Important Idioms and Phrases for Competitive Exams

Learn Important Idioms and Phrases for Competitive Exams with meaning | Important Idioms and Phrases with meaning

Important Idioms and PhrasesCandidates preparing for the competitive examinations for getting job in the Government sector like SSC, UPSC, CDS etc have to prepare for different sections and English is one of the sections that is needed to be scored high. The Important Idioms and Phrases are the main topics that are needed to be covered. We are providing all Idioms and Phrases with meaning to make it easy for the candidates, if any question is raised from this category candidates will be able to answer it correctly. The important Idioms and Phrases with meanings are as given

Important Idioms and Phrases :

Idioms and Phrases starting with alphabet “A”

Idioms Phrases
Above all Chiefly, mainly
An Adonis a very handsome man
An apollo a man with perfect physique
Apple Pie Order in perfect order
The apple of discord reason of quarrel
Arcadian life blissful, happy, rural life
As you make your bed, so must you lie on it you will have to bear the consequences of your mistakes or misdeeds
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush having certain which is certain is better than taking a risk for more
A Dime & Dozen Anything that is easy to get
A chip on Your shoulder Being upset for something that happened in past
A house divided against itself cannot Stand Everyone involved must unify & function together or it will not work out
A Leopard can’t change his spots you cannot change who you are
A Penny saved is a Penny earned by not spending money, you are saving money
At wit’s End Not Knowing what to do
A Piece of Cake task that can be done easily
A close fisted man a miser
at loggerheads Disagreeing on everything
A picture paints a thousand words a visual perception is far better descriptive than words
At the eleventh hour at the last moment


Important Idioms and Phrases starting with “B”:

Idioms & Phrases Meaning
Be in a tight corner
in a difficult situation
behind one’s back in the absence of one (without one’s knowledge)
Bring to light Disclose
Burn the midnight oil work or study hard
By leaps and bounds Rapidly
By word of mouth By spoken message
Between the devil & deep blue sea Between two dangers
Back to square one having to start all over again
Back To The Drawing Board When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over
Barking Up The Wrong Tree A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve
Beat a dead horse To force an issue that has already ended
Beating Around The Bush avoiding main topic and not speaking directly of the issue
Bend Over Backwards willing to do anything it takes to help
Bite your tongue to avoid talking
Between a rock and a hard place Stuck between two very bad options
Bite off more than you can chew To take on a task that is way to big
Blood is thicker than water The family bond is closer than anything else
Buy a Lemon
the vehicle which constantly gives problem and breaks down continously
Blue moon a rare event or occurence


Important Idioms and Phrases Starting with “C”:

Care killed the cat
don’t fret and worry yourself to death
Chicken- hearted timid, weak
Close fist Mean
chip Off the old block one is as good as one’s father
Chew the cud
to discuss the matter in a ponderous way, can be reminiscing
Cock and Bull Story
An unbelievable tale
Cut to the Chase
Leave out all the unnecessary details and just get to the point
Curiosity Killed The Cat
Being Inquisitive can lead you into a dangerous situation
Cry Wolf Intentionally raise a false alarm
Cry Over Spilt Milk
When you complain about a loss from the past
Crack Someone Up
To make someone laugh
Can’t Cut The Mustard
Someone who isn’t adequate enough to compete or participate
cut your cloth according to your income live in your income

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “D”:

Donkey’s year a very long year
Double- dealing Deceiving
Dutch Courage courage gained after having alcohol
Drink like a fish drink very heavily
Don’t put all the eggs in one basket Don’t put all your resouces in one possibility
D oozy Outstanding
Dog days of summer Hottest days of summer season
Don’t Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth
When someone gives you a gift, don’t be ungrateful
Dead ringer 100% duplicate
Dark horse One who was previously unknown but is now prominent

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “E”:

Evil days A period of misfortune
Eagle eye Quick to discover
Every Dog has his day sooner or later, every one has his share of good fortune
Empty vessels make the most noise
those who know or have little knowledge often shout the loudest
Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days
Excuse my French Please forgive me for cussing

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “F”:

An old-fashioned and foolish type of person.
From Rags To Riches
To go from being very poor to being very wealthy
Full Monty
“the whole thing” or “completely nude”
Flip The Bird
To raise your middle finger at someone
Foam at the Mouth
Being enraged and show it
Flash In The Pan
Something that shows potential or looks promising in the beginning but fails to deliver anything in the end
Field Day An enjoyable day or circumstance
Finding Your Feet Being comfortable in whatever you are doing
Finger licking’ good

A very tasty food or meal
Feeding Frenzy
An aggressive attack on someone by a group
From hand to hand From one person to another
Foul play cheating

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “G”:

Good wine needs no bush
there is no need to advertise something good
Get Your Walking Papers
Get fired from a job
Get Down to Brass Tacks
To become serious about something
Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed
Someone who is having a horrible day.
Go Out On A Limb Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/something
Go The Extra Mile
Going above and beyond whatever is required for the task at hand.
Graveyard Shift
Working hours from about 12:00 am to 8:00 am. The time of the day when most other people are sleeping
Go Dutch

Splitting bills

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “H”:

Hit The Sack
Go to sleep
Hit The Nail on the Head
Do something exactly right or say something exactly right.
Hit The Hay
Go to sleep
High on the Hog
Living in Luxury
Have an Axe to Grind
To have a dispute with someone.
He Lost His Head Angry and overcome by emotions
Head over heels Very excited, joyful
Hell in a Hand basket
Deteriorating and headed for complete disaster.
Haste Makes Waste
Quickly doing things results in a poor ending

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “I”:

In high spirits Very happy
In a nutshell By summing up the words
If wishes were horses, beggars might ride
if all people’s wishes came true every body would be rich
Icing On The Cake
When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have.
Idle Hands Are The Devil’s Tools
You are more likely to get in trouble if you have nothing to do
In The Heat Of The Moment
Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment
It Takes Two To Tango
A two person conflict where both people are at fault.
Its Anyone’s Call
A competition where the outcome is difficult to judge or predict

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “J”:

John bull An English man
Jay walk Crossing the road without using crossing
Joshing me Tricking me

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “K”:

Know the Ropes
To understand the details
Knee Jerk Reaction
A quick and automatic response
Keep your chin up
To remain joyful in a tough situation
Keep An Eye On Him
Carefully watching on someone

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “L”:

Loose cannon Someone who can cause damage if not kept in check
Like a chicken with its head cut off
To act in anger
Level playing field
A fair competition where no side has an advantage
Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
To share a secret that wasn’t suppose to be shared
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
To avoid restarting a conflict
Lend Me Your Ear
To politely ask for someone’s full attention.

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “M”:

Move Heaven and earth
Try one’s best to achieve something in life
Make hay while the sun shines
take advantage of all opportunities
Make Both ends meet
To make expenditure own limit as per income
Man of Straw

A very weak person
Mother Wit

Common sense
Midas Touch

Who has extraordinary power to make everything profitable
Make No Bones About

To state a fact so there are no doubts

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “N”:

Never cross the Bridge until you come to it
don’t anticipate difficulties
Not to know a B from a bull’s foot
to be ignorant of even the simplest things
Poking to irritate someone
Nook and corner
At each and every place
No love lost
Who has no love in his/her life

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “O”:

On and On

Continue on same thing or process
Oily tongue
Language try to please someone

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “P”:

Pandora’s box
A box full of difficulties
Play Ducks and Drakes
To Waste money on un-usable articles
Pulling one’s leg
To make fun of other person
Poison someone’s ears
To speak to someone against a person
Putting the cat among the pigeons An unliked statement by no of persons

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “R”:

Royal Road
Easy way
Red Tapism
Official formalities
Red handed
Man caught while committing a crime
Rain like cats and dogs Heavy raining

Idioms and Phrases Starting with “S”:

Stone’s throw
Very near
Steal a march
Get an advantage by secret means
Stand on one’s own legs
Snake in grass
Secret enemy
Smell a rat
To suspect
Slip of tongue

Spoken without understanding
See red

Very angry
Shoulder to Shoulder Very fast friend or relative in difficult time


Important Idioms and Phrases Starting with “T”:

Throw cold water Upon
To Discourage someone
Tooth and Nail
Very hardly/Violently
To have an axe to grind
to have some selfish objective in view
To take up arms
to fight, to go to war
To cause bad blood
to cause rancor
To build castles in the air
To day dream
To lead to the altar

To marry


Important Idioms and Phrases Starting with “U”:

Uphill task
Very difficult task
Up and Down
Good and Bad time


Important Idioms and Phrases Starting with “W”:

White elephant
Very expensive but of no use
Wet Blanket
Spoils the enjoyment
Word for Word
Reply in same manner
Wild goose chase Useless search

These important idioms and phrases will help candidates enhance their speaking and communication skills too by using these important idioms and phrases in speaking
Also learn: click here to learn the Important Organizations & its headquarters

Updated: May 7, 2016 — 7:20 pm


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  1. thanks for sharing the information..hope you guys will do the same work in future

    1. Thnx a lot.. It’s really useful..

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