English Language

Common Idioms

A list of common idioms for people preparing for IELTS, TOEFL and GRE

 

About English Tests(IELTS/TOEFL)

Brief info on various english examinations

 

Idioms for IELTS/TOEFL

Another useful list of idioms to people preparing for english testing procedures

 

Vocabulary Test-I

Vocabulary test for IELTS, TOEFL and GRE students (level-Medium)

 

Vocabulary Test-II

Level-Medium

 

Vocabulary Test-III

Level-Medium

 

Vocabulary Test-IV

Level-Medium

 

Vocabulary Test-V

Level-Medium

 

Vocabulary Test-VI

Level-Medium

 

Vocabulary Test-VII

Level-Medium

 

Vocabulary Test-VIII

Level-Medium

 

Here is a quick review of commonly used idioms in Britain and Australia. Often these idioms get asked in the TOEFL and IELTS examination.

 

 

 

Idioms describing people

If someone has a heart of gold they are very kind, generous
If someone has a head like a sieve they have a Bad memory
If someone has a good head for figures they are good at maths
If someone has a head for heights they do not feel nervous when they look down from a high place
To have one's head screwed on be sensible
To have one's head in the clouds Unaware of reality
If someone is as hard as nails they have no sympathy for others
If someone is a cold fish they are very unfriendly
If someone is an awkward customer they are difficult to deal with
If someone is a slow coach they work slowly
If someone is an odd-ball they are very strange and peculiar
If someone is a pain in the neck(also back side) they are a nuisance, difficult to deal with
If someone is a lazy bones or a bone-idle they are very lazy
If someone is a square peg in a round hole they do not fit in naturally, they are out of place in the situation they find themselves in.

Top

Idioms describing Feelings or mood

If someone is as happy as the day is long they are extremely content, satisfied, happy
If someone is on cloud nine they are extremely pleased and happy
If someone is in high spirits they are lively, enjoying things
If someone is keeping their chin up they are happy despite bad things
If someone has a face as long as a fiddle they look very depressed and sad
If someone looks down in the dumps(also browned off) they look very depressed and sad
If someone is in a (black)mood they are in a bad mood/temper
If someone is like a bear with a soar head they are extremely irritable
If someone says, I could eat a horse! they are vey hungry
If someone is feeling all in they are exhausted
If someone is a bit under the weather they are ill/not very well
If someone is as fit as a fiddle (compare have a face as long as a fiddle which means look sad and depressed) they are very fit indeed
If someone jumps out of their skin they are frightened and give a big jump
If someone get itchy feet they get a desire to travel/move around
If someone is up in arms they are very angry and protesting loudly
If someone is in two minds they are unable to decide and make their mind up about something

Top

Problems and difficulties

If you are in a fix you are in a difficulty
If you are in a tight corner you are in a situation that is hard to get out of
If you are in a muddle you are confused, mixed up

Top

Reacting in situations

If you take a back seat you don't do anything and let others act instead
If you take the bull by the horns you act positively to face and attack the problems
If you act like a bull in a china shop you are very clumpsy,awkward and inept
If you talk a load of bull you are talking nonsence
If you stir things up you do or say things that make matters worse
If you pour oil on troubled waters you do or say that calm the situation down
If you keep your cards close to your chest you hold back/hide information from others
If you lay your cards on the table you reveal information, be very open

Top

Idioms related to situations based on Get

Get one's act together organise oneself to respond
To get to the bottom of things find the true explanation for the state of affairs/ to figure out
To get a grasp of to understand/find out

Top

Idioms related to changes and stages in situations

The tide has turned better days are ahead
See the light at the end of the tunnel see the end of a problem/manage to solve a problem
To bury the hatchet to bury the differences, stop fighting each other, make peace
To sweep under the carpet to deliberately forget and ignore the things
It would go a long way it would help a lot
To go back to square one to go back to the beginning again
Be on tenterhooks be in great suspense
If you toe the line you follow the rules and behave your self

Top

Idioms connected with Praise

Head and shoulders above the rest(used for people)
Miles better(used for people or things)
Streets ahead(used for people or things)
knocks spots off(used for things)
they are better than the rest
 
Out of this world(used for things eg:the meal was just out of this world) out standing or superb

Top

Idioms connected with Praise

If someone is a dab-hand at something they are good at something(usually manual skills)
If someone is first rate/top notch they are good, very best
If someone is really on the ball they know a lot
If you have a way with some one you are good at establishing good relations/motivating them etc.
If someone has green fingers they are good at gardening
If someone has the gift of the gab they are good at talking

Top

Idioms connected with Criticism

If someone thinks they are the cat's whiskers or the bee's knees they think that they are wonderful
If someone is dressed up like a dog's dinner they are over dressed in a showy way
If someone is the world's worst in doing something no one is worse than them in doing that(eg:when it comes to time keeping, he's world's worst)
If something is a dog's breakfast it's a mess, done in a bad way
If someone really takes the biscut when it comes to something they are the epitomy / most striking example of some negative quality
If someone wants to have their cake and eat it! they want everything without any contribution from their side
If someone tries to butter you up they give false praise in order to get something from you!
If you want jam on it (eg:A 100K salary and a company car! You want jam on it, you do!) you have totally unreasonable expectations/ demands
run down / pick holes are synonyms of the verb to criticise

Top

www.mahipalreddy.com
Terms and Conditions of Use
Copyright 2004 - 2006 Mahipal Padigela. All rights reserved.