Examination Candidates Idiomatic Expression

Examination Candidates Idiomatic Expression

This article contains IDIOMATIC EXPRESSION and their MEANING to educate more especially for NECO, JAMB, SSCE AND GCE Examination Candidates. Students who want to advance in the English language even for Examination or Job interview are advised to look at the meaning of the following idiomatic expression.

Examination Candidates Idiomatic Expression


An idiom is a phrase or an expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning




  • To take the bull by the horn – To take a bold step in confronting difficulties
  • To be a deserted friend – To turn your back on your friend
  • Everything ran counter to my expectation – Everything went against my expectation
  • To be in darkness about the matter – To be concealed from the matter
  • To give a free hand – To give liberty of action
  • The theory will not hold water – The theory will not be accepted
  • The excuses will not pass muster – The excuses cannot be admitted
  • He caught at my offer – He accepted my offer eagerly
  • To beat about the bush – To waist time in getting to the point
  • To kick against the pricks – To be obstinate
  • To speak hardly above breath – To speak softly. To whisper
  • My daughter is always at my elbow – She is always beside me
  • I have the lesson at my fingertips – I understand the lesson thoroughly
  • It was done at a pinch – It was done
  • My business was at an ebb – My business was in a depressed state
  • He will be caught if he is above ground – He will be caught if he is still alive
  • To put the cart before the horse – To invert the proper order
  • He was between two fires – He was in services
  • I found myself between the devil and the deep sea – I was in a dilemma
  • Your statement is at a discount – Your statement is not valued
  • You are at sea in the matter – You are wrong about the matter
  • To strike off the same string – To repeat the same thing
  • To pour oil on troubled waters – To calm a quarrel
  • To set into the high way of fortune – To proceed to success
  • Your summary is under the mark – Your working has not given the true amount
  • To saddle the right horse – To do a thing at the right time or to the right person
  • To be out of pocket – To use money
  • To have no leg to stand on – To have no excuse
  • To have a rope of sand – To have a vain support
  • To have many irons in the fire – To have much business to do at a time
  • To pay the debt of nature – To die
  • To be thrown out of balance – To be upset
  • To put to the blush – To put to shame
  • No bricks without straw – No work without the required materials
  • Your shirt is under the mark – Your skirt is inferior
  • To add fuel to flame – To worsen the matter
  • To see eye to eye – To agree
  • To be true to salt – To be faithful to one’s employer
  • To be stung by a remark – To be seriously wounded by a remark
  • To hand off his lips– To listen attentively
  • To sit on thorns – To remain in a painful situation
  • To break a butterfly on a wheel – To waste time on a single matter
  • The business is at the last legs – The business is near to failure
  • To be led by the nose – To be led blindly
  • To live from hand to mouth – To make no provision for the future
  • He was in my black book -He was not in my favour
  • To build castles in the air – To have unrealistic plans or dreams
  • To be born in the purple – To be of royal ancestry
  • The situation is a leap in the dark – The situation is full of uncertainty
  • To put down in black and white – To put down in writing
  • To dash the cup from the lips – To be disappointed in success
  • To have a bolt from the blue – To have a sudden event happening
  • To arrive in the nick of time– To arrive at the exact moment
  • To pay back in kind – To pay in goods and not in money.

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