Idioms and Phrases

Dec 17 2021


This article is for all those trying to improve their communication skills . Freshers and students attending on-campus and off-campus interviews for IT jobs will also benefit from this collection of Idioms and Phrases.

Idioms and Phrases - PacketPrep


Idioms and phrases are composed of a few words with deep meanings. 

They are widely used to convey intentions and more information in everyday conversation. Compared to the original word, idioms and phrases can be quite effective in explaining the meaning. With a poetic touch to the prose, they make the reader understand. the meaning in depth. 

For example, an apple of my eye. This term does not have a precise definition, but it communicates our feelings for someone important to us.

Idioms and Phraes are influenced by culture and learning idioms and phrases can be a fascinating and eye-opening experience

Best ways to learn idioms and phrases

  • Try using those phrases and idioms in a story, blog post, or article
  • To better understand and recall those terms, relate them to a real-life situation
  • Experiment with new words and phrases when communicating
  • practice using them in sentences and paraphrases
  • Make a schedule for yourself. Learn one idiom or phrase a day and try to use it in your conversation
  • Finally, we recommend reading this page till the end for a comprehensive collection of examples of idioms and phrases used in everyday situations.

Most Commonly Used Idioms

S.NoIdioms & PhrasesMeanings
1Actions speak louder than wordspeople's intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say
2A leopard cannot change its spotssome people are unable to change their personalities since it runs in their blood
3A rose by any other name would smell as sweet people and things are not what they appear to be.
4A perfect storm the worst possible situation
5A snowball's chance in hellno chance at all
6A hot potato
speak about a topic (usually current) that is being discussed by many people and is frequently disputed
7Adding Insult to Injuryto aggravate a terrible situation
8A penny for your thoughtsa way of asking what someone is thinking
9At the drop of a hatInstantly, do something as soon as you are asked
10A fool and his money are soon partedwith carelessness or deception, someone acting foolishly can quickly lose his or her money
11A piece ofcCake

a task that is simple to complete; similar to the common phrase “as easy as pie”
12A hard nut to crackAn issue that is difficult to solve 
13All Greek to mewhen something is incomprehensible due to complexity
14A diamond in the roughsomeone who is essentially good-hearted yet lacks social graces and legal respect
15A bad eggsomeone or something that disappoints expectations
16Acid Testproves the effectiveness of something
17At sixes and sevensin a state of total confusion

18As busy as a beeto be extremely busy
19A mare’s nesta false invention

20A chip on your shoulder

being irritated over something that occurred in the past

21Bite off more than you can chewto take on a task that is far too large for one person to handle
22Bits and Piecessmall things of different types

23Back to Square Oneto return to the beginning; a popular idiom implying that one must start afresh
24Barking Up The Wrong Treeto make a wrong assumption about something.
25Break The Icebreaking down a social stiffness or awkwardness
26Beat Around the BushAvoid talking about what is important
27Beating a Dead Horsemove on; the subject is over
28By the skin of your teethby a narrow margin 

29Bite the bullet

to get rid of an unpleasant circumstance or chore as soon as possible because it will have to be completed at some point
30Best of both worldsat the same time, having advantages of two opposing things
31Biting off more than you can chewnot being able to take on new work or tasks because it is simply too demanding

32Blessing in disguisean apparent misfortune that eventually has good results

33Beggars cannot be choosers

when there is no choice left, someone must be satisfied with what is available
34Back to the drawing boardwhen an attempt fails, it is time to try again
35Back to basicsa return to previously held values of decency

36Between The Devil and Deep Blue Seabetween two dangerous alternatives during a problematic situation
37Ball is in your courtit is entirely up to you to make the next decision 

38Best thing since sliced breada good invention or innovation / a good idea or plan

39Bite off more than you can chewtaking on a task that is far too big
40Behind the eight ballin a challenging situation
41Burn the midnight oilto work till the wee hours of the morning
42Call a spade a spade

straight talks

43Clouds on the horizondifficulties are on their way
44Costs an arm and a legSomething that is excessively pricey or overpriced
45Cutting cornersskipping out on work or duty in order to save time or money
46Cry over spilt milk when you express dissatisfaction about a previous loss
47Cannot judge a book by its covercannot judge something primarily on appearance
48Cry wolf

someone who requests assistance when it is not required
49Curiosity killed the catprobing and prodding might be dangerous.
50Come cleanto tell the truth
51Come out of the woodwork to appear unexpectedly
52 Call it a day to stop working on something
53Chip on his shoulderCarry a grudge
54Cut the ground from under feet

to make someone or someone's ideas seem less good, especially by doing something before them or better than them
55Cannot cut the mustardsomeone who is not capable of competing or participating
56Dog days of summerthe hottest day of the summer season
57Dead in the waterunable to produce movement 
58Dab handan expert or skilled person 
59Devil’s advocate

to take the opposing side of a debate or to present a different point of view
60Do not count your chickens 
before they hatch
do not count on something happening until it has already happened
61Dime a dozen

something that is quite common and does not stand out
62Drain the swamprooting out the practice of corruption 
63Daylight robbery

blatant and unfair overcharging
64Dog eat dog

people act viciously in order to succeed in this circumstance
65Dead as a doornailbecoming obsolete
66Do not put all your eggs in one basketone should not concentrate all efforts and resources in one area as one could lose everything
67Drop byan informal visit
68Eat crowbeing proven wrong after taking a strong stand 
69Eat one’s words

admit that they were wrong about something they said in the past
70Eat humble pie

make a humble apology and accept humiliation
71Elephant in the rooma major problem or controversial issue which is present but is avoided as a subject for discussion
72Earmark something

marking something to indicate ownership
73Familiarity breeds contemptThe better you know someone, the less you like him/her
74Fair play

a set of rules for a game that ensures that all players have an equal chance of winning. Fairness and justice are also applied more frequently in areas other than gaming
75Fall from Grace

to fall from a position of high esteem

76Fly on the wall

someone who observes something without the observer being aware of it
77From top to bottom

completely, thoroughly, totally
78Feeling under the weathernot feeling well or sick
79Fit as a fiddleFit as a Fiddle
being in good health

80Fly off the handle

to lose one's cool and become enraged for no apparent cause 
81Fight like cat and dogargue violently all the time
82Feel blue feel sad or depressed
83Giving the benefit of the doubtbelieving someone's story without proof, especially if it seems impossible
84Giving someone the cold shoulderignoring someone
85Go out on a limbdo or say something different from most other people 
86Going on a wild goose chasedoing something for no reason
87Get your act togetherget organized and do things effectively
88Get a life to quit wasting time on pointless, boring, or minor tasks 
89Get the sack (boot, axe) to be dismissed from the job 
90Heard it on the grapevinehearing rumors about someone or something has a specific meaning
91Hitting the nail on the headaccurately completing a task
92Have an axe to grind to have something to complain about

93Have many irons in the fire to be working on a lot of ideas or possibilities
94Hold all the aces to be in a favorable position
95Happy go luckycheerful Source 
96It takes two to tangomore than one person is required for specific actions or communications.
97In the heat of the momentsay or do it without thinking

98In one fell swoopall at once
99In at the deep endto start a new job or activity without being prepared for it 
100It is an I'll wind (that blows nobody any goods)no crisis is so severe that it does not benefit someone.

101In full swingcurrently happening at full speed
102In the long runeventually
103In mint condition something used that looks new
104In broad daylightduring the daytime
105In the bad books out of favor
106Keep something at baykeep something away
107Keep a straight face

to avoid laughing at someone directly, usually out of fear of appearing disrespectful
108Kick the bucket

to die
109Kill two birds with one stoneto be able to do two things at the same time
110Keep promisebe faithful to your word
111King of the hillbe the undisputed champion 
112Kick the habitto overcome an addiction, especially of addiction like drugs 
113Lightning fastextremely quick 
114Leaps and boundsprogress very quickly 
115Leg upto help someone attain a goal, you can either provide or receive help
116Lower the barto lower standards or expectations 
117Let sleeping dogs lie

do not disturb a situation; let it be as it is - since it would result in trouble or complications
118Let the cat out of the bag

to share information that was previously concealed
119Late in the day

something that occurred at a late stage
120Letting Someone Off the Hooknot blaming someone for something
121Letting the Cat Out of the Bagto allow a secret to be known

122Lend me your earto properly request someone's undivided attention
123Music to earssomething soothing to your ears 
124Make light ofto treat something as if it is not important 
125More than meets the eyenot as simple as it looks 
126Mind your own businessto look into your matter 
127Miles awayunaware of the current situation 
128Nail in the coffinan action or occurrence that aids in the death, termination, or failure of something or someone 
129Neck and Neckextremely near one another 
130Next of kinclose relative 
131No Pain, No Gainto see results, you must put forth much effort
132On top of the worldeverything is going well for you
133On the cardssomething very likely to happen 
134Outside the linesnot sticking to the rules 
135Off The CuffOff The Cuff
an unprepared action

136Over the topexaggerated or excessive
137Open secret

something that is supposedly a secret but that everyone knows
138Once in a blue moonsomething that happens infrequently
139Old schoolwhen compared to contemporary trends, old fashioned thoughts or approaches
140On edgeto feel tense or unable to relax 

141On a tearvery active or suddenly active 
142On the ballalert to new trends, ideas, and methods
143Pour oil on troubled watersattempt to calm, soothe, or appease a tense situation.

144Pay lip serviceto agree by word of mouth only 
145Piece of cakea simple task or job that can be completed quickly
146Pulling someone’s leghaving a good time with someone
147Put cards on the tablebe open and honest 

148Pass the buckpassing blame to another person
149Part and Parcelto be a part of something, especially a feature that cannot be avoided
150Play cat and mouseto play with or tease someone 
151Put your foot insay something (by mistake) that upsets, humiliates, or embarrasses someone
152Prevention is better than cureIt is easier to prevent issues than it is to fix them later
153Pat on the backto receive or express praise for a job well done
154Quality timewell spent time 
155Quantum leapto make a substantial improvement or a significant leap forward
156Quote, Unquoteto use a phrase that was coined by someone else but said in your own words 
157Queer pitchspoil somebody's chance of doing something
158Queensberry rulesstandard rules of polite or acceptable behavior
159Rain or Shinedoing something regularly regardless of the circumstances

you have done something wrong, and people are aware of it.
161Rule of thumb

a rule of thumb is a simple rule that is typically correct but not always
162Ride on a waveto enjoy the advantages of something
163Run acrossmeet someone by accident 
164Recharge one’s batteriestake a break or go on a vacation to rest and re-energize 
165Red tapeofficial routine or procedure marked by excessive complexity, which results in delay or inaction

166Stealing Someone’s Thunder

Taking credit for someone else's accomplishments
167Straight from the Horse’s MouthGetting information from a reliable source via reading or hearing it / 
to hear it directly from the original’s source
168Sell like hot cakes 

to sell very well and quickly

169Spill the beans

reveal a secret you already know

170See eye to eye

when two (or more) persons agree on something
171Speak of the devilwhen the person you have just been talking about arrives, use this term.
172Silver spoonhaving a wealthy or privileged background 
173Stand a chanceto have a chance of succeeding, even if it is a slim one
174So far, so goodprogress has been satisfactory up to now 
175Skeleton in the closeta secret of an embarrassing, guilty or shameful nature that you do not want to disclose 
176Storm in a teacupan excessive enthusiasm or rage about a minor matter 
177Sweep under the ruginstead of dealing with a situation, try to conceal it or keep it hidden.
178Second windregaining vigor after a period of exhaustion
179Sponge offto get (something) from someone by taking advantage of his or her generosity
180Shoot the breezespend time chatting, useless talking or chit-chat 

181Take the cakebeing the best in a competition 

182Take the bull by the hornsto deal decisively with something

183To the four windsin all or many different directions

184The buck stops hereone accepts responsibility and will not try to give it to someone else 
185Too close for comfortto be near anything hazardous or unwelcoming
186Take with a grain of salt
to understand that something is likely to be untrue or incorrect
187The early bird catches the worm
success comes to those who prepare well and put in the effort
188Take a cue fromto follow through on someone else's advice 

189Time puts everything in its placetime is persistent; as it passes eventually, everything goes back to its original state or place 

190Taste of your own medicinesomething happens to the one who has done the same to others in the past

191Under siegeto be under attack 
192Ups and downsGood times and bad times 
193Vin and Vigourfull of energy and enthusiasm 
194Vice Versaa reverse in position

195Word of mouthoral communication 

196X factoran outstanding extraordinary ability 

197Your guess is as good as mineto be oblivious to something
198You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drinkyou can give someone an opportunity, but you cannot force them to take it.

199Zoom away/Zoom offto be in a hurry 

200Zero hour

a time when a crucial decision or essential action must be taken  


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