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Idiom Quiz


Idiom & sample context Definition

1. Breathing down his/her neck [U] Keeping close watch on

Especially with the new open office system, my boss is always someone (which is uncomfortable
breathing down my neck. I feel I cant even quickly check the Internet or annoying for the one being
for the weather anymore. watched).
2. Right up ones alley [V] Perfectly matched to ones
Ask Carlos to help with that project. The topic is right up his alley. interests
3. Get off on the right foot -also often used in the negative as in: [W] Start correctly or well
Im afraid we didnt get off on the right foot. Can we start again?
[Smiling] Hello, my name is ______. Great to meet you. [offering a
hand for a handshake]
4. A piece of the action [Q] A share in an activity or in
For these kinds of events, all departments want a piece of the action. its profits
No one wants to be left out.
5. A bang for your buck [P] Get good value in exchange
The Headquarters Committee on Contracts (HCC) wants to be sure for money or effort
that the UN gets a bang for its buck whenever it signs a contract with
an outside vender.
6. Bite your tongue [G] Stop saying something you
In the workplace, we are expected to control our emotions; we should shouldnt
bite our tongues, especially when we are angry with a colleague or
boss. Yet, new research shows that restraining our emotions this way
can cause stress and, in turn, health problems.
7. Pig out [O] Eat a lot
I really dislike all you can eat restaurants because I think the idea of
paying one price to eat as much as you want encourages people to pig
8. Spill the beans [S] Reveal a secret
I hope she doesnt spill the beans about the surprise party.
9. Wild goose chase [C] A worthless hunt for
I went on a wild-goose chase all over the town looking for that adapter someone or something
until I discovered they no longer make them.
10. Pull strings [B] Exert influence to get what
Getting a visa usually takes several weeks, but Ill check if my chief can you want (often by contacting
pull a few strings to help you get one faster. someone you know and asking
for a special favor)
11. Not ones cup of tea [L] Not something one enjoys
Classical music really isnt my cup of tea, but Ill go the concert if very much
thats what everyone else wants to do.
12. Knock ones socks off [J] To greatly surprise someone
You wouldnt expect teenagers to sing opera, but these kids will knock
your socks off.
13. On a roll [D] Having repeated success
Congratulations on convincing three more countries to vote yes.
Youre on a roll!
14. What makes someone tick [A] What makes someone
When I first started working here, I found her very difficult. She behave in a particular way
seemed to be against anything I proposed. But now I finally
understand how she ticks. I came to realize that she dislikes being
surprised at a meeting so I now talk to her about an idea privately,
one-on-one, before the meeting, and then shes usually very supportive.

15. Out of the blue [N] Happening suddenly and

Last week, completely out of the blue, I received a facebook invitation unexpectedly
from a friend I hadnt seen in more than 20 years.

16. Its not rocket science [F] Something not difficult to

Why its so difficult to spell my name correctly I sent the correct understand or do
spelling three times, but he misspelled it in the database again. All he
had to do is cut and paste it isnt rocket science.
17. Make no bones about it [M] To say clearly what you
This is a race against time, make no bones about it. The genocide think or feel
continues and innocent lives are being lost as we sit here, debating
what to do.
18. On the up and up [E] Honest or legal
The couple is taking care of the orphan child and they would love to
adopt him, but they have refused to pay any bribes. By being on the up
and up, it may take many years for the adoption to become official.
19. Wash your hands of someone (or something) [H] To end all involvement with
There are too many times when we still do not come to the defence of someone/something
civilian populations in need," Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General
for Humanitarian Affairs, said at the outset of the [Security] Council's
open debate. "When our response is weak, we appear to wash our
hands of humanitarian responsibilities to protect lives
21. Up a creek (without a paddle) [I] In a very difficult situation
If both assistants leave the team at the same time, well be up a creek
without a paddle. Its our busiest time of year and were already
22. Go bananas [K] Become very excited or
After our chief saw the report, he just went bananas. He told us that no behave in a crazy way
one was going home until all the errors were corrected.
23. Go with the flow [T] To accept a situation
I usually just go with the flow, but in this case, I have to put my foot without trying to change it
down. This latest rule will make it make us less efficient and effective
and no one will benefit from that.
24. See red [R] To become very angry
When I saw the bill, I saw red. They had charged me more than double
than the estimate I had received before the job was done.