51. Off the record
Meaning: Not made as an official or attributable statement; unofficial; confidential
Example: He accepted his fault off the record and hence it could not be used by the prosecutor in the court.
52. Oldest trick in the book
Meaning: A well known and much used trick/method
Example: Oldest trick in the book to treat cold and cough is drinking turmeric milk.
53. Off the cuff
Meaning: Without preparation; spontaneous
Example: She has a reputation of handling off the cuff interviews very well.
54. Old habits die hard
Meaning: People find it difficult to change their accustomed behavior.
Example: She retired last month, but still gets up at the same time in the morning. Old habits die hard.
55. Once in a blue moon
Meaning: Very rarely
Example: Jill has a very rocky relationship with her father. She speaks to him once in a blue moon.
56. Open the floodgates
Meaning: Release something that was previously under control
Example: Economists fear that relaxing price control will open the floodgates to inflation.
57. Out of the blue
Meaning: Happen unexpectedly
Example: She had given up all hope when out of the blue she got a call from Harvard.
58. Out on a limb
Meaning: Do something risky or something that others do not support (leaving the doer in a difficult situation)
Example: She was out on a limb with her project – nobody supported her idea.
59. Over the top
Meaning: Totally excessive and not suitable for the occasion.
Example: Her sari was way over the top for a sombre occasion like this.
60. Pen is mightier than the sword
Meaning: Words and communication have a greater effect than war
Example: A simple handwritten note put an end to their week long cold war – pen is mightier than the sword.
61. Push one’s luck
Meaning: Trying to obtain more than what one has (risk spoiling the current situation)
Example: You have my permission to go to your friends’ place but don’t push your luck by planning a night out.
62. Raining cats and dogs
Meaning: Raining heavily
Example: We’ll have to cancel the trip, it’s raining cats and dogs here.
63. Reap the harvest
Meaning: Benefit or suffer as a direct result of past actions.
Example: When he cleared IIT-JEE, he reaped the harvest of all his hard work.
64. Roll up one’s sleeves
Meaning: Get ready for hard work
Example: My brother said he would roll up his sleeves and do whatever it takes to support the family.
65. See eye to eye
Meaning: To be in agreement with
Example: She was glad her roommate saw eye to eye on the choice of the flat.
66. Shot in the dark
Meaning: A complete guess (may or may not be close to the truth)
Example: He didn’t know too much about programming, so answering the interviewer’s question was merely a shot in the dark.
67. Sink your teeth into
Meaning: Do something with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
Example: Robin immediately sank his teeth into his new job.
68. Skating on thin ice
Meaning: Do or say something risky or something that could cause trouble.
Example: Don’t say anything that hurts her self esteem or you could be skating on thin ice.
69. Stand in a good stead
Meaning: To be useful or be of good service to someone.
Example: Being fluent in German will stand you in a good stead when applying for an MS in Germany.
70. Strike while the iron is hot
Meaning: To act at the right time
Example: The price of gold is at a 10 year low, strike while the iron is hot and invest in it right away.
71. Take a back seat
Meaning: Choose to be less important in a role
Example: He finally decided to take a back seat and let his son run the family business.
72. Take with a grain/pinch of salt
Meaning: To doubt the accuracy of information
Example: A lot is said about the celebrities in media, but that information should be taken with a grain of salt.
73. Take a nosedive
Meaning: Rapid drop or decrease in value
Example: The share prices took a nosedive when there were rumors of the company’s CEO resigning.
74. Take the plunge
Meaning: Venture into something of one’s interest despite the risks involved
Example: Jack finally took the plunge and opened a restaurant.
75. Taste of one’s own medicine
Meaning: Treat people the same (unpleasant) way they treated you
Example: People who often disregard others should be given a taste of their own medicine.
76. Think the world of
Meaning: Admire someone very much
Example: Emily is a wonderful teacher – children think the world of her.
77. Tight spot
Meaning: A difficult situation
Example: The recent lawsuit has put the firm in a tight spot.
78. Tongue in cheek
Meaning: (of a remark) Supposed to be taken in funny or ironic sense
Example: Her comment was taken more seriously than intended. It was supposed to be tongue in cheek.
79. Turn a blind eye
Meaning: Pretend not to notice
Example: People tend to turn a blind eye to crime against women.
80. Walk on eggshells
Meaning: Be extremely cautious about one's words or actions
Example: Celebrities are scrutinized by the media for all their actions so they’re required to walk on eggshells.
81. Want someone’s head on a platter
Meaning: Want someone to be punished severely
Example: “I want that murderer’s head on a platter!”, said the Chief of police.
82. Watch (someone) like a hawk
Meaning: Keep eyes on or watch carefully
Example: The examiner watched the test takers like a hawk.
83. Water under the bridge
Meaning: Something bad that happened in the past but is no longer important
Example: The couple had a serious fight in the past but that water is under the bridge now.
84. Wave a dead chicken
Meaning: Do some useless, unhelpful thing in the hope that it will solve a problem
Example: Restarting the laptop once the motherboard has crashed is like waving a dead chicken.
85. Weak in the knees
Meaning: Barely able to stand because of emotion, fear or illness
Example: The shock of being summoned by the Supreme Court made me go weak in the knees.
86. Wear many hats
Meaning: Do many different types tasks
Example: We have such a small number of employees that one is often supposed to wear many hats.
87. Weather the storm
Meaning: Succeed in surviving a difficult period of time
Example: Given the current global market conditions, the Indian economy is weathering the storm pretty well.
88. Wet behind the ears
Meaning: Inexperienced and immature
Example: Instead of a full time job, she should be offered an internship as she is still wet behind the ears.
89. Whale of a time
Meaning: Enjoy a lot
Example: She had a whale of a time in Goa with her girl gang.
90. Whistle in the dark
Meaning: Pretend to be brave in a scary situation
Example: Upon being attacked, she blew a whistle in the dark which surprised her attackers.
91. Why keep a dog and bark for yourself
Meaning: If someone or something can do a job for you, why do it yourself?
Example: My sister has a printer but she continues to write notes manually. Why keep a dog and bark for yourself?
92. Wide off the mark
Meaning: Incorrect; Inadequate; Not what is expected
Example: Her answer was wide off the mark, it was impossible for me to give a better rating to it.
93. Wild goose chase
Meaning: Waste time looking for something that has little chance of being found
Example: She tried to find out who the anonymous caller was, but it turned out to be a wild goose chase.
94. Wipe the slate clean
Meaning: Make a fresh start
Example: When Mike was leaving home, he decided to wipe the slate clean with his dad.
95. Wolf in sheep’s clothing
Meaning: Dangerous person pretending to be harmless
Example: I thought she was a good person, but I realized that she was a wolf in a sheep’s clothing
when she backstabbed me during the selection process.
96. Work your fingers to the bone
Meaning: Extreme hard work
Example: She totally deserves the success; she worked her fingers to the bone when she started out as a model.
97. Worm’s eye view
Meaning: A perspective seen from below or from a low or inferior position
Example: The trainees get only a worm’s eye view of the corporate structure.
98. Worth one’s salt
Meaning: Good or competent at the job or profession specified
Example: She deserves respect as she is totally worth her salt.
99. Wrap one’s brain around
Meaning: Concentrate on something in an effort to understand
Example: I really need to wrap my brain around this concept before the exam.
100. Zero in on something
Meaning: Focus all attention onto one thing
Example: The teacher immediately zeroed in on the weaker students of the class.