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Communication skills - CSEET Idioms

1. A bolt from the blue; An expected disaster

2. To blow one’s own trumpet; To boast

3. A bone of contention ; Cause of quarrel

4. To burn one’s fingers ; To suffer

5. To beat black & blue ; To beat mercilessly

6. To cast an aspersion ; To bring discredit

7. To cry over spilt milk ; To feel sorry for what has happened

8. To cut a sorry figure ; To make a poor impression

9. To die in harness ; To die while doing one’s duty

10. To end in smoke ; To fail

11. To go to the dogs ; To be ruined

12. To hang in the balance ; To remain undecided

13. To hit the nail on the head; To do the right thing at the right time

14. To hold water ; To sound logical

15. To live no stone unturned ; To try one’s level best

16. To live from hand to mouth ; To live with great difficulty

17. To make up one’s mind ; To decide

18. To see eye to eye with ; Agree

19. To play ducks and drakes ; Waste

20. To put the cart before the hors ; To do a thing in a wrong way

21. To have too many irons in the fire ; To have too many things in hand

22. To read b/w the lines ; To try to understand the hidden meaning

23. To turn over a new leaf ; To change for the better

24. To take the bull by horns; To face difficulties boldly

25. To win laurels ; To distinguish oneself

26. At daggers drawn ; At enmity or fighting

27. Blake and white ; Written

28. By leaps and bounds ; Very fast

29. In cold blood ; deliberately

30. Laid up with ; Confined to bed

31. Ins and outs ; Full details

32. A black sheep ; Scoundrel; a bad person

33. A cock and bull story ; An absurd tale

34. A gala day ; A day of festivity; a holiday with rejoicing

35. A hard nut to crack ; A difficult person or problem to deal with

36. Beat a retreat ; To retire before the enemy

37. To be on the horns of a dilemma; To have a choice b/w two equal evils

38. To beat about the bush ; Approach a subject in a round about method

39. Bury the hatchet ; To make peace

40. By hook or by crook ; By fair or foul means

41. Eat humble pie ; To face humiliation

42. Hit below the belt ; To act unfairly

43. In apple pie order ; In perfect order

44. Leave one in lurch ; To desert in difficulty

45. Pick holes in another’s coat ; To find fault with another

46. Scot free ; To go unpunished

47. Smell a rat ; To have a reason to suspect

48. Through thick and thin ; Through every difficulty

50. True to one’s salt ; Faithful to one’s master

51. To turn the corner ; To begin to improve

52. With a grain of salt ; To accept a statement with doubt as to its complete true

53. Worship the rising sun ; To respect one rising in power

54. A Herculean task ; An extremely difficult or dangerous task

55. A fish out of water ; In a wrong place

56. A leap in the dark ; An act of which we can’t force consequences

57. A thorn in one’s side ; A constant source of annoyance

58. To be at one’s beck and call ; Under one’s absolute control

59. Bread and Butter ; Means of subsistence

60. Burn one’s fingers ; To get into trouble

61. Cut and dried ; Ready-made

62. Feather one’s own nest ; To make money by unfair means

63. To fish in troubled water ; To do something under very unpromising


64. To give oneself airs ; Affected manners

65. To give the devil his due ; To allow even a bad man the credit due

66. To hang by thread ; To be in a critical condition

67. A henpecked husband ; A man habitually snubbed by his wife

68. Hush money ; Money given as a bribe to hush or make one keep silent

69. Kick up a row ; Make a great noise

70. To let the cat out of the bag; To reveal a secret

71. Null and void ; Not valid; of no effect

72. On the spur of the moment; At once

73. Pay one back in one’s own coin ; To treat in the same way as one has been


74. Put in cold storage; To forget or neglect something

75. Pull wires ; To manage the show by secret Influence

76. Read b/w the lines ; To hit at the real meaning

77. Sit on the fence ; To avoid taking sides; to remain neutral

78. A square deal ; Justice

79. Sword of Damocles ; Treating danger

80. To take up the gauntlet ; To accept the challenge

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