Are you all ears?
Lend me an ear.
Be on the ball.
Let’s kick off now.
What’s an IDIOM?
1. Verbal habits unique to a
• English: in the twinkling of an eye
• Hindi: (in the snap of a finger)
• Telugu: (in the drop of an eyelid)
What’s an IDIOM?
2. Meaning different from literal
Kick the bucket
Hang one’s head
What’s an IDIOM?
3. Fixed phrases in structure
Lend an ear
I can’t afford to buy a new mobile. I’m
totally broke. I hardly have any
money left. I’m broke until my next
He is completely broke, he can’t even
pay his bills.
What’s an IDIOM?
3. Rules of grammar may not
I’ll eat my hat
At a loss
Keep your cool
I know you are upset but you have to
keep your cool. If you just can keep
your cool at the interview, you will do
Don’t get nervous about the exam.
Keep your cool.
Why Learn Idioms?
• Add color to your communication
• Make speech effective & expressive
• Lubricate your language
• Nuts and bolts of conversation
How to learn Idioms?
• Guess the contextual meaning
• Use a dictionary
• Use a workbook
• Make your own sentences
• Use/Practice in context
Examples from Text
What do you call an irritating person
who says he knows everything?
What is the irritating person who is
impatient to damage the
reputation of the conjurer called?
The Quick Man
Sarita is a couch potato. She sits in
front of the TV all day.
I should be more active and less of a
couch potato, if I have to lose
Idioms with Body Parts
The teacher kept making mistakes
and became red in the face.
The entire speech was learnt by
The two sisters don’t see eye to eye.
Idioms with Body Parts
I am an old hand at teaching English.
She has always kept her husband
under her thumb.
Just a minute. I have got the answer
on the tip of my tongue.
Read one’s mind
You have read my mind.
That’s exactly what I was
He is an introvert. It is usually
difficult to read his mind.
Make up one’s mind
My boss is persuading me to
make up my mind and choose
one of the two projects. But I am
not able to make up my mind.
Can you please help me take a
Keep an eye on
Don’t worry about your luggage. I’ll
keep an eye on it.
I’ve got to go to the washroom. Can
you keep an eye on my suitcase for a
Written all over face
He guessed his brother stole the
gold. He said it was written all over
One doesn’t need be a psychologist
to know you are sad and upset. It’s
written all over your face.
Put heart into something
The Commissioner is determined to
streamline the functioning of colleges
in the state. She has put her heart
and soul into it.
Change of heart
He was against charity till a few years
ago. He had a change of heart
when he saw the plight of the
homeless. But the real change of
heart came when he read about
the work of Mother Teresa.
Heart of stone
She's not the person to go to if you've
got problems - she's got a heart of
Over the dead body
You want a new car again.
Over my dead body.
You want to marry that poor,
fat, ugly boy. Over my dead
body. There is no way I’ll let you
do that, not over my dead
Pay through the nose
You may afford to buy a car.
But you will have to pay through
the nose to buy petrol.
By the skin of
nervous and difficult to express
cannot remember at the
just barely, narrowly
On the tip of the not to say things that upset
Problems in the early stages
The husband and wife get along very
well and are made for each other.
After dating for several years, the
young couple decided to tie the knot.
Mythili has a crush on her senior
Attracted the very first time
Love at first sight Find a long time partner
Be in the family
Very close friend
Find Mr Right
A person’s husband or wife
In such tense situations, it’s difficult
to be cool as a cucumber.
Dance has never been my cup of tea.
Let me cut the story short and tell you
in a nutshell.
Always avoid unnecessarily getting in
Anti Corruption Bill is a hot potato
for the Centre now.
I don’t agree with you, but your
questions have given me food for
Piece of cake
• Learning English is a piece of cake. All
that it needs is a little confidence and
a lot of practice.
• Passing the English practical
examination is a piece of cake. I don’t
think anyone of you will fail.
Bread and butter Energetic, in high spirits
Eat one’s words
The family member that earns
the most money
Full of beans
Basic needs of life
Reveal the secret
Spill the beans
Take back what one has said
I will never in a million years
understand why he married her.
They won the match with his goal
in the eleventh hour.
I felt like a fifth wheel at the
When the vacation was
announced, the students were on
The food was second to none.
A dime a dozen
In two minds
A chance in a
More important than anything
Very small chance
Undecided about something
Similar in attitude, character or
Two of a kind
Cheap and common
It’s raining cats and dogs. I wish I had
brought my umbrella.
Does she really have a problem or is
she just crying wolf again?
She is always out and about. She is a
real social butterfly.
Get the lion’s
A little bird told
Confused living without purpose
Get the largest percentage of
To have an exciting and
I heard something from
A whale of a
Little known to the general
Brain drain of the educated youth
is a great loss to the nation.
As usual, the cream of the crop of
the JKC were offered the best
During recession times, senior
staff often get the axe.
It is an impressive golden
I am going to hang up boots
If you got the answer from
Kalam, you can trust it. He
knows it inside out.
Have the Guts
I don’t have the guts to go bungee
jumping. It is too scary. Do you have
the guts to go on that roller coaster?
He doesn’t have the guts to ask her
on a date.
On the dot
You’d better be here a few minutes
ahead, because the telecast starts at
11.00 on the dot.
Don’t keep me waiting. Be here at six
o’clock on the dot.
Let’s reach the airport at 3.30 on the
Read between the lines
If you read between the lines, you
would understand what he actually
meant. He said one thing and meant
another. Listen to that again
carefully. If you don’t read between
the lines, you will later get into
A small world
I didn’t know that you knew my
brother. What a small world.
Did you say you are a student of
Gajwel college? What a small world.
Slip one’s mind
I wanted to call you this morning, but
it slipped my mind. And I am so very
sorry, your birthday totally slipped
I wanted to mail the letter yesterday,
but it completely slipped my mind.
If I help you with your homework, you
will clean the house? It’s a deal! And
I’ll take you out to a movie, if you stop
bothering me. That’s a deal too.
If you wash my car, I’ll pay you 100
rupees. Doesn’t that sound a deal?
Dressed to kill
Your dress is gorgeous. You’re
dressed to kill.
Wow! Tonight she is dressed to kill.
Go the extra mile
Against the clock
The last straw
From rags to riches
Tie the knot
Head over heels
Beating around the bush
Pull the plug
Hit the sack
Break someone’s heart
Run out of steam
Keep your chin up
The ball is in your court
All Greek to me
Off the record
Burn the midnight oil
Pass the buck
Hit the nail on the head
Out of the blue
Let bygones be bygones
At the drop of a hat
Cock and bull story
Back to square one
Call it a day
It’s almost 11.45 now. Let’s call it a
Let’s call it a day. I am too tired to
A verb + an adverb
A verb + a preposition
A very + an adverb + a preposition
• Literal meaning is easy to understand
• Idiomatic meaning difficult to
put up (literal) = physically place somewhere
put up (figurative) = provide a place to sleep
put up (idiomatic) = deal with a situation
• Same phrasal verbs can have different
pick up = learn
pick up = physically fetch
pick up = purchase
• One main verb can take many different
Put up with
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