
Ex: Let us forget all our former differences and start with a clean slate.
- A cock and bull story:
An imaginary of false story:
Ex: Raju invented a cock and bull story to justify his absence.
- A cool head:
A calm judgment:
Ex: If you think over problem with a cool head, you will solve it.
16.A dead letter:
No longer in use:
Ex: The Sharada act is now a dead letter.
- A drug in the market:
A thing unsaleable due to its lack of demand:
Ex: His books have proved to be a drug in the market.
- A fatal disease:
A disease that ends in death:
Ex: Cancer is a fatal disease.
- A fish out of water:
To be in a uncomfortable position:
Eg: she feels like a fish out of water in the new school
- A fool’s paradise:
State of joy based on false hopes:
Ex: You will be living in fool’s paradise, if you expect to get one lakh of rupees in the lottery.
- A happy-go-lucky type:
Ex: He is a happy-go-lucky type
- A hard nut to crack:
A problem difficult to solve:
Ex: The refugee problem turned out to be a hard nut to crack for the government.
- A hen-packed husband:
A husband under the control or thumb of his wife:
Ex: He is a hen-pecked husband and has no voice in the family.
- A jack of all trades:
A person supposed to know everything but master of none:
Ex: My friend is a jack of all trades, but master of none.
- A lion’s share:
A major share:
Ex: He got the lion’s share of his father’s property.
- A lame excuse:
Ex: He invented a lame excuse for not doing his work.
- A mare’s nest:
An unfounded rumour or elude:
Ex: The police follower up the clue, but it proved to be mare’s nest.
- A queer fish:
A strange person:
Ex: Our new officer is a queer fish, nobody likes his company.
- A rainy day:
A time of difficulty or proverty:
Ex: A wiseman always lays by something against a rainy day.
- A red letter day :
An important day:
Ex: The day when our country became free use a red letter day in our history.
- A thorn is one’s flesh:
Something or someone that continuously irritates.
Ex: His sister is a thorn in his flesh.
- A wet blanket :
A cause of discouragement :
Ex: Don’t invite Hari to the party, he is only a wet blanket.
- A wash out :
Ex: He is a complete wash out ;he can not pass this year,
- A wind fall:
Unexpected good forture:
Ex: He had a wind fall and suddenly became rich.
- A wild goose chase:
A foolish and useless search:
Ex: The hunt for the hidden treasure was nothing but a wild goose chase.
- A wolf in a sheep’s clothing :
Ex: Don’t trust him, he is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.
37: An iron hand :
Sever hand :
Ex: Akbar put down the revolt with an iron hand.
38: An apple of one’s eye :
An object of love, the most valuable possession:
Ex: She an apple of her parent’s eyes.
39: At a pinch:
In a difficulty:
Ex: I can never forget him, because he helped me at a pinch.
40: at an arm’s length:
To keep aloof, to avoid; to keep at a distance:
Ex: I keep the gamblers at an arm’s length.
41:at one’s finger’s tips or ends:
To be expert:
Ex: I have all subjects at my finger’s ends or tips; so examination has no fear for me.
- at sixes and sevens:
- in disorder:
Ex: when I came back from the college, I found my books lying at sixes and sevens.
- at the eleventh hour:
At the last moment:
Ex: he received some help at the eleventh hour.
- Bear a grudge:
To have bitter feeling:
Ex: he bears a personal grudge:
- Between the devil and the deep sea:
To be in a fix or between two great difficulties:
Ex: She was between the devil and the deep sea when I met her.
- Blow one’s own trumpet:
To speak proudly of one’s oneself:
Ex: I don’t like to talk with him, he ilways blowing his own trumpet.
- By hook or by crook:
By all means:
Ex: He will certainly get his work done by hook or by crook.
- Capital punishment:
Punishment of death:
Ex: The culprit was awarded capital punishment by the court.
- Close shave:
A narrow escape:
Luckily he had a close shave in the motor accident.
- Crocodile tears:
The step-mother shed crocodile tears at the death of her step-son.
- Dead of night:
In the middle of:
ex: Yesterday, a house caught fire at the dead of night:
- Foul play:
Ex: I suspect a foul play in what he says.
- From hand to mouth:
A miserable existence:
Ex: They are living hand to mouth
- Grain of salt:
To believe only a part of a statement:
Ex: He is always boasting, so we should take his statement a grain of salt.
- Hale and hearty:
Ex: He is over ninety but still hale and hearty.
- Hand and glove with:
On very intimate terms
Ex: Ramu and Anji are hand and glove with each other.
- Heart to heart:
Free and frank:
Ex: Unless we have a heart to heart talk, things cannot become clear.
- Hide and seek:
Ex: Don’t play hide and seek with your friends.
- High spirits:
To be very happy:
Ex: After his marriage Ravi is in high spirits.
- Hush money:
The price of silence:
Ex: they were talking against us, but we won them over by means of hush money.
- in a nut-shell:
Ex: The prime minister gave an account of the world situation in a nut-shell.
- In cold blood:
Ex: Yesterday a man was murdered in cold blood.
- In one’s teens:
Between sixteen and nineteen an early age: 16-19:
Ex: Newton was still in his teens, when his father died.
- In the face of:
In spite of:
Ex: he did not lose heart even in the face of strong opposition.
- In the nick of time:
Just in time:
Ex: the police reached the spot in the nick of time and caught the theif..
- Ins and outs:
Ex: I want a clerk who knows the ins and outs of this matter.
- Odds and ends:
Big and small:
Ex: one the eve of my transfer I left my odds and ends, with a friend of mine.
- of no avail:
Of no use:
Ex: we advised him a good deal, but of no avail.
- One the horns of a dilemma:
To be in a fix; t o be puzzled:
I was on the horns of a dilemma when the principal asked me either to leave the college or apologise.
- Out of gear:
Out of order:
Ex: the second world war had thrown the economic condition of the world out of gear.
- Out of the wood:
Out of danger or difficulty:
Ex: even after for decades, our government is not out of the wood, yet it has many big problems to solve.
- Round the corner:
Ex: The summer is just round the corner.
- spick and span:
Very neat and tidy:
Ex: the new principal wants every room to be quite spick and span.
74.sweat of one’s brow;
Ex: he works by the sweat of his brow.
Ex: most of the rich man suffer from a swelled head.
76.the printer’s devils:
Ex: in our poetry book there are a number of printer’s devils.
77.through thick and thin:
Under all circumstances:
Ex: his wife stood by him through thick and thin.
78.time hangs heavy on one’s hands:
Difficult to pass time:
Ex: after the examination is over time hangs heavy on one’s hands.
79.to add fuel to the fire:
To increase anger:
Ex: he abused his enemy and thus added fuel to the fire.
- to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth:
To be born in prosperous circumstances:
Ex: lord Buddha was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
81.to be hoisted with one’s petard:
To be killed with one’s own sword:
Ex: in trying to be clever with Russia, hitler was hoisted with his own petard.
82.to be wool gathering:
To remain absent-minded:
Ex: his wits have gone a wool gathering, he cannot give you any sound advisee.
83.to beat about a bush:
To talk irrelevant:
Ex: you have been beating about the bush for so long; why don’t you tell me that you cannot pay me just now.
84.to beat black and blue:
To beat severely:
Ex: the head master beat the careless boy black and blue and also fined him.
- to bell the cat:
To face a risk:
Ex: all can boast of their bravery, but very few can bell the cat.
- to bide one’s time:
To wait for a favourable chance:
Ex: he is not really indifferent, but he is only biding his time.
- to bring down the house:
To win general praise:
Ex: she brought down the house.
- to build castles in the air:
To form imaginary schemes:
Ex: it is no use of building castles in the air.
89.to burn one’s boats:
To destroy one’s means of retreat:
Ex: he has burnt his boats by resigning and he has not got another job.
90.to burn one’s fingers:
To get into trouble:
Ex: you are sure to burn your fingers by interfering in the affairs of others.
91.to burn the mid-night oil:
To work very hard till late at night:
Ex: in order to get scholarship, you will have to burn the mid-night oil for about six months.
- to bury the hatchet:
To forget a quarrel to make peace:
Ex: let India and China bury the hatchet and restore peace in the world.
- to carry fire and sword:
To cause destruction:
Ex: Hitler carried fire and sword with him.
- to carry the day:
To win; to succeed:
Ex: in the inter-college debate, our college carried the day.
- to cast a spell over:
Fascinate or attract:
Ex: Rekha’s fine acting cast a spell over the audience.
- to chew the cud:
To think deeply:
Ex: philosophers always chew the cud.
97.to clinch the issue:
To decide the matter:
Ex: let us clinch the issue ourselves, it is no use knocking at the door of the court.
98.to cool one’s heels:
To wait for somebody patiently:
Ex: before you can see the collector, you will have to cool your heels outside.
99.to cry for the moon:
To wish for something impossible:
Ex: he is a week student and he wishes to get scholarship, it is only a cry for the moon.
- to cry over spilt milk:
No use regretting on past event:
Ex: it is no use of crying over spilt milk.
- to curry favour:
To seek to win favour by gifts or flattery:
Ex: students often try to curry favour with their professors by flattering them.
102.to dance to one’s tune:
To carry out orders:
Ex: a modern girl is not prepared to dance to the tune of her husband.
- to eat humble pie:
To offer an humble apology:
Ex: you will have to eat humble pie for making personal attack on me.
104: to eat one’s words:
To go back on one’s promise:
Ex: he promised to help me, but later on he ate his words.
- to fan the flames:
To increase excitement:
Ex: we are afraid the arrest of your leaders may fan the flames.
- to fall to the ground:
To come to nothing:
Ex: for want of funds, the scheme fell to the ground.
- to fish in troubled waters:
To take advantage of the troubles of others:
Ex: during their stay in india, the English fished in troubled waters.
- to fly in the face of:
Ex: this peon is so rude that he flies in the face of the officer.
- to feather one’s nest:
To care for one’s selfish interest:
- to fight shy of:
To attempt to avoid a thing or person:
Ex: I fight shy of air travel because the movements make me sick.
- to gain ground:
Ex: non-violence is gaining ground in india.
112.to get on ones nerves:
To be a source of worry:
Ex: please do not get on my nerves. I am already tired.
- to get into a mess:
To get into muddle:
Ex: his accounts seem to have got into a mess.
114.to gild the lily:
To adore with lusture something already beautiful and not requiring adornment.
- to gird up one’s lions:
To prepare oneself for a work:
Ex: let us give our lazy habits and gird up our lions to fight for our country.
116.to give chapter and verse:
To give full proof:
Ex: I can give chapter and verse that social evils are hindrance in the progress of our country.
117.to give quarter to:
To have sympathy with:
Ex: we must give quarter to the poor and needy.
- to give the cold shoulder:
To receive in a cold and careless manner:
Ex: when I went to him for help, he gave me a cold shoulder.
119.to go scot free:
To escape unpunished:
Ex: for want of evidence, the culprit went scot free.
120.To go through fire and water:
To make every sacrifice:
Ex: our national leaders went through fire and water to achieve freedom.
121.to go to dogs:
To be utterly ruined
Ex: for want of discipline the college is going to dogs.
122.to grease the palm:
Ex: he had to grease the palm to the peon before he got the information.
123.to hammer out:
Ex: the eighth five year plan has been hammer out.
- to hang by a thread:
To be in a miserable condition:
Ex: the murder does not laugh or talk, because his fate hangs by thread.
- to hang heavy on one’s head:
Difficult to pass:
Ex: time hangs heavy on my head these days.
- to harp on the same string:
To talk continuously of the same matter:
Ex: please stop harping on the same string of your losses, we have our own troubles also.
127.to have an axe to grind:
Ex: I suspect your friend has an axe of his own to grind.
- to have an old head on young shoulders:
Ripe in wisdom but young in years:
Ex: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had an old head on young shoulders.
- to have clean hands:
To be innocent:
Ex: the magistrate has come to the conclusion that the secretary has clean.
- to hit below the belt:
To fight unfairly:
Ex: a sportsman does not hit anyone below the belt.
- to hit the right nail on the head:
To guess a right:
Ex: a good detective should hit the right nail on the head.
- to hold one’s tongue:
To keep silence:
Ex: please hold your tongue and do your work.
133.to keep one’s head above water:
- to tied over difficulty:
- to escape debt:
Ex: in this days of high prices, the middle class people find it so difficult to keep their head above water.
- to keep the wolf from the door:
To keep away hunger and starvation:
Ex: the poor clerks cannot keep the wolf from the door even though they work so hard.
135.to laugh in one’s sleeves:
The in secret, but not openly:
Ex: when the professor was humming a tune, the students were laughing in their selves.
136.to lead a cat and dog life:
To lead a life of constant quarrelling:
Ex: the old husband and the young wife are leading a cat and dog life.
- to let bygones be bygones:
To ignore the past
Ex: we should let bygones by bygones and start afresh.
138.to live in glass houses:
To be open to criticism:
Ex: those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.
- to make hay while the sun shines:
To make the best use of the opportunity:
Ex: some politicians make hay while the sun shines.
- to make neither head nor tail of:
Not to understand:
Ex: he spoke so rapidly that I could make neither head nor tail of his speech.
141.to make the flesh creep:
To cause horror:
Ex: suddenly, at the dead of night he saw something that made his flesh creep.
- to miss the boat:
To miss a chance:
Ex: if you miss the boat now, you will have to repent throughout your life.
- to nip in the bud:
To destroy a thing at the very beginning:
Ex: evil habits should be nipped in the bud.
- to pay in the same coin:
To give tit for tat:
Ex: raju insulted me and when the opportunity arose, I paid in the same coin.
- to play ducks and drakes with:
To spend lavishly:
Ex: he played ducks and drakes with the money that his father had left him.
146.to poke one’s nose:
To interfere with:
Ex: please mind your own business, do not poke your nose into my affairs.
- to play with fire:
To do something dangerous:
Ex: those who try to create differences between the hindus and the Sikhs are playing with fire.
148.to poison one’s ears:
Ex: the step-mother poisoned the ears of her husband against her step-son.
149.to pick up one’s ears:
To be all attentive:
Ex: when the principal came to address them, they all picked up their ears.
150.to pull a long face:
To look sad worried:
Ex: when the head of his failure, he pulled a long face.
- to pull one’s legs:
To make a fool of:
Ex: do not pull my legs, I am already sick of you.
152.to put a good face:
To bear bear boldly:
Ex: it is no use grumbling, you should put a good face.
153.to put in cold storage:
Ex: for want of funds, most of our schemes have been put in cold storage.
154.to put one’s foot down:
To show determination:
Ex: he put his foot down to earn on the stocks this time.
155.to put one’s shoulders to the wheel:
To help oneself:
Ex: let us put our shoulders to the wheel, how long can we look up to others for help.
156.to rack one’s brains:
To think hard:
Ex: I racked my brains for an answer but could think of none.
- to read between the lines:
To look for or find information which is not actually stated:
Ex: he does not say so , but reading between the lines. I do not think he likes the idea.
158.to rest on one’s laurels:
To rest satisfied with the honours at ready won:
Ex: a greatman like c.v.raman never rested on his laurels.
- to rest on one’s oars:
To rest after hard work:
Ex: after the examination he is thinking of going to simla to rest on his oars.
- To rise to the occasion:
To be found equal to the task:
Ex: The mill owners rose to the occasion, but filled the demands of the labourers and overted the strike.
- To run down:
Tired or exhausted:
Ex: he felt run down so he had a holiday.
- To run through:
Ex: all this rate, he will run through all his property.
- To sail in the same boat:
To be equally exposed to risk:
Ex: I was much consoled, when I learnt that I hand many other person sailing with me in the same boat.
- To save one’s skin:
To be safe:
Ex: everyone desires to save his or her skin.
- To see a thing through colored glasses:
To see a thing with a prejudiced mind:
Ex: if you see a thing through coloured glasses, you cannot get at the truth.
- To see eye to eye with:
Ex: he does not see eye to eye with me in this matter.
- To set one’s face against:
Ex: he set his face against the new scheme.
- To set the thames on fire:
To try to achieve an impossible distinction:
Ex: hitler’s effort to conquer Russia was nothing short of setting the thames on fire.
- To shake in the shoes:
To be in a state of fear:
Ex: when the police brought a warrant of his arrest, he began the shake in his shoes.
- To show a clean pair of heels:
To run away:
Ex: at the sight of the police the thieves showed a clean pair of heels.
- To show the white feather:
To show signs of cowardice:
Ex: I thought you were a brave man, I never expected you to show the white feather.
- To shut one’s eye to:
Ex: We should not shut our eyes to our faults.
- To sink fast:
To grow worse and worse:
Ex: send for the doctor, the patient is sinking fast.
- To sit on the fence:
To remain neutral:
Ex: India’s policy is not sit on the fence, though she does not belong to any power.
- To smell a rat:
To suspect something:
Ex: I smelt a rat from his talk and refused to go with him.
- To speak one’s mind:
To speak frankly:
Ex: he did not speak his mind in this matter.
- To spread like a sild fire:
To spread rapidly:
Ex: the sad news of his death spread like a wild fire in every nook and corner of India.
- To stab in the back:
To strike treacherously:
Ex:while india was busy in the reconstruction work, china stabbed us in the back and launched a massive track.
- To stare in the face:
Ex: even when starvation started in the ace he did not lose heart.
- To steal a march:
To get the advantage secretly:
Ex: he stole a march on me and my business suffered a slight decline.
- To stem the tide of:
To check, to stop:
Ex: the government has not been able to stem the tide of popular discontent.
- To step into another’s shoes:
To take another’s place:
Ex: when the principal retires, the vice-principal will step into his shoes.