02 Feb

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English language section of any SSC or Banking exam has questions based on idioms & phrases. These questions are scoring opportunities for any candidate who is well versed with the usage of common idioms. Further it must be noted that memorizing the meaning of an idiom is alone not enough. You must know how to use it in a sentence. Keeping this in mind, expert trainers at the center for Best Bank PO Coaching in South Delhi have tried to systematically cover the topic of idioms.

What are Idioms?
idioms image 2Idioms are expressions that have a metaphorical / figurative meaning. This meaning is almost always different from the literal meaning. It is difficult to comprehend the meaning of an idiom from the words that compose it. Only if you know what the idiom means can you confidently attempt a question based on it.

Important Examples

Given below is a list of some important idioms. These idioms are highly relevant from the perspective of IBPS Bank Exam Preparation and have been asked in multiple competitive exams.

1. Under the weather: To feel ill / To not be in sound health.
Usage: I have been under the weather ever since I returned from London.

2. Greenhorn: A person who does not have experience.
Usage: Kumar is a greenhorn so make sure you assign a supervisor to monitor his progress.

3. A bee in your bonnet: Preoccupied or obsessed with an idea.
Usage: It seems that the issue of corruption has become the bee in the bonnet of our newly elected chief minister.

4. Spill the beans: To reveal secret information.
Usage: Don’t discuss any confidential matter with Jason; he will surely spill the beans before the management.

5. Doubting Thomas: A skeptical person who does not believe something easily.
Usage: Even a doubting Thomas can be convinced when you have sound logic and solid evidence to back your ideas.

6. Throw down the gauntlet: To challenge somebody.
Usage: Tyson is a spirited fighter; if you throw down the gauntlet to him, it is certain that he will respond.

7. Backseat driver: A person who gives unwanted advice and criticizes from the sidelines.
Usage: No entrepreneur would ever wish to have a backseat driver in the form of a business partner.

8. Loose cannon: A person who is unpredictable and difficult to control.
Usage: A loose cannon like John will surely make the manger’s life miserable and disrupt the harmony among the team members.

9. Bark up the wrong tree: To be wrong about the way to achieve something.
Usage: If you think I will put my reputation at stake in order to help you out, then you are certainly barking up the wrong tree.

10. Hand in glove: To work closely / To be in close association.
Usage: The electorate of this country often feels that multinational corporations work hand in glove with politicians and get undue advantage of the same.

11. Good Samaritan: A kind person who helps others.
Usage: Nowadays, people have become so cynical that they are utterly surprised upon coming across a good Samaritan.

12. Pig in a poke: Something bought without checking its true value or knowing its real worth.
Usage: If you happen to be a purchase manager in an organization, make sure not to buy a pig in poke.

13. Flog / Beat a dead horse: Waste time on something that is not going to succeed.
Usage: Nathan will be flogging a dead horse, if he tries to pass the exam by flattering the faculty members of this institute.

14. At sixes and sevens: Confused and disorderly state.
Usage: A change in the course curriculum just before final exams has left many candidates at sixes and sevens.

15. White elephant: Something that is costly and yet useless.
Usage: I request you not to gift me a white elephant on my birthday.

16. Bury the hatchet: To settle the differences and arrive at a compromise.
Usage: The brothers were advised by one and all to bury the hatchet in the larger interest of the family.

17. At one’s wits’ end: To be completely confused.
Usage: He was at his wits’ end and could not see the difference between right and wrong.

18. Play it by ear: To act as per the demands of the situation.
Usage: While dealing with an unpredictable neighbor like Pakistan, India should follow a play it by ear sort of foreign policy.

19. At loggerheads: To be in a strong dispute or argument.
Usage: Israel and Palestine have been at loggerheads with each other ever since I started listening to news.

20. Pass muster: To be approved or accepted as satisfactory.
Usage: The manager will not let your work pass muster because he is unhappy with the way you behaved with him at the party.

21. Call a spade a spade: To speak the truth without avoiding impolite and unpleasant things.
Usage: Riya’s habit of calling a spade a spade has landed her in trouble on many occasions in the past.

22. Eat humble pie: To apologize and admit your mistake.
Usage: Many celebrities seem to have made up a habit of eating humble pie after making irresponsible remarks on social media platforms.

23. Tongue in cheek: Saying something that may appear to be serious, but is actually meant to be taken lightly (as a joke).
Usage: Please make sure what you say tongue in cheek does not hurt the sentiments of others.

24. Left-handed compliment: An insult disguised in the form of a compliment/praise.
Usage: The left-handed compliments we received from our school teachers made us work harder during our formative years.

25. To be close-fisted: Being stingy and miserly.
Usage: It is but natural for a person to be close-fisted during a phase of economic slowdown.

Finally, the knowledge you have gained from going through the above content should be supplemented with adequate practice and fine understanding of the exam pattern. In this regard, it is recommended that you get access to quality study material and notes offered by the renowned Institute for Top SSC Coaching in East Delhi.

This article discusses idioms from the perspective of Govt. job exams. It is the result of efforts of faculty members teaching at Vidya Guru Institute. To learn more from them, you can write to vidyagurudelhi@gmail.com.

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