Study Material for SSC CGL, CHSL, MTS, Prasar Bharti, FCI Exams : Idioms and Phrases

Idioms and Phrases

Back out — to withdraw from a promise, contract : I felt grieved when he backed out of his promise to help me.

Back up — to support; to sustain : He backed up his report with relevant statistics.

Bear upon — to be relevant to : This argument does not bear upon the subject under discussion.

Blow up — to explode : The mine blew up and all the labourers working inside were killed.
— to reprimand or scold : If you continue to be negligent, the teacher will blow you up.

Break down — of a car; a piece of machinery; to go wrong so that it will not function : The car broke down on our way to Mumbai.
— to collapse; to succumb to uncontrollable weeping : She broke down completely on hearing the news of her husband's death.
— to succumb to a nervous collapse through overwork or worry : He worked so hard that his health broke down near the examination.

Break off — to end; to discontinue; to desist : We had to break off our conversation when he arrived. She broke off in the middle of the story. She did not like his nature and broke off the engagement.

Break up — to disperse; to dissolve : The college will break up for the Puja holidays on 25th October. The meeting will break up after the President has addressed the audience.

Bring up — to rear : Those brought up in adversity are able to cope with life better.

Call forth — to provoke : The minister's views on the disinvestment policy of the government called forth a good deal of bitter criticism.

Call out — to shout : I called out to him but he disappeared in the dark.
— to announce by calling or shouting : The Manager called out to the peon that he was being immediately fired.

Call upon — to order; to require : I was unfortunately called upon to give evidence against him.

Carry on — to continue : If you carry on working hard, your business will soon flourish.
— to manage : He carried on his business so well that he soon amassed a huge fortune.

Cast away — to throw aside : You must cast away all your apprehensions and accept the offer.

Catch up with — to overtake; to draw level : Last week I had to stay late at the office to catch up with some pending files.

Come off — to take place : The prize distribution came off on Tuesday last.
— to turn out successful : His speeches at the conference always came off beautifully.

Cry down — to deprecate; to make little of : You must not unneccessarily cry down the conduct of others.

Cry out against — to complain loudly against : The opposition parties cried out against the fast pace of the globalisation of the Indian economy.

Cut out — designed for : Your were cut out to be a lecturer in a college.

Drop in — to visit casually : On my way to the college, I dropped in at Mira's place.

Drop out — As the race progressed, many children dropped out.

Fall back — to recede; to retreat : On seeing the armed guards, the civilians fell back.

Fall down — from a higher position to a lower one : The branch gave way and he fell down into the canal.

Fall off — to withdraw; to drop off : Some of our subscribers have fallen off. Friends fall off in adversity.

Fall under — to come under : This colony does not fall under my jurisdiction.

Get along — to prosper; to progress; to proceed : Well, doctor, how is your patient getting along? It is simply impossible to get along with him.

Get on with — to live pleasantly together; to progress : How are you getting on with your studies?

Get into — to be involved in : It is easy to get into scandals but hard to come out unscathed.

Give in — to surrender; to yield : I gave into her repeated requests and accepted the offer.

Give over — not to do any longer : It is time you gave over pretending that you have access to the Prime Minister.

Go after — to follow; to pursue : The policeman went after the thief but the latter managed to escape in the dark of the night.

Go down — to be accepted : The terrorist attack on WTC will go down in history as one of the worst acts of terrorism.

Go without — to remain without : he is so poor that sometimes he has to go without food.

Go by — to follow : I am sorry to disappoint you but we have to go by the rules.
— to elapse (used of time) : Months have gone by but I have not called upon him.

Hang about — to loiter near a place : Last evening I say your friend hanging about your house.

Hang upon — to depend upon : The success of any venture hangs upon the seriousness with which it is undertaken.

Hold out — to endure; to refuse to yield : How long can you hold out against starvation?
— to continue : Sugar stocks are not likely to hold out very long.
— to offer : She held out her hand to the Prince.

Hold to — abide by : Whatever resistance there might be, I will hold to my decision.

Keep off — to ward off : His stern looks keep off the flatterers.
— to maintain : They have been trying to keep up their standard of living though there has been a considerable decline in their income.

Keep up with — to keep pace with : You read too fast; I cannot keep up with you.

Knock out — to win by hitting the opponent insensible in a boxing bout : The challenger was knocked out in two minutes.