Tamilnadu Board Class 10 English Vocabulary Idioms

Tamilnadu State Board Class 10 English Vocabulary Idioms

♦ Idioms (Text Book Page No.: 66-68,167)

Idioms are groups of words put together as a unit with a particular meaning. The meaning of the word is not literal.

For example, if one says that the cat is out of the bag then it does not literally mean the cat is out of the bag but it has a figurative meaning which means the secret is out.

That’s why the meaning of idioms cannot be assumed based on the individual meaning of the words but by studying the words as a unit.


  1. Lalitha takes a late-night walk in the beach once in a blue moon. In the above sentence ‘once in a blue moon’ is an idiom which means an event that happens rarely.
  2. The women cricketers were on the ball in their last over of the match. In the above sentence bn, the ball’ is an idiom which means when someone understands the situations well.

Some more idioms and meanings:

1 a bolt from the blue unexpected event; complete surprise (usually unwelcome)
2 a drop in the ocean a very small amount compared with what is needed or expected
3 a penny for your thoughts a way of asking what someone is thinking.
4 a stone’s throw a very short distance
5 a wild goose chase a worthless hunt or chase
6 a yellow streak cowardice in one’s character
7 above board honest, not a secret
8 add insalt to injury to worsen an unfavourable situation
9 armchair expert one who gives advice in an area in which he was not actively involved
10 at close quarters very near
11 at hand very near
12 at loggerheads to disagree strongly
13 at snails pace very slowly
14 at the drop of the hat without any hesitation
15 at the eleventh hour at the last moment
16 at the end of one’s tether to have no power, patience or endurance left
17 barking up the wrong tree accusing the wrong person
18 be armed with be equipped with
19 beat around the bush avoiding the main topic
20 bed of roses comfortable position
21 best of both worlds all the advantages
22 bite the bullet to get something over with because it is inevitable
23 blessing in disguise something good that isn’t recognized at first.
24 break even make no profit or loss
25 break the ice make people feel more comfortable
26 call it a day stop working on something
1 27 can’t judge a book by its cover cannot judge something primarily on appearance.
28 clean slate a past record without discredit
29 comparing apples to oranges comparing two things that cannot be compared
30 costs an arm and a leg very expensive
31 curiosity killed the cat being inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation.
32 devil’s advocate to present a counter argument
33 draw a blank unable to get information
34 every cloud has a silver lining good-things come after bad things
35 eyewash something to deceive
36 fair and square in a fair way
37 fall a prey to become a victim
38 far cry from very different from
39 feel the pinch feeling unpleasant change in one’s standard of living
40 fit as a fiddle in good health
41 fortune favours the bold take risks
42 give (someone) a piece of one’s mind to tell someone frankly what one thinks especially when one disapproves of the other’s behaviour
43 go down in flames fail spectacularly
44 go on a wild goose chase to do something pointless
45 going from bad to worse deteriorate further
46 hard to come by difficult to find
47 have a hand to get involved
48 have no hand in                     , does not take part in an activity
49 head back return
50 herculean task difficult task
51 hit the nail on the head do or say something exactly right
52 hit the sack go to sleep
53 holds good valid at the time of discussion
54 honour bound (to do something) required to do something as a moral duty but not by law
55 in a big way on a large scale
56 in a nutshell briefly
57 in all walks of life all social groups / all the aspects
58 in deep waters in trouble
59 in hot pursuit following closely
60 in short supply Not enough / scarce
61 in the service of available for
62 it is a piece of cake it is easy
63 it’s raining cats and dogs it’s raining heavily
64 keep pace with to move with same speed
65 keep something at bay keep something away
66 kicked the bucket passed away
67 leave no stone unturned look everywhere
68 let the cat out of the bag give away a secret
69 lion’s share major share
1 70 loud and clear very clearly
71 make both ends meet live within means
72 make fun of ridicule
73 make up one’s mind decide, determine
74 matter of concern something to worry about
75 miss the boat it’s too late
76 muffle up to cover
77 not playing with a full deck someone who lacks intelligence
78 note of hand promissory note
79 null and void invalid
80 <m cloud nine to be extremely happy
81 once and for all completely and finally
82 once in a blue moon very rarely
83 one thing leads to another series of events in which each event was caused by the previous one.
84 pink of health extremely healthy, in perfect condition
85 play an important role to have a significant position
86 pull yourself together calm down
87 put on airs behave in an unnatural way to impress others
88 shadow of one’s not having the strength, former self influence, etc., that one once had
89 side by side along with
90 speak volumes to express something very clearly and completely
91 spill the beans give away a secret
92 take to one’s heels to run away
93 take a very hard line not giving in
94 the ball is in your court it’s your decision
95 the burning question a crucial issue
96 the whys and wherefores the reasons for something
97 thick and fast in large numbers
98 tit for tat revenge
99 told him flat expressed opinion directly
100 tread on walk with difficulty
101 trial and error to try many times to succeed
102 tricks of the trade the expertise of doing business
103 whole nine yards everything, all of it
104 with a bang in a very exciting way


Choose a suitable meaning for the idiom found in the following sentence.
1. Orders for the new product are coming in thick and fast.
(a) large numbers (b) small volumes (c) limited quantity (d) appropriate level
(a) large numbers

2. How can anyone make ends meet with just Rs. 2000/- a month?
(a) join the two ends (b) arrange for a meeting (c) manage with the money (d) account for the meeting
(c) manage with the money

3. My uncle is an armchair expert and often tells us how to play cricket.
(a) best cricket player (b) best expert in making armchairs (c) best adviser but without any practical knowledge (d) best adviser with excellent practical knowledge
(c) best adviser but without any practical knowledge

4. I told him flat that I had no intention of lending him any money.
(a) telling in humorous way (b) expressed opinion directly (c) expressed insignificantly (d) expression to confuse
(b) expressed opinion directly

5. He invited all and sundry for a function, but could not manage it all.
(a) important people only (b) friends only (c) relatives only (d) everyone
(d) everyone

6. His progress at school was at a snail’s pace.
(a) very slow (b) in fast pace (c) moderately (d) satisfactorily
(a) very slow

7. In the middle of the beautiful scenery, the building stood as an eyesore
(a) excellent icon (b) outstanding one (c) ugly sight (d) important monument
(c) ugly sight

8. He performed the Herculean task of converting barren land into fertile land.
(a) easy task (b) difficult task (c) uncomplicated task (d) rituals
(b) difficult task

9. He kicked the bucket last Monday at the Adyar Cancer hospital.
(a) fell down (b) played a game (c) was completely cured (d) passed away
(d) passed away

10. I call upon our chief guest to address the gathering.
(a) appeal (b) summon (c) beg (d) invite
(d) invite

Tamilnadu Board Class 10 English Solutions