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Directions: In questions 1 to 300, four alternatives are given for the idiom/phrase underlined in the sentence. Choose the alternative which best express the meaning of the idiom/ phrase and mark it in the Answer Sheet.

  1. To strain every nerve

(a)  to make utmost efforts

(b)  to feel weak and tried

(c)  to be a deligent worker

(d) to be methodical in work

  1. To flog a dead horse

(a)  to whip a dead horse

(b)  attempt to do the impossible

(c)  waste one’s efforts

(d) to take advantage of a weakness

  1. To show a clean pair of heels

(a)  to hide

(b)  to escape

(c)  to pursue

(d) to follow

  1. To die in harness

(a)  premeditated murder

(b)  dying young in an accident

(c)  to die while in service

(d) to be taken by surprise

  1. To feather one’s nest

(a)  to make residential house

(b)  something that lasts for a short time

(c)  to profit in a dishonest way

(d) none of the above

  1. To doctor the accounts

(a)  to make changes in account books

(b)  to clear the doctors’ bill

(c)  to verify the accounts in detail

(d) to manipulate the accounts

SSC CGL English

  1. She could never measure up to her parent’s expectation.

(a)  Reach the level

(b)  Work as hard

(c)  Assess the amount

(d) Increase her height

  1. The little girl with her flawless performance stole the show.

(a)  Stole something from the show

(b)  Crept into the show

(c)  Won everybody’s praise

(d) Disappeared from the show

  1. The thief was on good terms with the police.

(a)  Kept terms and conditions

(b)  Was friendly

(c)  Followed the rules

(d) Agreed with them

  1. John’s offer of help was turned down by the police.

(a)  Sent back              (b) Twisted around

(c)  Refused                (d) Handed over

  1. To be all at sea

(a)  a family voyage

(b)  lost and confused

(c)  in the middle of the ocean

(d) a string of islands

  1. To take to one’s heels

(a)  to walk slowly

(b)  to run away

(c)  to march forward

(d) to hop and jump

  1. To bite the dust

(a)  eat voraciously

(b)  have nothing to eat

(c)  eat roots

(d) to fail

  1. A bolt from the blue

(a)  a delayed event

(b)  an inexplicable event

(c)  an unexpected event

(d) an unpleasant event

  1. Cold comfort

(a)  absurdity

(b)  deception

(c)  slight satisfaction

(d) foolish proposal

  1. The reputed company is in the red due to the recession.

(a)  making money      (b) losing money

(c)  in danger              (d) spending money

  1. When the Principal was entering the class, all my friends quietly disappeared, leaving me alone to face the music.

(a)  to listen to him

(b)  to enter into the class

(c)  to bear the criticism

(d) to listen to a favourable comment

  1. The Kenyan team proved to be the dark horse in the ICC World Cup Cricket.

(a)  a strong intruder

(b)  a skilled team

(c)  the most powerful

(d) an unexpected winner

  1. Having no arguments to defend his point, the speaker began to beat about the bush.

(a)  wander across the words

(b)  speak in a haphazard manner

(c)  speak in a round-about manner

(d) make use of irrelevant reference

  1. They were offered six months’ rent in lieu of notice to vacate the building.

(a)  in spite of

(b)  in place of

(c)  despite of

(d) in addition to

  1. We know that he is the one responsible for the discord but as he is well connected all we can do is send him to Coventry.

(a)  transfer him          (b) commend him

(c)  boycott him          (d) dismiss him

  1. The noble man gave up the ghost.

(a)  left the ghost

(b)  lived like a ghost

(c)  invited ghost

(d) died

  1. A Prime Minister cannot ride roughshod over him ministerial colleagues for long.

(a)  deal unkindly with

(b)  take for granted

(c)  be high-handed with

(d) exploit wilfully


  1. He was down in the mouth as he was defeated in the elections.

(a)  unable to speak

(b)  very depressed

(c)  very angry

(d) very confused

  1. They say, join the Army to drink life to the less.

(a)  to have the best of fun and fortune

(b)  to enjoy a life of drinking and dancing

(c)  to have a life full of adventures

(d) to have the best of life

  1. The car in the backyard is proving to be a white elephant.

(a)  very huge item

(b)  costly and useless possession

(c)  very expensive investment

(d) useful material

  1. He takes leave once in a blue moon.

(a)  regularly

(b)  often

(c)  rarely

(d) once a fortnight

  1. The meeting has been put off indefinitely.

(a)  cancelled

(b)  postponed

(c)  advanced

(d) announced

  1. The rules of the deal are set forth in the brochure.

(a)  stated

(b)  accepted

(c)  contradicted

(d) printed

  1. She bought her new house for a song.

(a)  very cheaply

(b)  on loan

(c)  at a loss

(d) very easily

  1. Raju had given up doing exercise after surgery.

(a)  learned

(b)  started

(c)  continued

(d) stopped


  1. The chairman tried to get his point across, but the members just wouldn’t listen

(a)  give them a lesson

(b)  insist on

(c)  make them understand

(d) motivate them

  1. Ashok had all fair-weather friends.

(a)  friends who face difficulties calmly.

(b)  favourable friends

(c)  friends who desert you in difficulties

(d) reliable friends

  1. Since the company has lost a good deal of time and money, you will have to make good the loss.

(a)  make a good effort

(b)  try to minimize the loss

(c)  compensate for the loss

(d) ensure that there are no forth losses

  1. a damp squib

(a)  rainy weather

(b)  a disappointing result

(c)  a skirt in a laundry

(d) none of the above

  1. in cold blood

(a)  angrily                  (b) deliberately

(c)  excitedly               (d) slowly

  1. to take someone for a ride

(a)  to give a ride to someone

(b)  to deceive someone

(c)  to be indifferent

(d) to disclose a secret

  1. to move heaven and earth

(a)  to cause and earthquake

(b)  to try everything possible

(c)  to pray to all Gods

(d) to travel in a rocket

  1. to smell a rat

(a)  to smell foul         (b) to see a rat

(c)  to chase a rat        (d) to be suspicious

  1. The possession of Jerusalem is a bone of contention between Israel and Palestine.

(a)  a subject of peace

(b)  a subject of trade

(c)  a subject of dispute

(d) a subject of exports

  1. My friend turned a deaf ear to my tale of loss and refused to help me.

(a)  paid no heed

(b)  went far away

(c)  listened carefully

(d) turned his ear away

  1. Helena was over head and ears in love with Demetrius.

(a)  carefully

(b)  completely

(c)  brilliantly

(d) cautiously

  1. Gopi works by fits and starts.

(a)  consistently

(b)  irregularly

(c)  in high spirits

(d) enthusiastically

  1. Naresh Goyal had to stand on his feet very early in his life.

(a)  to be physically strong

(b)  to be independent

(c)  to stand erect

(d) to be successful

  1. It is high time he came out of his shell.

(a)  appeared suddenly

(b)  became more sociable

(c)  became a loser

(d) removed his clothes

  1. 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

  1. His blood ran cold when he heard his uncle was murdered.

(a)  He was frightened

(b)  He was horrified

(c)  He was disgusted

(d) He was depressed

  1. This is so simple that even a man in the street can understand it.

(a)  an ordinary person

(b)  an illiterate person

(c)  an unknown person

(d) a stranger

  1. When he went to claim insurance for his car, the agent said he hadn’t a leg to stand on.

(a)  had been injured in an accident

(b)  was lame

(c)  did not have much hope of getting it

(d) would have to wait for some time

  1. to cast aspersions

(a)  to act as the pillar of support

(b)  to raise aspirations

(c)  to make unpleasant remarks

(d) to dissolve all the differences

  1. on the cards

(a)  impossible

(b)  shocking

(c)  evident

(d) anticipated

  1. To turn over a new leaf

(a)  to change for the better

(b)  to start writing a new book

(c)  to work on a novel idea

(d) to clear the garden

  1. To keep up one’s appearances

(a)  to make public appearances now and them.

(b)  to maintain one’s looks and appearance.

(c)  to keep up an outward show of prosperity.

(d) to make it appear that one is not concerned.

  1. Off and on

(a)  repeatedly

(b)  always

(c)  occasionally

(d) never

  1. To take with a grain of salt

(a)  to make more palatable

(b)  to take a small quantity of

(c)  to make something meaningful

(d) to accept with misgiving

  1. To talk through one’s hat

(a)  to talk carefully

(b)  to talk softly

(c)  to talk nonsense

(d) to talk secretively

  1. Ins and outs

(a)  entrances and exits

(b)  detail and complexities

(c)  passages and pathways

(d) rules and regulations

  1. The thief passed himself off as a ticket examiner.

(a)  described himself

(b)  deceived everyone

(c)  disguised himself

(d) was regarded

  1. A brave soldier will never show the white feather in the face of his enemy.

(a)  show signs of cowardice

(b)  act arrogantly

(c)  show intimacy

(d) act impudently

  1. The poor man moved from pillar to post to get money.

(a)  went to pillars

(b)  went to post

(c)  went to money lender

(d) tried his best

  1. You have to be tactful in handling the sensitive matters rather than putting the cart before the horse.

(a)  treating these indifferently

(b)  behaving thoughtlessly

(c)  dealing with these in haste

(d) tackling things in the wrong way

  1. The boys cried with one voice that the examination should be postponed.

(a)  unanimously

(b)  vehemently

(c)  loudly

(d) strongly

  1. The scheme appears worthless at the first blush.

(a)  first attempt

(b)  firs sight

(c)  first step

(d) first phase

  1. His pronunciation was so bad and his voice so low that the speech he made was all
    to me.

(a)  strange

(b)  incomprehensible

(c)  inaudible

(d) uninteresting

  1. He looked blank when he was informed about his dismissal.

(a)  was without any emotion

(b)  was puzzled and surprised

(c)  was uninterested

(d) was unhappy

  1. That fellow trumped up a story

(a)  translated

(b)  sang with the music of a trumpet

(c)  concocted

(d) copied

  1. Though he is not a scholar, he wins arguments because he ha the gift of the gab.

(a)  gifts from many people

(b)  a lot of money

(c)  talent for speaking

(d) a good memory

  1. The A.T.S. set the bait to arrest the terrorists.

(a)  laid the trap

(b)  announced the reward

(c)  set the record

(d) put the bet

  1. I have decided to give it a shot.

(a)  click a picture

(b)  try something

(c)  pose for a picture

(d) injure someone

  1. He turned a blind eye to his son’s pranks.

(a)  pretended not to notice

(b)  paid special attention to

(c)  covered up for

(d) punished severely

  1. All his schemes to murder the king ended in smoke.

(a)  fructified gradually

(b)  came to nothing

(c)  were discarded

(d) were partially carried out

  1. This fashion of long flowing skirts will run its course.

(a)  continue for a long time

(b)  become very popular

(c)  develop and then come to its usual end

(d) end very soon


  1. The police caught the thief red-handed.

(a)  in a red uniform

(b)  with blood in hands

(c)  at a time of committing the crime

(d) after reading the rules

  1. 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

  1. His position in the company was on the brink of disaster.

(a)  at the top of          (b) at the point of

(c)  on the side of       (d) on the back of

  1. The car broke down just as it reached the edge of a cliff. It was indeed a close shave.

(a)  to share one’s brand

(b)  very risky

(c)  narrow escape from danger

(d) to be happy

  1. The parents are in high spirits as their son has got a decent job.

(a)  in good position

(b)  drunk

(c)  cheerful

(d) shocked

  1. When she realised that she had bought a fake product, she knew that her money had gone down the drain.

(a)  was lost forever

(b)  dropped in the drain

(c)  got washed away

(d) her money was safe

  1. Even though the new clerk was given a difficult task, he remained cool as a cucumber.

(a)  not nervous or emotional

(b)  caught cold

(c)  was happy

(d) was scared

  1. Some people do not grease anybody’s palm on any account

(a)  bribe                     (b) flatter

(c)  cheat                     (d) fight

  1. I had to pull strings to put up a good show.

(a)  play music

(b)  use personal influence

(c)  use the instrument

(d) play a song

  1. You can easily overcome this situation if you keep your head.

(a)  keep faith in

(b)  remain calm

(c)  believe in

(d) trust the others

  1. It is clear that the ideas of both reformers ran in the same groove.

(a)  promoted each other

(b)  clashed with each other

(c)  moved in harmony

(d) moved in different directions

  1. This place affords a bird’s eye view of the green valley below.

(a)  a beautiful  view

(b)  a narrow view

(c)  an overview

(d) an ugly view

  1. To foam at one’s mouth

(a)  to brush properly

(b)  to get very angry

(c)  to salivate on seeing food

(d) none of the above

  1. To feel like a fish out of water

(a)  disgusted

(b)  uncomfortable

(c)  disappointed

(d) homeless

  1. At the eleventh hour

(a)  to late

(b)  to early

(c)  immediately

(d) at the last moment

  1. to burn one’s fingers

(a)  to get hurt physically

(b)  to suffer financial losses

(c)  to find work

(d) to suffer nervous breakdown

  1. to add fuel to fire

(a)  to investigate        (b) to insulate

(c)  to initiate              (d) to incite

  1. To bring to light

(a)  to reveal

(b)  to conceal

(c)  to provide luminescence

(d) to appeal

  1. To hit the jackpot

(a)  to gamble

(b)  to get an unexpected victory

(c)  to be wealthy

(d) to make money quickly

  1. To bur the candle at both ends

(a)  to spend cautiously

(b)  to be stingy

(c)  to be extravagant

(d) to survive difficulty

  1. Status quo

(a)  unchanged position

(b)  excellent place

(c)  unbreakable statue

(d) long queue

  1. By fair mean or foul

(a)  without using common sense

(b)  without difficulty

(c)  in any way, honest or dishonest

(d) having been instigated

  1. at one’s beck and call

(a)  to attend a call

(b)  to be helped by someone

(c)  to be useful to someone

(d) to be dominated by someone

  1. to explore every avenue

(a)  to search all streets

(b)  to scout the wilderness

(c)  to find adventure

(d) to try every opportunity

  1. a red letter day

(a)  a dangerous day in one’s life

(b)  a sorrowful day in one’s life

(c)  an important or joyful occasion in one’s life

(d) both a dangerous and sorrowful day in one’s life

  1. to have something up one’s sleeve

(a)  to hide something in the sleeve

(b)  to play a magician trick

(c)  to have a secret plan

(d) to play hide and seek

  1. on the spur of the moment

(a)  to act at once

(b)  to ride a horse in a race

(c)  to act deliberately

(d) to act at the appointed time

  1. When my friend was in Kolkata, he ran into an old friend at the theatre.

(a)  hit

(b)  met accidentally

(c)  planned to meet

(d) invited

  1. The news of the President’s death spread like wild fire.

(a)  spread rapidly

(b)  caused a major confusion

(c)  was a wild rumour

(d) set the nation on fire

  1. Going abroad for a holiday was out of the question.

(a)  undesirable

(b)  impossible

(c)  unpleasant

(d) irresistible

  1. As a businessman, my father always maintained that his transactions constituted an open book.

(a)  an account book always open

(b)  a book of open confessions

(c)  an opening for new ventures

(d) straight forward and honest dealings

  1. The project advanced by leaps and bounds.

(a)  rapidly

(b)  slowly

(c)  sharply

(d) simply

  1. She is too fond of her own voice.

(a)  loves singing

(b)  very selfish

(c)  does not listen properly to anyone else

(d) very talkative

  1. Indian police is, on the whole, high handed in dealing with citizens.

(a)  kind

(b)  overbearing

(c)  prompt

(d) adept

  1. I take exception to your statement that I am bad tempered.

(a)  do not agree

(b)  feel unhappy

(c)  object

(d) feel angry

  1. His speech fell short on the audience.

(a)  had no effect

(b)  moved the audience

(c)  impressed the audience

(d) was quite short

  1. The officer called for an explanation from the cashier for the shortage of cash.

(a)  asked

(b)  begged

(c)  served a notice

(d) demanded

  1. We wanted the gift to be surprise for my mother, but my sister gave the game away.

(a)  lot the game

(b)  gave out the secret

(c)  gave away the gift

(d) withdrew from the plan

  1. The actress took cue from her brother and became successful.

(a)  some help

(b)  a hint

(c)  some money

(d) learnt acting

  1. Let us have a heart to heart talk to solve this problem.

(a)  good talk

(b)  emotional talk

(c)  frank talk

(d) loving talk

  1. To miss the bus

(a)  to miss the bus that one regularly takes

(b)  to miss an opportunity

(c)  to have something to fall back upon

(d) to find fault with others

  1. Birds of the same feather

(a)  persons of same caste

(b)  persons of same colour

(c)  birds with same type of feather

(d) persons of same character

  1. To fight tooth and nail

(a)  to fight a losing battle

(b)  to fight heroically

(c)  to fight cowardly

(d) to make very possible effort

  1. To call spade a spade

(a)  to be frank

(b)  to be sly

(c)  to be rude

(d) to be diplomatic

  1. by putting two and two together

(a)  to mix several things

(b)  to make an arithmetical calculation

(c)  to keep people in pairs

(d) to deduce from given facts

  1. to look down one’s nose

(a)  to show anger

(b)  to retaliate

(c)  to insult in the presence of others

(d) to regard with contempt

  1. to shed crocodile tears

(a)  to weep profuse

(b)  to pretend grief

(c)  to grieve seriously

(d) to mock something

  1. To call it a day

(a)  to conclude proceedings

(b)  to initiate proceedings

(c)  to work through the day

(d) None of the above

  1. To put up with

(a)  to accommodate

(b)  to adjust

(c)  to understand

(d) to tolerate

  1. To take to heart

(a)  to be encouraged

(b)  to grieve over

(c)  to like

(d) to hate

  1. Yeoman’s service

(a)  medical help

(b)  excellent work

(c)  social work

(d) hard work


  1. to-go scot-free

(a)  to walk like a native of Scotland

(b)  to get something free

(c)  to escape without punishment

(d) to save tax

  1. to see red

(a)  get broke              (b) get angry

(c)  feel lucky              (d) become rich

  1. in the nick of time

(a)  in an unexpected time

(b)  after some time

(c)  at a time when it was too late

(d) precisely in the right time

  1. the state has been set

(a)  the conditions are beyond control

(b)  the platform for meeting is ready

(c)  the situation is getting worse

(d) the situation is conducive

  1. on the side of the grave

(a)  outside the grave

(b)  by the side of the grave

(c)  in this world

(d) before going to grave

  1. A man who, while pretending to be your friend, sets a spy to watch your activities is indeed a snake in the grass.

(a)  secret enemy         (b) mean fellow

(c)  dangerous man     (d) cunning fellow

  1. The audience was greatly impressed though I spoke off the cuff.

(a)  away from the mike

(b)  without preparation

(c)  off the subject

(d) about the cuff

  1. After listening to the student’s statements, the teacher had to eat her words.

(a)  withdraw her words

(b)  stop speaking

(c)  apologize

(d) quarrel

  1. to lose ground

(a)  to become less powerful

(b)  to become less popular

(c)  to lose foundation

(d) to be without a leader


  1. to make both ends meet

(a)  to buy costly articles

(b)  live a luxurious life

(c)  to live within one’s income

(d) to please all people

  1. to fall back on

(a)  to oppose something important

(b)  to suffer an injury on the back in an accident

(c)  to fail to do something important in time

(d) to seek support out of necessity

  1. to make one’s blood boil

(a)  to make somebody furious

(b)  to develop fever

(c)  to get excited

(d) to make someone nervous

  1. She decided that she would get this job by hook or by crook.

(a)  by compromising or other responsibilities

(b)  by impressing interviewers

(c)  by any means, right or wrong

(d) by becoming a specialist in the field

  1. In a debate, no one is allowed to sit on the fence.

(a)  to avoid taking sides

(b)  to insult a speaker

(c)  to relax while others speak

(d) to agree with everyone

  1. The matter has been sorted out.

(a)  revised

(b)  supported

(c)  resolved

(d) changed

  1. The soldiers carried out the orders of the General very effectively.

(a)  exited                   (b) executed

(c)  supported             (d) applied

  1. The set off by car for Mumbai late in the evening.

(a)  started                  (b) travelled

(c)  entered                 (d) resonated

  1. Once his crime was discovered, he had no option but to come clean.

(a)  to deny the crime

(b)  to confess to the crime

(c)  to accuse someone else of the crime

(d) to apologize for the crime

  1. The employees were kept in the dark about the latest developments.

(a)  were informed after office hours

(b)  were informed when it was too late

(c)  were given secret information

(d) were not informed at all

  1. When things go wrong, everyone starts passing the buck.

(a)  analyses the problem

(b)  prepares to resign

(c)  pays a bribe

(d) blames someone else

  1. To keep the work away from the door.

(a)  to avoid a bad person

(b)  to clean the house

(c)  to avoid extreme poverty

(d) to visit the zoo

  1. To break the ice

(a)  to clear the snow

(b)  to start quarreling

(c)  to commence an interaction

(d) to revive old enmity

  1. Spick and span

(a)  neat and clean

(b)  hard-working

(c)  kitchen implements

(d) calm and quiet

  1. The pros and cons

(a)  good and evil

(b)  first and last

(c)  fair and foul

(d) for and against

  1. Build castles in the air

(a)  waste time

(b)  daydream

(c)  build houses

(d) work hard

  1. Sought after

(a)  highly paid

(b)  pursued by

(c)  in great demand

(d) with great talent

  1. All at sea

(a)  very proud

(b)  overjoyed

(c)  puzzled

(d) excited

  1. To hit below the belt

(a)  to punish

(b)  to tie with a belt

(c)  to hit with a belt

(d) to attack unfairly

  1. Pot-luck dinner

(a)  dinner where everybody brings something to eat

(b)  dinner where everybody brings his food

(c)  dinner where only soup is served

(d) dinner where  people eat and play games at the same time

  1. His friends beat the boy to pay off old scores.

(a)  to refund old dues

(b)  to take revenge.

(c)  to force him to be a scorer in a match.

(d) because he had not scored well earlier.

  1. Chintan is so innocent that he wears his heart on his sleeve.

(a)  Wears dress that does not match.

(b)  Expresses his feelings openly.

(c)  Wears colourful dresses

(d) Expresses his feelings with the shape of a heart printed on its sleeve.

  1. Tagore was a man of letters.

(a)  of wide contacts.

(b)  an excellent letter dictator.

(c)  a great writer of letters.

(d) proficient in literaterary art.

  1. The poor subordinates are made scapegoats by their superiors.

(a)  punished for other’s misdeeds.

(b)  developed poor relations.

(c)  treated humbly and respectfully.

(d) scolded with arrogant reactions.

  1. She was on the horns of a dilemma as she had either to leave her job or divorce her husband.

(a)  in nervous condition

(b)  in terrible mood

(c)  in difficult situation

(d) in suspense

  1. Brown study

(a)  to study sincerely

(b)  to study uselessly

(c)  deep in thought

(d) practical advantage

  1. The young boy was kicking his heels inspite of his mother’s stern warnings.

(a)  playing happily

(b)  kicking someone

(c)  forced to wait

(d) passing a gesture of disrespect

  1. She denied point-blank her involvement in the crime.

(a)  directly                 (b) desperately

(c)  stubbornly            (d) rudely

  1. It is hard to strike a bargain with a woman.

(a)  to finalize a deal

(b)  to negotiate a deal

(c)  to negotiate

(d) to deal

  1. He took his father’s advice to heart.

(a)  casually                 (b) patiently

(c)  seriously               (d) quietly

  1. Can you give me a hand with this luggage?

(a)  keep a watch on   (b) handle

(c)  provide me with   (d) help me with

  1. Fling away

(a)  to have an affair

(b)  to flare up

(c)  to throw violently

(d) to swing

  1. Stick by

(a)  to adhere closely

(b)  stand by someone

(c)  to paste

(d) to pass by

  1. Wink at

(a)  to tease somebody

(b)  to like someone

(c)  to pretend not to see

(d) to stare at

  1. To be on the wane

(a)  to complain

(b)  to be sick

(c)  to be on boat

(d) to be diminishing

  1. To give a person the cold shoulder

(a)  to offer someone ice-cream

(b)  to be humble

(c)  to threaten

(d) to treat coldly

  1. To get one’s back up

(a)  to become irritated or angry

(b)  to sit straight

(c)  to act proud

(d) to give support

  1. To strike oil

(a)  to have found on oil well

(b)  to have lucky success

(c)  to have a close escape

(d) to be unsuccessful

  1. To talk shop

(a)  to talk a lot

(b)  to use phrases peculiar to one’s employment

(c)  to like to shop

(d) to lie

  1. To draw a line

(a)  to fix a limit

(b)  to caution someone

(c)  to be stern

(d) to insult someone

  1. A swan song

(a)  melodious song

(b)  disharmonious display

(c)  utterance/ statement made just before death or retirement

(d) concocted tale

  1. Knit one’s brows

(a)  to disappoint somebody

(b)  to frown

(c)  to have a headache

(d) to express discontentment

  1. To plough the sands

(a)  to be extremely accomplished

(b)  to be resourceful

(c)  to be dejected

(d) to busy oneself in an unprofitable proposition

  1. To rip up old sores

(a)  to destroy something

(b)  to act cruelly

(c)  to reopen a quarrel

(d) to inflict pain on someone

  1. To rate soundly

(a)  to censure strongly

(b)  to acquire heavy profits

(c)  to be at peace

(d) to assure somebody

  1. To be no spring chicken

(a)  to be brave

(b)  to be honest

(c)  to be no longer young

(d) to be childish

  1. To take to one’s bed

(a)  to be very attached to one’s belongings

(b)  to lie in bed due to illness

(c)  to fight with one’s husband

(d) to agree with someone

  1. To stand on ceremony

(a)  to celebrate on occasion in grand way

(b)  to be extravagant

(c)  to get married

(d) to insist on excessive formality

  1. To be at sixes and sevens

(a)  a state of total confusion and disorder

(b)  to be a great success

(c)  to be certain

(d) to give away generously

  1. To break the ice

(a)  a strong man

(b)  to start a quarrel

(c)  to break the awkward silence

(d) to become violent

  1. Put one’s foot down

(a)  to demand

(b)  to take rest

(c)  to be firm about something

(d) to do something stupid

  1. Backstairs influence

(a)  one who is easily influenced

(b)  influential person

(c)  influence exerted secretly

(d) wife’s influence on her husband

  1. Long in the tooth

(a)  distant journey

(b)  rather old

(c)  ailment

(d) young

  1. A brazen-faced fellow

(a)  cruel person

(b)  ugly person

(c)  dark-complexioned person

(d) impudent fellow


  1. To see pink elephants

(a)  to dream

(b)  to anticipate luck

(c)  to be afraid of

(d) to have hallucination due to excessive alcoholic intake.

  1. Elbow room

(a)  opportunity for freedom of action

(b)  special room for the guest

(c)  to give enough space to move or work in

(d) to add a new room to the house

  1. French leave

(a)  a person who dies not take leave

(b)  leave without permission

(c)  to take long leave

(d) to take a day off and have fun

  1. To commit to memory

(a)  to learn by heart

(b)  to tax one’s memory

(c)  to be forgetful

(d) to commit oneself totally to a task

  1. To burn a hole in the pocket

(a)  to steal from someone’s pocket

(b)  to destroy other’s belongings

(c)  to be very miserly

(d) money that is spent quickly

  1. To bury the hatchet

(a)  to have found a treasure

(b)  to make peace

(c)  to purchase something without discretion

(d) to act in a suspicious manner

  1. To beggar description

(a)  something of least importance

(b)  something beyond description

(c)  to describe a beggar

(d) an accurate description

  1. To beat the air

(a)  efforts that are vain or useless

(b)  to be satisfied with one’s performance

(c)  to be extremely relieved

(d) to be very happy

  1. To provide against a rainy day

(a)  to provide plentiful

(b)  to provide for a possible future, in time of difficulty or need

(c)  to store for the family

(d) to store for the rainy season

  1. To be all eyes

(a)  to be cautious

(b)  watching closely and attentively

(c)  to be amazed

(d) to be non-plussed

  1. Swollen headed

(a)  to be suffering from illness

(b)  to be conceited

(c)  to be narrow-minded

(d) to be dump

  1. To stir up a hornet’s nest

(a)  to excite the hostility of people

(b)  to do some social service

(c)  to be totally at a loss in a situation

(d) to be bankrupt

  1. My hands are full

(a)  I am having a lot of things to carry

(b)  I am having lots of money

(c)  I am very busy

(d) I am anxious

  1. No love lost between them

(a)  to have a fight

(b)  to dislike each other

(c)  to be as friendly as ever

(d) to be upset

  1. To be hand and glove with someone

(a)  to be social

(b)  to be playful

(c)  to be annoyed

(d) to be intimate

  1. To play fast and loose

(a)  to deceive someone

(b)  to be agile

(c)  say one thing and do another

(d) to be efficient

  1. To take stock of

(a)  to imagine

(b)  to supply

(c)  to survey

(d) to attract

  1. A man of straw

(a)  a man of no substance

(b)  a man without means

(c)  a man of character

(d) a generous man


  1. Wolf in sheep’s clothing

(a)  to act on the sly

(b)  to be a good actor

(c)  to be a hypocrite

(d) to be money-minded or materialistic

  1. To cut someone short

(a)  to oblige someone

(b)  to assist someone

(c)  to interrupt someone

(d) to insult someone

  1. To stick to one’s colours

(a)  to refuse to yield

(b)  to be patriotic

(c)  to be notorious

(d) to be straightforward

  1. An old head on young shoulders

(a)  to be old before one’s age

(b)  to be wise beyond one’s age

(c)  to be youthful in spite of one’s old age

(d) to maintain good health

  1. To snap one’s fingers at

(a)  to honour someone

(b)  to greet someone

(c)  to beckon someone

(d) to treat with contempt

  1. Falling foul of

(a)  quarrelling with

(b)  becoming friends with

(c)  being dishonest with

(d) being scared of

  1. Harp on the same string

(a)  to play music

(b)  to dwell tediously on the same subject

(c)  to beat someone

(d) to acknowledge

  1. Keep a good table

(a)  to have an artistic taste

(b)  to throw a party

(c)  to be a good host

(d) to be extravagant

  1. Take up the cudgels

(a)  to take notice

(b)  to accept a present

(c)  to defend someone vigorously

(d) to accept a challenge


  1. Splitting hairs

(a)  to be worried

(b)  to be venturesome

(c)  to trouble someone

(d) to dispute over petty points

  1. A great hand at

(a)  to be a good artist

(b)  to be an expert

(c)  to be a good player

(d) to be generous

  1. To make a pile

(a)  to make a fortune

(b)  to make a mess

(c)  to be absent-minded

(d) to be corrupt

  1. Under someone’s wing

(a)  to work under someone

(b)  to be under someone’s protection

(c)  to be alert

(d) to be in the army

  1. To sow one’s wild oats

(a)  to swear

(b)  to be at ease

(c)  to engage in youthful excesses

(d) to till the land

  1. An olive branch

(a)  an offer of peace

(b)  an idea

(c)  a lady

(d) a wicked person

  1. Not worth a rap

(a)  worth nothing

(b)  very expensive

(c)  worth a lot

(d) modestly priced

  1. In merry pin

(a)  perplexed

(b)  merry making

(c)  embarrassed

(d) in a cheerful mood

  1. To leap the pale

(a)  to throw a bucket

(b)  to get into debt, to spend more than one’s income

(c)  to have much of fear

(d) to become pale

  1. To cut the gordian knot

(a)  to perform the opening ceremony

(b)  to be present at the opening ceremony

(c)  to solve a difficult problem

(d) to get a sharp cut

  1. To sow the wind and reap the whirlwind

(a)  to enjoy the fruits of hard work

(b)  to be deprived of one’s reward

(c)  to act wisely

(d) to suffer for one’s foolish conduct

  1. To play possum

(a)  to play hide and seek

(b)  to feign ignorance or pretend the be sleeping or dead

(c)  to cheat somebody

(d) to play seriously

  1. A grass widow

(a)  a young widow

(b)  widow who has illicit relations with men

(c)  a woman whose husband is temporarily away from her

(d) a working old woman

  1. Mad as a March hare

(a)  sane

(b)  intoxicated

(c)  as mad as a hare in spring

(d) slightly touched in the brain

  1. halcyon days

(a)  long days

(b)  short days

(c)  happy and peaceful days

(d) disturbed days

  1. Mother wit

(a)  to have an intelligent mother

(b)  university

(c)  silly

(d) common sense

  1. A blind date

(a)  a cloudy day

(b)  unknown future

(c)  meeting with someone you do no know

(d) death-day

  1. Much ado about nothing

(a)  to take something seriously

(b)  to play false

(c)  to make a fuss

(d) to add

  1. Judas’ kiss

(a)  wooing

(b)  a narrow escape

(c)  hypocritical affection

(d) a religious person

  1. To have no truck with

(a)  have no means of conveyance

(b)  scientifically backward

(c)  to have no trade with

(d) to have no dealings with

  1. to clean the Augean stables

(a)  to purge/ clean the administration of its abuses

(b)  to buy horses

(c)  to sell horses

(d) to improve working conditions

  1. A flay in the ointment

(a)  to clean a thing

(b)  to sterilise

(c)  Small annoyance that spoils a pleasant experience.

(d) an unsuccessful attempt

  1. Of the deepest dye

(a)  of the worst/extreme type

(b)  of the best type

(c)  of the most colourless type

(d) of the colourless type

  1. To throw up the sponge

(a)  to accept the challenge

(b)  to forge the past offences

(c)  to admit defeat

(d) to send message

  1. To rule the roost

(a)  to measure the height of something

(b)  to measure the depth

(c)  to strike with a stick

(d) to dominate

  1. bats in the belfry

(a)  to be mad

(b)  something needed cleanliness

(c)  an impending danger

(d) to be deceived

  1. To have a jaundice eye

(a)  to have jaundice

(b)  to have fever

(c)  to be prejudiced

(d) to lose colour

  1. Rank and file

(a)  Common people

(b)  Officers

(c)  People of high rank

(d) Army personnel

  1. To egg on

(a)  to egg on slowly

(b)  to destroy slowly

(c)  to give a walk over

(d) to instigate/ cause to proceed further

  1. To haul over the coals

(a)  to walk over the fire

(b)  to burn

(c)  to scold for something done wrong

(d) to throw into fire

  1. To draw a bead on

(a)  to say prayers

(b)  to count the beads

(c)  to do one’s best

(d) to take careful aim at

  1. Fabian policy

(a)  dictatorial policy

(b)  democratic policy

(c)  systematic policy

(d) policy of cautious persistence

  1. To play to the gallery

(a)  to try to get the appreciation from the least intelligent people

(b)  to try to win appreciation of intelligent people

(c)  to play in the gallery

(d) to disturb people sitting in the gallery

  1. Pyrrhic victory

(a)  permanent victory

(b)  Defeat

(c)  Easy victory

(d) Victory at high cost

  1. Go the whole hog

(a)  to do something thoroughly

(b)  sleep

(c)  to neglect duty

(d) to mishandle the case

  1. To bite one’s lips

(a)  to feel sorry

(b)  to repress one’s anger or other emotions

(c)  laugh at others

(d) to have doubt

  1. To hold someone in leash

(a)  to restrain

(b)  to be firm

(c)  to be unsure

(d) to touch the exact point

  1. To cool one’s heels

(a)  to give a cold treatment to somebody

(b)  to be kept waiting for sometime

(c)  a closed chapter

(d) a hot issue

  1. bag of bones

(a)  a bag full of bones

(b)  a dead person

(c)  a person about to die

(d) an extremely weak person

  1. All moonshine

(a)  show

(b)  lighted only by moon

(c)  false

(d) far from reality

  1. To shake the dust off one’s feet

(a)  to wash feet

(b)  to walk fast

(c)  to leave a place with a sense of resentment

(d) to rest after a long journey

  1. Off hand

(a)  Without preparation

(b)  Out of hand

(c)  Rehearsed

(d) In hand

  1. A bird of passage

(a)  a flaying bird

(b)  an unreliable person

(c)  one who stays for a short time

(d) bad time

  1. Count on

(a)  Depend on

(b)  as a result of

(c)  ceremonially

(d) to wait for the benefactor

  1. With a string

(a)  not to give any aid

(b)  to give unconditional aid

(c)  gift or aid with condition

(d) to accept aid


  1. To set stores by

(a)  to value highly

(b)  to hoard a large quantity of something

(c)  to set up store

(d) fix a price

  1. To draw the long bow

(a)  to shoot

(b)  to exaggerate

(c)  to criticize

(d) to admire

  1. to know the ropes

(a)  to recognize the lost things

(b)  to do rigging

(c)  to know the procedure of doing a job

(d) to flog

  1. To give the devil his due

(a)  to be just to a person even though he does not deserve such treatment

(b)  to surrender oneself willingly when one’s mistake is detected

(c)  to punish an innocent person

(d) to punish a guilty person

  1. In the swim

(a)  knowing latest current things

(b)  to cross a river by a boat

(c)  to cross a river by swimming

(d) to be in the river

  1. To knuckle under

(a)  to be in a crisis

(b)  to submit

(c)  to take rest

(d) to go to bed

  1. To have a dig at

(a)  to criticise someone

(b)  to sow seeds

(c)  to weed out

(d) to praise someone

  1. In vogue

(a)  in fashion

(b)  fair

(c)  smooth

(d) total absence

  1. There R’s

(a)  radiogram, radiograph, radio telescope

(b)  rabble, rattle, razzle

(c)  reading, writing, arithmetic

(d) rail, radar, raft

  1. A wild goose chase

(a)  foolish and useless enterprise

(b)  to hunt

(c)  a violent chase

(d) to speak harshly

  1. To rest on one’s laurels

(a)  to cease to strive for further glory

(b)  to be lazy

(c)  to be proud of one’s victory

(d) to die

  1. Raw deal

(a)  unjust treatment

(b)  unripe fruit

(c)  early state of business

(d) contract not yet finally decided

  1. A forlorn hope

(a)  a plan which has remote chances of success

(b)  hope about unforeseeable future

(c)  hope of a single person

(d) hope of a silly person

  1. Printer’s devil

(a)  an apprentice in a printing office

(b)  blunder

(c)  low type of printed material

(d) delay in printing

  1. To call on the carpet

(a)  subject to criticism

(b)  to summon for a scolding

(c)  a heartfelt welcome

(d) on the ground

  1. To bring the house down

(a)  to appeal greatly to the audience

(b)  to pull down a building

(c)  to defame one’s family

(d) to pass a bill unanimously

  1. To have an edge on

(a)  to cut with a knife

(b)  to threaten to wound

(c)  to be slightly better than

(d) to be in a dangerous situation

  1. In sackcloth and ashes

(a)  to cremate

(b)  in a state of great mourning

(c)  dirty clothes

(d) cheap clothes

  1. To put two and two together

(a)  to progress steadily

(b)  to compare the debit and credit

(c)  to conclude keeping in view the merits and demerits

(d) to appose as a last resort

  1. To weather the storm

(a)  to face a crisis

(b)  to survive a crisis

(c)  to be victim of a crisis

(d) to create crisis

  1. Lump in the throat

(a)  to be hoarse

(b)  a highly emotional state

(c)  food of low type

(d) wind-pipe

  1. To fight shy of

(a)  to keep aloof from

(b)  to fight social evils

(c)  to be bold

(d) to fight and win

  1. Hobson’s choice

(a)  lion’s share

(b)  the best choice

(c)  option of taking the one offered or nothing

(d) the last chance

  1. To hit it off

(a)  to quarrel

(b)  to be hostile

(c)  to agree or be congenial

(d) to threaten

  1. To whitewash

(a)  to clean a place

(b)  to work hard

(c)  to retrieve damaged reputation

(d) to use cosmetics

  1. Within an ace of

(a)  very close

(b)  within one’s means

(c)  within a narrow circle

(d) near centre

  1. To keep an open mind

(a)  to remember

(b)  to forget

(c)  to come to no decision on a subject until one knowns all the facts

(d) to be clear-headed

  1. Open question

(a)  a question put to all

(b)  a question without any generally agreed answer

(c)  a permanent problem

(d) a clearly-written/expressed question

  1. On one’s mettle

(a)  roused to do one’s best

(b)  to put on an overcoat

(c)  to safeguard against attack

(d) to use one’s own money properly

  1. To keep the pot boiling

(a)  to maintain interest

(b)  to heat

(c)  to show anger

(d) to do experiments

  1. Grist to one’s mill

(a)  grain to be ground

(b)  useful for one’s purpose

(c)  income from will

(d) to work one’s machine

  1. Kangaroo court

(a)  a group of kangaroos

(b)  the young kangaroo

(c)  unofficial court

(d) unofficial estimate

  1. Wool gathering

(a)  to become a shepherd

(b)  to shear sheep

(c)  to engage in idle or aimless day dreaming

(d) to live in the countryside

  1. Between Scylla and Charbdis

(a)  between two hills

(b)  between two rivers

(c)  between two enemies

(d) between two dangers

  1. Achilles’ heel

(a)  bare-foot

(b)  to run fast

(c)  to wait on somebody

(d) one’s vulnerable or susceptible spot

  1. To know which side the bread is buttered on

(a)  to know where one’s interest lies

(b)  to be a glutton

(c)  to be fond of rich diet

(d) to know how to increase one’s income

  1. To eke out

(a)  to subtract

(b)  to supplement

(c)  to etch

(d) to oust

  1. To be in the doldrums

(a)  to be in low spirits

(b)  to be within doors

(c)  to praise loudly

(d) to be in a crisis

  1. Wild cat strike

(a)  a furious attack

(b)  strike not approved by the trade union

(c)  a strike in which violence is committed

(d) to face a strong enemy

  1. Blind alley

(a)  blindness due to old age

(b)  a dark room

(c)  unprofitable action

(d) to continue to make efforts in spite of confusion

  1. Tied to the apron strings of

(a)  be independent

(b)  to be dominated by

(c)  to live together

(d) to fall in love with


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Grammar rules for Tenses


1. (a) 31. (d) 61. (d) 91. (d) 121. (b) 151. (d) 181. (a) 211. (b) 241. (a) 271. (a)
2. (b) 32. (c) 62. (a) 92. (c) 122. (a) 152. (b) 182. (c) 212. (c) 242. (d) 272. (a)
3. (b) 33. (c) 63. (b) 93. (a) 123. (b) 153. (b) 183. (c) 213. (c) 243. (c) 273. (b)
4. (c) 34. (c) 64. (b) 94. (c) 124. (c) 154. (b) 184. (c) 214. (d) 244. (d) 274. (a)
5. (c) 35. (b) 65. (a) 95. (d) 125. (b) 155. (d) 185. (b) 215. (b) 245. (d) 275. (c)
6. (d) 36. (a) 66. (c) 96. (d) 126. (d) 156. (a) 186. (d) 216. (a) 246. (a) 276. (b)
7. (a) 37. (b) 67. (c) 97. (c) 127. (d) 157. (c) 187. (d) 217. (b) 247. (d) 277. (c)
8. (c) 38. (b) 68. (a) 98. (c) 128. (c) 158. (c) 188. (c) 218. (c) 248. (a) 278. (b)
9. (b) 39. (d) 69. (b) 99. (a) 129. (a) 159. (c) 189. (b) 219. (a) 249. (b) 279. (b)
10. (c) 40. (c) 70. (a) 100. (b) 130. (b) 160. (a) 190. (a) 220. (a) 250. (a) 280. (a)
11. (b) 41. (a) 71. (b) 101. (a) 131. (a) 161. (a) 191. (d) 221. (d) 251. (b) 281. (c)
12. (b) 42. (b) 72. (c) 102. (b) 132. (b) 162. (c) 192. (b) 222. (b) 252. (d) 282. (c)
13. (d) 43. (b) 73. (c) 103. (d) 133. (c) 163. (d) 193. (b) 223. (c) 253. (d) 283. (c)
14. (d) 44. (b) 74. (c) 104. (a) 134. (d) 164. (c) 194. (a) 224. (d) 254. (c) 284. (a)
15. (c) 45. (b) 75. (b) 105. (d) 135. (a) 165. (a) 195. (b) 225. (b) 255. (a) 285. (c)
16. (c) 46. (d) 76. (c) 106. (b) 136. (c) 166. (c) 196. (b) 226. (c) 256. (c) 286. (b)
17. (c) 47. (a) 77. (c) 107. (c) 137. (a) 167. (d) 197. (b) 227. (c) 257. (a) 287. (a)
18. (d) 48. (a) 78. (a) 108. (a) 138. (c) 168. (d) 198. (a) 228. (c) 258. (c) 288. (a)
19. (c) 49. (c) 79. (a) 109. (d) 139. (b) 169. (a) 199. (c) 229. (d) 259. (a) 289. (b)
20. (b) 50. (c) 80. (a) 110. (b) 140. (a) 170. (b) 200. (c) 230. (c) 260. (b) 290. (c)
21. (c) 51. (d) 81. (b) 111. (b) 141. (b) 171. (b) 201. (d) 231. (c) 261. (c) 291. (c)
22. (d) 52. (a) 82. (b) 112. (c) 142. (d) 172. (a) 202. (c) 232. (c) 262. (a) 292. (d)
23. (c) 53. (c) 83. (c) 113. (b) 143. (d) 173. (c) 203. (c) 233. (d) 263. (a) 293. (d)
24. (b) 54. (c) 84. (c) 114. (d) 144. (c) 174. (b) 204. (a) 234. (a) 264. (b) 294. (a)
25. (c) 55. (d) 85. (c) 115. (d) 145. (c) 175. (d) 205. (c) 235. (c) 265. (a) 295. (b)
26. (b) 56. (c) 86. (b) 116. (a) 146. (a) 176. (c) 206. (c) 236. (a) 266. (a) 296. (a)
27. (c) 57. (b) 87. (d) 117. (d) 147. (d) 177. (a) 207. (a) 237. (c) 267. (c) 297. (b)
28. (b) 58. (c) 88. (b) 118. (d) 148. (b) 178. (c) 208. (b) 238. (d) 268. (a) 298. (c)
29. (a) 59. (a) 89. (d) 119. (b) 149. (c) 179. (b) 209. (d) 239. (a) 269. (a) 299. (b)
30. (a) 60. (d) 90. (a) 120. (a) 150. (c) 180. (d) 210. (a) 240. (c) 270. (a)



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26 Responses to “SSC CGL English: IDIOMS & PHRASES”

  • Shahir says:

    Hi team,

    I am one of those big visitors of your website. I use to study lots of stuff from your website which were very useful for my exams. U have a very good collection of Idioms and phrases. But today I had found that idioms and phrases are not accessible now. Hope U resolve the issue ASAP.


  • Baljit Dhaka says:

    Every topic has accessible. We have done right click disable only. As many websites have copied our contents. Our contents are education purpose for SSC CGL aspirants not for websites owners to get commercial benefits.

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