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Part 299 – IDIOMS/PHRASES Previous Year Questions

Q1. Many of us have seen the dog who is full of beans outside the ring but, after stepping across the threshold of the ring, walks as if his feet are made of lead.
(a) successful
(b) popular
(c) lacks energy
(d) energetic
Ans:
(d) full of beans/life: having a lot of energy. Look at the sentence: The children were full of beans today, looking forward to their field trip. Here, energetic is the right option.

Q2. The only good news in this tale is that Hinson, who could be an all hat and no cattle poster boy, ultimately lost his job.
(a) one who puts others in trouble
(b) one who is hardworking
(c) one who doesn’t want to spend his own money
(d) one who is full of big talk but lacks substance and action
Ans: (d) all hat and no cattle: full of talk that is more impressive than that which one actually possesses or is able to do Look at the sentence He talks as though he knows more than anyone else, but he’s all hat and no cattle. Here, one who is full of big talk but lacks substance and action is the right option

Q3. At twenty, he was already going as bald as a cue ball.
(a) partially bald
(b) not bald
(c) completely bald
(d) crazy
Ans: (c) as bald as a cue ball/coot: completely bald. Look at the sentence His father was as bold as a cue ball. Here, completely bald is the right option.

Q4. In the following question, four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. Dog eat dog
(a) very vigilant
(b) steady manager
(c) ruthlessly competitive
(d) hostile and unhelpful
Ans: (c) dog eat dog: a situation in politics, business etc. where there is a lot of competition and people are willing to harm each other in order to succeed. Here, ruthlessly competitive is the right option. Look at the sentence: We’re operating in a dog eat dog world.

Q5. In the following question, four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. Fits and starts
(a) regular (b) unsteady
(c) rapid (d) puzzled
Ans: (b) fits and starts: frequently starting and stopping again; not continuously. Here, unsteady is the right option. Look at the sentence: Because of other commitments I can only write my book in fits and starts.

Q6. In the following question, four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. Gift of the gab
(a) eloquent
(b) puzzling
(c) deceptive
(d) embarrassing
Ans: (a) gift of the gab: the ability to speak easily and to persuade other people with your words. eloquent (Adj.): expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively Here, eloquent is the right option. Look at the sentence: Joe’s got the gift of the gab – he can sell anything.

Q7. In the following question, four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. In harness
(a) in office (b) to hold on
(c) gripping (d) in silence
Ans: (a) in harness: on duty; at work Here, in office is the right option. Look at the sentence: Despite his illness he’s determined to continue in harness.

Q8. In the following question, four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. Whole nine yards
(a) long clothing
(b) till last minute
(c) counting length
(d) everything
Ans: (d) whole nine yards: everything or a situation which includes everything. Here, everything is the right option Look at the sentence: When Dan cooks dinner he always goes the whole nine yards, with three courses and a choice of dessert.

Q9. Four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase Between the horns of a dilemma.
(a) a difficult situation / choice
(b) a challenging situation
(c) an unknown problem
(d) a combative situation
Ans: (a) between the horns of a dilemma: in a situation in which you have to make a choice between things that are equally unpleasant Here, a difficult situation/ choice is the right option. Look at the sentence How can we decide which hospital to close ? we are between the horns of a ditemma.

Q10. Four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. To eat one’s own words
(a) to offer bribe with sweet words
(b) to listen carefully
(c) to remain silent
(d) forced to retract one’s own statement
Ans: (d) to eat one’s own words: to admit that what you said was wrong ; forced to retract one’s own statement; misfit Here, forced to retract one’s own statement is the right option. Look at the sentence: They will eat their words when I win.

Q11. Four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. Square peg in a round hole
(a) understanding
(b) misfit
(c) competent
(d) most fit
Ans: (b) square peg in a round hole: a person who does not feel happy or comfortable in a particular situation or who is not suitable for it. Here, misfit is the right option Look at the sentence: She doesn’t have the finesse for this job; she’s a square peg in a round hole.

Q12. Four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. steal someone’s thunder
(a) take credit for something someone else did
(b) poor cry
(c) a useless attempt
(d) everything
Ans: (a) steal someone’s thunder: to get the attention, success etc. that somebody else was expecting ; take credit for something someone else did. Here, take credit for something someone else did is the right option. Look at the sentence: They all worked together on the pocket, but while submitting it, one of them stolen the thunder.

Q13. Four alternatives are given for the Idiom/Phrase printed in bold. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the Idiom/Phrase. Redtape
(a) official procedures causing delay
(b) label red for something dangerous
(c) to be cleared very fast
(d) a procedure for close scrutiny
Ans:
(a) red tape: official rules that seem more complicated than necessary and prevent things from being done quickly. Here, official procedures causing delay is the right option. Look at the setence: You have to go through endless red tape to get a residence permit.

Q14. turn a blind eye
(a) to take on a task that is way too big
(b) to work late into the night
(c) to present a counter argument
(d) to ignore a situation, facts or reality
Ans:
(d) turn a blind eye: to pretend not to notice something bad that is happening. Look at the sentence: The authorities were either unaware of the problem or they turned a blind eye to it. Here, to ignore a situation, facts or reality is the right option.

Q15. whole bag of tricks
(a) make use of the best resources from the ones that are available
(b) make use of all the possibilities or techniques to achieve something
(c) make use of all opportunities that cross your path
(d) make use of all tricks to win the hearts of people
Ans: (b) Here insight is the right option. whole bag of tricks: a set of methods or equipment that somebody can use. Look at the sentence: Hotel managers are using a whole new bag of tricks to attract their guests. Here, make use of all the possibilities or techniques to achieve something is the right option.

Q16. pull a rabbit out of a hat
(a) to let something happen and you have no control over it
(b) to do something unexpected
(c) to be someone worth having
(d) to make a special effort
Ans:
(b) pull a rabbit out of a hat: to suddenly produce something as a solution to a problem. Look at the sentence: Unless we can pull a rabbit out of the hat, our new venture will not really take off. Here, to do something unexpected is the right option.

Q17. let the chips fall where they may
(a) let your sacrifices in life be known to everyone
(b) let the difficult situations in life come to an end regardless of the results
(c) let the joys of life take precedence over your sorrows
(d) let something happen without bothering about the consequences
Ans:
(d) let the chips fall where they may: to do something without worrying about the effects of your actions Look at the sentence: She promised to ask a series of questions in her interview and let the chips fall where they may. Here, let something happen without bothering about the consequences is the right option.

Q18. going against the grain
(a) doing things differently from what you usually do
(b) doing things against the wishes of your close relations
(c) doing things which you never heard of
(d) doing things which no one else has ever done till now
Ans:
(a) going against the grain: to be or do something different from what is normal or natural. Look at the sentence: It really goes against the grain to have to work on a Sunday. Here, doing things differently from what you usually do is the right option.

Q19. Hold your tongue, my lad I’ll deal with you later.
(a) Be silent
(b) Cool the tongue
(c) Gargle
(d) Stick out the tongue
Ans: (a) hold your tongue/ peace: to say nothing although you would like to give your opinion Look at the sentence The party was supposed to be a surprise, but unfortunately the little boy couldn’t hold his tongue. Here, be silent is the right option.

Q20. If you read his letter between the lines, you will find that he has no faith in his colleague’s honesty.
(a) read in secret
(b) find out the inner meaning
(c) read an untidy letter
(d) strain your eyes
Ans: (b) read between the lines: to look for or discover a meaning in something that is not openly stated. Look at the sentence Reading between the lines I think she needs money. Here, find out the inner meaning is the right option.

Q21. The lawyer insisted on having the contract in black and white.
(a) orally
(b) figuratively
(c) obliquely
(d) in writing
Ans: (d) in black and white: in writing or print ; in a way that makes people or things seem completely right or wrong. Look at the sentence I never thought they’d put it in black and white on the front page. Here, in writing is the right option.

Q22. Our parents allowed us to watch films once in a blue moon.
(a) rarely (b) secretly
(c) forever
(d) everywhere
Ans: (a) once in a blue moon: very rarely Look at the sentence Once in a blue moon, I buy a fashion magazine, just to see what people are wearing. Here, rarely is the right option.

Q23. The teacher was taken aback by the student’s remark.
(a) surprised (b) hurt
(c) pleased (d) annoyed
Ans:
(a) be taken aback: to be shocked or surprised by somebody/something. Look at the sentence She was completely taken aback by his anger. Here, surprised is the right option.

Q24. caught redhanded
(a) caught by mistake
(b) caught with a redhandkerchief
(c) found wounded
(d) discovered in the act of doing
Ans: (d) catch somebody redhanded: to catch somebody in the act of doing something wrong or committing a crime. Look at the sentence: Tom was stealing the car and he was caught redhanded. Here, discovered in the act of doing is the right option.

Q25. gate crasher
(a) invader
(b) thief
(c) uninvited guest
(d) children
Ans: (c) gate crasher: one who goes to a party or social event without being invited. Look at the sentence: I don’t mind gate crashers coming to my parties, so long as they behave themselves. Here, uninvited guest is the right option.

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