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Part 301 – IDIOMS/PHRASES Previous Year Questions

Q1. bone of contention
(a) a delicious nonvegetarian item
(b) an item which made them content
(c) cause for quarrel
(d) A link between them
Ans:
(c) a bone of contention: a subject which causes disagreement and arguments between people. Look at the sentence: Kashmir is a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Hence, cause for quarrel is the right option.

Q2. to eat humble pie
(a) to eat an unsavoury pie
(b) to be served food that is rotten
(c) to yield under humiliating circumstances
(d) to give in to political pressure
Ans: (c) to eat humble pie: to apologise and face humiliation for a serious error; to admit that you are wrong Here, to yield under humiliating circumstances is the right option. Look at the sentence: I think I am right, but if I am wrong, I will eat humble pie.

Q3. to end in smoke
(a) to fail
(b) to create smoke
(c) to end
(d) to emit smoke
Ans: (a) (a) to end in smoke: to come to nothing; fail. Here, to fail is the right option. Look at the sentence: All the efforts of the principal to bring him round ended in smoke.

Q4. to spill the beans
(a) to reveal partial truth
(b) to be untidy
(c) to reveal a secret
(d) to conceal a fact
Ans:
(c) (a) to spill the beans: reveal secret information indiscreetly. Here, to reveal a secret is the right option. Look at the sentence: I spilled the beans about the surprise party, by telling the birthday girl.

Q5. cut the mustard
(a) to get under expectations
(b) to score average
(c) to perform well
(d) to underperform
Ans: (c) cut the mustard: to be as good as expected or required. Look at the sentence: I did not cut the mustard as a hockey player. Here, to perform well is the right option

Q6. a chip off the old block
(a) reminds them of one’s father
(b) to remind of one’s son
(c) reminds them of one’s son
(d) reminds of previous memories
Ans: (a) a chip off the old block: a person who is very similar to their mother or father in the way that they look or behave. Look at the sentence: She enjoys bossing people around just like her mother used to do – she’s a real chip off the old block Here, reminds them of one’s father is the right option

Q7. to fish in troubled waters
(a) to indulge in evil conspiracies
(b) to make a profit out of disturbance
(c) to aggravate the situation
(d) to make the most of bad bargain
Ans:
(b) to fish in troubled waters: to try to win an advantage from a difficult situation or from someone else’s problems. Look at the sentence: He is fishing in troubled waters by buying more shares of that company. Here, to make a profit out of disturbance is the right option

Q8. bark is worse than his bite
(a) threat is worse than the action taken.
(b) temper cannot be controlled.
(c) ferocious scolding hurt more than his action.
(d) anger is always justified.
Ans: (a) bark is worse than bite: threat is worse than the action taken. Here, threat is worse than the action taken is the right option Look at the sentences: I wouldn’t be scared of her if I were you. Her bark’s a lot worse than her bite.

Q9. throw caution to the winds
(a) to be fearful
(b) to warn others not to travel
(c) to behave recklessly
(d) to behave with care and caution
Ans: (c) throw caution to the winds: to do something without worrying about the risk; to behave recklessly. Here, to behave recklessly is the right option. Look at the sentence: I threw caution to the wind and bought the most expensive one.

Q10. ill at ease
(a) unwell (b) irritated
(c) uneasy (d) confused
Ans:
(c) ill at ease: uncomfortable or embarrassed Here, uneasy is the right option. Look at the sentence: I just shifted in my seat, feeling very nervous and ill at ease.

Q11. to get cold feet
(a) drenched (b) fear
(c) felicitate (d) fever
Ans: (b) to get cold feet: to suddenly become nervous about doing something. Here, fear is the right option. Look at the sentence: He was going to ask her but he got cold feet and said nothing.

Q12. beside the mark
(a) perfect
(b) not to the point
(c) relevant (d) charming
Ans: (b) beside the mark: not to be accurate. Here, not to the point is the right option Look at the sentence: Her answer is beside the mark, so she will not be given good marks.

Q13. on tenterhooks
(a) happy and excited
(b) in suspense and anxiety
(c) angry and irritated
(d) surprised and shocked
Ans:
(b) on tenterhooks: very anxious or excited Here, in suspense and anxiety is the right option. Look at the sentence: I have been on tenterhooks all week waiting for the results.

Q14. burn your boats
(a) have a burning desire to win
(b) become extremely tired after working very hard
(c) do something that makes it impossible to return to the previous situation
(d) want to spend money as soon as you get it
Ans: (c) burn your boats/bridges: to do something that makes it impossible to return to the previous situation later. Here, do something that makes it impossible to return to the previous situation is the right option. Look at the sentence: Think carefully before you resignyou don’t want to burn your bridges/ boats.

Q15. dressingdown
(a) apply bandage
(b) wear an expensive gown
(c) give a scolding
(d) pretend
Ans: (c) dressingdown (N.): an occasion when somebody speaks angrily to a person because they have done something wrong. Here, give a scolding is the right option. Look at the sentence I’m really late. I know my parents will dress me down when I get home.

Q16. null and void
(a) invalid (b) observant
(c) uncontrolled(d) homeless
Ans:
(a) null and void: having no legal force; not valid Here, invalid is the right option. Look at the sentence: The contract was declared null and void.

Q17. catch a tartar
(a) to catch a dangerous person
(b) to deal with a person who is more than one’s match
(c) to trap a wanted criminal with great difficulty
(d) to live careful ly and cautiously
Ans: (b) catch a tartar: to deal with someone or something that proves unexpectedly troublesome or powerful. Here, to deal with a person who is more than one’s match is the right option. Look at the sentnece: It looks like we caught a Tartar when we tried to muscle their store out of the area.

Q18. cap in hand
(a) defiant
(b) screaming
(c) well behaved
(d) in a respectful manner
Ans: (d) go/come cap in hand: to ask someone for money or help in a polite way which makes you feel ashamed. Here, in a respectful manner is the right option. Look at the sentence: I had to go cap in hand to my parents again to ask for some money.

Q19. in the blues
(a) cheerless and depressed
(b) violent and angry
(c) wearing blue badges
(d) singing sad songs
Ans:
(a) in the blues: feelings of sadness and depression. Here, cheerless and depressed is the right option. Look at the sentence: She went in the blues after the failure in the exam.

Q20. straw in the wind
(a) a lightweight object
(b) a lucky charm
(c) a game that kids play
(d) an indication of what might happen
Ans: (d) straw in the wind: a small sign of what might happen in the near future. Here, an indication of what might happen is the right option. Look at the sentence: There were straws in the wind that suggested a strike was likely.

Q21. face the music
(a) be applauded
(b) be ridiculed
(c) be punished
(d) be dismissed
Ans: (c) face the music: to accept and deal with criticism or punishment for something you have done. Here, be punished is the right option. Look at the sentence: The others all ran off, leaving me to face the music.

Q22. curry favour
(a) seek impartial judgement
(b) seek favourable attention
(c) prepare a dish
(d) attract attention
Ans:
(b) curry favour: to try to get somebody to like or support you by praising or helping. Here, seek favourable attention is the right option. Look at the sentence: He’s always trying to carry favour with the boss.

Q23. to keep in abeyance
(a) in a state of permanence
(b) in a state of emergency
(c) in a state of suspension
(d) in a state of revision
Ans: (c) to keep in abeyance: not being used or being stopped for a period of time. Here, in a state of suspension is the right option. Look at the sentence: The law has been kept in abeyance.

Q24. to be in a fix
(a) in pain
(b) in distress
(c) depressed
(d) in a difficult situation
Ans: (d) to be in a fix: in a difficult situation ; mess. Look at the sentence: We have got ourselves in a fix about this. Here, in a difficult situation is the right option.

Q25. to break the ice
(a) made people angry
(b) made people laugh
(c) made people excited
(d) made people relaxed and comfortable
Ans:
(d) to break the ice: to say or do something that makes people feel more relaxed. Here, made people relaxed and comfortable is the right option.

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