Idiomatic Expressions Free For Practice Class 8

1.    Back out – to withdraw from a promise, contract: I felt grieved when he backed out of his promise to help me. 

2.    Back up to– support, to sustain: He was backed up by his union to fight for his rights.

3.    Bear out – to support, to confirm: The evidence does not bear out the charge against him.

4.    Beat back – to force to withdraw: The demonstrators were beaten back by the police force.

5.    Boil down to – to amount to: The whole problem boils down to the shortage of funds.

6.    Break down – of a car, a piece of machinery: The plant broke down on account of extreme voltage fluctuations.

7.    Break out– to arise suddenly (of a war, a quarrel, etc.): Fierce fighting broke out between the rival groups.

8.    Break up– to disperse, to dissolve: The meeting will break up after the President has addressed the audience.

9.    Bring out – to reveal clearly: These facts clearly bring out the merits of the new policy.

1.    -to publish: The annual report of the company has not been brought out so far.

10. Call back – to telephone again: Could you call back tomorrow. please?

11. Call off – cancel: Since the workers’ demands have been met, they have called off the strike. 

12. Call upon– to order, to require: It was a pity that I was called upon to give evidence against my best friend.

13. Carry on– to continue: If you carry on working hard, your business will soon flourish. 

14. Carry out– to put into action: You did not carry out my instructions satisfactorily. 

15. Cast aside– to reject: All other considerations were cast aside at the suggestion of the manager.

16. Catch up with to hurry up and join: I waited near the crossing so that others could catch up with me.

17. Come across – to meet by chance. In the lift, I came across an old friend of mine.

18. Come off– to take place: The inauguration of the plant came off on Tuesday. 

19. Cry down– to depreciate, to make little of One must not always cry down the view expressed by others.

20. Cut down — to reduce: We have taken some effective steps to cut down the expenditure. 

21. Cut out– designed for: You seem to be cut out to be a teacher 

22. Drop in– to visit casually: Please drop in at our place whenever it is convenient to you. 

23. Eat out– to eat in a restaurant: Today let’s eat out for a change. 

24. Egg on– to urge on: My colleagues egged me on to appear for the interview.

25. Fall back on- to make use of in an emergency: If I do not get this job, I can fall back on my father’s support.

26. Fall in with– to agree to. I found it difficult to persuade the chairman to fall in with my suggestions.

27. Fall out – to quarrel: Whenever Karan falls out with his wife, he becomes very tense. 

28. Fall through – to fail to take place: The project fell through for want of adequate funds. 

29. Fill in– to complete (a form): Kindly fill in your name and address here. 

30. Get off — to leave (a bus): I got off at Palika Bazar and walked to my office.

31. Get on– with to agree, to work well together: The two partners get on very well with each other. 

32. Get over – to recover from: It took me quite some time to get over my homesickness.

33. Get through – to succeed in some examination: She could not get through the interview.                                                                    – to make a successful phone call: It took me half an hour to get through to Aman. 

34. Get up – to rise from bed: I got up at 4 a.m. and went for a morning walk. 

35. Give up – to stop trying: I know the competition is stiff, but don’t give up! 

36. Go down — to be accepted: Our Finance Minister will go down in history as the most imaginative economist of our country. 

37. Hold back – to keep back, to conceal: No important symptoms should be held back from the doctor.

38. Hold on– to wait, particularly on the phone: Could you hold on for a moment, please?

39. Keep up – to continue: This is an excellent result. Keep it up.

40. Knock down – to hit in a traffic accident: While crossing the road, she was knocked down by a speeding car. 

41. Let down– to disappoint: We have high hopes of you. Don’t let us down.

42. Let off – to allow to go free, to release: In spite of the mistake being serious, he was let off with a warning.

43. Look at — to examine carefully: She looked at the pearls and immediately said that they were not real.

44. Look for — to seek: We are looking for a competent and sincere office assistant.

45. Look forward to – to wait for something with pleasure: I’m looking forward to my sister’s wedding. 

46. Look up – to seek information in a book: If you do not know what this word means, look it up in a dictionary.

47. Make out – to find out: I cannot make out the meaning of any of these poems. 

48. Pull through – to get to the end of something difficult and dangerous with some success: It was a difficult situation but we managed to pull through.

49. Put through – to connect, on the telephone: Could you put me through to Mr Khan, please? 

50. Put up – to stay: Where are you putting up these days? 

51. Put up with – to tolerate: You will have to put up with this inconvenience for a while. 

52. Run out – to come to an end: Fuel supplies are sure to run out.

53. Run out of: I’m afraid we’re running out of time. 

54. See off — to go with to a railway station, airport, etc.: There was nobody to see her off at the airport.

55. See through – to comprehend: We could easily see through their clever tricks. 

56. Tell upon– to affect: Hard work told upon the secretary’s health. 

57. Wear out to become old and unusable: These shoes have worn out very quickly.


  1. To add fuel to fire – to give another cause for anger: The arrest of the union leaders added fuel to fire.
  2. To cut a sorry figure to create a bad impression: Mr. Menon rose to address the audience but cut a sorry figure.
  3. To cut no ice – to fail to impress: He tried his best to prove that he was innocent, but his arguments cut no ice. 
  4. To cut to the quick – to hurt intensely: The assistant was cut to the quick on being accused of theft.
  5. To eat one’s words – to withdraw or deny a statement: The trade union leaders had to eat their words and withdraw the strike. 
  6. To face the music – to face difficulties: If we do not face the music now, our problems will multiply in the days to come.
  7. To fall short of – to be less than: The new manager has fallen short of our expectations.
  8. To feather one’s own nest – to meet one’s own interest: He wants a high position not to serve people but to feather his own nest. 
  9. To fight shy of – to avoid, to keep away from: Don’t fight shy of healthy criticism; it will help you to improve.
  10. To find fault with — to blame: The director found fault with his sales manager for the growing losses of the company. 
  11. To flog a dead horse – to waste one’s energy: He is a miser. To seek donation from him is like flogging a dead horse.
  12. To follow suit – to behave in the same manner: The leader of the opposition walked out and the others followed suit.
  13. To get into hot water – to get into a difficulty: By closing the factory the management has got into hot water.
  14. To get wind of to get news about something: We must act carefully so that others do not get wind of our plans. 
  15. To give oneself airs to be self-important: People in the habit of giving themselves airs are disliked by their friends.
  16. To go through fire and water – to undertake risk or trouble: He went through fire and water to make his dreams come true.
  17. To go to the dogs – to be ruined: If a war breaks out, our economy will just go to the dogs. 
  18. To go without saying- to be quite clear: It goes without saying that only a deserving person should get this job.
  19. To grease the palm of – to bribe: The visitor greased the palm of the peon to enter the chairman’s room.
  20. To have a hand in – to be involved in: The cashier seems to be having a hand in this case of cheating the bank.
  21. To hit below the belt – to strike unfairly: A victory by hitting below the belt cannot be described as a victory at all. 
  22. To hold good – to remain valid: These decisions do not hold good in the changed situation.
  23. To hold one’s tongue – to become silent: If you do not hold your tongue after this, I’ll make you leave the room. 
  24. To keep abreast of- to keep oneself informed: We must know English in order to keep abreast of the latest scientific discoveries.
  25. To keep one’s fingers crossed – to hope for a good outcome: His mother kept her fingers crossed while he played the final match.
  26. To keep pace with – to move at an equal speed: We should give more importance to basic research if we want to keep pace with developed countries. 
  27. To kick up a row – to disturb: He kicked up a row when the shopkeeper refused to accept back the sold goods.
  28. To pick a quarrel: I have often found him picking quarrels with his friends over trifles. 
  29. To take advantage of – to gain through another person’s ignorance or innocence: We should never take advantage of another person’s goodness.
  30. To take pains – to make efforts: If you take pains in your work, you will soon be promoted. 
  31. To take to task – to punish: She was severely taken to task for bunking the class.


Above board — honest and frank: All the directors of this firm are above board. 

Cut and dried – already prepared: There are no cut and dried rules to improve the sales of a company.

(A) dog in the manger policy – the policy of a selfish man who refuses to allow his neighbor what he himself cannot use: Boys sometimes follow ‘a dog in the manger policy’ when they neither use the playground themselves nor allow others to play in it.

(The) dogs of war famine, sword and fire: The dogs of war were let loose and they played havoc with the country’s population. (An) eyewash – a deception: The authorities had already made their choice; the interview was only an eyewash.

(A) fair deal a bargain which is fair and just to both the parties: It would be a fair deal if I pay back your money with interest and my thanks.

(A) fair-weather friend – a friend in prosperity only: It is better to be friendless than to have only fair-weather friends.

 (A) far cry – still far away: The dream of total literacy in India is still a far cry. 

(A) fish out of water – in an unpleasant situation: In the first few days after retirement, people feel like a fish out of water.

From hand to mouth – consuming everyday whatever little is earned: Most Indians are still living from hand to mouth.

Give-and-take – obliging each other mutually: If you adopt the give-and-take policy you will have a smooth sailing in life.

Good offices – recommendation: Please use your good offices to get me a job. 

(A) good Samaritan a kind and charitable person: One of my friends proved a good Samaritan and gave me money to set up a small industrial unit.

(A) good turn – an act of kindness: A good turn never goes unrewarded. 

(The) green-eyed monster jealousy: Beware of the green-eyed monster, for it is sure to destroy your happiness in life. 

Hard up – short of money: Being hard up myself, I cannot send you any money.

High time – ripe time: Examinations are fast approaching. It is high time you start studying seriously.

Hue and cry – a great noise: They raised a hue and cry when they saw the thief escape.

 In a nutshell — briefly: Please tell me about the President’s speech in a nutshell.

In face of – against: Great men remain calm and composed even in face of heavy odds 

In high spirits – cheerful: In spite of severe cold, our jawans were always in high spirits. 

In the nick of time – at the exact time: We arrived at the hall in the nick of time: the show was just about to begin.

In vogue – in fashion: Jeans made from faded denim are still in vogue. 

Off and on – now and again: I have to remind the servant off and on to give me sugarless tea. 

Out of order – not in working condition: My watch being out of order, I could not know the exact time.

Over and above – in addition to: You will be given bonus over and above your salary.

Over head and ears – fully: She is over head and ears in love. Point blank – directly, plainly: She told me point blank that she won’t be able to help me.

  1. red-letter day – a memorable day: 15th August, 1947 is a red-letter day in the history of India.

Sum and substance – gist: Give me the sum and substance of the President’s speech. 

Weal and woe – joy and sorrow: I assure you that I will stand by you in weal and woe.

With open arms – with a warm welcome: Wherever he went, he was received with open arms.


  1. alive and kicking – well and active
  2. born and bred – born and brought up
  3. cut and dried – settled, decided
  4. fair and square – in a fair way
  5. rough and ready – only approximate, not exact
  6. short and sweet – without unnecessary details
  7. sick and tired – thoroughly bored or annoyed
  8. give and take – compromise
  9. by hook or by crook – by any method, fair or unfair
  10. lock, stock and barrel – everything, every item
  11. without rhyme or reason – illogical, not making sense
  12. part and parcel – part of something
  13. aches and pains – health complaints
  14. hammer and tongs – argue, quarrel loudly

15 ifs and buts – excuses

  1. the ins and outs – intricate details, difficult to explain

17 man to man – openly and sincerely

  1. stuff and nonsense – foolish talk, ideas
  2. touch and go – critical, close to both success and failure
  3. as and when – whenever

21 far and wide – everywhere

  1. by and large – taken as a whole
  2. more or less – roughly, practically

24 to and fro – one way and then the other, up and down

25 up and about – recovered, in good health

  1. loud and clear – very clearly
  2. chop and change – change one’s mind, opinions, plans
  3. do or die – make the greatest effort or fail
  4. forgive and forget – be reconciled, forget enmity
  5. wait and watch – wait patiently
  6. through and through – thoroughly, completely

32 on and on – continue without stopping

  1. by and by – in course of time
  2. toss and turn – sleep restlessly, because of worry
  3. over and over – repeatedly
  4. blow by blow – to give an account of something including all the details, events in order
  5. live and let live – to be tolerant towards others
  6. again and again – repeatedly
  7. from door to door – going to all the house in the streets
  8. round and round – moving in circles, spinning
  9. hit and miss – not exact, random, sometimes good and sometimes bad
  10. pick and choose – to take time and trouble to choose very selectively
  11. sink or swim – survive or face

44 little by little – gradually, at a slow rate

45 step by step – one step at a time, slowly 

  1. Bad blood – unfriendliness or enmity between two people or families
  2. Bad news travels fast – bad news spreads more quickly than good news 
  3. Come to a bad end – said about someone who leads an unhealthy life, and faces disgrace
  4. Big deal! – (terrific!) great! said when one is not impressed
  5. a big mouth – someone who boasts, exaggerates
  6. in a big way – on a large scale 
  7. a dead end – a road that doesn’t lead anywhere. A stage where no further progress can be made
  8. dead silence – a total, unbroken silence
  9. over my dead body – said when the speaker is very much against something 
  10. good for nothing – lazy, unreliable, having no good qualities
  11. good riddance! – feeling of relief when one gets rid of an unpleasant person unwanted
  12. hard to please–  a person who is very critical, has a very high standard
  13. hard of hearing – partly deaf
  14. a hard nut to crack – a difficult problem to overcome
  15. high and dry – abandoned, ignored, isolated
  16. in high places – friends or people in top-level positions
  17. it’s high time – when something must be done without more delay
  18. in the long run – over a long period
  19. the long and short of it – essential facts of a matter
  20. a chip off of the old block – son or daughter who is very much like character, in temperament
  21. an old hand – someone with a lot of experience 
  22. a short cut – quicker or easier way of going somewhere or doing things

23 a short notice – with little warning

  1. as thick as thieves – very friendly, sharing same interests
  2. through thick and thin – through good times and difficult times 
  3. vanish into nir – disappear without a trace
  4. 27 at the end of one’s tether – a position where no more patience is left
  1. at a loose end — having nothing to do 
  2. make both ends meet – somehow manage with the meager money one has
  3. sign on the dotted line – agree to do something without any conditions 
  4. read between the lines – understand or sense more than the actual words
  5. no laughing matter – something very serious
  6. a matter of time – bound to happen, sooner or later
  7. to give someone a piece of one’s mind – scold or reprimand someone 
  8. make up one’s mind – take a decision
  9. out of sight, out of mind – people or things who cannot be seen or are far away, are soon forgotten
  10. go one’s own way – act independently
  11. in a word – briefly

39 word for word – literally

  1. out of this world – wonderful
  2. on top of the world – very happy

42 all and sundry – everybody

  1. believe it or not – it is true, whether you believe or you disbelieve it
  2. cut it out! – stop it!
  3. play it by the car – act according to the situation
  4. like it or lump it – whether you like it or not, accept the situation

47 rub it in – continue to emphasize something

  1. run for it – run fast to get out of danger
  2. too good to be true – so good, one can hardly believe it
  3. a blessing in disguise– a mishap that turns out to be fortunate in the end 
  4. child’s play – easy task
  5. a drop in the ocean – a small amount
  6. a jack of all trades – a person capable of doing many things but no great expert of anything.
  7. at a stone’s throw – very near, at a short distance
  8. a hole and corner business – very secretive, dishonest dealing 
  9. a wet blanket – a person who spoils a jolly atmosphere


  1. A Bad Workman quarrels with his Tools: blaming the tools for bad workmanship is an excuse for lack of skill.

Siddharth could not complete the work in time. He told that his computer was out of order. No doubt a bad workman quarrels with his tools. 

  1. A Bird in Hand is Worth Two in a Bush: It’s better to keep what you have than to risk losing it by searching for something better.

Take this job now because you don’t know if you’ll get the other one. Remember that a bird in hand is worth two in a bush.

  1. Actions Speak Louder than Words : What a person actually does is more important that what they will do.

Gone are the days when people believed in actions speak louder than words.

  1. Add Fuel to the Fire: To make a bad situation worse 

Our teacher was already angry with Rohan and his coming late, added fuel to the fire.

  1. A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed : Someone who helps you when you are in trouble

Raghav helped Sumit when his business failed. It is very right that a friend in need is a friend indeed

  1. A Leopard cannot Change its spots: It is not possible for a bad or unpleasant person become good or pleasant.

He has promised not to tell lies any more, but a leopard cannot change its spots. 

  1. All that Glitters is not Gold Appearances can be deceptive 

The old man said to the young boy, “Always remember that all that glitters is not gold.”

  1. All Work and No Play makes Jack a Dull Boy: Everybody needs a certain amount of relaxation. It is not good to work all the time.

Rohan should take a break from work because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

  1. A Man is Known by the Company he Keeps A person’s character is judged by the type of people with whom he spends his time.

The wise man said to the villager, “Stay away from a bad company because a man i known by the company he keeps.”

  1. An apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away Eating an apple every day can help to keep you healthy.

The doctor said to the patient, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” 

  1. An Empty Purse Frightens away Friends : When one’s financial situation deteriorates, friends tend to disappear

With the failing business, who will help you because an empty purse frightens away friends. 

  1. An Idle Brain is the Devil’s Workshop : A free mind thinks of bad deeds

A good employer does not leave his employees free because he knows an idle brain is the devil’s workshop. 

  1. An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure : It is easier to prevent something from happening than to repair the damage or cure the disease later

Riddima should go ahead for test to know the cause of weakness because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  1. Apple of Your Eye:  A person or thing that is greatly, loved, treasured and adored:

 Vaibhav is the apple of his parents’ eye.

  1. A Rolling Stone gathers no Mass: If a person keeps from place to place. He/she gains neither friends nor possessions.

He’s moved three times in three months, so he doesn’t have any furniture or close friends. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

  1. A Rotten Apple Spoils the Barrel : A dishonest or immoral person can have a bad influence on the entire group.

A tiny group of kids starts fights in our school and people think that one rotten apple spoils the barrel.

  1. As Cool as a Cucumber : Very calm; not nervous or emotional

“Parul was as cool as a cucumber when she got the award from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”

  1. A Stitch in Time Saves Nine : It’s better to deal with a problem at an early stage, than to prevent it from getting worse. 

The headmaster punished the boys who were absent because he knew very well that stitch in time saves nine.

  1. Ax to Grind : Something to gain for yourself for a selfish reason

 Frooti always flatters her class teacher but I think she has an ax to grind.

  1. Beat Around the Bush : To avoid answering a question 

Stop beating around the bush and answer to the point!”

  1. Bed of Roses: A wonderful, pleasant situation

Some people think life is a bed of roses.

  1. Better be Alone than in Bad Company : Be careful in the choice of the people you associate with

The mother advised her son saying that it is better to be alone than in bad company. 

  1. Better Flatter a fool than Fight Him: It’s better to avoid disputes with stupid people 

Riddhi joined her friend in her laughter because she knows it is better to flatter a fool than fight her.

  1. Better Late than Never: It’s better to do something, even if it’s late, than not do it all. 

When the head scolded Rohit, he said, “It is better late than never.”

  1. Birds of a Feather Flock Together: People of the same sort are usually found together. 

Everyone in the hall dances well. I guess that birds of a feather flock together.

  1. Bite your Tongue : Take a back or be ashamed of what you have said; struggle not to say something you want to say.

The officer shouted at Rohan and told him to bite his tongue. 

  1. Blood is Thicker than Water : Family relationships are stronger than relationship with other people.

Mrs Gupta chose her far off relative instead of Dinesh to work in her office. I can understand blood is thicker than water.

  1. Charity begins at home : A person’s first duty is to help and care for his own family 

Mrs Gupta won fifty lakhs rupees in ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. But she strongly believed that charity begins at home. 

  1. Crocodile Tears: Fake tears; false grief

Roohani begged and cried to go to the theatre but her sister said she was shedding crocodile tears.

  1. Crying over Spilled Milk : Don’t express regret for something that has happened and cannot be remedied I’m sorry that your bag fell in water but there’s no use crying over spilled milk.
  2. Diamond Cuts Diamond : Refers to two people equally matched in wit or cunning 

Only Rohan can handle Rahul’s temper as diamond cuts diamond.

  1. Diligence is the Mother of Good Fortune : Hard work brings rewards

Saloni always stands first in his class. Really, diligence is the mother of good fortune.

  1. Dog’s life : A bleak, harsh existence without much happiness of freedom

Poor Mrs Joseph, with that terrible job, children and home, she leads a dog’s life. 

  1. Do or Die: To succeed or fail completely

Madhav was determined to win the Olympic Gold, do or die!

  1. Down the Drain : Lost forever, wasted

When the share market went down, their money too went down the drain.


  1. by hook and crook-honesty or dishonestly 

Most people aim at growing rich by hook or crook.

  1. hard and fast-that can’t be changed under any circumstances 

There are no hard and fast rules for becoming famous. 

  1. high and low-everywhere

The old woman searched high and low for her only son. 

  1. hue and cry-strong protest

When the house suddenly caught fire late at night, its inmates raised hue and cry. 

  1. kith and kin-friends and relations 

He invites all his kith and kin to the marriage of his son.

  1. bag and baggage-with all belonging 

He had to leave his home with bag and baggage.

  1. behind the scene-in private 

The two younger brothers have signed a pact behind the scene against their elder brother.

  1. by leaps and bounds very quickly, in large amounts 

After winning Independence in 1947, India started progressing in and bounds.

  1. a burning question-as important problem 

Dowry death is a burning question of the day.

  1. a warm reception-a lovely reception 

The people accorded a warm reception to their beloved leader.

  1. crocodile tears-not real tears

The unfaithful wife shed crocodile tears at the death of her husband.

  1. black and blue-severely 

The thief was beaten black and blue by the police.

  1. to build castles in the air-to make imaginary schemes 

A person who is the habit of building castles in the air can seldom achieve much.

  1. to learn by heart- to 

The teacher asked us to learn this poem by heart.

  1. a bone of contention- -cause of dispute 

The ancestral property is the bone of contention between the two brother.

  1. fair and square-honestly, according to the values

We must be fair and square in our dealing with others.


Idioms/Idiomatic Expression                                         Meaning

  1. add insult to injury                                          make a bad situation even worse
  2. the back of beyond                                        a very remote or inaccessible place
  3. call the shots                                                 take the initiative for doing something
  4. at daggers drawn                                         in a state of bitter enmity
  5. an eager beaver                                             an enthusiastic person
  6. fair and square                                            with absolute accuracy honestly and straightforwardly
  7. give the game away                                    inadvertently reveal an intention or plan
  8. half a chance                                            the slightest opportunity
  9. the icing on the cake                                an attractive but inessential addition
  10. jack of all trades                                              someone who does a little bit of everything
  11. kick the bucket                                               die
  12. land of nod                                                     state of sleep
  13. mad as a hatter                                            completely crazy
  14. a necessary evil                                             an undesirable thing that must be accepted
  15. off and on                                                        now and then
  16. flat as a pancake                                           completely flat
  17. quiet as a mouse                                           extremely docile 
  18. rack your brains                                             make great efforts to remember something
  19. packed like sardines                                       crowded, very close together
  20. talk the hind leg off a donkey                     talk incessantly
  21. the upper crust                                                the aristocracy and upper classes
  22. take the veil                                                       become a nun
  23. walk your (or the) talk                                    suit your actions to your words
  24. spin a yarn                                                         tell a story



Meaning and example

  1. Achilles’ heel


             His excessive emotion is his Achilles’ heel.

2.                  Along the lines

following the particular style of something/somebody  

            He spoke in the Parliament along the lines of his leader.

3.                  Bare outline

main facts

             Give me a bare outline of your plan.

4.                  Beauty of it

good points; merits 

            What a wonderful speech! The beauty of it lies in its brevity.

5.                  Child’s play

something very easy 

             Solving this problem is child’s play.

6.                  (Someone’s) cup of tea

subject of someone’s interest/liking 

              Legal discussions are not my cup of tea

7.                  Day and night


              He works day and night to earn some extra money.

8.                  Fair play

just behaviour 

               I thought you believed in fair play!

9.                  Monkey tricks

mischievous behaviour 

               Your monkey tricks will land you in great trouble one day.

10.              Necessary evil

something that you need, and yet it is not very desirable 

Mobile phones are a necessary evil of modern life.



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