Friday, 18 July 2014

IDIOMS AND IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS --------THEIR MEANINGS AND USAGE 4 (5) (In continuation of last post)

                                                                                                              (continued from last post)
An Idiom or idiomatic expression is a form of expression of words in their peculiar form as prevalent in a language.The words used have different meanings to their  literal meanings. An idiom has its metaphorical rather than literal meaning. The use of words in an idiom is fixed.These idioms undergo changes with the passage of time. 

The usage of idioms enhance the beauty of a language and give richness to it. Idioms usually  comprise of a few words but these words have their own meanings different from their literal meanings. Just as  the meaning of put is different from when some words are added  to it as --Put up, Put out , Put off  or To put up for a rainy day etc. These words are to be used as they are and these cannot be changed at all. The grammatical use of these words is fixed.For example  He has his own axe to grind cannot be changed to ground his axe or some other form. Idioms have their meanings in metaphorical sense rather than literal one. 

Idioms add richness to a language but their correct and appropriate use is necessary. Here is a list of idioms with their meanings and usage though it is illustrative and not exhaustive.


P, Q, R,S


Pack of cards : ( unexpectedly weak thing ) :

Down fell the huge building like a pack of cards and no body could help it.


Part and parcel : (  significant part ) : 

The secretary is  part and parcel of the club.


Point blank : ( in clear terms ) : 

I never expected that he would refuse point blank to help me.


Poke one's nose into : ( to meddle with others' affairs) :

He is in the bad habit of poking nose into the affairs of others.


Put heads together : ( to discuss and decide something jointly) :

All the members of the committee should put heads together and take further course of action.


To play a second fiddle : ( To act as a subordinate to someone ) :

The manager plays a second fiddle to the boss.


To put a spoke in one's wheel : ( to disturb ) :

His friends tried to put a spoke in his wheel by raising a dispute with him but he thwarted their attempt.


To put the cart before the horse : ( to do a work in a wrong way ) : 

Making arrangements of the party before its date is fixed is like putting the cart before  the horse.


To plough a single furrow : ( to do a job all alone ) : 

He is intelligent  enough to handle his project himself. He'll plough a single furrow for it.


Pandora's box : ( to start many different types of problems ) :

Sadly, his attempt to bring peace between the two brothers opened pandora's box of allegations against him. 


Penny wise and pound foolish  : ( to save miserly on useful things but spend lavishly on useless things) :

His saving in expenses on children's education is penny wise and pound foolish because he makes lavish expenses for his night parties. 


Pass the buck : ( to shift one's responsibility to others) :

The boss was clever enough to pass the buck of his failure to the manager.


Play along : ( to pretend for something to make one happy ) :

The manager had to play along his subordinates in order to get work done from them.


Play down :  ( to try to show something less important ) : 

The boss played down in the meeting the claims made by the manager about his achievements.


 Play around: ( to be silly ) : 

No one likes him as he starts playing around before others.


To play havoc with  : ( to be ruined ) :

Heavy rains played havoc with crops standing in fields.








In quick succession : ( quickly one after  the other ) : 

The police man shot three bullets in the air in quick succession.


A queer fish : ( a  person with a strange behaviour ) : 

The new arrival behaves like a queer fish as he is  facing a great difficulty in adapting to the new atmosphere.


Quick as  a  flash : ( to act very fast ) : 

You will have to work quick as a flash to complete the project in time.


Quick off the mark : ( to start a work quickly ) : 

The students were quick off the mark to complete their home work.


Quick on the trigger : ( to respond quickly ) :

The president was quick on the trigger to accord his consent to the bill.


Queer one's pitch : (to interfere in others' affairs ) :

He always tries to queer others' pitch by back biting.


Quids in : ( to gain  money from little ) :

If all goes well, this deal  will make the party quids in.


Quick buck : ( to gain money quickly and easily ) :

He made a quick buck by selling his old ancestral property.






Root and branch  : ( Completely ) : 

The huge building was destroyed root and branch in a fire.


To rock the boat : ( to upset the balance) : 

The farmer's  loss due to heavy rains has rocked the boat and he is in a fix now.


To read between the lines : ( to understand carefully ) : 

You will see through his trick only if you read his message between the lines.


Red carpet : ( to give special welcome to an important person) :

The visiting guest will be given a red carpet welcome by the host.


Rhyme or reason : ( having no logic) :

The guests got annoyed with the host without any reason or rhyme.


Raise eyebrows : ( to raise doubts or surprise ) :

His sudden departure from the scene raised eyebrows of many people.


Red tape : ( delay to official bureaucracy ) : 

Due to red tape  work in  government offices is unduly delayed.


Red letter day : ( important day ) :

Today is a red letter day for our club as it started functioning this day ten years ago.



Rank and file : ( all the common members of an organisation) :

The new president of the club  is very popular among its rank and fie.


Rags to riches : ( to rise from a poor state to richness) :

The chief minister is very humble in his behaviour because he rose from rags to riches.


Raw deal : ( to be treated unfairly ) : 

All the candidates faced a raw deal in the interview as no rules were observed there.


To run into sand : ( to face failure ) ;


All his plans ran into sand for want of sufficient funds.

Run the gauntlet : ( to face with harsh criticism ) :

Initially he had to run the gauntlet of the people for implementation of his scheme but later he was able to win them over.

Rob Peter to pay Paul : ( to create another problem to solve the first) :

The farmer raised a bank loan to pay his previous dues robbing Peter to pay Paul.





Safe and sound : ( quite right without any harm or loss ) :

He reached his destination in time and quite safe and sound.

Sail in the same boat ; ( in  a similar condition ) :

Both the brothers are sailing in the same boat. The both are under heavy debts.

Sink one's differences : (To resolve disputes with someone ) : 

Both the friends sank their differences and started their relations afresh.


Sum and substance : ( in short gist of something ) :

The writer has given sum and substance of the story in this paragraph.


Square meal : ( sufficient food for a time ) :

His income is so small that it is so difficult for him to arrange a square meal for his family.

Smell a rat : ( to have a doubt ) :

He is not fair in his dealings. I small a rat in all of these.






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