Idioms and Phrases

1. Basic Difference between An Idiom and Phrase

(1) What is an Idiom?

An idiom is a figurative expression, used while writing or

speaking and it is formed by the combination of a Verb

and a Preposition. Idioms are mostly used to express an

idea or what has happened or is happening.

Examples :

He gets into problems often. (gets into)

She lived upto the expectations of her mother. (lived upto)

(2) What is a Phrase ?

A sequence of two or more words arranged in a grammatical

construction and acting as a unit in a sentence.

Examples :

Drive carefully.

In first place.

Very cold and dark.

Made of gold.

मुहावरा (idiom) एक अलंकारिक अभिव्यक्ति है जो बोलते या लिखते समय प्रयोग किया जाता है और इसे क्रिया (verb) या पूर्व निर्धारित (preposition) के संयोजन द्वारा गठित किया जाता है। मुहावरे का प्रयोग ज्यादातर एक विचार को व्यक्त करने, क्या हुआ या क्या हो रहा है, के लिए किया जाता है। जबकि वाक्यांश (phrase) एक grammatical construction में दो या दो से अधिक शब्दों का एक क्रम होता है या एक वाक्य (sentence) में एक इकाई के रूप में कार्य करता है।

2. Categories of idioms and Phrases

निम्नलिखित Idioms और Phrases विभिन्न categories के अनुसार विभक्त किए गए हैं :

I. Prepositional Phrases

1. Against a rainy day : (for times of need आवश्यकता के लिए )

Do not spend all that you have, save something against

a rainy day.

2. Against the grain: (against one’s desire प्रवृत्ति के विरुद्ध )

Mr. Raju is dead honest. It is against his grain to accept bribes.

3. At a loose end : (without work बिना कार्य के )

Having lost his job, he is at a loose end these days.

4. At a loss : (unable to think what to do किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ होना)

Seeing the labourers marching towards the factory to win their rights, the manager was at a loss as to how to stop them.

5. At home in : (familiar with से परिचित )

Shyam is quite at home in English.

6. At the risk of: (with the possibility of loss जोखिम में डालकर)

Ram saved the drowning man at the risk of his own life.

7. At the point of: (near निकट)

Mohan was at the point of death when his son came.

8. At the top of: (as loud as possible सबसे ऊंचे )

The drowning man shouted at the top of his voice for help.

9. At any rate: (by all means किसी भी मूल्य पर)

At any rate I will have it.

10. At sixes and sevens: (in disorder बिखरी हुई)

Her books were lying in the room at sixes and sevens.

11. At the mercy of: (in the power of, without defence against दया पर)

The ship was at the mercy of the waves.

12. At the conclusion of: (at the end of समाप्ति पर )

We were served with tea at the conclusion of the meeting.

13. At the beck and call of: (at one’s disposal सेवा में )

The peons in the college are at the beck and call of the

head of the institution.

14. At the bottom of: (secret cause of जड़ में)

Mr. Ram is at the bottom of all this mischief.

15. At elbow: (nearby समीप में)

Kalidas was one of the nine ‘ratnas of Vikramaditya’s court and was always at his elbow.

16. At issue : (under discussion विवाद का विषय)

The NRC remained at issue for quite a long time.

17. At one with : (of one opinion एक मत)

I am at one with you on this matter.

18. At length : (at last अंत में )

The thief, at length, confessed his theft.

19. At a stretch: (without stopping निरंतर)

I can read for ten hours at a stretch.

20. At a stone’s throw: (very near बहुत निकट)

My college is a stone’s throw from the railway station.

21. At daggers drawn: (On the point of fighting जानी दुश्मन)

Both the brothers are at daggers drawn with each other.

22. At large : (not arrested गिरफ्तारी से दूर)

The murderer is still at large.

23. At a snail’s pace : (very slowly बहुत धीमी गति से)

If you want to reach the station in tune, do not walk at a snail’s pace.

24. At random : (without aim यूं ही)

Wise men never work at random.

25. At the eleventh hour: (when almost too late अंतिम समय)

Ram gave up his idea of joining the army at the eleventh hour.

26. At arm’s length : (at some distance दूर)

Keep the culprit at arm’s length.

27. At stake : (in danger दांव पर)

His honour is at stake in the college.

28. At one’s finger’s end: (to remember by heart अच्छे से याद हो ना)

Mr. Bose has the rules of English grammar at his finger’s end.

29. At one’s wit’s end (in a perplexed state घबराया हुआ)

Having lost his entire property in gambling, Raju was at his wit’s end.

30. At sea : (puzzled घबराया हुआ)

Seeing some questions out of course, many students were at sea and shouted for walkout.

31. At the end of one’s tether : (at one’s last resource अंतिम साधन पर)

Gautam readily agreed to help Nitin seeing him at the end of his tether.

32. Behind the scenes : (secretly गुप्त रूप से)

Caesar’s murder was planned behind the scenes.

33. Between the sheets : (in bed बिस्तर में)

It is quarter past nine, still she is between the sheets.

34. By fits and starts : (not steadily अनियमित रूप से) 

Mohan takes exercise by fits and starts.

35. By hook or by crook: (by fair or foul means भले और बुरे साधनों से)

People want to be wealthy by hook or by crook now-a-days.

36. By leaps and bounds: (rapidly दिन दूनी रात चौगुनी )

My College is progressing by leaps and bounds.

37. From hand to mouth: (precariously, spending money

as soon as it is received कठिनता से निर्वाह करना)

Teachers generally live from hand to mouth.

38. From head to foot: (altogether सिर से पांव तक)

Ram was dressed in pure khadi from head to foot.

39. In spite of: (not to be prevented by; notwithstanding के बावजूद)

They went out in spite of the rain.

40. In a blue moon : (very rarely बहुत कम अवसरों पर)

He goes to meet his relatives once in a blue moon.

41. In lieu of: (in place of  के स्थान पर)

Please give me an Idea credit card in lieu of an Airtel one.

42. In black and white: (in writing लिखकर)

Besides submitting a CD, you must submit a copy of your article in black and white.

43. In broad daylight : (openly in the day दिन दहाड़े)

People are being robbed now-a-days in broad daylight.

44. In a nutshell : (in brief way संक्षेप में)

After the meeting the secretary of the teachers association put the proceedings before the group in a nutshell.

45. In the quagmire : (in trouble संकट में)

The complete loss of health has left him in the quagmire.

46. In the heat of: (intense feeling, के जोश में ) 

In the heat of discussion Sohan forgot all his points.

47. In the teeth of: (in opposition to विरोध में )

The Congress candidate succeeded in the teeth of


48. In the guise of : (in the dress of भेष में)

Netaji left India for good in the guise of a Musalman.

49. In the prime of one’s youth: (quite young जवानी में )

Keats died in the prime of his youth.

50. Into the bargain: (for nothing मुफ्त में)

I bought a watch and got this pen into the bargain.

51. In tota: (completely पूर्ण रूप से )

The leader agreed with the suggestions of the group in


52. In vogue (in fashion प्रथा होना )

The ‘Sati’ is still in vogue in some villages in India.

53. In unison with: (in agreement with से मेल खाना)

The Principal was well pleased with me for my arguments were in unison with his.

54. In recognition of: (in honour of के आदर में)

Ram was given a cheque for R 25000/-in recognition

of his services.

55. On behalf of: (for someone की ओर से)

I attended the meeting on behalf of my wife.

56. On the point of: (be about to के निकट)

I was on the point of leaving for my home town when the wire from the university arrived.

57. On the part of: (of, by की ओर से )

There is no objection on the part of the owner of the land.

58. On the ground (score) of: (because of के कारण)

Shyam was dismissed on the ground of gross negligence of duty.

59. On the eve of: just before पूर्व संध्या पर)

On the eve of his retirement our Principal was feted by us.

60. On the spur of the moment: (at once ऐन वक्त पर)

You should have asked me earlier. How can I help you on the spur of the moment?

61. Out of the frying pan into the fire: (to fall from one difficulty into the other आकाश से गिरा खजूर में अटका)

My brother broke his leg after he recovered from long sickness.

Actually he was out of the frying pan into the fire.

62. On the brink (verge) of: (on the edge of किनारे पर )

The country is on the brink (verge) of disaster.

63. Through thick and thin : (in miseries आपत्ति काल में)

Mahatma Gandhi served India through thick and thin.

64. Out of harmony with: (in disagreement with असहमति)

Some members of the staff were out of harmony with the Principal on the matters of admission and fee-concession.

65. Over and above: (in addition to के अतिरिक्त)

Over and above being careless, the new officer is dishonest.

66. With regard to; with respect to: (concerning संबंध में)

I have nothing to say with regard to this subject.

67. With reference to: (concerning about के संबंध में, के उत्तर में)

With reference to your letter, I am to clarify my position.

68. With the exception : (except को छोड़कर, के उत्तर में)

All had reached in time with the exception of the principal.

69. With the intention of: (with the purpose of के इरादे से)

Ram came to Shyam with the intention of insulting him.

70. With an eye to : (with a view to के उद्देश्य से, के विचार से)

Merchants tell lies with an eye to getting profits.

71. With a view to: (for the purpose of की आशा में)

The Principal granted Mohan long leave with a view to

facilitating his research work.

72. With a silver spoon in one’s mouth: (in a rich family अमीर परिवार में)

Sita’s son was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

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