20 Idioms with their Meanings and Sentences for SSC CGL/CHSL/CPO Exams 2023

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

20 Idioms with their Meanings and Sentences: Every government competitive exam comprises of questions on idioms and their meanings. Candidates preparing for SSC & Railway exams must know the important idioms with their meanings and sentences as you will come across at least 4–5 questions based on idioms and phrases and no one can afford to lose even one mark in such a competitive environment.

For a better score and outcome in the upcoming SSC Exam 2023, one must master the art of knowing all the important idioms with their meanings. Read through this post to know 20 important idioms with their meanings and sentences.

Idioms and Phrases

Before jumping onto the importance of knowing Idioms and their meaning, you need to understand what exactly an idiom is. An idiom is a statement or expression whose meaning differs from the literal meaning of its words. Idioms mean something different than individual words, to put it another way.

E.g. ‘I have a skeleton in my closet.’ This Idiom does not mean that you have a dead body or skeleton in your cupboard. It means that you have something to hide, a secret that might cause embarrassment.

It is difficult to memorize and retail a list of idioms with their meaning for the examination; therefore, we have assembled a list of 20 idioms with their meanings and sentences. It is easier to learn the idioms when associated with meaning and learn with their usage in a sentence.

This is the reason it requires separate understanding and memorization to avoid confusion. The more you learn the Idioms and phrases, the better your performance will be in the upcoming SSC Exam 2023. If you don’t believe it, you can check SSC CGL Previous Year Question Paper to understand how important this topic is. Also, it is included in SSC CGL Syllabus.

20 Idioms with their Meanings and Sentences PDF

There are thousands of idioms in the English language. However, some of them are more commonly asked in competitive exams such as SSC and Railway exams. Aspirants who are preparing for government exams should familiarize themselves with idioms and their meanings, which are mentioned in the PDF below. Knowing these idioms and phrases well can significantly improve their scores.

> Idioms and Phrases PDF

List of 20 Idioms with their Meanings and Sentences

Below is the list of 20 Idioms with their meanings and sentences that will be helpful for your exam preparation or otherwise.

1- Idiom: Apple of someone’s eyes

  • Meaning: a person or thing that someone loves very much
  • Sentence: His youngest daughter is the apple of his eye as she is his firstborn.

2- Idiom: A left-handed compliment

  • Meaning: An insult in the pretense of expression of appreciation.
  • Sentence: She said she liked my hair, but it turned out to be a left-handed compliment when she asked how long I’d been dyeing it.

3- Idiom: A sight for sore eyes

  • Meaning: a person or thing that one is extremely pleased or relieved to see.
  • Sentence: After being away from home for so long, my friends and family were a sight for my sore eyes.

4- Idiom: Bread and Butter

  • Meaning: someone’s livelihood
  • Sentence: Coaching football and basketball to young boys and girls is her bread and butter.

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5- Idiom: Back to Square one

  • Meaning: Having to start all over again; start working on a plan from the beginning because your previous attempt failed completely
  • Sentence: After days of working hard on the college project, because of the computer failure we are back to square one.

6-Idiom: Call a spade a spade

  • Meaning: Speak frankly and directly
  • Sentence: After hours of discussion and meetings, I believe it’s time to call a spade a spade.

7- Idiom: Down to earth

  • Meaning: simple, decent, realistic; practical, and straightforward.
  • Sentence: She is very down to earth, not at all attracted by the glamour world.

8- Idiom: Empty vessels make the most noise

  • Meaning: Those who know or have little knowledge often shout the loudest
  • Sentence: Ram tells as if he’s an expert on everything, but empty vessels make the most noise.

9- Idiom: Flesh and blood

  • Meaning: Human nature, a normal human being
  • Sentence: This baby is his mother’s flesh and blood

10- Idiom: Good Samaritan

  • Meaning: A person who unselfishly helps others,
  • Sentence: He’s such a good samaritan that he helped the accident victim reach the hospital.

11- Idiom: Hit the bull’s eye

  • Meaning: get something exactly right, or be on target.
  • Sentence: The finance minister’s speech on attracting new investments hit the bull’s eye as can be seen by increasing FDI.

12- Idiom: In the good books

  • Meaning: be in somebody’s favor or good opinion.
  • Sentence: The fact that he always managed to be in the good books of the bosses surprised one and all.

13- Idiom: Jam on the brakes

  • Meaning: to press the brakes suddenly and in a hard way.
  • Sentence: I had to jam on the brakes because a kid suddenly appeared from nowhere and crossed the road.

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14- Idiom: Let the cat out of the bag

  • Meaning: To share a secret that wasn’t supposed to be shared.
  • Sentence: Ramesh let the cat out of the bag about my surprise birthday party.

15- Idiom: Make a beeline for

  • Meaning: To hurry directly toward someone or something
  • Sentence: When ram enters a party, he always makes a beeline for the dessert section.

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16- Idiom: Notch up

  • Meaning: to achieve something like a win or a record
  • Sentence: Rafael Nadal notched up another win this week, so he’s now won six matches in a row.

17- Idiom: Once bitten, twice shy

  • Meaning: Afraid of doing a thing again
  • Sentence: After he left her she refused to go out with anyone else for a long time – once bitten, twice shy, I suppose.

18- Idiom: Put the cart before the horse

  • Meaning: To put a thing in the wrong order.
  • Sentence: Mohit always puts the cart before the horse, when he practices maths.

19- Idiom: A slap on the wrist

  • Meaning: A small punishment
  • Sentence: Samar got away with a slap on the wrist after defacing the school property.

20- Idiom: Set one’s teeth on edge

  • Meaning: to induce an unpleasant sensation, to repel, irritate
  • Sentence: The noise of the machine in the next room set my teeth on edge.

Importance of Knowing Idioms and their Meanings

In competitive exams, the importance of idioms and phrases cannot be overstated. They are frequently tested in exams like SSC, UPSC, and banking exams. Understanding idioms and phrases is important because they are often used in comprehension passages, cloze tests for SSC, and fill in the blanks. In addition, they are also tested in the verbal ability section of the exams.

An understanding of idioms and phrases can also help in enhancing one’s writing skills. They add variety to the language and make communication more effective. Additionally, using idioms and phrases can also make one’s communication more impressive, especially in interviews.

Stay tuned with us to know all the important idioms with their meaning and sentences as we will keep updating this page on a regular basis!

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