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Most Useful 500 Idioms With Their Meanings In English

Today, in this post, you are going to learn 500 idioms with their meanings; all these idioms and phrases are very useful for speaking English and competitive examinations; I hope that you will learn all idioms with their meanings and use them in your daily used sentences.

idioms with their meanings

Heads will roll – Transfers will take place

Make no bones about – Do not have any hesitation in anything

Take after – Resembles

To stave off – Postpone

To give a piece of mind – To reprimand

Pay through nose – Pay an extremely high price

Reading between the lines – Looking for meanings that are not actually expressed

An open book – One that hold no secrets

An axe to grind – A private interest to serve

To blow one’s own trumpet – Praise one’s own abilities and achievements

Blue-eyed boys – Favorites

Dropping names – Hinting at high connections/ To mention famous people you know or have met in order to impress others

A Red letter day – An important day

Bone to pick – Cause of quarrel/ Bone of contention

Read between the lines – Understanding the hidden meaning

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Let the cat out of the bag – To utter a secret carelessly or by mistake

To have Too many iron in the fire – To get engage in too many enterprises at the same time

By leaps and bounds – Rapidly

Helter-Skelter – In disorderly haste

Go to the winds – Disappear

Make ducks and drakes of – Squander

On the level – Honest and sincere

Done for – Ruined

Make a clean breast – Confess

To end in smoke – To come to nothing, no outcome

Had better – Used for telling somebody what you think he ‘should’ do

Strike a bargain – To negotiate a deal

Point blank – Very definite and direct

Wide off the mark – Irrelevant / Not accurate / Inadequate

Out of the world – Extraordinary

Sweep under the carpet – To hide something

Draw on fancy – Use imagination

Turn an honest living – Make an legitimate living

Give the game away – Give out the secret

Cheek by jowl – Very near

On the verge of – On the brink of

A sore point – Something which hurts

Rise like a phoenix from the ashes – With a new life/rebirth/reincarnation

To keep under wraps – Secret

Learn All Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English

To feather one’s nest – To make oneself rich (in position or in monetary terms)

To die in harness – To die while in service

To show a clean pair of heels – To escape / Run away

To flog a dead horse – To waste one’s efforts

To strain every nerve – To make utmost efforts

On the brink of – On the point of

Face the music – Face the unpleasant consequences

Gift of the gab – Ability to speak impressively

Go down the drain – Lose forever

A close shave – Narrow escape from danger

Dark horse – An unexpected winner

Face the music – To bear the criticism

In the red – Losing money/ To owe money

In lieu of – Despite of

Beat about the bush – Speak in a round-about manner

To cut teeth – To gain experience of something for the first time

Cut no ice – Have no influence

Close the book – Stop working on something

To hit below the belt – To attack unfairly

All at sea – Puzzled

Sought after – Wanted by many people because it’s of good quality or difficult to find

Sweeping Statement – Thoughtless statement

All at sea – Puzzled

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Enough rope – Enough freedom for action

By fits and start – Irregularly

Fell foul of – Got into trouble with

Token strike – Short strike held as warning

Face the music – Get reprimanded

Give in – Yield

Run riot – Act without restraint

Go through fire and water – Undergo any risk

Talking through hat – Talking nonsense

Put up with – Tolerate

By fits and starts – Irregularly

Reading between the lines – Understanding the hidden meaning

Fall through – To fail

Cut one off, without a shilling – Disinheriting / To expel from fraternal property

To smell a rat – To suspect a trick

Turn a deaf ear – Disobey

Have the last laugh – To be victorious at the end of an argument / To succeed when others thought you would not

Red letter day – Happy and significant day (Gala day)

At one’s wit’s end – Puzzled / Confused / Perplexed

To fight tooth and nail – To fight in a determined way for what you want

The green-eyed monster – Used as a way of talking about jealousy

Set the record straight – Give a correct account

Lays out – To spend money

Break down – To lose control of your feelings and start crying / Could not proceed

Good Samaritan – Helpful person

Bad blood – Angry feeling

To go to the whole hog – To do it completely

Lay out – Spend

Laying off – Dismissal from jobs

By Leaps and bounds – At rapid pace

Spilling the beans – Revealing the information indiscreetly

Carry out – Execute

Build castles in the air – Daydreaming

On the spur of the moment – To act suddenly, without planning

To have something up one’s sleeve – To have a secret plan

To get one’s own back –To get one’s revenge

To run across – To meet by chance

A dark horse – An unforeseen competitor

Put up with – Endure

Got the sack – Dismissed from

Herculean task –A work requiring very great effort

Bad blood – Active enmity

Close shave – A narrow escape

Grease palms – To bribe someone

Carrot and stick – Reward and punishment policy

Keep your head – Remain calm

Pull strings – Use personal influence

Potluck dinner – Dinner where somebody brings something to eat

To miss the bus – To miss an opportunity

A white elephant – Costly and troublesome possession, without much use to its owner

To call spade a spade – To be frank

To fight tooth and nail – To fight heroically, in very determined way

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Birds of same feather – Persons of same character

Take exception – To object over something

High handed – Using authority in an unreasonable way, overbearing

Too fond of one’s own voice – To like talking without wanting to listen to other people/ Very selfish

Come to grief – To suffer

Eat anyone’s salt – To be anyone’s guest

Give a hand with – To help with something

Take to heart – To be very upset by something that somebody says or does

Talking through hat – Talking nonsense

Looking forward to – To expect something or someone

Slip off – Leave quietly

Get on well – Have a friendly relationship

In a pickle – In an embarrassing or awkward situation

Stick to guns – Hold on to original decisions

Out of hand – Out of control, at once, immediately

The salt of the earth – Very good and honest/ Kind

Some More Idioms With Meanings

Stand-offish – Indifferent

Sowing wild oats – Irresponsible pleasure seeking in young age

A bolt from the blue – Something unexpected and unpleasant

By leaps and bounds – Rapidly

Of no avail – Useless

By leaps and bounds – Rapidly

An open book – Straightforward and honest dealings

Fall short – Fail to meet expectation/ Have no effect

Heart to heart talk – Frank talk

Give the game away – Give out the secret (unintentionally)

Hold one’s tongue – To be silent

No hard and fast rules – Easy regulations

Live from hand to mouth – Miserably

Turn a deaf ear – Refuse to obey

Take exception – To object

Null and void – Empty

Break the ice – Initiate a talk

Keep the wolf from the door – Avoid starvation

Fish in troubled water – To make a profit out of troubled situation

Look into – To investigate

Smell the rat – Suspect that something is fishy

Let the grass grow under the feet – Delay in getting things done

Apple of discord – Cause of animosity

A fish out of water – In uncomfortable situation

Die in harness – To die at one’s work

Fair- weather friend – A friend that deserts in difficulties

Emerge out of thin air – Appear Suddenly

Cut no ice – Have no influence

Bring to light – Introduce for discussion

Cannot hold a candle to – Cannot be compared to

To have something up one’s sleeve – Having a secret plan or solution

To take to one’s heel – To run away

To turn a deaf ear – To be indifferent

At snail’s pace – To do things very slowly

To run one down – To disparage someone

To blow one’s own trumpet – To praise oneself

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Yeoman’s service – Social work

To take to hearts – To grieve over

To smell a rat – To be suspicious

To move heaven and earth – To try everything possible

To take someone for a ride – To deceive (cheat)

At stone’s throw – Very near

Struck a chill to the heart – Arouse fear/to make somebody afraid

End in a fiasco –A total or utter failure

Fall back – To turn or move back

To play to the gallery – To behave in an exaggerated way to attract people’s attention

Read between the lines – Understand the hidden meaning

Sitting on the fence – Hesitating which side to take

In cold blood – Intentional / Excitedly

A damp squib – A disappointing result

To bite the dust – To be defeated

To take to one’s heel – To run away

To be all at sea – Lost and confused

Cold Comfort – Slight satisfaction

A bolt from the blue – An unexpected and unpleasant event

Shake in shoes – Tremble with fear

Fits and starts – Not regularly

Close shave – Narrow escape

Take with a grain of salt – To listen to something with considerable doubt

Currying favour with – Ingratiating / Trying too hard to get please somebody

Set one’s face against – Oppose strongly

Storm in a teacup – Commotion (angry/worry) over a trivial matter

Putting one’s foot down – Asserting one’s authority / Take a firm stand

A bolt from the blue – Unexpected problem

Sailing in the same boat – Being in the same difficult situation

Gift of the gab – Ability to speak well

To keep the wolf from the door – Escape starvation

Most Useful Idioms Of English

Sit in judgement – To pass judgement(or comment on someone ) especially when you have no authority

Leave in the lurch – To desert someone

Cry over spilt milk – Cry over irreparable loss

Run into – To meet someone accidently

End up in smoke – Come to nothing / Useless

Spread like fire – Spread rapidly

Ins and outs – Full details

Dropping like flies – Collapsing in large numbers

Bull in a China shop – A clumsy person

Change colours – To turn pale

Spicks and span – Neat and clean / Tidy

Give in – To agree to do something that you don’t want to do

Look down upon – Hate intensely

Flogging a dead horse – Wasting time in useless effort

Under a cloud – Under suspicion

Green thumb – To have a natural interest

Played havoc – Caused destruction

No love lost between – Not on good terms

Fair and square – Honest

A white elephant – Costly or troublesome possession

Get the sack – Dismissed from

Pros and cons – Considering all the facts

By leaps and bounds – Very Quickly

In the good books –In favour with boss

In the long run – Ultimately

To be always one’s beck and call – At one’s disposal (ready to serve one’s master)

Turn a deaf ear – Disregard / Ignore / Refuse

To foam at one’s mouth – To be very angry

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Send packing – To tell somebody firmly or rudely to go away / Terminate service

Kick up a row – Make a great fuss / To complain loudly about something

To give vent to – To express a feeling, especially anger, strongly

Stand by – To help / Support somebody or be friend, even in difficult times

In black and white – In writing

Under a cloud – Being subject to suspicion

As hard as nail – Emotionless / To show no sympathy, kindness or fear

Allow a free hand – Complete liberty

Went to the winds – Dissipated/ To be utterly lost

Ins and outs – Full details

A white elephant – A costly but useless possession

Fed up – Annoyed

In the good books – In favour with

Sharp practices – Dishonest means

In high spirits – Full of hope and enthusiasm

Some Interesting Idioms And Phrases

The man in the street – An ordinary man (common man)

To catch up with – To compete with

Fight to the bitter end – To fight a losing battle

Throw down a glove – To accept defeat

Give vent to – To emphasize or to express

Turn a deaf ear – Pay no attention

Bone of contention – Matter of dispute

Stand on own feet – To be independent

By fits and starts – Irregularly

Over head and ears – Completely

To call it a day – To conclude proceedings

To put up with – To tolerate

To face the music – To bear the consequences

Scapegoats – A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings with arrogant reactions

A red letter day – A day memorable for joyful event

Wears heart on sleeves – Express feelings openly

For better or worse – Always / In every condition

From the bottom of one’s heart – To speak frankly

In a nutshell – Brief

A shot in the dark – An attempt to guess something

Cut coat according to one’s cloth – Live within one’s means

Learn Idioms And Phrases With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Weal and woe – Ups and downs

Iron will – Strong determination

To take to task – Punish

Out and out – Totally

On the cuff – On credit

Does not hold water – Cannot be believed

A wild goose chase – Futile search

In a tight corner – In a difficult situation

Going places – Talented and successful

In cold blood – A murder done with intention

Turn up one’s nose at – To reject / Despises

Turn one’s head – To feel proud in a way that other people find it annoying

High and dry – Neglected / To leave someone helpless

Take for granted – To accept readily / To pre-suppose as certainly true

Mince matters – To confuse issues/ to mix facts

To pass away – Die

Carry weight – Be important / Important influence

Fall flat – Fail to amuse people / Fail to produce intended effect

Under the thumb of – Under the control of

To get wind – Come to know about something secret or private

Part and parcel – An essential part of something

To fall back on – To use or do something else after other things have failed

To make one’s blood boil – To make somebody furious

To add fuel to the fire – To cause additional anger

Status quo – As it is / Unchanged position

To burn candle at both ends – To be extravagant / Spend without any worry

To hit the jackpot – To make money quickly

To bring to light – To reveal

At the eleventh hour – At the last possible moment

To add fuel to fire – To worsen the matter / To incite

To burn one’s fingers – To get physically hurt

At the eleventh hour – At the last moment

To feel like a fish out of water – Uncomfortable situation

Kicking heels – To be relaxed and enjoy / Waste time

End in smoke – Come to nothing

Die in harness – Die in service/ Die while working

Go scot-free – To escape without punishment

To shed crocodile tears – To pretend grief

To look down one’s nose – To regard with contempt

Take cue from – To copy what someone already did in past in order to be successful

Call for – To ask

Out of the question – Undesirable/ Not worth discussing

Rat race – Fierce competition for power

Hard nut to crack – Difficult task

See eye to eye – To think in the same way

Put across – To communicate your ideas, feelings, etc. successfully

To have second thoughts – To reconsider

Not my cup of tea – Not what somebody likes or interested in

To break the ice – To start a conversation

To eat a humble pie – To say or show sorry for a mistake that one made

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Wet behind the ears – Young and without experience / Naïve

To talk someone over – To convince over

Wear heart on sleeves – Express emotions freely

Bury the hatchet – To make peace / To stop being unfriendly and become friends again

Once in a blue moon – Rarely

Through thick and thin – Under all circumstances

Scapegoat – A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency / Fall guy

On the horns of dilemma – In a situation where you have to make choice between things that are equally unpleasant

At the eleventh hour – At a last moment

Water under the bridge – Something that happened in the past and is now forgotten or no longer important

Learn More Idioms For English Speaking

Off and on – Occasionally

Hard and fast – Strict

Took to heels – Run away in fear

To keep up – To keep in touch

Make a clean breast – Confess without reserve

At a loss – Unable / Not knowing about what to do or say

Lame excuse – Unsatisfactory explanation

Hand in glove – Working closely with someone / Very intimate

A hard nut to crack – A difficult problem or situation to solve or deal with

Rack and ruin – Ransacked

Rides the high horse – Feel superior

By fits and starts – Irregularly

Have a bee in one’s bonnet – To be preoccupied or obsessed with something

See through – Detect / To realize the truth about someone or somebody

By leaps and bound – Very rapidly

To toe the line – To follow the lead / To follow boss’s orders

Stick to guns – Maintain opinion

Take hat off – Encourage / To admire somebody very much for something he has done

No love lost between – Not on good terms

To have not a leg to stand on – Unable to prove or explain why something is reasonable

A man in the street – An ordinary person / Common man

Blood running cold – Become very frightened

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Pore over – Go through

Make both ends meet – To live a lavish life

Run down – Criticise

Grease anybody’s palm – To give bribe

Leave in the lurch – Abandon in the midway/difficult situation

Caught red handed – At the time of committing crime

To hail from – To come from

To put an end to – Stop

By fits and starts – Irregularly

Bad blood – Feeling of hatred

Turn up – To appear

Die hard – Unwilling to change

Turn down – Reject

Take after – To follow / To take care of older members of family

Break up – Disband itself / The breaking up of relationship or association

Stand by – Support

Burn one’s boat – Leave no means of return

Make one’s flesh creep – Horrify

Pros and cons – For and against / Analysis of all the given facts

To take into account – To consider

Blow over – Pass off

Run into – Incurred / To experience difficulties

Hobson’s choice – No real choice at all

To eat a humble pie – To apologize

To give the devil his due – To give encouragement even to the enemy

To blaze a trail – To lead the way as a pioneer

To beat a retreat – To run away in fear from a dangerous or unpleasant situation

To steer clear of – Avoid

To face the music – To bear the consequences

To take someone to task – To scold someone

At one’s wit – Puzzled/Confused/Perplexed

At stake – In danger/ that can be lost or won depending on the success of a particular action

Playing to the gallery – Befooling the common man

Come out of one’s shell – To appear suddenly

Lay down arms – To surrender

Making hay while the sun shines – Taking advantage of a favorable opportunity

Blow one’s own trumpet – To praise oneself

Bear with – Support / To be patient with somebody or something (especially through difficulties)

Soft option – Easy and agreeable option

A little gush of gratitude – Feeling grateful

To lose ground – To become less popular

Hand in glove – In close relationship

To make a mountain of a molehill – To give great importance to little things

To speak one’s mind – To be frank and honest

Maiden speech – First speech

At the eleventh hour – At the very last moment

Cope with – To face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner

Go a long way towards doing something– To be helpful

Learn Idioms With Their Meanings For Spoken English And Competitive Examinations

Gift of the gab – Talent of speaking

Standstill – Complete halt

Cross swords – Disagree

Cool as a cucumber – Not nervous or emotional

In high spirits – Cheerful

To pay off old scores – To refund old dues

Man of letters – Proficient in literary arts

Turn down – Refuse

On good terms – Agree with someone

Stole the show – Win everyone’s praise

Measure up – Reach the level

Doctor the accounts – To manipulate the accounts

Bring about – Cause

Pull up – Reprimand

At sixes and seven – In disorder or confusion

Lose head – Panic

Take to task – To criticize severely/ To punish

In fits and starts – Irregularly

Bird’s eye view – An overview

Run in the same groove – Advance in harmony

A red letter day – An important or joyful occasion in one’s life

To explore every avenue – To try every opportunity

At one’s beck and call – Ready to follow orders/ To be dominated by someone

By fair or foul means – In honest or dishonest way

I hope that you have learnt all idioms with their meanings; now, you can use them in your own sentences and for competitive examinations.