100 Most Important Idioms for SSC CGL
Directions (1-100): In each of the questions, four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase and click the button corresponding to it.
Q1. Every inch a gentleman
(a) Somewhat (b) Partly (c) Entirely (d) Calculatedly
S1. Ans.(c) Sol. every inch a something-completely; in every way. (Usually strengthening a following adjective.)
Q2. Gall and wormwood
(a) A problem (b) Hateful (c) Useless (d) Hard to digest
S2. Ans.(b) Sol. gall and wormwood: Strong feelings of bitterness and resentment.
Q3. Wet behind the ears
(a) Skillful (b) Young and rich with experience
(c) Young and without much experience (d) Hearing impaired
S3. Ans.(c) Sol. Wet behind the ears-lacking experience; immature.
Q4. Get the sack
(a) Look for a sack (b) Find a sack (c) Get a call back (d) Be dismissed
S4. Ans.(d) Sol. get the sack-to be told to leave your job
Q5. I was so disappointed when my close friend left me in the lurch.
(a) Went away without waiting for me
(b) Helped me in difficult times
(c) Abandoned me when I needed help
(d) Stopped helping me in emergency
S5.Ans.(c) Sol. left me in the lurch-to leave someone at a time when they need you to stay and help them
Q6. To eat humble pie
(a) To eat an unsavoury pie (b) To be served food that is rotten
(c) To yield under humiliating circumstances (d) To give in to political pressure
S6. Ans.(c) Sol. eat humble pie-to act very humble when one is shown to be wrong.
Q7. To spill the beans
(a) To reveal partial truth (b) To be untidy
(c) To reveal a secret (d) To conceal a fact
S7. Ans.(c) Sol. spill the beans-reveal secret information unintentionally or indiscreetly.
Q8. Evening of life
(a) Old age (b) A party (c) Holiday (d) None of these
S8. Ans.(a) Sol. Evening of life-old age.
Q9. Invent cock and bull stories
(a) Delightful fables (b) Eco-friendly accounts
(c) Absurd and unlikely stories (d) Credible tales
S9. Ans.(c) Sol. cock-and-bull story: A wildly exaggerated or falsified story or explanation.
Q10. A Herculean task
(a) A task which requires little effort. (b) A task which requires a lot of patience.
(c) A task which requires enormous courage. (d) A task which requires great effort.
S10.Ans.(d) Sol. A Herculean task – requiring extraordinary strength or
Q11. It has been proved up to the hilt that China’s intentions are bad.
(a) completely (b) up to first decision (c) no outcome (d) none of these
S11. Ans.(a) Sol. (up) to the hilt – if you do something to the hilt, you do it in the strongest and most complete way that you can.
Q12. After the retirement, Mr Mehta is thinking of resting on his oars.
(a) to depend on his savings (b) rest after hard work
(c) do a mild business to keep busy (d) none of these
S12.Ans.(b) Sol. rest on one’s oars, to cease to make an effort; relax after exertion; stop working after success or completing a task:
Q13. To pick holes
(a) to find some reason to fight (b) to destroy something
(c) to criticize someone (d) to cut some part of an item
S13.Ans.(c) Sol. pick holes in something-to find mistakes in something someone has done or said, to show that it is not good or not correct
Q14. To drive home
(a) to find one’s roots (b) back to original position
(c) to return to the place of rest (d) to emphasize
S14.Ans.(d) Sol. drive something home-to emphasize an important point about something (to someone).
Q15. To beg the question
(a) to refer to (b) to take for granted
(c) to raise objections (d) to be discussed
S15. Ans.(b) Sol. beg the question- Take for granted or assume the truth of the very thing being questioned.
Q16. So far as hazards of pollution are concerned, the traffic policeman bear the brunt.
(a) suffer the most (b) are exposed to the danger
(c) face the consequences (d) have to run the risk
S16. Ans.(a) Sol. bear the brunt of something-to get the greater amount or larger part of something bad
Q17. Talk shop
(a) Talk about one’s profession (b) Talk about shopping
(c) Ridicule (d) Treat lightly
S17. Ans.(a) Sol. Talk shop-discuss matters concerning one’s work, especially at a social occasion when this is inappropriate.
Q18. Catch a tartar
(a) To catch a dangerous person (b) To deal with a person who is more than one’s match
(c) To trap a wanted criminal with great difficulty (d) To live carefully and cautiously
S18. Ans.(b) Sol. Catch a tartar- to deal with someone or something that proves unexpectedly troublesome or powerful.
Q19. Cap in hand
(a) Defiant (b) Screaming (c) Well behaved (d) In a respectful manner
S19. Ans.(d) Sol. cap in hand: Humbly or submissively.
Q20. Bandy words with
(a) argue (b) oratory (c) speech enthusiast (d) linguistic acumen
S20. Ans.(a) Sol. bandy with someone- to argue [with someone]; to argue by “playing catch with words.
Q21. Be down and out
(a) be destitute (b) be tipsy (c) over-drinking (d) rivalry
S21. Ans.(a) Sol. down-and-out: Lacking funds, resources, or prospects.
Q22. Be down in the dumps
(a) to fall down (b) to fall from grace
(c) ever ready to take on (d) appear miserable
S22. Ans.(d) Sol. down in the dumps definition. In a gloomy or depressed mood: “After losing the student election, Jack really felt down in the dumps.”
Q23. Be to the fore
(a) to the brim (b) pre-apprehension (c) be prominent (d) to take the lead
S23. Ans.(c) Sol. to the fore- In, into, or toward a position of prominence,
Q24. Put a spoke in one’s wheel
(a) obstruct progress (b) grinder
(c) help someone to progress (d) help someone with advice
S24. Ans.(a) Sol. put a spoke in somebody’s wheel- to spoil someone else’s plans and stop them from doing something
Q25. To have an axe to grind
(a) to work for both sides (b) to have selfish interest to serve
(c) to criticize someone (d) to fail to arouse interest
S25. Ans.(b) Sol. have an axe to grind-have a private reason for doing or being involved in something
Q26. To hit the right nail on the head
(a) to do things right (b) to announce one’s fixed views
(c) to destroy one’s reputation (d) to teach someone a lesson
S26. Ans.(a) Sol. hit the nail (right) on the head- to do exactly the right thing; to do something in the most effective and efficient way.
Q27. To be at cross-purposes
(a) miss each other (b) work with each other
(c) like each other (d) misunderstand each other
S27. Ans.(d) Sol. at cross purposes-In conflict with or in opposition to.
Q28. To be in dribs and drabs
(a) without fail (b) with much ease
(c) in small quantities (d) with great difficulty
S28. Ans.(c) Sol. dribs and drabs-in small scattered or sporadic amounts.
Q29. The gift of the gab means
(a) an unexpected gain (b) fluency of speech
(c) thought provoking oration (d) a X-mas gift
S29. Ans.(b) Sol. The gift of the gab-the ability to speak with eloquence and fluency.
Q30. A man of spirit is
(a) a very talented man (b) a spiritual person
(c) a very courageous man (d) a unique person
S30. Ans.(c) Sol. A man of spirit is someone who courageous and full of energy.
Q31. Work like a Trojan
(a) face difficulties (b) take trouble
(c) to imitate (d) work very hard
S31. Ans.(d) Sol. Work like a Trojan-to work very hard
Q32. Set tongues wagging
(a) be easy to pronounce (b) encourage gossip
(c) to be curious (d) wait eagerly
S32. Ans.(b) Sol. Set tongues wagging-to cause people to start gossiping
Q33. A nail in someone’s coffin
(a) something bad that contributes towards someone’s failure
(b) something irrelevant to the subject
(c) to make money unfairly
(d) to make someone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed
S33. Ans.(a) Sol. A nail in someone’s coffin – something that will harm or destroy someone or something
Q34. A man of the world
(a) headstrong and arrogant (b) highly experienced in many fields
(c) very popular because of success (d) a man of wit or genius
S34. Ans.(b) Sol. a man of the world-someone who has a lot of experience of life, and is not usually shocked by the way people behave
Q35. A leap in the dark
(a) a random guess or a risky attempt (b) a mistake that cannot be rectified
(c) to get wounded (d) unusual behavior
S35. Ans.(a) Sol. A leap in the dark-a daring step or enterprise whose consequences are unpredictable.
Q36. A flash in the pan
(a) an incorrect piece of reasoning (b) sudden but brief success
(c) a mixture of many types (d) among other things
S36. Ans.(b) Sol. A flash in the pan-a thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable.
Q37. A blot on the landscape
(a) something that spoils a situation (b) criminal action against someone
(c) receive severe criticism (d) have more useful things to do
S37. Ans.(a) Sol. A blot on the landscape-Something that is considered unattractive that covers up or otherwise takes away from the value of something attractive
Q38. The captors of the kidnapped kept his family on tenterhooks.
(a) an anxious suspense (b) on constant move
(c) in seething anger (d) in excited state
S38. Ans.(a) Sol. on tenterhooks-in a state of suspense or agitation because of uncertainty about a future event., anxiously waiting for news about someone or something
Q39. I have come to know of your hole-and-corner methods of dealing with people.
(a) suspicious (b) secret (c) servile (d) strict
S39. Ans.(b) Sol. hole-and-corner: hole-and-corner activities are kept secret, usually because they are dishonest Q40. He was in a brown study and did not seem to catch my point.
(a) in his study room (b) absorbed in reading (c) absent-minded (d) in a state of shock
S40. Ans.(b) Sol. brown study: a mood of deep absorption or thoughtfulness; reverie, The condition of being so lost in solitary thought as to be unaware of one’s surroundings.
Q41. The green-eyed monster
(a) the creature of the sea (b) an animal with green eyes
(c) personal jealousy (d) to get into trouble
S41. Ans.(c) Sol. the green-eyed monster-jealousy personified., expressing jealously
Q42. He is not playing with the full deck.
(a) someone who has lost interest (b) someone who lacks intelligence
(c) someone who is clever in his dealings (d) someone who has less money to make the deal
S42. Ans.(b) Sol. play with a full deck: to operate as if one were mentally sound. (Usually in the negative. One cannot play cards with a partial deck.)
Q43. Harassed by repeated acts of injustice, he decided to put his foot down.
(a) not to yield (b) resign (c) withdraw (d) None of these
S43. Ans.(a) Sol. put one’s foot down (about someone or something)-to tell someone in a strong way that they must do something or that they must stop doing something
Q44. He was murdered in cold blood.
(a) coolly (b) deliberately (c) unfeelingly (d) thoughtlessly
S44. Ans.(c) Sol. in cold blood-without feeling or mercy; ruthlessly.
Q45. Every political party is at present playing to the gallery.
(a) Adopting cheap tactics (b) Befooling the common man
(c) Fighting for votes (d) Appeasing the masses
S45. Ans.(d) Sol. playing to the gallery-to perform in a manner that will get the strong approval of the audience; to perform in a manner that will get the approval of the lower elements in the audience.
Q46. A hornet’s nest
(a) A comfortable position (b) An unpleasant situation
(c) Among thorns (d) A perfect place
S46. Ans.(b) Sol. a hornet’s nest. a situation or subject which causes a lot of people to become angry and upset.
Q47. God’s acre refers to which of the following places.
(a) Aisle (b) Altar (c) A cemetery beside church (d) Chimney
S47. Ans.(c) Sol. God’s acre: A churchyard burial area. The phrase is a translation of the German word, Gottesacker, “God’s field” where the souls of the faithful are sown.
Q48. She wrangled over an ass’s shadow.
(a) did unnecessary work (b) quarreled over trifles
(c) sat on the shadow of the ass (d) quarreled like fools
S48. Ans.(b) Sol. wrangle for an ass’s shadow: To argue over trivial matters.
Q49. To play second fiddle
(a) To be happy, cheerful and healthy (b) To reduce importance of one’s senior
(c) To support the role and view of another person (d) To do back seat driving
S49. Ans.(c) Sol. play second fiddle-have a subordinate role to someone or something; be treated as less important than someone or something.
Q50. Beggar description
(a) Cannot be described (b) Something described by a beggar
(c) A poor account of something (d) A description of a beggar
S50. Ans.(a) Sol. Beggar description-be too extraordinary to be believed or described.
Q51. Flogging a dead horse
(a) repeating our request (b) making him see reason
(c) beating about the bush (d) wasting time in useless effort
S51. Ans.(d) Sol. Flogging a dead horse- is an idiom that means to continue a particular endeavour is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided.
Q52. Face the music
(a) get finished (b) get reprimanded
(c) feel sorry (d) listen to the music
S52. Ans.(b) Sol. Face the music -be confronted with the unpleasant consequences of one’s actions.
Q53. Plough a lone furrow
(a) to play the best card (b) to play the last card
(c) do something that achieves the desired success (d) to achieve something singlehandedly
S53. Ans.(d) Sol. plough a lone/lonely furrow-to do something alone and without help from other people
Q54. A prophet of doom
(a) a godman who bless (b) prediction of goodness
(c) a person who holds and spreads pessimistic views (d) a person who holds the world guilty
S54. Ans.(c) Sol. a prophet of doom-someone who always expects bad things to happen
Q55. A pyrrhic victory
(a) a victory which is not possible (b) unfair victory
(c) a victory that brings more loss than gains (d) a win even after losing
S55. Ans.(c) Sol. a Pyrrhic victory: a victory that is not worth winning because you have suffered so much to achieve it.
Q56. A quid pro quo
(a) something done in revenge or retaliation (b) give up
(c) selfless service (d) selfish act of revenge
S56. Ans.(a) Sol. quid pro quo-a favour or advantage granted in return for something.
Q57. Token strike
(a) total strike (b) carefully planned strike
(c) short strike held as warning (d) sudden call of strike
S57. Ans.(c) Sol. Token strike -a situation in which a group of workers refuses to work, but only for a short period.
Q58. Sweeping statement
(a) rash statement (b) unpremeditated statement
(c) thoughtless statement (d) generalized statements
S58. Ans.(d) Sol. Sweeping statement -a general statement leaving out details.
Q59. To a hair
(a) vaguely (b) to some extent (c) exactly (d) not the like of
S59. Ans.(c) Sol. to a hair- exactly; right in every detail
Q60. On the cards
(a) A winner (b) Accept defeat (c) Play at cards (d) Likely to happen
S60. Ans.(d) Sol. On the cards-Very likely or certain to happen, occur, or take place.
Q61. At the eleventh hour
(a) At eleven o’clock (b) in the last line
(c) Arrive late (d) The last possible time
S61. Ans.(d) Sol. at the eleventh hour: At the last possible moment or opportunity.
Q62. Call it a day
(a) Stop active day or life (b) Name the day
(c) Call in day time (d) Call on someone
S62. Ans.(a) Sol. Call it a day-to quit work and go home; to say that a day’s work has been completed., to stop some activity.
Q63. Much ado about nothing
(a) To make a noise (b) To make a fuss over small matter
(c) A play by Shaw (d) Talk about somebody
S63. Ans.(b) Sol. Much ado about nothing -a furor over something unimportant. , a lot of trouble or excitement about something that is not important.
Q64. To rock the boat
(a) To inspire people (b) To create confusion
(c) To felicitate (d) To disturb a situation
S64. Ans.(d) Sol. To rock the boat- to cause trouble where none is welcome; to disturb a situation that is otherwise stable and satisfactory.
Q65. To give airs
(a) Exhale (b) Inhale (c) Boast (d) Humble
S65. Ans.(c) Sol. give (oneself) airs: To think or behave as though one is superior to others or better than one really is; to have or assume a pretentious or self-aggrandizing attitude.
Q66. Veera has unknowingly bitten off more than she can chew.
(a) been very greedy (b) always been honest
(c) an upset stomach (d) little regard for others
S66. Ans.(a) Sol. bite off more than one can chew- to take (on) more than one can deal with; to be overconfident., to take a larger mouthful of food than one can chew easily or comfortably.
Q67. The bare bones of the conversation had been that he hated my guts.
(a) the naked truth (b) just bones
(c) the main point (d) the detailed analysis
S67. Ans.(c) Sol. the bare bones: the most basic parts of something, without any detail
Q68. He spoke well though it was his maiden speech.
(a) Long speech (b) Brief speech (c) First speech (d) Emotional speech
S68. Ans.(c) Sol. maiden speech. -a person’s first speech
Q69. She denied point-blank her involvement in the crime.
(a) Directly (b) Desperately (c) Stubbornly (d) Rudely
S69. Ans.(a) Sol. point-blank- (of a statement or question) direct and without explanation or qualification.
Q70. Mother Teresa blazed a new trail when she started working among lepers.
(a) Walked in the right path (b) Gave up her job
(c) Did something for the first time and showed others how to do it (d) Changed her old way of lie
S70. Ans.(c) Sol. blazed a new trail – to do early or pioneering work that others will follow up on.
Q71. Mr. Narayan is eighty-eight, but he is as fit as a fiddle.
(a) As sham as a fiddle (b) Good at fitting up fiddles
(c) Extremely healthy (d) Of the fiddling type
S71. Ans.(c) Sol. fit as a fiddle-In excellent form or health.
Q72. A Man of letters
(a) Letter – writer (b) Proof – reader (c) Postman (d) Scholar
S72. Ans.(d) Sol. man of letters: a male scholar or author.
Q73. Bear in mind
(a) Respect (b) Observe (c) Remember (d) Pretend to listen
S73. Ans.(c) Sol. bear/keep something in mind: to remember a piece of information when you are making decisions or thinking about a matter.
Q74. Old head on young shoulders
(a) To be intelligent when old (b) To be old and yet look young
(c) To be wise beyond his years (d) To be less smart
S74. Ans.(c) Sol. an old head on young shoulders: A young person who acts or speaks like an older person.
Q75. A wild–goose chase
(a) A fruitful search (b) A pointless search
(c) To search for a wild–goose (d) A hunting expedition
S75. Ans.(b) Sol. A wild–goose chase: a foolish and hopeless search for or pursuit of something unattainable.
Q76. To follow the primrose path
(a) To follow one’s objectives very steadfastly (b) To go on wandering
(c) To trek to the mountains (d) To go in for pursuit of pleasure or an easy life
S76. Ans.(d) Sol. the primrose path-if you lead someone down the primrose path, you encourage them to live an easy life that is full of pleasure but bad for them.
Q77. A shot in the dark
(a) To love to go out on adventures (b) Be able to work very quickly
(c) Be very violent (d) An attempt to guess something
S77. Ans.(d) Sol. A shot in the dark-an act whose outcome cannot be foreseen; a guess.
Q78. In a nutshell
(a) Angrily (b) Causally (c) Writing (d) Brief
S78. Ans.(d) Sol. In a nutshell-in the fewest possible words.
Q79. She cut a sorry figure in her first performance on the stage.
(a) to perform badly and failed (b) cut a cake
(c) did not attend the function (d) performed a brilliant role
S79. Ans.(a) Sol. cut a sorry figure-(Expression) to make a poor impression.
Q80. To give so much importance to this dispute is to make a mountain of a molehill.
(a) to take advantage (b) to give great importance to trifles
(c) to see a thing with prejudiced mind (d) to get into trouble
S80. Ans.(b) Sol. Making a mountain out of a molehill is an idiom referring to over-reactive, histrionic behaviour where a person makes too much of a minor issue
Q81. There is no gainsaying that the country is in difficulties.
(a) ignoring (b) hiding (c) forgetting (d) denying
S81. Ans.(d) Sol. gainsay: deny or contradict (a fact or statement).
Q82. The host team bore the palm.
(a) played quite well (b) was victorious
(c) was defeated (d) played a very boring match
S82. Ans.(b) Sol. bear the palm: To win. Palm leaves were formerly used as symbols of victory.
Q83. Just keep your wig on. Everything will be alright.
(a) hold on to your wig, so it won’t fall off. (b) get another hair cut
(c) calm down (d) take off your wig
S83. Ans.(c) Sol. Idiom Definitions for ‘Keep your wig on!’ This idiom is used to tell someone to calm down. Q84. If you want to be happy, cut your coat according to your cloth.
(a) be honest in your dealings (b) work more than your capacity
(c) live within your means (d) don’t be too ambitions
S84. Ans.(c) Sol. cut your coat according to your cloth: undertake only what you have the money or ability to do and no more.
Q85. He lays out fifty percent of his income on bonds and shares.
(a) allows (b) displace (c) donates (d) spends
S85. Ans.(d) Sol. lay out: To expend; spend, To arrange according to a plan
Q86. I could have continued my higher studies if I wanted but, that’s water under the bridge.
(a) something I cannot change (b) the time I met with an accident near the bridge
(c) something my family did not want (d) the time I went on a cruise
S86. Ans.(a) Sol. water under the bridge (water over the dam): used to refer to events that are in the past and consequently no longer to be regarded as important.
Q87. My parents want me to study science, but I will stick to my guns and graduate in Economics.
(a) prefer to disobey them (b) hold on to my decision
(c) agree to listen to them (d) show them that they are wrong
S87. Ans.(b) Sol. stick to one’s guns: refuse to compromise or change, despite criticism.
Q88. All moonshine
(a) Glowing (b) Far from reality (c) Celestial (d) About the moon
S88. Ans.(b) Sol. All moonshine: total lies, not real
Q89. At a snail’s pace
(a) Quietly (b) Quickly (c) Continuously (d) Slowly
S89. Ans.(d) Sol. at a snail’s pace: Very slowly (as a snail is known to move very slowly). Q90. Call on (a) Telephone (b) Seek help (c) Pay a visit (d) Order
S90. Ans.(c) Sol. call on: pay a visit to (someone).
Q91. A cuckoo in the nest
(a) One who likes to stay at home (b) A view from a high place
(c) An unwelcome intruder (d) One who is chosen as the leader of the group
S91. Ans.(c) Sol. A cuckoo in the nest-an unwelcome intruder in a place or situation.
Q92. A house of cards
(a) An insecure scheme (b) A gambling house
(c) A plan with high standard (d) A place where cards are printed
S92. Ans.(a) Sol. a house of cards-an organization or a plan that is very weak and can easily be destroyed
Q93. To smell a rat
(a) To see signs of plague epidemic (b) To get the bad smell of a dead rat
(c) To suspect foul dealings (d) To be in a bad mood
S93. Ans.(c) Sol. To smell a rat-begin to suspect trickery or deception.
Q94. To nip in the bud
(a) To stop something at the start (b) To trim the flowers
(c) to pluck the flowers (d) to steal from
S94. Ans.(a) Sol. To nip in the bud-to put an end to something before it develops into something larger.
Q95. He died in harness.
(a) Ceased to live (b) Died of a disease
(c) Died for his country (d) Died while working
S95. Ans.(d) Sol. die in harness: To die while still actively working or still of the age or physical condition to do so (i.e., before retirement)
Q96. Cut the mustard
(a) to lose (b) to come up to expectations
(c) to get injured (d) to leave the job
S96. Ans.(b) Sol. Cut the mustard -come up to expectations; reach the required standard.
Q97. Truly he is a chip of the old block.
(a) very similar to his father (b) a good actor
(c) an honorable man (d) outdated in his mannerisms
S97. Ans.(a) Sol. chip off the old block-a person (usually a male) who behaves in the same way as his father or resembles his father.
Q98. Why you should always be the one to cast the first stone?
(a) deeply involved (b) to be the first to find fault
(c) to praise first of all (d) to start a fight
S98. Ans.(b) Sol. cast the first stone-to make the first criticism; to be the first to attack.
Q99. Hear it on the grapevine
(a) to hear rumours (b) to hear from the market
(c) to listen from behind the doors (d) to listen from horse’s mouth
S99. Ans.(a) Sol. To hear something through the grapevine is to learn of something informally and unofficially by means of gossip or rumor.
Q100. Let the grass grow under one’s feet
(a) to accept responsibility (b) to engage in useless talk
(c) to be trifled with (d) to remain idle
S100. Ans.(d) Sol. let the grass grow under one’s feet-to wait before doing something or to do something slowly