Commonly Used Idioms – Part 2

One can never have enough of spicy English Idioms. So here is the second part for the list of idioms.

Idiom Meaning Sentence
Bat an eyelid To not show any shock or surprise With both the eurozone and US in economic doldrums,aid from these sources have dried up; hence African nations do not bat an eyelid while accepting Chinese aid,which comes with strings attached.
Strings attached Special demands or constrains
At the crack of dawn Very early in the morning He used to get up at the crack of the dawn to study for his exams.
An apple of discord The root cause of a fight The ancestral property was the apple of discord between the two brothers.
Fall off the back of a lorry Something that is very cheap or acquired in a dishonest way or stolen. This laptop is very cheap. Did it fall of the back of a lorry?
Get an earful To have a lot to listen,often used for criticism and unwanted suggestions Modi got an earful for remark that Bangladesh PM is fighting terror ‘despite being a woman’.
On a knife edge In a difficult situation and worried about future Talks between Nitish and Lalu appears to be on a knife’s edge.
To cut corners When something is done badly to save money If a company tries to cut corners on quality, it risks losing customers.
Let the cat out of the bag To reveal information that was previously concealed He let the cat out of the bag and told us about his girlfriend.
An eagle’s eye If someone has an eagle’s eye, he/she has very accurate vision My father has an eagle’s eye– he saw the small dent on the rear of the car.
A left handed compliment a remark which seems approving but which is also negative The senator said that her opponent was quite competent for someone so inexperienced; you hear nothing but left-handed compliments in these debates
Wax and wane to increase and then decrease, as the phases of the moon. Voter sentiment about the tax proposal waxes and wanes with each passing day.
Turn the other cheek to ignore abuse or an insult When she yelled at him, he turned the other cheek.
Carve a niche To create one’s own style or position Actor R Madhavan has managed to carve a niche for himself both in the Southern film industry and Bollywood
Bone of contention Point of argument The question of a fence between the houses has become quite a bone of contention between the neighbors.
Spill the beans to give away a secret or a surprise. There is a surprise party for Heidi on Wednesday. Please don’t spill the beans. Paul already spilled the beans about Heidi’s party.

A world of Opposites

a tale

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. .

– Excerpt from  ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens.

Right from childhood, these lines by notable writer Charles Dickens always intrigued me. I was never able to comprehend what he actually meant.Initially,owing to my immaturity and innocence, I thought he might be confused about his feelings and was not able to judge the situation – after all how can the time be both best and worst simultaneously. There has to be a single perspective.His words are contradictory.The anaphora is puzzling.It is a paradox. What does he really mean?

I must admit that I have not read the novel. I tried but I could not. I don’t deny the fact that it is not one of the great pieces by a notable writer, but my taste in reading was different. I do accept that had I read the novel , I could have got the real idea beneath the words. But as I said, I was quite stubborn with my taste.

Now, when I look at these words, I get a sense of familiarity.As we grow, we learn that good and bad,darkness and lightness, hope and despair, heaven and hell – both co-exist.You will not find one without the other. It creates a kind of balance in this universe. If you have faced good times, you are bound to encounter worst predicaments. If you are filled with hope today, you will feel low tomorrow.If you are happy today, tomorrow you never know what might sadden you. If you are wise today, with time that knowledge will not be enough.These opposites definitely attract each other.

But there is a sanguine side to this whole theory. If you have been a tough time in your life, are you going to suffer your whole life?No. If you are sad today, will there not be a good news waiting for you tomorrow? No. If you are ignorant today, can the world make you stay ignorant if you work and learn hard. An emphatic No. The pearl to be picked up here is both good and bad exist in this world. It is a world of opposites. A roller coaster ride where at one time you are at the zenith, while at the other, you are deep down. But does it stop? No. It keeps going changing highs to lows, lows to highs.

Remember, Change is the only constant. Good and bad both co-exist. Fight the bad, embrace the good.


Build Your Vocabulary Part-2

English language is an ocean of words, phrases, idioms, proverbs. The moment you feel complacent that you have sailed across this ocean, you realize that you have not even left the land. It was just a wave that had hit you while you were standing on the shore. Such is the infiniteness. And so I believe, even if I cover 10,000 parts of vocabulary section, it will be a mere drop. Nevertheless, let’s just keep going drop by drop. Here is part -2 for the vocabulary section.


Word Meaning Sentence
acrimonious Bitter, angry, ascerbic (usually of speech/discussion) The acrimonious dispute for ancestral property between two brothers brought shame to  family’s name.
hegemonistic Referring to political domination,hegemony China’s hegemonistic ambitions to conquer coveted resources of Africa clearly indicates that China aspires to be a superpower in the coming decades.
reinvigorate Give new energy or strength to something After economic depression, the banking sector reinvigorated the economy of the country.
prescience The fact of knowing something in advance, foreknowldege We could not deny the fortuneteller’s prescience when his prophecies were realized.
venerable Commanding respect by virtue of age, dignity, character or position The venerable investment bank Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy on 15th September,2008  which led to the  great economic crisis.
kaput Broken and useless, no longer working, demolished SBI had merged State Bank of Saurashtra in August 2008,jus a month before global meltdown was triggerd by Lehman brothers going kaput.
Phlegmatic Relaxed and peaceful

Four temperaments is a proto-psychological theory that suggests that there are four fundamental personality types, sanguine, choleric , melancholic, and phlegmatic.

The normal phlegmatic banker was shocked to hear of his bank going bankrupt.
sanguine Optimistic ,leader-like   I am sanguine about his career.
choleric Bad tempered, or irritable His choleric temperament did not earn him good friends.
melancholic Pensive sadness, analytical and quiet  After his failure in the exams, he became melancholic.

Determination slowly replaced melancholy and we returned to work.

Illiquid (of assets) not easily converted into cash. The bank faced a bankrupt situation because most of their assets had become illiquid.
audacity Boldness, fearlessness, impudence Only and only Kangana Ranaut could have done this. The ‘Queen’ of b-town has shown the audacity to refuse a movie with Salman Khan.
truce An agreement between  opponents to stop fighting for some time After general assembly’s heated debate, the speaker called for a temporary truce.
Vex Make someone feel annoyed,frustrated,worried The problem vexed him until he decided to face it.
Nepotism Patronage granted to relatives

By person with power/influence

We see a great deal of nepotism in Indian politics.
prerogative The exclusive right or power held by a person Since he was a senior member in the golf club, he had the prerogative to reject new member applications.
Kingpin a person or thing important for success of the organization or an operation Joint commissioner of police, southwestern range, Dependra Pathak said the kingpin of the gang, Vinod Kumar (42), set up RJJS in 2011 and then roped in Shiksha Chowdhary (28) and Anil Pandey (29) as co-directors of the unregistered NGO.
farce farce is a broad satire or comedy, though now it’s used to describe something that is supposed to be serious but has turned ridiculous. If a defendant is not treated fairly, his lawyer might say that the trial is a farce. The trial was a complete farce, the jury obviously knowing their verdict before proceedings even began.
adept Skilled or proficient at something Mark is an adept juggler who can easily manager four balls in the air without dropping one.
ebullient cheerful,full of energy The ebullient song was so uplifting that I danced in my chair.
vagary an unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation or in someone’s behaviour Today’s stock market vagary cost investors millions of dollars.
innocuous not offensive or harmful Because the virus was innocuous, the hospital staff had no need to worry about the leak.
alacrity brisk and cheerful readiness She accepted the invitation with alacrity.
sartorial related to dress There were no sartorial distractions this time when Modi visited Bangladesh.
sojourn a temporary stay My husband’s perfect idea of a sojourn is a two-nights stay at a secluded cabin in front of a stream overflowing with fish.
brevity shortness of time, use of exact words I hope the chief guest exercises brevity in his speech today.I am tired of listening.

Inspite of the brevity of his shopping trip, he bought a lot of things

grappled engage in a close fight or struggle India has grappled with terror — internally and externally — for a long time.
umbrage annoyance, offence She took umbrage to my joke.
cognizant have knowledge or awareness I am fully cognizant of the side-effects drugs will have on my health.
sacrilege misuse of something regarded as sacred It is considered an act of sacrilege for anyone to touch the sacred statue.
blasphemy the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk. When Jake made a joke in church, his mother accused him of blasphemy.

Phrasal Verbs ( Introduction – A)

Phrasal verbs are verbs which when combined with different propositions/adverbs change the meaning of the verb. The meaning of the phrasal verb is very different from the actual verb. Sometimes, reader might geta confusion about the usage of idioms and phrasal verbs. What is the difference between the two? More importantly, is there a difference? Yes, there is. That is why they are defined in two different categories.

Idioms are phrase or fixed expressions (which may contain verbs, nouns ,adjectives etc.) that convey a meaning different from the meaning of the individual words. The words cannot be broken down to understand the meaning of an idiom.


Idiom Meaning Sentence
At the crack of dawn Early in the morning Birds start singing at the crack of the dawn.

A phrasal verb is a group of words(verb+adverb/preposition/particle) used together as a verb with a meaning different from the individual words when broken down. But the difference here is phrasal verbs are verbs. So we can say, phrasal verbs are idiomatic verbs.

Phrasal Verb Meaning Sentence
Get up leave bed after waking up He used to get up at the crack of the dawn to study for his exams.

Here is a list of commonly used Phrasal verbs (starting with A ):

Phrasal Verb Meaning Sentence
Act up Not behave properly, not work properly (for machines) My laptop is acting up.

I scolded my son because he was acting up.

Ask out Ask for a date He has not asked her out yet.
Ask over/round To invite someone to one’s home I have asked him over/round for lunch.
Ask around ask people the same question I asked around but nobody has seen my purse.
Ask in To invite someone James is knocking on the door. Please ask him in.
Ask after To enquire about someone

‘ s health

I called dad to ask after my grandmother.
Ask about To enquire how someone is doing, a general information about  someone’s well being He called to ask about my brother.
Ask for To request for “I had asked for tea, but I have not got it yet”, customer complained to the manager.

She is in great trouble after arguing with the boss. But his boss is not at fault. She asked for it.

Abide by Follow a rule or decision We have to abide by  the company’s policy.
Argue down To beat someone in a discussion or argument He tried to argue the child down, but he could’nt.

Blame Game

As I was going on a nostalgic trip reading stuffs in my old diary – feeling amused at the weird handwriting I had back then, grinning at the was-hilarious-then-but-not-so-much-now jokes,slightly embarrassed by the ‘Hi Diary’ salutation,I came across the following creative piece  which I wrote for my college’s editorial.


Since childhood, we learn to play many games—both outdoor and indoor. But a game that is played since times immemorial and has become a legacy of the human race is the BLAME GAME. And the most interesting part of this game is that although we do not learn it consciously, we use it- rather play it- very often in our day to day lives.The history of this game dates back to the time when Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, sinned in the Garden of Eden. They tried to excuse themselves by placing the blame somewhere else. Since then, it has been in our blood to blame others and shift the responsibility on someone else. A political leader blaming another for the weary state the country is in today, a boss blaming his employees for failure of a project, an actor blaming the script for the failure of a movie-these are common scenarios now-a-days. People are busy finding external reasons for their unhappiness or frustration. We fail to realize that we ourselves are so much a part of this………….Coming to the rules of the game…..

  • This game can be played when there is a situation of – failure, dissatisfaction, and frustration – especially applicable in case of team work. It can be played at all levels- individual, national, and even international…
  • The sole motive of this game is to shift the responsibility to others and to keep oneself free of guilt – whoever does that brilliantly is declared the winner.
  • The player should keep in mind that he is the sole sufferer and is always right….
  • “Destiny” can be used in case the player is not able to put the blame on anyone else.
  • Everything is fair in this game of blaming……

BUT Does it satisfy one’s conscience???

Does it alleviate the situation or help in solving the problem???


My answer and experience says an emphatic no… Its sole contribution is to worsen the already-worsened situation. I do not intend to conclude that highlighting people’s mistakes is wrong. In fact, sometimes it is required and is the right thing to do. But when people do it with the motive of publicly humiliating the “wrong guy” rather than encouraging others to learn from the mistakes, it serves no purpose. Many a times, destiny has to take the blame. It sounds clichéd but true -“We write our own destiny”. I read the story of a saint who used to carry a mirror with himself wherever he went. When asked about its use for a saint, he replied “whenever I face any problem in my life, I look at it. It shows me the cause as well as the solution of the problem….”.That for me was a huge realization. It is rightly said – “Making bad decisions is part of life. Blaming others for your bad decisions is immature.”

We start living our life in its true essence the day we realize that we are solely responsible for its quality. No matter what happens in life, we just cannot sit back and blame someone else for our miseries. If we are not happy, it is because we have not tried to be happy. There is solution for every problem in this world- if not in our hand, then probably in the hands of TIME. But one has to take charge of one’s life. And the day each one of us take up the responsibility of making oneself  happy & content, and one’s life worth living, the world will become a better place.

– Amateur

To Win OR To Win Fairly

Jamaica's Yohan Blake, second left, starts in a men's 100-meter heat during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


Prayer of a Sportsman

Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on through life
I ask but a field that is fair,
A chance that is equal with all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare;

And if should win, let it be by the code
With my faith and my honor held high;
And if I should lose, let me stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.

-Berton Braley

Although the above excerpt from Berton’s creation bears the heading ‘ Prayers of a Sportsman’ , but you don’t have to be a sportsman to keep this thought in your heart, for every human being on this planet is a participant of a race – a race to succeed in life, to achieve what one dreams ,a continuous effort to prove oneself superior than others, a race which goes on till our last breath – In that way , we all are sportsmen , aren’t we?

Nowadays, people are so busy with their respective races, that they often forget the rules and the sportsman spirit which is necessary to keep the competition fair and humane. The focus is only on winning, rather than winning fairly. Only the ultimate results matter. But there is one question that needs to be answered. Will the person gazing back at us from the mirror be happy and content with us winning the race at any cost ignoring the fairness of the game? Will he be happy seeing the trophy even if we know that somebody else deserves it more?

In modern day scenario, one can’t help but ponder on Berton’s lines to realize how precisely he has sketched an honorable sportsman’s character– he wants to win but only when he deserves it, else he asks for enough strength so that he is able to forget his own defeat and revel in winner’s celebration. That’s a sportsman’s glory, his triumph and his legacy that will inspire millions after him.

Hence, the choice is simple- to win OR to win fairly. The answer lies nowhere but within us.


Build Your Vocabulary

Sometimes, we can’t think of words that exactly describe our feelings – we might use a big sentence to pen down what we think, but if we can consolidate our thoughts in one word, the impact is far reaching and the writer is said to have come of age.

Here is a list of words with their meanings and example sentences which regularly appear in editorials and articles but we don’t know their exact meaning. Treat yourself to this pool of English words and use them in your creative writing piece to enhance the reading experience without overburdening 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 word. Nowhere, I have expressed my personal opinion.

Word Meaning Sentence
Fiefdom an organization or real estate, owned or controlled by one dominant person or group Sushma Swaraj cited figures to argue that the new government’s hands-on foreign policy was the result of team work and wasn’t any individual’s fiefdom.
Pariah Outcast No Indian PM has so far visited Israel, a country usually considered as pariah due to the fears of a backlash from Islamic nations and the Muslim community.
Iconoclastic Attacking/criticizing  traditional beliefs But the Modi government has revealed that it is going to fashion its foreign policy in an iconoclastic manner
Fashion (verb) to make into a particular form But the Modi government has revealed that it is going to fashion its foreign policy in an iconoclastic manner.
burgeon begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish We go on a whirlwind ride with Kangana’s wild-child Tanu and her quiet and burgeoning from everywhere husband Manu (Madhavan).
Libertarian A political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgement. The free will which Leibnitz teaches is not libertarian but determinist.
Capsizing (of a boat) Overturned in water Pregnancy kept capsizing my relationship with my wife and I was struggling to stay afloat
Banter the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks Origin Of emoticon:

The emoji was invented in 1982, as a group of Carnegie Mellon researchers were using an online bulletin board to joke about what would happen if their building’s elevator cable were cut. Realising that this banter might be take a morbid(unpleasant) turn if read literally, they invented the “:)” to clear up the fact that they were only messing around.

                                Gauche Unsophisticated & socially awkward Invented only three decades back, emojis (emoticons) are seen today as non-standard and, in fact, decidedly gauche.
Palpable readily or plainly seen, heard, perceived, etc.; obvious; evident:

Capable of being touched

The sense of disgust is clearly palpable as the womb was seen as the “source of all disease” and women were said to “leak menstrual blood, sexual lubricant, lochial discharge after giving birth, and yeast infections (leucorrhea).”
Privy Sharing in the knowledge of I haven’t really read the excerpts of that book. Also I am not privy to any private conversation between two individuals. I have not heard about this before and I have no idea what happened and I would not want to make any comment,” Dravid commented to the press during the rehashing of the controversy surrounding the 2007 World Cup.
Belittle To make something less important, depreciate Re-iterating his speech in Mathura on the day the government completed its first year in office, Modi also hit out at the opposition and accused them of belittling the government’s achievements.
Reiterate To say something again and again, repeat for emphasis or clarity Modi reiterated his speech in Mathura in an interview to DNA
acolytes A person who assists the celebrant in the performance of liturgical rites.

A devoted follower or attendant.

Modi’s statement is intended to camouflage what goes on as a routine business by his government and Sangh Parivar acolytes,” he said.
Schizophrenic Something relating to a mental disorder characterized by hallucinations,delusions, and conflicting personalities “I was going schizophrenic because I was doing Marathi dialect training for my role as Kashibai in Bajirao Mastani and American dialect training simultaneously. I was losing my mind and forgot what I was supposed to sound like,” said Priyanka.
Impunity Exemption from punishment,penalty or harm,with no care or heed for consequences The impunity with which doctors give LGBTs shock therapy shows why gay-sex ban must go
Pander To cater to the lower castes and desires of other or exploit their weakness The action by Naz Foundation follows an expose by a media house that showed  several doctors in New Delhi peddling alleged cures for homosexuality, pandering to the assumption that it is a disease.
Nostalgic experiencing or exhibiting nostalgia, a sentimental or wistful yearning for the happiness felt in a former place, time, or situation. I was feeling nostalgic when I visited my school after 10 years.
Xenophobia dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries Racism and xenophobia are staedily growing in Europe.
       Mirth amusement, especially as expressed in laughter As FIFA gets rid of its controversial president, mirth ensues on Twitter.
Racketeering criminal activity that is performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate. Examples of racketeering activity include extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery. Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president just five days ago, amidst corruption charges swirling around the world football body as former FIFA vice-president, Jack Warner, current vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo were among those arrested last week on charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering conspiracies.
Vagabond a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job For four years, he led a vagabond life.
Unabated Without any reduction in strength or intensity Global warming, caused by an unabated use of fossil fuels, is bound to increase average temperatures everywhere.
Jinx A person or thing that is believed to bring bad luck. Some planned exchanges by Indian defence ministers to Israel did not materialise and Moshe Ya’alon broke this jinx when he came for the Aero Show in February this year.
vis-à-vis in relation to; with regard to At the same time, Modi cannot ignore domestic criticisms over Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
Schism a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief. Modi also would be aware of the internal schism that haunts the Palestinians: President Abbas travels world over but for since taking office in 2005 he was unable to set foot on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the other part of Palestine.
Nonchalant feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm The nonchalant attitude by the police to the bus burning has got a few people in Ramsay Street talking.
Moot subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty A half-way solution, said Gupta, could lie in getting the food industry to produce vitamin fortified food. “The children are not going to stop eating junk food,” she said. “The least we can do is make it more healthy to consume.” What happens then if Lays makes multivitamin enriched chips? And Coca Cola makes an iron fortified Pepsi? It’s a moot question.
Petrichor a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. Other than the petrichor emanating from the rapidly drying grass, there was not a trace of evidence that it had rained at all
Bucolic Relating to the pleasantness of the countryside and country life The farmhouse was giving a bucolic feeling

A bucolic poen/verse

apparition A ghost or a ghost like image of a person In my childhood, my grandma used to read to me stories of ghost. The apparition described by her used to haunt me for days.
rambunctious Uncontrollably exuberant ,boisterous The rambunctious dogs played in the park.
nifty Skillful, attractive, stylish A nifty jewelry piece
rummage search unsystematically and untidily through something. I rummaged in my bag for my phone.

He rummaged in his pocket for handkerchief

infallible incapable of making mistakes or being wrong, never failing ,always effective Ayurvedic cures might be slow in showing their effects but they are infallible.
blithely Casual, happy and carefree I blithely played in the pool , knowing Sajal is there to watch over me(to carefully watch /guard)
Bludgeon Thick stick with a heavy end.

beat (someone) repeatedly with a bludgeon or other heavy object.

She was found bludgeoned to death in the basement
Traction The act of drawing or pulling, especially  by motive power

The action of drawing a body, vehicle, train, or the like, along a surface.

The government has not yet realized that an economy as large as India’s needs time and space to pick up traction.
Euphoria a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. There is an air of eyes shut make believe in this government’s first year euphoria.
Penchant a strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something He has a penchant for pet dogs.
Recalcitrant Having an obstinately uncooperative attitude towards authority or discipline While claiming that the “expectations from the Modi government were realistic”, Mr. Jaitley has put the blame on a recalcitrant Opposition, which, according to him, has put many a roadblock before the government’s efforts to fulfil its mandate.
Debilitating Making weak While shrinking winter-spans are considered by specialists as a sure sign that climate change is a reality we cannot ignore, at the other end of the spectrum, hot summers are no less debilitating.
aficionado A person who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about an activity, connoisseur Since she is a Sudoku aficionado, she finds it very easy to pass time when she is traveling all by herself.
Scion A descendant of a notable family The scion of the Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi has a great responsibility on his shoulders to uphold the reputation of his family.
Petulant  ill-tempered, irritable She is not liked by many because of her petulant demeanor.
Capricious Unpredictable changes of mood and behavior,unpredictable,impuslive His capricious business decisions led to his downfall.

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.

Attitude towards life


If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail,

If you can’t be the sun, then just be the star,

It isn’t by the size that you win or fail,

But be the best of whatever you are.

– Douglas Malloch

The above excerpt from Douglas Malloch’s inspirational piece exactly defines the attitude one should have in life. The lines reiterate perfection in its own sense. Whether you are a giant business tycoon or a run-of-the-mill salesman, whether you are a celebrity or a street play actor, a computer genius working in a multinational company or a mechanic, a celebrated artist or a construction worker- the size does’nt matter. What matters is how you play your role to perfection. It is rightly said ,”Do your work so perfectly, that others do not have any work on your work.”

For all the pessimists out there, this does’nt mean that you should settle for something less in life. You should constantly strive to achieve more and more and fulfill every dream you have. But then, be the best dreamer you can be. Dream with conviction. Be the best struggler you can be. Struggle to zenith and don’t stop until you get exactly what you dreamt of. Be the best achiever you can be. Play every role you have in life to the best of your ability.