Idioms and phrases are important for CLAT and other entrance examinations. One or two questions are guaranteed from this part in English. Thus it becomes important for the aspirants to learn the capability of answering them correctly.
It also improves one’s command over English altogether making it easy to solve other sections of the exam as well as do well in law school.
Scope of idioms and phrases for CLAT?
Idioms and phrases are group words which have a figurative meaning i.e. their literal meaning cannot be inferred from the individual words used but they have an indicative meaning.
They are used to decorate the speech and beautify your language. Usage of idioms in a sentence makes it more eye-catching to the reader.
Idioms and phrases form a part of the vocabulary, and it is impossible to memorize all idioms and phrases but using the following tricks one can try to derive the meaning:
- Try to devise its visual meaning by putting it in a sentence. Eg. cut a sorry figure it means ‘to give a poor show’. Now when you read this idiom you get an impression that it is talking about some mistake or something in negative.
Thus choose an option which is adverse in its spirit and reflects such related meaning
- Read the idiom again and again and try to draw a connection between the words used. Eg. to cry for the moon,it means ‘to aspire for an impossible thing’. Now if you draw a connection between ‘cry’ and ‘moon’ so why will someone actually cry for a moon as a rational man knows one cannot have the moon, thus moon here relates to something which one cannot have. Hence it can be derived that you are crying for something which you cannot get.
- While reading the idioms try to understand the context for which they are used, this will help you in memorizing them.
Here is a list of a few important idioms and phrases for CLAT
- Idiom – Grease the palm
Meaning – (to bribe)
Sentence – Kabir had to grease the palm of the officer in order to get a driving license.
- Idiom – Nip in the bud
Meaning – (to destroy in the very beginning)
Sentence – The bad habits of a child should be nipped in the bud.
- Idiom – Turn a deaf ear
Meaning – (to not to pay attention)
Sentence – All the students turned a deaf ear to the teacher during a moral science lecture.
- Idiom – Knit the brow
Meaning – (to frown)
Sentence – Employer always knits his brow at everything the employees do.
- Idiom – In a flutter
Meaning – (excited)
Sentence – Abhinav is in a flutter today because it is his first day at school
- Idiom – Fabian policy
Meaning – (policy of delaying decisions)
Sentence – It gets harmful for the management to follow fabian policy in every matter
- Idiom – By fits and starts
Meaning – (irregularly)
Sentence – Ram was penalised because he used to perform his job by fits and starts
- Idiom – At a loose end
Meaning – (unoccupied)
Sentence – Nowadays Rachel is at a loose end because she has left her job
- Idiom – Hang fire
Meaning – (remain unsolved)
Sentence – Most of the criminal cases remain hanging on fire for many years
- Idiom – Windfall
Meaning – (sudden gain)
Sentence – Reshma got a windfall when her uncle died
- Idiom -ABC
Meaning – (very common knowledge)
Sentence – Meera does not know ABC of law.
- Idiom – Blow hot and cold
Meaning – (having no stand)
Sentence – Sunil cannot be relied upon because he blows hot and cold in every matter.
- Idiom – Cock and bull story
Meaning – (untrue story)
Sentence – All the explanations given by Sita seem to be a cock and bull story.
- Idiom – Gall and wormwood
Meaning – (source of irritation )
Sentence – The acts of the children were gall and wormwood for her.
- Idiom – Herculean task
Meaning – (a tedious job)
Sentence – To clear judiciary examination is a herculean task for the aspirants.
- Idiom – Kith and kin
Meaning – (blood relatives)
Sentence – In the gloomy days, we all seek the support of our kith and kins.
- Idiom – Open and above board
Meaning – (very clear)
Sentence – He prefers to record open and above board point of view on every matter.
- Idiom – Queer fish
Meaning – (strange person)
Sentence – Ramesh is a queer fish, he cannot be trusted in confidential issues.
- Idiom – Rhyme or reason
Meaning – (rational cause)
Sentence – He was suspended from the job without any rhyme and reason
- Idiom – Between Scylla and Charybdis
Meaning – (choice between two unpleasant alternatives)
Sentence – Make the wise decision so that you don’t fall between Scylla and Charybdis.
- Idiom – At dagger’s drawn
Meaning – (to have bitter enmity)
Sentence – Once who were best friends are now at dagger’s drawn.
- Idiom – Bluestocking
Meaning – (educated but pedantic lady)
Sentence – Her husband avoids her because she is a bluestocking
- Idiom – Draconian Law
Meaning – (extremely severe law)
Sentence – In Kashmir Draconian Law was imposed in order to subdue terrorist attack.
- Idiom – Eke out
Meaning – (supplement income)
Sentence – The students do part-time jobs to eke out their income.
- Idiom – Damp squib
Meaning – (complete failure)
Sentence – Our visit to London for the project was a damp squib.
- Idiom – Hit below the belt
Meaning – (to strike unfairly)
Sentence – We should never hit the opponents below the belt.
- Idiom – In the red
Meaning – (suffer a loss)
Sentence – Most of the businesses went in red after demonetization.
- Idiom – Keep the pot boiling
Meaning – (earn hardly enough for a living)
Sentence – One should earn at least to keep the pot boiling.
- Idiom – One’s Achilles heel
Meaning – (a week point)
Sentence – Her children were her Achilles’ heel.
- Idiom – a Pyrrhic victory
Meaning – (victory at a high cost)
Sentence – India’s victory over POK will prove to be a pyrrhic victory.
Editor’s Note: Simple reading these idioms and phrases will not be enough for CLAT. Use them in sentences of your own as you read.
- Idiom – A scarlet woman
Meaning – (a woman with loose morals)
Sentence – A woman working late at night should not be considered as a scarlet woman.
- Idiom – To set the Thames on fire
Meaning – (to achieve something impossible)
Sentence – To trek on Himalaya’s is like to set the Thames on fire.
- Idiom – Take somebody for a ride
Meaning – (to deceive a person)
Sentence – The shopkeeper took his customers for a ride by selling them fake goods.
- Idiom – White elephant
Meaning – (anything with less utility and more expenditure)
Sentence – The new BMW car has become a white elephant for the employer.
- Idiom – Wry face
Meaning – (disappointed look)
Sentence – Anil made a wry face when he learned that he has been disqualified from the match.
- Idiom – Hush Money
Meaning – (a bribe)
Sentence – Simran managed to escape from the cops by paying hush money.
- Idiom – Not born yesterday
Meaning – (worldly-wise)
Sentence – I am not going to fall for your lies as I was not born yesterday.
- Idiom – Speck and span
Meaning – (neat and smart)
Sentence – Students should always be speck and span in their dressing
- Idiom – Milk and water
Meaning – (weak)
Sentence – The economy of India is milk and water in front of the USA’s economy.
- Idiom – Uphill task
Meaning – (a difficult task)
Sentence – Passing CLAT examination is an uphill task.
- Idiom – To assume airs
Meaning – (to pretend superiority)
Sentence – She is in the habit of assuming airs in the presence of her cousins.
- Idiom – to burn the midnight oil
Meaning – (to work up to late hours)
Sentence – Mahesh burnt the midnight oil for several days in order to complete the project before the deadline.
- Idiom – to bury the hatchet
Meaning – (to make peace forgetting the past enmity)
Sentence – Indians and Pakistanis should bury the hatchet for the development and prosperity of both the nations.
- Idiom – to buy a pig in a poke
Meaning – (to purchase a thing without knowing its actual worth)
Sentence – One should always value money and never buy a pig in a poke.
- Idiom – To curry favour
Meaning – (to win favour by gifts or flattery)
Sentence – By giving presents to the officer, Himanshu tried to curry his favour.
- Idiom – To go on fool’s errand
Meaning – (to go on an expedition where only a fool can go)
Sentence – The key was in his pocket and he sent me on a fool’s errand to search the same in the movie theatre.
- Idiom – to have feet of clay
Meaning – (full of faults)
Sentence – The answer sheets of the students had feet of clay.
- Idiom – To keep abreast of
Meaning – (not to fall behind)
Sentence – In this world of competition, it is very important to keep abreast of others.
- Idiom – to pour oil on troubled water
Meaning – (to rectify the matter)
Sentence – In the quarrel between the brothers, their mother poured oil on troubled water.
- Idiom – To show the white feather
Meaning – (to act with cowardice)
Sentence – Anita showed a white feather in the playground.
Confident about idioms and phrases for CLAT? Yes? Next topic then…