Top List of Idioms and Phrases in English for Competitive Exams

Idioms and Phrases in English

These important Idioms and Phrases in English are very important from the exam point of view. These Idioms and Phrases in English often comes in the exams like SSC, Banking and other Government and Non-Government Exams. So, Just mug up these Idioms and Phrases with their meanings.

Note: If you remember these Idioms and Phrases in English with their sentences it will be remember for a long time and you can actually use in your day to day conversation too.

Idioms and Phrases Definition

Before we look into the list of Idioms and Phrases in  English, let’s understand the meaning of Idioms and Phrases.

  • An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words, but has a separate meaning of its own.
  • A style or form of artistic expression that is characteristic of an individual, a period or movement.

List of Idioms and Phrases in English

Here is the list of 50+Idioms and Phrases in English. We have provided the meaning and sentence of each Idioms and Phrases. Hope you will like it.

Note: We will soon update with more Idioms and Phrases in English in the coming future.

To cry over spilled milk

Meaning – To regret vainly over an irretrievable loss

 Sentence – It is useless to cry over spilled milk when one has failed in the examination.

To take to one’s heels

Meaning – To run away, being afraid

Sentence – On seeing the Policeman, the thief took to his heels.

To show a clean pair of heels

Meaning – to flee away, usually from a battlefield

Sentence – The enemy showed a clean pair of heels when our soldiers started fusillade. (firing a large number of shots very quickly or simultaneously).

To have too many irons in the fire

Meaning – To be involved in many activities at a time

Sentence – He is extremely busy because he has too many irons in the fire.

A broken reed


Meaning – An unreliable person

Sentence – Don’t depend on him because he is a broken reed.

Every inch

Meaning – In all respects

Sentence – He is every inch a lovable man.

A lame excuse

Meaning – A pretension

Sentence – It is a lame excuse to say that hard work does not pay.

A French leave

Meaning – Leave without permission

Sentence – Ram is on French leave.

An apple of one’s eye

Meaning – A most lovable person

Sentence – He being the only child, is an apple of his parents’ eye.

By fits and starts

Meaning – Irregularly

Sentence – Those who work by fits and starts can hardly succeed in life.

In a fit of anger

Meaning – In a paroxysm of rage

Sentence – He hit his mother in a fit of anger

Hard and fast

Meaning – Strict, fixed

Sentence – There is no hard and fast reason as to what causes diabetes.

To follow suit

Meaning – To follow immediately after

Sentence – When one student left the class, others followed suit.

To blow and cold

Meaning – To say contrary things at the same time

Sentence – I could not understand him as he was blowing hot and cold

A snake in the grass

Meaning – A hidden enemy

Sentence – Beware of him, he is a snake in the grass.

Chase your tail

Meaning – Spending a lot of time and energy doing things but achieving too little

Sentence – He has been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready.

Fine-tooth comb

Meaning – Examining something carefully so that nothing is missed out

Sentence – I examined my report with a fine tooth comb before submitting it to the senior management.

Young blood

Meaning – a young member, or group of members who are brave and more inclined to taking risks and bringing reform; provide various new schemes and ideas

Sentence – We need some young blood in this company.

You have made your bed

Meaning – To make a decision and to accept the consequences of those decisions

Sentence – The mistakes you made are all yours. You’ve made your bed and now lie in it.

Rags to Riches

Meaning – Go from being very poor to being very wealthy

Sentence – He was inspired after reading the rags-to-riches story of his favorite film star.

Ducks and Drakes

Meaning – to waste money

Sentence – My mother cannot allow me to play ducks and drakes with her hard-earned money.

Dog’s Life

Meaning – Very miserable life

Sentence – The poor people of developing nations live a dog’s life.

In the limelight

Meaning – at the center of attention

Sentence – Film stars are habitual of remaining in the limelight


Heart to Heart

Meaning – Very Frankly

Sentence – I always have a heart to heart with my dad.

In a tight corner

Meaning – In a difficult situation

Sentence –

White lie

Meaning – A lie spoke for someone’s good or good intention.

Beat about/around the bush

Meaning – Not coming to the point straight away or circumlocution.

Poker face

Meaning – Expressionless Person.

Bite the bullet

Meaning – Unpleasant Work.

Devil’s advocate

Meaning – to present a counter-argument

From the horse mouth

Meaning – From the genuine or authentic source.

Nine-day wonder

Meaning – Something that arouses interest for some time.

Blow the fuse/gasket

Meaning – Loose temper

Judas Kiss

Meaning – Hypocritical affection.

Itsy bitsy

Meaning – Very small or tiny

High and Dry

Meaning – In a deprived situation

Black Sheep

Meaning – A person who brings dishonor to the family.

Blue Blood

Meaning – Royal Family.

Play a double game

Meaning – to act dubiously.

Sentence – Raju was playing a double game.

Out of one’s element

Meaning – Out of one’s preferred surroundings


Have an axe to grind

Meaning – to have a private reason for doing something

Hue and cry

Meaning – Any loud public outcry

Past Master

Meaning – An Expert

An old flame

Meaning – Long-time love

Word for word

Meaning – In exactly the same word

Go Broke

Meaning – Become bankrupt

Sentence- He went broke after his start-up was failed.

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