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Part 290 – IDIOMS/PHRASES Previous Year Questions

Q1. He is a cut above all the other boys in the group.
(a) quite taller than
(b) more active than
(c) a little rougher than
(d) rather superior to
Ans: (d) A cut above somebody: better than somebody/something. His latest novel is a cut above the rest. The best option is rather superior to

Q2. As soon as the police arrived, the bank robbers showed the white flag.
(a) calmly left the scene
(b) surrendered
(c) ran away
(d) were incensed
Ans: (b) show white flag: a sign that you accept defeat and wish to stop fighting The soldiers laid down their guns and walked towards the enemy camp, carrying a white flag. The best option is surrendered

Q3. to cut one short.
(a) to love one
(b) to insult one
(c) to criticise one
(d) to interrupt one
(d) to cut one short: to interrupt one It is bad to cut one short at a meeting. The best option is to interrupt one

Q4. We must work with all our might and main, otherwise we cannot succeed.
(a) full force
(b) complete trust
(c) exceptional skill
(d) full unity
Ans: (a) all our might and main: with great strength, energy or power. The huge warrior, with all his might and main, could not break his way through the castle gates. The best option is full force

Q5. The sailors nailed their colours to their mast.
(a) put up a colourful mast
(b) refused to climb down
(c) took over the ship
(d) decided to abandon the ship
Ans: (b) Nail your colours to the mast: to say publicly and firmly what you believe or who you support. They nailed their colours to the mask of youth revolt. The best option is refused to climb down

Q6. We had better batten down the hatches. The weather is unpredictable.
(a) stay indoor
(b) prepare for a difficult situation
(c) go somewhere safe
(d) face the obstacles
Ans: (b) batten down the hatches: to prepare yourself for a period of difficulty or trouble. A natural tendency in times of recession is to batten down the hatches and think about our own needs. The best option is prepare for a difficult situation.

Q7. It is difficult to have a sensible discussion with her as she flies off at a tangent.
(a) gets carried away
(b) starts discussing something irrelevant
(c) loses her temper easily
(d) does not really understand anything
Ans: (b) Fly/go off at tangent: to suddenly start saying or doing something that does not seem to be connected to what has gone before. He never sticks to the point but keeps going off at a tangent The best option is starts discussing something irrelevant.

Q8. The students found it hard to go at equal speed with the professor.
(a) get away from
(b) put up with
(c) keep up with
(d) race against
(c) be at equal speed: to advance at the same rate as someone/ something You’re running so fast that I cannot be at equal speed with you. The best option is keep up with.

Q9. Let us bury the hatchet and be friends again.
(a) hide the axe
(b) keep the secret
(c) forget the quarrels
(d) work together
(c) Bury the hatchet: to stop being unfriendly and become friends again. After not speaking to each other for years, the two brothers decided to bury the hatchet. The best option is forget the quarrels.

Q10. The thief managed to escape by the skin of his teeth.
(a) by running very fast
(b) by getting help from his friend
(c) by the narrowest margin
(d) by disguising himself
(c) By the skin of your teeth: If you do something by the skin of your teeth, you only just manage to do it. He escaped defeat by the skin of his teeth. The best option is by the narrowest margin.

Q11. William left us with a heartwrenching swan song.
(a) last cry
(b) last gift
(c) last prayer
(d) last performance
Ans: (d) Swan song: the last piece of work produced. The building turned out to be the swan song of Victorian architecture The best option is last performance

Q12. The hunter began to suspect that he had been sent on a wild goose chase as there was no white elephant in the forest.
(a) to hunt
(b) a foolish and useless enterprise
(c) a violent chase
(d) to speak harshly
Ans: (b) a wild goose chase: a search for something that is impossible for you to find or that does not exist, that makes you waste a lot of time. I wasted all afternoon on a wild goose chase. The best option is a foolish and useless enterprise

Q13. The Director’s ideas for the development of the company are all moonshine.
(a) nonsense (b) superficial
(c) outdated (d) exemplary
(a) All moonshine: silly talk; nonsense. That’s just moonshine I don’t believe a word. The best option is nonsense

Q14. To be a successful lawyer, one must know how to dot one’s i’s and cross one’s t’s.
(a) complete one task at a time
(b) write great letters
(c) deal with paperwork
(d) be detailed and exact
Ans: (d) dot your i’s and cross your t’s: to pay attention to the small details when you are finishing a task The negotiations are nearly finished, but we still have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. The best option is be detailed and exact

Q15. When Ramu lost the money, he was down in the dumps.
(a) accusing others of stealing
(b) searching everywhere
(c) sad and depressed
(d) very angry at himself
Ans: (c) down in the dumps: feeling unhappy He’d been down in the dumps since there was a theft at his place. The best option is sad and depressed

Q16. He turned up his nose at my offer.
(a) was taken aback by my offer
(b) found it hard to believe my offer
(c) treated my offer with contempt
(d) could not accept my offer
Ans: (c) turn up one’s nose: to regard something with scorn/ contempt They turned their noses up at the only hotel that was available. The best option is treated my offer with contempt

Q17. There are no hard and fast rules that cannot be relaxed on such an occasion.
(a) that is difficult to solve
(b) that can be altered
(c) that is very quick
(d) that cannot be altered
Ans: (d) hard and fast: that cannot be changed in any circumstances This situation isn’t hard and fast. The best option is that cannot be altered

Q18. Her father strained every nerve to enable her to get settled in life.
(a) worked very hard
(b) spent a huge amount
(c) tried all tricks
(d) bribed several persons
(a) strain every nerve: to try as hard as you can to do something He strained every nerve to snatch victory from defeat. The best option is worked very hard

Q19. The present manner of delimitation has been done in a gerrymandering way.
(a) in a legal and constitutional manner
(b) in a judicial and fair way
(c) in a manipulative and unfair way
(d) in a dictative manner like the Germans
Ans: (c) Gerrymander (Verb): to change the size and borders of an area for voting in order to give an unfair advantage to one party in an election The city had been gerry mandered so that the party might retain the control. The best option is in a manipulative and unfair way.

Q20. The performance of the lead actors in the play brought the house down.
(a) made the audience applaud enthusiastically
(b) made the audience leave
(c) made the audience cry
(d) made the audience request an encore
Ans: (a) Bring the house down: to make everyone laugh or cheer The clown sang a duet with the talking horse, which brought the house down. The best option is made the audience applaud enthusiastically.

Q21. People like her, who are salt of the earth, are very difficult to find.
(a) dedicated to better the world
(b) good, honest and ideal
(c) extraordinary
(d) one with the common folk
Ans: (b) Salt of the earth: a very good and honest person that you can always depend on. Farmers are described as the salt of the earth The best option is good, honest and ideal.

Q22. The Alpha and Omega
(a) beginning and end
(b) a Shakespearean play
(c) a Greek song
(d) a Swiss watch
Ans: (a) alpha and omega: the first and the last ; the most important part He was forced to learn the alpha and omega of corporate law in order to talk even to the lawyers. The best option is beginning and end.

Q23. Jane earned pin money working parttime as a waitress.
(a) saved money
(b) additional money
(c) a small amount of money
(d) money to be spent only for luxuries and treats
(c) pin money: a small amount of money, especially when this is used for buying things you want rather than things that you need. She earns a little pin money doing ironing for other people. The best option is a small amount of money.

Q24. Indians are going places in the field of software technology.
(a) going abroad
(b) going to spaces
(c) talented and successful
(d) friendly and amicable
Ans: (c) Be going places: to be getting more and more successful in your life or career. Mary is a talented writer; she’s definitely going places. The best option is talented and successful.

Q25. She is a person who pulls no punches.
(a) speaks politely
(b) speaks frankly
(c) speaks rudely
(d) speaks sweetly
Ans: (b) pull no punches: to deal with something honestly without hiding anything The doctor pulled no punches but telling us the truth. The best option is speaks frankly

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