Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


once-over – quick look or examination. I didn’t have time to read

the contract, so I gave it a once-over.

. one for the books – very unusual, remarkable. She hates to be  around children and she’s an elementary school teacher. That’s one for

the books.

. one’s cup of tea – something one enjoys, special interest. I don’t

like going to the opera. It’s not my cup of tea.

. one’s hands are tied – one is unable to help. I would like to lend

you money, but we just bought a car and a house. My hands are tied. . one’s heart is in the right (wrong) place – kindhearted,

sympathetic or well-meaning. Although she makes a lot of mistakes,

her heart is in the right place.

. one’s heart is in one’s mouth – one is nervous, fearful, or

anxious. I’m speaking in front of  people tonight and am very

nervous. My heart is in my mouth.

. one-track mind – mind focused on a single idea. All he ever thinks

about is football. He has a one-tracked mind.

. out of line – not usual, incorrect, unacceptable. She tells her

husband what he can and cannot do. I think she is out of line.

. out of sorts – in a bad mood, irritable. I haven’t’ been feeling very

happy lately. I am out of sorts.

. out of the blue – unexpectedly, by surprise, from nowhere. I

haven’t’ heard from my college roommate in  years. Last week, out of

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

the blue, he called me.

. out of the woods – no longer in danger, in the clear. The doctors

say she no longer has the disease. Her prognosis is very good and she is

now out of the woods.

. out of this world – wonderful, terrific. This chocolate cake is the  best I have ever had. It’s out of this world.

. out on a limb – in a dangerous, exposed position, one’s ideas are  openly known. By speaking up against her boss, she is putting herself

out on a limb.

. over a barrel – in a helpless, trapped position. He saw me cash my

paycheck and then asked me for a loan. I could not refuse. He had me

over a barrel.

. over one’s dead body – under no condition, never. I work six days

a week. Only over my dead body will I work another day.

. pad the bill – add false expenses. The insurance company found

out that the dentist had padded the bill.

. pain in the neck – bothersome, annoying thing or person. My

little brother is a pain in the neck.

. pan out – happen favorably. This new business is risky, but hopefully

it will pan out.

. pass away – die. I miss the neighbor who passed away last year.

. pass out – faint. I haven’t eaten all day, and I think I am going to pass out. . pass the buck – shift responsibility to others. I called their

customer service line, but everyone kept on passing the buck.

. patch up – fix. Even though we had a fight, let’s try to patch things up. . pay through the nose – pay too much. I had to pay through the

nose to stay at that fancy resort.

. peanuts – small amount of money. It only cost peanuts to fix the

scrape on the car.

. pep talk – a talk to arouse enthusiasm. The coach gave the players a

pep talk before the game.

. perk up – emerge from a depressed or uninterested mood. When the

owner of the company walks into the office, try to perk up.

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


. pick up – obtain, get. Please pick up a gallon of milk when you go to

the grocery store.

. pick up the tab – pay the bill. Since he came into a lot of money, he  always picks up the tab whenever we go out to dinner.

. pick-me-up, a – a drink or snack taken to refresh oneself. “You look  tired. Drink this, it’s a good pick-me-up”.

. piece of cake, a – easy. She has also been good at mathematics. She  thinks algebra is a piece of cake.

. pile up – accumulate, put things on top of each other. Try not to let

the work on your desk pile up.

. pill – an annoying , disagreeable person. She is always mad about  something and unpleasant to be around. She is such a pill.

. pin someone down – make someone tell the truth or agree to  something. He needed to pin her down as to the date for the meeting.

. pinch pennies – be thrifty, careful how you spend money. If you

spend your time pinching pennies, eventually, you’ll have a lot of money.

. pink slip – notice of dismissal. He was fired and received a pink slip

on Friday and will not be showing up for work on Monday.

. pinpoint – find exact location or cause. We need to pinpoint the

cause of the problem.

. pitch in – help. Everyone needs to pitch in so that we can get the

work done and go home.

. pits, the – the worst, anything that is very bad. Having to clean out

my basement is the pits.

. play hooky – stay away from school or work without permission.

He played hooky from work so that he can do things around his house.

. play it by ear – make your decision according to the situation. I’m

not sure when I will arrive at the restaurant, so let’s play it by ear.

. play the field – go out with many people romantically. She is not  dating anyone seriously and is still playing the field.

. play up to someone – flatter or please for selfish reasons. He is  playing up to his boss because he is hoping to move up in the company.

. play with fire – invite danger, trouble. You are playing with fire if  you drive with your car on ‘empty’.

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


. plenty of – a lot of, abundance. She had plenty of food at the party,

so everyone ate a lot.

. point out – explain, show, call attention to. Let me point out the  problem with your plan.

. pop the question – ask to marry. He popped the question and

asked her to marry him when they were scuba diving.

. pound the pavement – look for a job. It took him  months of  pounding the pavement before he landed a job.

. pour it on thick – flatter profusely, exaggerate. He poured it on 

thick to his boss, because he wanted to get a raise.

. pull a fast one – cheat, deceive. She pulled a fast one when she got  away with stealing all the company’s profits.

. pull punches – hide unpleasant facts or make them seem good. She  told him why she wouldn’t date him anymore, and she didn’t

pull any punches.

. pull someone’s leg – trick, playfully tease, fool. If you think I

believe that you won the lottery, your pulling my leg.

. pull something off – accomplish something remarkable. He

never thought he would be able to put on a show, but he pulled it off.

. pull strings – secretly use influence and power. I’ll see if I can pull  strings so that you can get an interview.

. pull the rug out from under – spoil someone’s plans, withdraw  support. I felt like someone pulled the rug out from under me when he  said he wouldn’t pay my tuition.

. pull the wool over one’s eyes – deceive, mislead. He pulled the  wool over her eyes and married her just for her money.

. pull up stakes – move to another location. They pulled up stakes

last year and moved to another state.

. push someone around – boss, make a person do what you want. I  don’t like it when she pushes me around.

. put a damper on – discourage, spoil a person’s fun. I hate putting a  damper on the party, but it is getting late and everyone has to go home.

. put anything past someone – be surprised by what someone

does. I wouldn’t put it past her to talk about me behind my back.

. put down – make someone look bad, criticize. He embarrassed her

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


by putting her down in front of her family.

. put in one’s two cents – give one’s opinion. I put in my two cents,

so that everyone knew how I felt.

. put one’s cards on the table – be frank, tell everything. She

put her cards on the table and told everyone what she really thought. . put one’s finger on – find precisely, remember exactly. She didn’t

know what was causing the problem, but she finally put her finger on it. . put one’s foot down – object strongly, take firm preventative

action. I cleaned the whole house. When she told me that I had to

clean the garage too, I finally put my foot down.

. put one’s foot in one’s mouth – speak carelessly, make a rude

or insensitive comment. I said something that embarrassed my friend,

and really put my foot in my mouth.

. put our heads together – confer, discuss. Let’s put our heads

together and figure out a way to solve this problem.

. put someone in his or her place – scold someone for rude,

improper behavior. When she embarrassed me in front of my friends, I

angrily answered her back and put her in her place.

. put someone on a pedestal – idolize, worship. He has great

respect for his coach, and has put him on a pedestal.

. put something out of one’s mind – try not to think about it.

I’m worried about next week’s test, but I am going to relax and put it  out of my mind.

. put through the wringer – cause severe stress. The attorney

asked me many questions and put me through the wringer.

. put two and two together – make a conclusion knowing the  facts. She put two and two together and realized that he was stealing  from the company.

. put up a good front – pretend to be happy, fool people about

one’s status. Even though she is upset about the fight she had with her

friend, she put up a good front and smiled the whole time

they were together.

. put up with – patiently accept, endure. He has had to put up with

her terrible disposition if he wanted to remain married to her.

. quack – an ignorant or fraudulent doctor. The man paid the doctor  $. to fix his problem, but he still had a lot of pain.



I think that doctor is a quack.

. rack one’s brain – try to hard to think or remember. I racked my

brain to remember who I was supposed to call back.

. racket – easy, well-paying job, business that cheats customers. That

company is running a racket. They take money from people, but never

provide them with a service.

. raise eyebrows – cause surprise or disapproval, shock. It raised 

some eyebrows when the mother hit the little child in the store.

. rake it in – make a lot of money. Since business has improved, he is  really raking it in.

. rake over the coals – scold, reprimand, blame. My boss raked 

me over the coals for losing the big account.

. rat race – endless, competitive striving ; hurried material existence.  Working in the big city can sometimes feel like a rat race.

. raw deal – unfair treatment. I was the lowest paid worker in the

office. I believe I was given a raw deal.

. read between the lines – understand things that are not said,

find a hidden meaning. If you read between the lines, you will see that

this contract only protects the company and not the customer.

. real McCoy – the genuine thing. This artifact actually came from

the Titanic. It is the real McCoy.

. red tape – excessive formalities in official business. Many businesses

have been complaining about the amount of red tape that they must

deal with in order to get anything done with the government.

. right off the bat – in the beginning , immediately. Before

anything else happened, right off the bat he welcomed everyone

to the meeting.

. right under one’s nose – in an obvious nearby place. Even

though I never to my eyes off of the jewelry counter, someone stole a

watch right under my nose.

. ring a bell – remind one of something familiar. I’m sure I’ve seen

that man before. His name rings a bell.

. rip off – cheat, rob. This product I bought doesn’t work and is made

poorly. I was ripped off.

. road hog – person who takes too much room on the road. That

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


road hog is driving between two lanes and I think may cause

an accident.

. rock the boat – upset the status quo. If you tell everyone in

the office about the company’s plans to close, you may cause a lot of

problems. Don’t rock the boat.

. roll out the red carpet – greet a person with great respect, give

a big welcome. When the King of Jordan visited Washington, they

rolled out the red carpet and gave him a great welcome

. rope into – trick, persuade or pressure. She got roped into going to

the meeting even though she doesn’t work in that department.

. rough – approximate. This computer sells for roughly $.

. rub one the wrong way – annoy, bother, make angry. There is

something about his personality that just rubs me the wrong way.

. rub something in – constantly refer to a mistake or fault. She used

to rub it in that I was fired from my job. She is no longer my friend.  . rule out – decide against, eliminate. You will need some medical

tests because your doctor needs to rule out whether or not you may

have a virus.

. rule the roost – be the dominant one in the family. Although she

is very quiet and soft-spoken, I was told that she rules the roost

in her family.

. run around in circles – act confused, do a lot, but accomplish

little. I had so much to do that I was running around in circles.

. run out of – finish the supply, use up. The car’s gas tank was empty  and I was afraid that we were going to run out of gas.

. run ragged – tire, exhaust. I haven’t had a day off in  months and

feel like I’m running ragged.

. run (take) a risk – be open to danger or loss, unprotected.

Everyone is sick in your friend’s house. If you go and visit him, you are

running the risk of getting sick too.

. run down – in bad condition. Nothing seems to be working in this

car. It seems to be very run down.

. scalper – a person who buys a ticket at the regular rate and sells it at

a profit. There were many scalpers selling tickets before the game.

. scam – a plan to cheat someone. The woman finally got in trouble,

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


because it was found out that she was running a scam.

. scatter around – carelessly put in different places. Clothes were

scattered around the messy room.

. scrape the bottom of the barrel – take whatever is left after

best has been taken. We need to find employees for the new company

but all the talented ones are already working. It looks like we need to

scrape the bottom of the barrel and hire people with less talent.

. scrape together – get money little by little. I’ll need to scrape  together some money so that I can buy your car.

. scratch the surface – merely begin to understand or accomplish  something. He has been looking through the accounting books to find  all of the errors. There seems to be so many that he is only beginning to  scratch the surface.

. scrounge around – look in a lot of places for a certain item. I

need a  inch screw that will hold a part tight in the light fixture. I’ve

been scrounging around for an hour, but can’t seem to find one.

. second hand – not new, previously used. The little girl has been

wearing second hand clothes from her older sister for the past year. . see daylight – achieve or expect a favorable result. Now that most

of the inventory is done, we are beginning to see daylight.

. see eye to eye – have the same opinion, agree. My partner and I are

splitting up. We do not see eye to eye.

. see red – become very angry. I saw red when he told me that he

wouldn’t be at work tomorrow.

. sell like hotcakes – sell quickly, rapidly. His CD is becoming so

popular, it is selling like hotcakes.

. sell oneself short – underestimate oneself. Even though she is

the only one who knows how to fix all of the computers, she doesn’t

realize how valuable she really is. She is always selling herself short.

. send someone packing – tell someone to leave, dismiss. When he  broke up with his girlfriend, he didn’t want her living in his apartment  anymore. He sent her packing.

. serve time – be in jail. He served time in the county jail for driving  without a driver’s license.

. set one back – cost. These new shoes set me back $.

. settle down – live a quiet normal life. After they marry, they plan

to move out into the country, settle down and have a family.

. shape up – begin to act and look right. The school boy was hitting

other children and talking out in class. He was told by the teacher that

he better shape up or he will have to stand in the hallway.

. sharp – smart, witty, quick thinking. The supervisor is very sharp.

She knows how to quickly fix any problem that may arise.

. shell out – pay. We shelled out a lot of money to eat at that

fancy restaurant.

. shook up – upset, worried fearful. I got all shook up when I heard

the awful news.

. shoot full of holes – find great fault with. I thought my idea

was great, but my boss said it would never work. He shot it full of holes. . shoot the breeze – talk idly or gossip. Let’s go out after work and

shoot the breeze for awhile.

. shop around – look in many stores. She shopped around for the

perfect dress to wear to the party.

. shoplifter – one who steals goods from stores. The shoplifter was

stealing some merchandise and was caught by the security guard.

. short end of the stick – unfair, unequal treatment. I was the only

employee who had to work all weekend. I got the short end of the stick. . shrug off – dismiss, not be bothered or hurt. Even though his

classmates treated him badly, he didn’t let them bother him. He always  shrugged off their mean comments.

. sick and tired – disliking some continual behavior, annoyed. I

am sick and tired of listening to the loud music that my neighbors are

always playing.

. side with – favor, support one position in a dispute. My father

always sided with my sister even though he knew she was wrong.

. side-swipe – hit the side of a car. My car needs to be repaired. It was

side-swiped by a bus on my way to work today.

. simmer down – become quiet, calm. The teacher told the children

to simmer down because they were too loud.

. sink one’s teeth into – go to work seriously. I can’t wait to sink

my teeth into this exciting new project.

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


. sink or swim – fail or succeed by your own efforts. This venture is  going to be successful or a complete failure. It’s either going to be sink

or swim.

. sit right – be acceptable. His father doesn’t want him to go to a far

away university. It doesn’t sit right with him.

. sit tight – wait patiently. Sit tight while I run back to my house and

get my keys.

. sitting pretty – in a favorable situation. Their team is  points

ahead in the game. It doesn’t look like they can lose. They are sitting pretty. . six feet under – dead. The old man that used to live in that house

is now six feet under. He died a few months ago.

. size up – form an opinion, assess. Before I can give you my opinion, I

need to size up the situation.

. skeleton in one’s closet – a family secret. She has always

seemed distant and secretive. She has many skeletons in her closet.

. skip – forget, pass over. The teacher needed to skip a few questions on

the test because he ran out of time.

. sky high – expensive. After purchasing the new bed with all the

sheets and pillows, the bill was sky high.

. sleazy – shoddy, dirty, in poor condition. Her apartment was sleazy.

There was dirt and garbage all over the floor.

. sleep on it – think about, consider, decide later. Even though you

want me to take the new job, I need to sleep on it before I give you my


. slip one’s mind – be forgotten. I’m sorry I missed our appointment.

It must have slipped my mind.

. slob – a person who isn’t clean and neat. I don’t think that man has  washed his clothes in two weeks. He looks like a slob.

. smell a rat – become suspicious. When $ dollars was missing  from the company, I began to smell a rat and thought it may be  internal theft.

. smooth something over – make better or more pleasant. Even  though there has been many family problems, her mother likes to  smooth everything over and act like things are all good.

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


. snap – an easy task. Putting these folder files in order won’t take very  long. It is a snap.

. snap out of it – free oneself from the control of panic, fear,

hysteria. He was upset and crying so hard that he couldn’t snap out of it.

. snow job – insincere or exaggerated talk intended to trick or impress.  Even though he never worked a day in his life, he told everyone that he  was a successful attorney. He was giving everyone a snow job.

. snowball’s chance in hell – no chance at all. We’ve got a  snowball’s chance in hell to win the lottery next week.

. sob story – sad story that makes the listener sympathetic. The boy  forgot to bring in his homework. He gave his teacher a sob story and  told her that his dog ate it.

. sore loser – person who gets angry when he loses. That little girl is

a sore loser. She cries every time she doesn’t win a game.

. sort of – almost, not quite, similar to. I’m not sure what color this

shirt is. It is sort of blue and sort of green.

. sourpuss – a disagreeable person who seldom smiles. My teacher is  always in a bad mood. He is such a sourpuss.

. spic and span – very clean, very neat. Now that we have cleaned our  house, it looks spic and span.

. spill the beans – tell a secret, inform. She found out a secret and

told all of her friends. She spilled the beans.

. spine chilling – terrifying , thrilling. I don’t think that young  children should see this movie. It is spine chilling.

. spitting image – exact resemblance. The boy is the spitting image

of his father. They look like twins.

. split hairs – make trivial, unnecessary distinctions. The lawyers

were splitting hairs over the wording in the contract.

. split up – separate. Although they have been married for over

years, the couple decided to split up because they could no longer get along.

. splurge – spend a lot of money for something. When it came to

buying a new car, they splurged and bought one that was luxurious.

. spoiled – getting and expecting everything one wants. Their

children are so spoiled. They have every toy that you can imagine and

don’t seem to be appreciative.

. sport – a person generous with money. He took me out to dinner

and paid for everything. He was very sporty with his money.

. spring – pay. Because he just won some money in a contest, he

sprang for dinner.

. spruce up – clean, redecorate. We wanted to make our home look

good for the holiday party. We spent days sprucing it up.

. square one – in the beginning. Now that the computer had lost all

the information in the report, we will have to begin at square one.

. squeal- inform. Even though he was involved in the bank robbery,

he squealed on his partner so that he wouldn’t have to go to jail.

. stab someone in the back – betray someone. We were always so  friendly in the office. I cannot believe that he stabbed me in the back  and tried to have me fired.

. stand – tolerate, like. The president would not stand for corruption

in his administration.

. stand on one’s own two feet – be independent. Once he  graduated from college, he was able to get a job and an apartment and

he was able to stand on his own two feet.

. stand someone up – fail to keep an appointment or date. They

decided to meet at :. She waited for him for an hour and then

realized that he stood her up.

. stand up to someone – be brave, courageously confront someone.  Even though the bully was twice his size, the boy wasn’t afraid and was  able to stand up to him.

. start the ball rolling – take the initiative, begin an action. It  takes approximately one year to be accepted into that school. We  completed an application to start the ball rolling.

. stay away from – avoid. I always try to stay away from mean people. . stick one’s neck out – look for trouble, take risks. Although I

had nothing to do with the problem that he was having , I stuck my 

neck out to help him.

. stick it out – endure, continue. The girl was miserable at sleep

away camp but she only had one more week before it was over. She

decided to stick it out and stay.

. stick to one’s guns – to defend an action or an opinion despite an

unfavorable reaction. Everyone told me this idea was stupid.

I didn’t listen to them and stuck to my guns.

. stick up for – defend, help, support. Even though everyone makes

fun of her friend at school, she always sticks up for her and stands

by her side.

. stink – to be extremely bad quality, to be terrible. I was treated badly

on the phone when I called the company about the problem I was  having. I think their customer service department really stinks.

. straight from the horse’s mouth – directly from the person  involved. Even though we all heard about the John’s accident, it was  nice to here about it from John himself. We finally heard it straight  from the horse’s mouth.

. straighten out – put in order. He spent Saturday straightening 

out his clothing drawers and making everything neat.

. strapped – having no money available. Can you please buy my

lunch today? I am strapped for money until payday next week.

. strike while the iron is hot – take advantage of an

opportunity. He has been working very hard on his new business. It

has been taking off and he wants to strike while the iron is hot.

. strings attached – restraining circumstances, obligations. He

became company president, but he had to marry the owner’s daughter.

There were strings attached.

. stuck – unable to understand. I am stuck on this math problem and  I cannot figure it out.

. stuff – things. We need to buy a lot of stuff for the party.

. stuffed shirt – a person who is rigid or too formal. It is fun

working in my office. Everyone likes to laugh and have a good time

except for Ed. Ed is always serious, businesslike and never wants to

relax and have a good time. He is such a stuffed shirt.

. swamped – overwhelmed. I need to complete four reports by

tomorrow. I am swamped with work.

. swan song – final appearance. The actress died after completing the  role in this movie. This was her swan song.

. sweat bullets – be nervous, be very hot. I didn’t know how the  interview would go and was very nervous. I was sweating bullets.

. sweatshop – a factory that has poor conditions, long hours, low pay.

I feel bad for people who have to work in that chemical plant.

I have heard it is like a sweatshop in there.

. swell – terrific. Your boss has said great things about you. She says

that you are a swell guy.

. take a beating – lose money. Last year, everyone took a beating in

the stock market.

. take a crack at – try, attempt. Even though you tried to fix the toy

and couldn’t, let me take a crack at it.

. take advantage of – treat unfairly for your own gain, make good

use of time or conditions. Because I had a few days off of work, I took  advantage of all the time I had a read a few books.

. take after – resemble or act like a parent or relative. I see that he

takes after his dad in his ability to play basketball.

. take it – endure trouble, criticism, abuse, pressure. Everyone in

school told her how ugly and stupid she was. She was unable to take it

and eventually changed schools.

. take on – begin to handle, commit oneself to, accept. He took on a

great challenge when he became the CEO of a bankrupt company.

. take one’s hat off to someone – admire, respect, praise. I am

very impressed that you actually had your book published. I take my 

hat off to you!

. take over – take control, command. When the pilot became ill, the

co-pilot had to take over the controls of the aircraft.

. take someone for a ride – cheat, swindle. When my car broke  down for the third time, I realized that the car salesman really took 

me for a ride.

. take someone to the cleaners – win all of someone’s money,  cheat someone. He invested money in a business deal that went bad.  They took him to the cleaners.

. take something lying down – suffer without having a fight.  Someone said the he stole money from the company. He’s not going to

take that lying down.

. take something to heart – consider seriously. His parents

spoke to him about improving his grades. I hope he took it to heart.  . take a bull by the horns – take strong action. He needs more  money, so he is going to take the bull by the horns and ask for a raise.

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam


. take the Fifth – refuse to testify against oneself, as guaranteed by

the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. He asked the fat girl how  much she weighed. She was embarrassed and took the Fifth.

. take the plunge – do something decisive. I realized I gained a lot

of weight, so I finally took the plunge and decided to seriously go on a diet.

. take the words out of someone’s mouth – say something  someone else was going to say. I was just going to say that he was a liar.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

. take up – begin an activity or hobby. She plans to take up golf

next summer.

. take with a grain of salt – listen with skepticism. He told me

that he got all A’s in college. I don’t believe him. You should take it 

with a grain of salt.

. talk through one’s hat – make exaggerated or inaccurate  statements. She’s always talking about how much she is investing in the

stock market, but I think she is talking through her hat.

. talk turkey – discuss seriously, in a business-like manner. If you are

really serious about buying my car, let’s talk turkey.

. tearjerker – story that makes you cry. The movie we saw last night

was a real tearjerker.

. tell someone off – speak to angrily. Whenever she becomes too

arrogant, it is time to tell her off.

. think up – invent, create. The theme for this year’s party will not

work. We need to think up a new idea.

. third degree, the – prolonged questioning. When I returned

home from my date, my roommate wanted to know everything that

had happened and gave me the third degree.

. through the grapevine – via gossip from other people. I heard  through the grapevine that you are pregnant. Is that true?

. through the mill – experienced in difficulties of life. She’s had a  difficult life. She’s been put through the mill.

. throw cold water on – discourage. I really don’t want to throw  cold water on your business proposal, but I really don’t think that it is a

good idea.

. throw in the towel – surrender, give up. When he realized that there

was no way he was going to finish the race, he finally threw in the towel.

. throw one’s weight around – use one’s influence in a showy  manner. Because she was the boss’s daughter, she liked throwing her  weight around the office and tell everyone what to do.

. throw the book at – punish severely for breaking rules or the law.  They have a lot of evidence against that criminal. They are going to  throw the book at him at the trial.

. tickled pink – very happy. I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go  home. I was tickled pink that the party had finally ended.

. tide someone over – help someone through a shortage. Can you  please loan me $ and tide me over until I get paid next week?

. tie the knot – get married. She will tie the knot this spring.

. tied down – restricted by family or job responsibilities. When you

have children, pets and a mortgage, you feel tied down.

. tight squeeze – difficult situation financially. I don’t have the

money for that now. I am in a tight squeeze.

. tighten one’s belt – economize, spend and use less. Since he has

taken a cut in his salary, the family has needed to tighten their belt. . tightwad – person who is cheap and sting y. Whenever we go to

a restaurant, he always tries to leave without contributing any money

toward the bill. He is such a tightwad.

. tip someone off – warn, inform. The burglars were arrested

because the police were tipped off.

. to a T – perfectly, exactly. Although you have only been to my house  once, you described it to a T!

. to boot – in addition, also. She is trying to lose weight. So I was  surprised that after dinner, she ordered cake and ice cream to boot.

. to the hilt – completely, to the limit. He’s borrowed a lot of

money against his house. He is mortgaged to the hilt!

. tooth and nail – as hard as possible, fiercely. Although they were  going to take that an account away from me, I fought tooth and

nail to keep it.

. top-notch – excellent, the best. He never loses a court case. He is a  top-notch attorney.

. topsy-turvy – upside down, in disarray. When you move from one  apartment to another, everything is topsy-turvy.

. total – completely ruin. After the accident, my car was totaled and  was unable to be fixed.

. touch and go – very dangerous or uncertain. She was sent to the  hospital in very poor health. The doctors said that it was touch and go.

. tough break – unlucky event, misfortune. Breaking his leg in the  middle of football season was a tough break for John.

. tourist trap – any place that is overpriced and attracts tourists.

I hate going to that resort in the summer. They charge hundreds of  dollars a night for a tiny room. I think it’s a tourist trap.

. track down – search for. The balances in both accounts are not  matching. We need to track down the problem.

. treat – pay for someone else. He really helped me complete my  project, so I treated him to lunch.

. try something out – test. The store told me that we can try the  mattress out for  days to see if we like it.

. turn one off – disgust, bore, repel. When he started saying bad

things about my sister, it really turned me off.

. turn out – result, end. Although the movie was boring at first, it  turned out to be wonderful.

. turn over a new leaf – change one’s conduct for the better. My  little boy has recently started lying to his mother. After I spoke with  him, he told me that he is turning over a new leaf and won’t

do it anymore.

. turn someone down – reject. Although the job interview went

very well, he was turned down for the job.

. turn someone’s stomach – get someone sick and upset. It really  turns my stomach when little children treat their elders poorly.

. turn the tables – reverse the situation. We lost the game last

night, but tonight, we’ll turn the tables.

. turn to – go to for help. He was such a good friend. I always knew

that I could turn to him if I needed some money.

. turn up – appear. Those keys have been lost for a month. I am

hoping that they turn up soon.

. twiddle one’s thumbs – not busy, not working. Our department  has gotten slow this season. All we are doing is twiddling our thumbs.

. twist someone around one’s finger – influence someone

easily. He will do whatever she wants. It’s amazing how she has him

twisted around her little finger.

. two-faced – disloyal, untrustworthy. She’ll tell you that you have a

beautiful dress, but when you leave, she’ll say that you are fat and how

awful it looked on you. She is two-faced.

. under the table – illegal money transaction, such as paying a

bribe. She was paid under the table and continued to collect her  unemployment checks illegally.

. under the weather – not feeling well. I started sneezing this  morning and have had a bad headache. I am beginning to feel under

the weather.

. up one’s alley – something one enjoys, special interest. I’m going to

the art museum on Sunday. I know you love to paint, so this is right up 

your alley.

. up the river – in jail. The judge found him guilty and he was sent

up the river for  years.

. up to here with – disgusted with another’s continual behavior. My  phone bills are always so high. I am just up to here with them.

. up to one’s ears – deeply immersed in. I have a lot of folders sitting

on my desk. I am up to my ears in paperwork.

. up to par (neg.)– meeting normal standards. I have a headache and  don’t feel up to par.

. up to someone – someone’s choice. Because it is her birthday, it is

up to her what kind of birthday cake to buy.

. upset the applecart – ruin or spoil a plan or idea. Our plans are  perfect. Don’t discuss them with anyone. We don’t want to upset

the applecart.

. use one’s noodle (head) – think. He wasn’t using his noodle

when he offered to stay and clean up the mess.

. walk all over someone – take advantage of someone. He loves

her so much and she walks all over him.

. wash one’s hands of – refuse responsibility for, abandon. If he lies

or hurts you, you should wash your hands of him.

. washed up – no longer successful or needed, failed. Since he was  arrested, his movie career is all washed up.

. waste one’s breath – speak or argue with no result. I have told

her that she should stop smoking a thousand times. Don’t even  mention it to her, you’ll be wasting your breath.

. watch (or mind) one’s P’s and Q’s – act very carefully, pay  attention to detail. If you are having dinner with your boss, you have to

watch your P’s and Q’s.

. water down – dilute. The coffee is too strong. I think you need to

water it down.

. wear the pants – be the boss of the family. She makes all the big

decisions when it comes to finances. We all know who wears the pants

in that family.

. weigh one’s words – be careful of what one says. The boss is going to  interview me today. I don’t want to talk too much. I should weigh my words.

. well-off – rich, wealthy. She has traveled extensively throughout

the world. I believe she’s very well-off.

. wet behind the ears – inexperienced. He can’t manage the office.  He is still wet behind the ears.

. wet blanket – person who discourages others from having fun. She  was no fun at the party. She is a wet blanket.

. wet one’s whistle – have a drink, especially alcohol. I am so

thirsty. I would like to wet my whistle.

. what it takes – any ability for a job, courage. She is smart and  ambitious. She certainly has what it takes to be a doctor.

. when the chips are down – at the worst time, when one faces

the biggest obstacles. A true friend is someone who is always there  when the chips are down.

. whistle a different tune – change one’s attitude, contradict  previous ideas. The boss’s son doesn’t believe his father should pay  anyone overtime, but when he can work extra hours, he whistles a  different tune.

. white as a ghost – very pale because of fear, shock, illness. My

sister became as white as a ghost when she saw the man at the window.

. white lie – a harmless lie (told to be polite or to do something not  seriously wrong ). I told my boss a white lie and said that I was sick  yesterday when I actually wasn’t.

. wild goose chase – absurd or hopeless search. She did not want

the police to find her boyfriend so she gave them false information and

sent them on a wild goose chase.

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

. will power – strength of mind. Some people say you need a lot of

will power to quit smoking.

. wimp – spineless, non-assertive person. He never speaks up for

himself. He is such a wimp.

. wind up – end, finish. It’s getting late and I want to finish this project  and go home. Let’s wind things up.

. wing it – rely only on one’s knowledge, act without preparation.

They asked me to make a speech, but I did not prepare anything so I

just winged it.

. wisecrack – sarcastic or nasty remark. He is not very nice, so don’t

be surprised if he makes a wisecrack about your clothes.

. wishy-washy – having no definite opinion, unable to decide. He

never has his own opinion. He is very wishy-washy.

. with a fine toothed comb – very carefully. She lost her earring

somewhere in our house. We searched for it with a fine-toothed comb.  . with flying colors – with great or total success. She passed her

course with flying colors and now wants to go out and celebrate.

. within reason – sensible, reasonable, reasonably. I know you want

to buy my car. If your offer is within reason, then it’s a deal.

. word of mouth – recommendation from other people. His

business does not advertise. He became successful all by word of mouth. . work one’s fingers to the bone – work very hard. I had to type

many pages to put this book together. I have worked my fingers to the bone. . work out – find an answer, solve. I have added these numbers three

times and still get different answers. This problem can’t seem to be

worked out.

. wrong side of the tracks, the – the poor section of town,  implying social inferiority. She comes from a wealthy family. Her  parents did not want her to marry anyone from the wrong side of the tracks.

. yell bloody murder – express loud, emotional anger. Some babies  yell bloody murder if their mothers leave them with babysitters.

. You’re kidding – Really? Is it true? You’ve read every single entry

in this book? You’re kidding!

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

Best idioms for ielts students 2 Ielts Exam

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