Commonly Used Idioms

We all love spicy food (the degree of spiciness may vary ! ). Who would want to eat bland food everyday?

Idioms play the same role in writing as spice does in food. They take the reading experience to an entirely different level, often adding humour and layers to writing as the author desires.So,budding authors, if you want to hold the attention of your readers and at the same time provide them a layered experience of reading, start using idioms to convey your thoughts in an indirect but spicy way !

I came across the following idioms while reading news articles/editorials/web searches, hence have compiled the list using the same sentence as examples for better understanding of the reader.

Disclaimer: Some example sentences are figment of my imagination, and some are directly taken from the editorial/articles from where I have picked the idiom. Nowhere, I have expressed my personal opinion

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Takes the cake Most extreme example of something I have known many dumb girls but she takes the cake.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns  takes the cake by garnering more than Rs 70 crore net box office for first week in the domestic market.

Smiling ear to ear Looking extremely happy With Tanu Weds Manu Returns  and Piku  earlier in the month, Bollywood trade pundits are smiling ear to ear, hoping that the good run at the box office is carried forward by releases in June like Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do  and ABCD 2
Fall for something hook ,line and sinker To completely believe in something someone tells you that is not true The audience fell for the baseless plot of the drama hook,line and sinker
Fall for somebody hook, line and sinker To fall very much in love with someone Sajal fell for Ana hook,line and sinker
Cynosure of someone’s eyes An object/person that serves as a focal point of attention and admiration Aishwarya & Abhishek were the cynosure of all eyes at the Amfar Gala Cannes festival
Apple of one’s eyes Favourite or precious and dear to someone (aankhon ka tara) Aaradhya is the apple of Aishwarya’s eyes.
At the drop of a hat Suddenly, immediately, when you do something at the drop of a hat, you do it suddenly and easily, often without any preparation When I was depressed, I used to cry at the drop of a hat.

We now have a situation where laws are bent at the drop of a hat.

Eat your words To take back one’s words

to admit that what you said is wrong

John was wrong about the election and had to eat his words

Did you say that two mainstream actresses cannot be friends? You might have to eat your words when you see Priyanka & Anushka in Dil Dhadkne Do

Let your hair down to relax and enjoy yourself without worrying what other people will think Let your hair down and just have some fun at the party !
Run of the mill Ordinary, not special He was a run of the mill singer. That ‘why everyone was shocked when he won the singing competition.
Top Brass The highest leader, the boss But the TOI reported that nobody in the BCCI top brass wanted to divulge any details on the exact reason.
Turning a blind eye To ignore something and pretend that you do not see it Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been accused of turning a blind eye when churches are attacked or minorities are subjected to violence but on Monday, in a strongly worded message, he finally spoke out on the issue of discrimination against minorities
To have a way with the words To have the skill in effective and stylish use of words The former actress, who is now known for her way with words and her witty sense of humour, posted about her son Aarav, who if we might add, seems to have taken after his mother.
Dying down to fade to almost nothing; to decrease gradually. A controversy surrounding alleged high levels of lead in some packets of Maggi has hogged the headlines and is showing no signs of dying down.
Come under fire To be criticized And this time it wasn’t just Maggi! Several high-profile Bollywood celebrities — Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Priety Zinta — came under fire for endorsing the brand over the years.
Order of the day Something necessary or usual at a certain time Amitabh Bachchan posted on his blog on the occasion of his 42nd wedding anniversary, “Self wishes are the order of the day .They serve both ways. They convey to you the Ef, of my marriage anniversary … and they inform the wife that she has not been forgotten even though she is not in the country at this moment .”

Going to bed early was the order of the day when we were young.

Foot in the mouth When you put your foot in your mouth you say or do the wrong thing and usually make matters worse. I really put my foot in my mouth when I asked her how her husband was. I forgot that he died last year.

Every time he speaks he puts his foot in his mouth.

Bums on seat If a public performance or a sports event puts bums on seats, many people pay to go and see it If you are an actor/producer/director/singer who can ensure adequate bums on seat, the Hindi film industry does not give two hoots about where you came from or anything else you do.
Give two hoots if you do not give a hoot about something or someone, you do not care about them at all (informal) If you are an actor/producer/director/singer who can ensure adequate bums on seat, the Hindi film industry does not give two hoots about where you came from or anything else you do.
Sweep/shove under the carpet to hide or ignore something You could tell from her interviews that having been a porn star was not something Leone was looking to shove under the carpet.
More than meet the eyes Hidden values or facts regarding something. There is more to her death than meets the eye – she was probably murdered.
There is no such thing as free lunch something that you say which means that if someone gives you something, they always expect you to give them something or to do something for them He offered me a room in his house, but he seems to expect me to do all the housework. I should have known there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Don’t judge a book by its cover youcannotjudgethequality or character of someone or somethingjust by looking at them She doesn’t look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Hue & cry A public clamor/outcry, for protest or demand Arvind kejriwal raised a great hue and cry about political corruption
Be at loggerheads if two people or groups are at loggerheads, they disagree strongly about something The ruling and the opposition party of the Indian Government are still at loggerheads over the Land Acquisition Bill
Clear the air To get rid of doubts or hard feelings. There were many speculations about the relationship turning sour for the celebrity couple. But he cleared the air by saying that every relationship has its share of hardships.
Up the ante increase what is at stake or under discussion, especially in a conflict or dispute. The congress government just upped the ante for political corruption
A penny for your thoughts Used to ask someone what they are thinking about Sajal looked pensive. I said “A penny for your thoughts!”.
Wouldn’t be caught dead if someone wouldn’t be seen dead in a particular place or doing a particular thing, they would never do it, usually because it would be too embarrassing Sajal would’nt be caught dead on the dance floor.
Sit on the fence Not to take sides in a dispute; not to make a clear choice between two possibilities. I don’t know whom I am going to vote for in the coming elections. I am sitting on the fence.
Between the devil and the deep blue sea you must choose between two equally unpleasant situations A choice of party in the coming elections is like a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. No matter which party comes to power, the country will suffer.
Once in a blue moon Happens very rarely Sajal – in a romantic mood ? That happens once in a blue moon.
Give wings to Inspire someone to achieve great things The inspirational session by the motivational speaker gave wings to my dreams.
Come of age something or someone that has come of age has reached full, successful, development

if someone has come of age, the

person is an adult and legally responsible for his/her behavious

The Indian architecture has come of age in the past 10 years.

She will celebrate her coming of age birthday party (21st) at Goa.

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