Idioms are group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words. The use of idioms in a language adds colour to it and makes it more interesting for the listeners.
In this article, we have compiled a list of 200 idioms and their meanings with sentences. Our list of idiomatic expressions can be used to make your day to day conversation interesting.
200 Popular Idioms and Their Meanings With Sentences
Meaning: Be in a difficult situation from where escape is difficult
Sentence: With banks baying for his blood over default in payments, he has his back against the wall.
Meaning: If you keep someone at arm’s length, you avoid becoming friendly with them.
Sentence: I’ve more productive time in the day because I’ve developed this good habit of keeping video games at arm’s length.
Meaning: If something happens once in a blue moon, it happens rarely.
Sentence: Many startups turn in a profit once in a blue moon.
Meaning: To be active without achieving any worthwhile result
Sentence: He ran around in circles trying to bring us on board for the new cause.
Meaning: Treat someone in the same way he/ she treated you.
Sentence: By refusing to help her colleague, she paid him back in his own coin.
Meaning: If you cut someone down to size, you show them they’re not as important or intelligent as they think.
Sentence: The boss cut that arrogant guy to size in no time.
Meaning: It means that if a person does something wrong, then they should be punished with the same thing done to them.
Sentence: I’ll return damage to my car by damage to his car. An eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth.
Meaning: Looking for something small in a pile of other things or a vast area
Sentence: The gem in my ring fell somewhere on my way to home. Finding it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Meaning: When something sees the light of day, it finally happens for the first time.
Sentence: After so many false starts, his book finally saw the light of the day.
Meaning: Do something that makes lot of people angry or uncomfortable.
Sentence: She put the cat among the pigeons by accusing others in the office of misusing organization’s dinner allowance for working late hours.
Meaning: If you point finger at someone, you say that s/he should be blamed
Sentence: Why are you pointing finger at me? I’m not the only person responsible for the loss.
Meaning: To allow a situation to become calm or normal again after a period of excitement or upheaval
Sentence: Farmers are angry because of the low prices at which government agencies are buying their produce. Let’s wait for the dust to settle before we negotiate with them.
Meaning: retract your statement or words.
Sentence: Experts had to eat their words on the impending doom of abc.com when the fledgling ecommerce website turned in an unexpected profit.
Meaning: If you calls the shots, you’ve the power and authority.
Sentence: In this ministry, the junior minister calls the shots.
Meaning: To help a child sleep
Sentence: I’ll be back in few minutes after putting my son to bed.
Meaning: By extremely narrow margin
Sentence: He caught the train by the skin of his teeth.
Meaning: Greatly superior to
Sentence: In his prime, Usain Bolt was head and shoulders above his competitors.
Meaning: A wild guess
Sentence: Chasing an offender, the policemen took a shot in the dark and turned left on reaching the square.
Meaning: To say exactly what the other person was about to say
Meaning: X: Why don’t we leave early today to watch the 5 PM show of the latest release? Y: You’ve taken the words out of my mouth. I was about to say the same.
Meaning: If you pour out your heart, you reveal your thoughts or inner feelings.
Sentence: I poured my heart out to my colleague about the mismanagement in the Company.
Meaning: If you put people in their place, you let them know that they’re less important than they think.
Sentence: When he exceeded his brief to take charge of the project, the boss put him in his place.
Meaning: If you see light at the end of tunnel, you see signs of improvement in a situation that has been bad for a long time.
Sentence: The business has started to gain momentum after months of struggle. We finally see light at the end of tunnel.
Meaning: If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you express your sentiments too openly.
Sentence: Wearing your heart on your sleeve can backfire at workplace because you may seem unprofessional.
Meaning: If you face the music, you’re at the receiving end of somebody’s criticism or reprimand.
Sentence: You’ll face the music for deliberately reporting inflated sales numbers.
Meaning: Blatant overcharging
Sentence: $5 for a can of juice! This is daylight robbery.
Meaning: You are ignored
Sentence: I was left out in the cold in the annual promotions in the company.
Meaning: If you turn the clock back to an earlier period, you return to that time.
Sentence: Turning the clock back to our glory days is fruitless. We’ve to work harder and smarter in the present.
Meaning: Do something that makes it impossible to change your plans and go back to the earlier position or situation.
Sentence: I’ve burnt my boats with my previous supervisor by criticizing him publicly.
Meaning: Angry about something
Sentence: Media has traditionally been up in arms with the government of the day.
Meaning: To provoke trouble
Sentence: It’s not that the management is not aware of few false bills here and there, but they don’t call it because it would expose many and stir up a hornet’s nest.
Meaning: Argue hard to get a favorable deal.
Sentence: The author tried to drive a hard bargain with the publisher on signing amount, but couldn’t because he didn’t have best sellers in his name.
Meaning: If you make no bones about something, you say clearly what you feel or think about it.
Sentence: Jack made no bones about getting a hike in his salary.
Meaning: If you’re working against the clock, you’re working in great hurry.
Sentence: With only half the syllabus studied, I raced against the clock to be ready for the exam on Monday.
Meaning: The other point of view
Meaning: We only see the glamor and money in showbiz. But the other side of the coin is that only one in hundreds reach there.
Meaning: Try to accomplish something too ambitious.
Sentence: You expect our plant to manufacture 40,000 parts in a week. You’re trying to boil the ocean on this one.
Meaning: If you call something flash in the pan, you say it has happened for only one time and it won’t repeat.
Sentence: Considering their dismal past record, the win in the last match seems to be a flash in the pan.
Meaning: Make supreme effort
Sentence: I’ll move heaven and earth to finish in top 10 percentile in the exam.
Meaning: If you toe the line, you behave according to an official rule, especially when you do not agree with it.
Sentence: In this organization, if you don’t toe the line, you’ll be fast eased out.
Meaning: If you swallow your pride, you do something even though it hurts your self-respect.
Sentence: I swallowed my pride to do menial tasks for six months till I found a better job.
Meaning: If it rains cats and dogs, it rains heavily.
Sentence: It has been raining cats and dogs for the last hour or so. Let’s brace up for the traffic jam.
Meaning: If an animal is put to sleep, it is killed by a veterinarian to relieve it of its pain and suffering.
Sentence: We put the dog to sleep as it was suffering from age-related ailments.
Meaning: To be less affected by criticisms and rebuffs
Sentence: You need to have a thick skin to survive in politics.
Meaning: A suspicion or rumor is not for nothing. It usually has some basis.
Sentence: I’m hearing that the investment company in which I put my money has been running a Ponzi scheme. I’m going to ask for my money back, because where there is smoke there is fire.
Meaning: To disrupt or cause problems in an activity or project
Sentence: Last-minute withdrawal of the sponsor threw a spanner in our plans to organize the cultural festival.
Meaning: To act in a way that suggests you’ve lot of power or authority
Sentence: The politician tried to throw his weight around with the police, but the police ignored him.
Meaning: To reveal a secret information unintentionally
Sentence: Someone for sure spilled the beans about the plan of jail inmates to smuggle in weapons. How else could jail authorities know about it?
Meaning: To be in a difficult situation
Sentence: If the government fails to get support from its key ally, it’ll be in a tight spot during the voting tomorrow.
Meaning: get lot of attention or credit in an event or show.
Chinese participants stole the show on the first day of 2018 Asian Games.
Meaning: To reveal someone’s secret identity and what they’re doing
Sentence: The police blew the cover on the plot by tapping kidnappers’ phones.
Meaning: To do everything you can to achieve your goal
Sentence: I left no stone unturned to raise money for my company.
Meaning: To do or say something that helps you release pent-up emotions such as anger or frustration
Sentence: When I get stressed at work, I go on a weekend trek to let off steam.
Meaning: To try to do too many things at the same time, implying inadequate time or attention to any of them
Sentence: College students, especially in first year, spread themselves thin by joining multiple elective courses and social activities.
Meaning: If you walk a tightrope, you do something that allows little room for error.
Sentence: Many educational institutions have to walk a tightrope between charging a high tuition fee and facing criticism, and not charging much and depending on grants.
Meaning: Behave or speak in a rash manner
Sentence: Just to impress others, he threw caution to the wind and climbed the steep rock without any safety gear.
Meaning: To function in more than one capacity
Sentence: He wears two hats in the company – Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Information Officer.
Meaning: Free of conditions
Sentence: World Bank rarely gives loans with no strings attached.
Meaning: Make a fresh beginning forgetting what happened, usually bad, in the past
Sentence: Relations have not been great between the two countries, but it’s time to start from a clean slate.
Meaning: save yourself from an unpleasant or dangerous situation without thinking of what happens to others.
Sentence: They lied and tampered with crucial evidence to save their skin.
Meaning: try to understand someone’s real feelings or intentions from what they say or write.
Sentence: The government says that the economy is robust, but if you look at employment data and read further between the lines, you realize that the situation isn’t that rosy.
Meaning: When situation turns desperate
Sentence: If push comes to shove, I’ll take loan to finance my education.
Meaning: If you live on borrowed time, you continue to exist longer than expected.
Sentence: This 15-year-old car is living on borrowed time.
Meaning: To drink alcohol to excess
Sentence: He doesn’t hit the bottle often, but when he does, he can be nasty.
Meaning: Be patient
Sentence: Hold your horses! I’m not yet done with my explanation.
Meaning: If you handle someone with kid gloves, you treat them with extreme tact and care.
Sentence: The client is hyper sensitive. We need to handle him with kid gloves, or we risk losing the deal.
Meaning: If you pour cold water on an idea or plan, you criticize it to the extent that people lose enthusiasm to pursue it.
Sentence: The investors poured cold water on the plan to build another factory.
Meaning: If you close the door on someone or something, you no longer deal with it.
Sentence: The country decided to close the door on talks till other outstanding issues are resolved.
Meaning: Do something that was not done before.
Sentence: Our scientists are breaking new ground in robotics and cancer research.
Meaning: To ask the wrong person or follow the wrong course
Sentence: The sales team blamed the engineers for the organization’s failure to bag the mega deal, but they were barking up the wrong tree.
Meaning: To try to do something that is too difficult for you
Sentence: He has taken more responsibilities as he couldn’t say ‘no’ to his boss. I think he has bitten more than he can chew, and he’ll struggle to handle them all.
Meaning: When you’re scraping the barrel, you’re using something you do not want to but you’ve no option.
Sentence: I was scraping the barrel when I had to stay for six months with my parents after I lost my job.
Meaning: To say two very different or contradictory things.
Sentence: How can the manager praise my colleague and talk of his average performance in the same breath?
Meaning: To work late in the night
Sentence: I had to burn the midnight oil for nearly three months to write my first book.
Meaning: If you blow hot and cold, you vacillate.
Sentence: The editor blew hot and cold over the story for few days and then finally decided to publish it.
Meaning: If you clear the decks for something, you remove all hurdles to get started on that work.
Sentence: By sanctioning the budget and filling in the vacancies, the committee has cleared the decks for our new office.
Meaning: To do something slowly deliberately
Sentence: The police is dragging its feet in investigating this case allegedly because influential people are involved in the crime.
Meaning: To study
Sentence: I need to hit the book today or else I’ll fall behind in my exam prep.
Meaning: To hold your tongue means to not speak
Sentence: “Hold your tongue, son. Be patient,” the old man tried to restrain the agitated man.
Meaning: withdraw from a dangerous or unpleasant situation.
Sentence: Seeing the cops, the arsonists beat a hasty retreat.
Meaning: very difficult to change.
Sentence: The contract isn’t set in stone. If the deal is compelling enough, we’re open to change it.
Meaning: If you go on record about something, you say it publically and officially. (You can’t turn your back on such statement later.)
Sentence: The actors have gone on record describing exploitation of newcomers in the film industry.
Meaning: Something such as failure or rejection that is difficult to accept, but has to be accepted
Sentence: Not getting admission to any of the colleges I applied to is a bitter pill to swallow.
Meaning: To ask someone to leave
Sentence: During my worst period, I was promptly shown the door by very same people who once courted me.
Meaning: If something happens in full swing, it happens at the highest speed or level of activity.
Sentence: Our development team is working in full swing to meet the deadline.
Meaning: A small or unimportant group is controlling the large group.
Sentence: The fringe group is small but vocal. I fear they’ll control the direction of today’s meeting. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.
Meaning: To do as promised
Sentence: He always keeps his words. If he has promised to put in a word for you, he will.
Meaning: try to find how people will receive your idea or action before actually launching it or telling people.
Sentence: The Company is testing waters with few products before going full steam.
Meaning: To reverse the course of events from one extreme to another
Sentence: With that goal right at the start of the second half, the home team seems to be turning the tide against their arch rivals.
Meaning: To test the limit of one’s patience
Sentence: The constant chatter at the back of the class tried the professor’s patience.
Meaning: If something changes hands, it gets a new owner.
Sentence: This car has changed hands so many time since its first buy in 2009.
Meaning: To be extremely busy
Sentence: Working on two projects, I’ve my hands full.
Meaning: To discuss matters in public which should have been kept private.
Sentence: The two brothers went public accusing each other of fraud, washing dirty linen in the public in the process.
Meaning: Make someone do something by pressurizing them
Sentence: The government brought the rebel leaders to the negotiating table by twisting their arms by launching investigation into their shady business deals.
Meaning: Extremely happy
Sentence: I was on top of the world after landing the job I so badly wanted.
Meaning: A person or thing that continually irritates or troubles you
Sentences: Demanding coalition partners have been a thorn in the flesh of the government.
Meaning: Become very angry.
Sentence: When he started giving excuse for not completing the assignment in time, the teacher lost her temper.
Meaning: Can’t understand someone or something at all
Sentence: I haven’t been able to make head or tale of the bugs in the software so far.
Meaning: To completely reverse circumstances or gain upper hand on someone who was previously in a stronger position.
Sentence: He turned the tables on his political opponent by reeling off data on how poorly the economy has fared in the last one year.
Meaning: If you get your foot in the door, you succeed in achieving an initial step in an area that is difficult to succeed in.
Sentence: It’s your relationships that help in getting your foot in the door in the initial phase of your business. Otherwise, it can be a grind.
Meaning: To earn lot of money by doing something which others thought to be a foolish pursuit
Sentence: Investors dismissed his idea as immature, but he is now laughing all the way to the bank.
Meaning: If an event is the last straw, it is the last in a series of unpleasant or undesirable events that exceeds your limit of tolerance.
Sentence: Recent hikes in fuel prices are the last straw for the lower middle class.
Meaning: If you set the record straight, you quash misinformation about something by telling the truth.
Sentence: Let me set the record straight on all the talk in the media about my business relationship with the key accused in the scandal.
Meaning: If you take somebody for a ride, you deceive them.
Sentence: The placement agency took hundreds of people for a ride by promising non-existent jobs.
Meaning: make something unimportant to seem important.
Sentence: One bad interview doesn’t mean you’re struggling to get the job. Don’t make a mountain of a molehill.
Meaning: To go to bed
Sentence: I hit the sack around 11 PM.
Meaning: If someone or something is worth its weight in gold, they’re of high value.
Sentence: The new hire is worth her weight in gold. She has helped us land three big deals this quarter.
Meaning: you’re caught between two undesirable alternatives.
Sentence: If you support your son, your business partner will be hurt, and vice versa. You’re caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Meaning: If something comes to a head, it reaches to the point of a crisis.
Sentence: The situation came to a head when he passed a derogatory comment purportedly toward me.
Meaning: If a situation is chicken and egg, it is impossible to decide which of the two came first and caused the other one.
Sentence: I need to have experience to get job, but without job, I can’t have experience. It’s a chicken and egg situation.
Meaning: If someone or something takes your breath away, it astonishes you.
Sentence: His diving catch at the crunch moment in the match took my breath away.
Meaning: To be completely in love or to be completely carried away by something/someone.
Sentence: Max fell head over heels in love with her colleague and wants to marry her.
Meaning: If something sells like hot cakes, it sells very fast.
Sentence: More than five thousand cars sold so far. The new model is selling like hot cakes.
Meaning: You are very happy
Sentence: I was on cloud nine after receiving the news of my promotion.
Meaning: Wait for something, especially when it’s annoying
Sentence: I spent two hours cooling my heels in the waiting room while the CFO was busy in a meeting.
Meaning: To be extremely lucky.
Sentence: X: I’m alive today because I failed to board the plane that crashed yesterday. Y: You really have the luck of the devil.
Meaning: If an idea or action goes against the grain, you don’t do it or accept it because it is against your beliefs or principle.
Sentence: It goes against the grain these days to use polythene bags as carry bags.
Meaning: If you get someone off the hook, you help them get out of trouble.
Sentence: The government has intervened by infusing billions of dollars to get the banks off the hook.
Meaning: If you cry for the moon, you make a demand that can’t be fulfilled.
Sentence: You want such an expensive gift on your birthday. Well, you’re crying for the moon.
Meaning: To increase beyond all expectations
Sentence: Petrol and diesel prices have gone through the roof.
Meaning: To express anger or frustration when a situation becomes unacceptably bad
Sentence: The manager threw up his hands in despair when nothing concrete emerged even after hours of negotiations.
Meaning: Something that is white elephant costs a lot (on maintenance etc.) to keep, but is of little use
Sentence: The new Formula 1 race track is proving to be a white elephant for the owners. It is used for just few weeks in the year, but sucks a lot in maintenance.
Meaning: A search that turns out to be time-wasting and unsuccessful because the thing being searched doesn’t exist or you were given wrong information about its location
Sentence: The treasure hunt to find gold coins expectedly proved to be a wild-goose chase.
Meaning: If you’ve your work cut out to do something, you’ve a difficult task at hand.
Sentence: The government has its work cut out in controlling air pollution this winter.
Meaning: To hear from the original or trustworthy source.
Sentence: We’ve lost the deal we bid for last month. It’s true, because I’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth – my manager.
Meaning: To achieve two goals with a single effort
Sentence: I can kill two birds with a stone by picking up the laundry while going to the college.
Meaning: To have two good things at the same time that are incompatible and therefore not feasible
Sentence: You don’t want to pay more taxes and still have better services. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Meaning: To harm one’s own cause inadvertently
Sentence: He shot himself in the foot in the interview by disclosing too much personal information.
Meaning: If you draw first blood, you cause the first damage to an opponent in a conflict or contest.
Sentence: Federer drew the first blood by breaking Anderson’s service in the fourth game of the first set.
Meaning: A secret or hidden advantage that you can use when you need it
Sentence: Murali, the mystery bowler whom the opposite team has never played, is an ace up the home team’s sleeve.
Meaning: If you do something violent and cruel in cold blood, you do it deliberately and in an unemotional way.
Sentence: He was murdered in cold blood.
Meaning: To speak bluntly or rashly without thinking carefully
Sentence: If you want to be a spokesperson, you need to avoid your habit of shooting from the hip.
Meaning: Be humiliated by admitting that you are wrong
Sentence: The e-commerce company claimed that they’ll surpass the market leader in two years, but they had to eat humble pie after the latest sales numbers.
Meaning: To eat little food
Sentence: You claim to be eating like a bird for the past three months, but you’ve hardly lost any weight.
Meaning: To support a person or action that later turns out to be unsuccessful
Sentence: The political party fielded a businessman from the prestigious seat in the national capital, but he lost. They clearly backed the wrong horse.
Meaning: If you know which way the wind is blowing, you anticipate how certain situation is likely to develop.
Sentence: Politicians are good at knowing which way the wind is blowing, and they form alliances with other political parties accordingly.
Meaning: If something is off the mark, it is incorrect or inaccurate.
Sentence: The meteorology department was quite off the mark in predicting rainfall this week.
Meaning: Be careful about how you behave or conduct yourself, lest you get into trouble
Sentence: Watch your steps at least in the first few months at your new job.
Meaning: Close to defeat or giving up.
Sentence: High crude oil prices have put many airlines on the ropes.
Meaning: Go straight to the point or you’re exactly right about something.
Sentence: I think the CEO hit the nail on the head when he said that the organization was losing market share because of complacency and security.
Meaning: Fail to influence or make an effect
Sentence: His reason to get leave cut no ice with his manager.
Meaning: To do something too soon without proper thought
Sentence: I jumped the gun by sending the proposal to the client without first showing it to my manager.
Meaning: Be well informed of current trends, opinions, and happenings
Sentence: One of the main reasons for his success in business is that he keeps an ear to the ground to know what the customers want and why they’re dissatisfied with competing products.
Meaning: If you cut corners, you save money or effort by finding cheaper or easier ways to do things.
Sentence: If you cut corners on this product, it’ll have a lesser lifespan.
Meaning: you’re under suspicion or in trouble.
Sentence: The IP for our key technology has been leaked, and many in my team, including the manager, are under a cloud.
Meaning: If you burn the candle at both ends, you work excessively hard, say, by keeping two jobs or by leading a busy social life in the evening.
Sentence: Mitch is burning the candle at both ends. He is working two jobs, one in the evening.
Meaning: To try to please or accommodate someone to an unusual degree
Sentence: The hotel staff bent over backwards to make the visit of the dignitaries a memorable one.
Meaning: do something that causes a plan to go wrong.
Sentence: The increase in customs duty by the government has upset the applecart of those car companies who were importing most of their car parts.
Meaning: If you’re a chip off the old block, you’re similar in some distinct way to your father or mother.
Sentence: He is as stingy as her mother – a real chip off the old block.
Meaning: Separate valuable from worthless.
Sentence: The new testing procedure to evaluate employees will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Meaning: you’re not in touch with the ground realities.
Sentence: Many academics have their heads in the clouds.
Meaning: If something runs its course, it continues naturally until it finishes.
Sentence: There is no cure for this infection. You’ll have to let it run its course.
Meaning: If you turn a deaf ear, you ignore what others are saying.
Sentence: I’ve made the request few times in the past, but they have turned a deaf ear.
Meaning: If you stick to your guns in the face of opposition, you stand firm.
Sentence: Despite opposition from his family, he has stuck to his guns in picking his career path.
Meaning: If you’re on thin ice, you’re in precarious or delicate situation.
Sentence: You’re falling short on class attendance and you failed to submit the last assignment. You’re walking on thin ice in this semester.
Meaning: Nail in someone’s coffin is something that hastens failure of a person or thing
Sentence: The scandal proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the mayor.
Meaning: To make a bad thing worse
Sentence: I was upset at not getting promoted, but the management really rubbed salt into my wounds when they promoted my junior.
Meaning: To speak truth even if it’s unpleasant
Sentence: He doesn’t hold his words and calls a spade a spade.
Meaning: If two or more persons are in the same boat, they’re in the same difficult situation.
Sentence: Both of us are in the same boat – without jobs.
Meaning: If you say something will happen over your dead body, you mean you dislike it and will do everything you can to prevent it.
Sentence: X: We’re selling your old bike to remove the junk that’s gathering in the house. Y: Over my dead body.
Meaning: If you bounce something off someone, you discuss ideas or plan with someone to get their view on it.
Sentence: X: Can I see you after the office to bounce few ideas off you? Y: Sure. Let’s meet at 6 PM.
Meaning: To undertake a risky or dangerous task
Sentence: Who’s going to bell the cat and tell the teacher that no one else but her son has pulled off the mischief?
Meaning: If you’re like a fish out of water in certain situation, you feel awkward because you haven’t experienced that situation before.
Sentence: I was like fish out of water when I moved to the capital from my hometown.
Meaning: Adjusting quickly to changes and making fast decisions.
Sentences: A good sales man must be able to think on his feet to close the deal.
Meaning: Spending a lot of time and energy doing a lot of things but actually achieving too little.
Sentence: He’s been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready
Meaning: In an uneasy or nervous state
Sentence: Waiting for the result of my medical tests, I was like a cat on hot tin roof.
Meaning: To make someone extremely angry
Sentence: An excessive penalty for just one-day delay in payment of the bill made my blood boil.
Meaning: To miss an opportunity
Sentence: He waited far too long to get a good deal. Most good ones are gone now. He missed the boat.
Meaning: A sudden, unexpected event
Sentence: The resignation of the minister this morning came as a bolt from the blue.
Meaning: If you give someone a run for their money, you compete well with them.
Sentence: Despite being an underdog, Division B team gave the best team of the tournament run for their money.
Meaning: If you pay through the nose, you pay too much for something.
Sentence: We’re paying through the nose for petrol and diesel.
Meaning: To act quickly when the opportunity comes by
Sentence: That’s an amazing deal you’re getting. Don’t wait. Strike while the iron is hot, or else it’ll be gone.
Meaning: To be relaxed and behave informally
Sentence: Over tea on Sunday, he finally let his hair down and talked about his hobbies and family.
Meaning: Achieve big success, usually through luck.
Sentence: We’ve hit the jackpot with our new product – sales have doubled.
Meaning: If you do something under someone’s nose, you do it openly, although unnoticed.
Sentence: The dog took away the biscuit right under my nose, but I realized it only later.
Meaning: Refuse to see or consider
Sentence: The government can no longer shut its eye to growing pollution arising from stubble burning.
Meaning: To behave or work in a way that gives you an advantage or improves your odds of success.
Sentence: You’ve to play your cards right to cross level 4 in this game.
Meaning: To destroy something that gives you lot of money to get immediate returns
Sentence: Thomas killed the goose that laid the golden eggs when he sold off his business before setting up another.
Meaning: If you do something behind someone’s back, you do it secretly without their knowledge
Sentence: I don’t give a damn to people who say all sorts of things behind my back.
Meaning: If you take a back seat, you choose not to be in a position of responsibility or power.
Sentence: After being in the leadership position for more than a decade, it’ll be tough for him to take a back seat.
Meaning: If you do something right off the bat, you do it immediately.
Sentence: I learnt right off the bat that I need to build good rapport with the marketing team to do well in the organization.
Meaning: If you’ve your heart in mouth, you’re feeling extremely nervous.
Sentence: My heart was in my mouth when he slipped and fell down on the floor.
Meaning: If you say that someone or something is not your cup of tea, you mean that they’re not the kind of person or thing you like.
Sentence: Sales is not my cup of tea.
Meaning: If you call it a day, you stop what you’re doing because you’re tired of it or you’ve not been successful.
Sentence: Faced with increasing competition and thinning profits, the owner decided to call it a day after twenty years in the business.
Meaning: Accusing someone of faults that you yourself have
Sentence: He called me a cheat – that’s pot calling the kettle black.
Meaning: If something is a piece of cake, it’s easy to do.
Sentence: Solving such math problems is a piece of cake for me.
Meaning: Not the only suitable thing or person one can find
Sentence: You shouldn’t be so heartbroken at the rejection by her. Remember, she’s not the only fish in the sea.
Meaning: If your heart misses a beat, you feel excited or nervous.
Sentence: My heart skipped few beats while scrolling down the exam result on the notice board.
Meaning: If you go back to the drawing board, you make a fresh start or try another idea because the earlier one didn’t succeed.
Sentence: After the new product failed to set the sales number rolling, the team went back to the drawing board.
Meaning: Harm someone who trusts you.
Sentence: It’s not uncommon for people to stab colleagues in the back to move ahead in the professional world.
Meaning: If something costs an arm and a leg, it costs a lot.
Sentence: Two days in the hospital for a minor ailment cost me an arm and a leg.
Meaning: If you’ve egg on your face, you look stupid and face embarrassment because of something you’ve done.
Sentence: The case of the minister issuing statement in favor of a convicted person has left the government with egg on its face.
Meaning: Operating at a loss or under debt (Operating at a profit or have surplus)
Sentence: Many airlines across the world are in the red because of increase in oil prices.
Meaning: If you cast pearls before swine, you offer something valuable to someone who does not recognize its worth.
Sentence: To serve an elaborate multi-course dinner to them is like casting pearls before swine.
Meaning: If you’ve the last laugh in an argument or disagreement, you ultimately succeed from a seemingly losing position.
Sentence: He was dropped from the team, but he had the last laugh when he was recruited by a rival club at a higher fee.
Meaning: If you work hand in glove with someone, you work closely with them often to accomplish something dishonest.
Sentence: Some of the bank employees have been allegedly working hand in glove with business owners to sanction loans without proper due diligence.
Meaning: If you eat like a horse, you eat a lot.
Sentence: He is lean, but he eats like a horse.
Meaning: If you stay the course, you persevere till the completion of a task, especially a difficult one.
Sentence: Despite an injury, he stayed the course to save the match for his team.
Meaning: Someone or something that has a small role in a large setup or organization.
Sentence: I work as a sales representative in a Fortune 500 company – just a small cog in a large wheel.
Meaning: If you change your tune, you change the way you behave with others from good to bad.
Sentence: After he came to know that I’m close to the power in the organization, he changed his tune.
Meaning: Tell people how good or successful you are
Sentence: That doctor can be so off-putting. He is always blowing his trumpet mentioning his awards and positions in various associations.
Meaning: When you cut the ground from under someone’s feet, you do something which weakens their position.
Sentence: When team India hit more than 350 runs in the ODI, they cut the ground from under the opponent’s feet.