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Idioms

Idioms may be defined as expressions peculiar to a language. They play an important part in all languages.
Many verbs, when followed by various prepositions, or adverbs, acquire an idiomatic sense; as,
He backed up (supported) his friend's claim.
The present disturbances will soon blow over (pass off).
The police produced evidence to bear out (substantiate) the charge of murder.


You must not build your hopes upon (rely upon) his promises.
The matter has been cleared up (explained).
I readily closed with (accepted) his offer.
He is ready to dispose of (sell) his car for Rs.1,50,000.
Rust has eaten away (corroded) the plate.
They fixed upon (chose) him to do the work.
My good behaviour so far gained on (won the favour of) the emperor that I began to conceive hopes of liberty.
The habit of chewing tobacco has been growing upon (is having stronger and stronger hold over) him.
Please hear me out (i.e., hear me to the end).
I have hit upon (found) a good plan to get rid of him.
About an hour ago I saw a fellow hanging about (loitering about) our bungalow.
These events led up to (culminated in) the establishment of a republic.
During excavations one of the workmen lighted upon (chanced to find, discovered) a gold idol.
During her long illness she often longed for (desired) death.
I could not prevail on (persuade, induce) him to attend the meeting.
For years I could not shake off (get rid of) my malaria.
I threatened to show him up (expose him).
All eyes turned to him because he was the only person who could stave off (prevent, avert) the impending war.
He is sticking out for (persists in demanding) better terms.
I must think the matter over (i.e., consider it).
Train up (educate) a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.
That fellow trumped up (concocted, fabricated) a story.



BEAR: He seems to be well off (in comfortable circumstances).
Satish bore away (won) many prizes at the school sports.
The new leader has been able to bear down (overthrow, crush) all opposition.
His evidence bear out (confirms, corroborates) the evidence of the first witness.
In his misfortune God gave him strength to bear up (to keep up spirits, not to despair).
A religious hope bears up (supports) a man in his trials.
His evidence did not bear upon (was not relevant to) the inquiry.
I trust you will bear with (have patience with, show forbearance to) me a few minutes more.
BREAK: He broke down (failed) in the middle of his speech.
He broke off (stopped suddenly) in the middle of his story.
I gave him no cause to break with (quarrel with) me.
The burglars broke into (entered by force) the house.
BRING: His folly has brought about (caused) his ruin.
Idleness and luxury bring forth (produce, cause) poverty and want.
He brought forward (adduced) several cogent arguments in support of his scheme.
That building brings in (yields as rent) Rs. 8000 a month.
Our teacher often tells us a story to bring out (show) the meaning of a lesson.
The publishers have recently brought out (published) a cheap edition of their new dictionary.
He found great difficulty in bringing her round (converting her) to his views.
She brought up (reared) the orphan as her own child.
CALL: His master called for (demanded) an explanation of his conduct.
New responsibilities often call out (draw forth) virtues and abilities unsuspected before.
Call in ( summon, send for) a doctor immediately.
He called on me (paid me a brief visit) yesterday.
The old man could not call up (recollect) past events.
CARRY: He agreed to carry out (execute) my orders.
His passion carried him away (i.e., deprived him of self-control).
His son carried on (managed) his business in his absence.
Many persons were carried off (killed) by plague.
CAST: The ship was cast away (wrecked) on the coast of Africa.
He was much cast down (depressed) by his loss.
COME: How did these things come about (happen) ?
How did you come by (get) his purse ?
When does the Convocation come off (take place) ?
At last the truth has come out (transpired).
The taxes come to (amount to) a large sum.
The question came up (was mooted or raised for discussion) before the Municipal Corporation last week.
I except he will come round (recover) within a week.
I hope he will come round (agree) to our views.
CRY: Men of dissolute lives cry down (depreciate) religion, because they would not be under the restraints of it.
He cried out against (protested against) such injustice.
That young author is cried up (extolled) by his friends.
CUT: He was cut off (died) in the prime of life.
You must cut down (reduce) your expenditure.
He is cut out for (specially fitted to be) a sailor.
His wife's death cut him up (afflicted him, distressed him) terribly.
DO: I am done for (ruined).
Having walked twenty miles, he is quite done up (fatigued, exhausted).
FALL: At last the rioters fell back (retreated, yielded).
At my friend's tea-party I fell in with (met accidentally) a strange fellow.
The measure falls in with (happens to meet) the popular demand.
The scheme has fallen through (failed) for want of support.
I am told the two brothers have fallen out (quarrelled).
In the second school-term the attendance fell off (diminished).
GET: His friends expected that he would get off (escape) with a fine.
It is hard to get on with (agree or live sociably with) a suspicious man.
The thief got away (escaped) with my cash-box.
I can't get out (remove) this stain.
The revolt of the tribal chiefs has been got under (subdued).
The dog tried to get at (attack) me.
He has got through (passed) his examination.
They soon got the fire under (under control) by pouring buckets of water over it.
You were lucky to get out of (escape from) his clutches.
GIVE: We are credibly informed that the murderer has given himself up (surrendered himself) to the police.
The doctors have given him up (i.e., have no hope of his recovery).
Soon after it was given forth (published, noised abroad), and believed by many, that the King was dead.
The fire gave off (emitted) a dense smoke.
The strikers seem determined, and are not likely to give in (submit, yield).
It was given out (published, proclaimed) that he was a bankrupt.
The horses gave out (were exhausted) at the next milestone.
The rope gave way (broke, snapped) while the workmen were hauling up the iron pillar.
He would not listen to me at first, but at last he gave way (yielded).
The Governor gave away (distributed, presented) the prizes.
Give over (abandon) this foolish attempt.
In his cross-examination, he ultimately gave himself away (betrayed himself).
GO: You cannot always go by (judge from) appearances.
It is a good rule to go by (to be guided by).
He promised to go into (examine, investigate) the matter.
Have you anything to go upon (i.e., any foundation for your statement) ?
We have no data to go upon (on which to base our conclusions).
The story won't go down (be believed).
The concert went off well (was a success).
The auditor went over (examined) the balance sheet.
The poor woman has gone through (suffered) much.
I must first go through (examine) the accounts.
HOLD: The rebels held out (offered resistance) for about a month.
He holds out (gives) no promise of future prospects.
They were held up (stopped on the highway and robbed) by bandits.
The subject is held over (deferred, postponed) till next meeting.
KEEP: A few boys were kept in (confined after school-hours).
I was kept in (confined to the house) by a bad cold.
They kept up (carried on) a long conversation.
Little disputes and quarrels are chiefly kept up (maintained) by those who have nothing else to do.
He is trying his best to keep up (maintains) the price.
She kept on (continued) talking.
I shall keep back (conceal) nothing from you.
KNOCK: He has knocked about (wandered about) the world a great deal.
The dressing-table was knocked down (sold at an auction) for Rs.1000.
We were greatly knocked up (exhausted) after our sleep climbs.
LAY: The rebels laid down (surrendered) their arms.
He had laid out (invested) a large sum in railway shares.
Foolish people, who do not lay out (spend) their money carefully, soon come to grief.
He is laid up (confined to his bed) with fever.
He resolved to lay by (save for future needs) a part of his income.
LET: I was let into (made acquainted with) her secret.
This being his first offence he was let off (punished leniently) with a fine.
LOOK: His uncle looks after (takes care of) him.
He looks down upon (despises) his poor cousins.
Look up (search for) the word in the dictionary.
The old man is looking forward to (expecting with pleasure) the visit of his grandchildren.
I will look into (investigate) the matter.
I look on (regard) him as my son.
Some look to (rely on) legislation to hasten the progress of social reforms.
Look to (be careful about) your manners.
Prices of piece-goods are looking up (rising).
Things are looking up (improving).
His friends look up to (respect) him.
He will not look at (i.e., will reject) your offer.
MAKE: Contentment makes for (conduces to) happiness.
He made over (presented, gave in charity) his bungalow to the Islam Orphanage.
I cannot make out (discover) the meaning of this verse.
I cannot make out (read, decipher) his handwriting.
You have failed to make out (prove) your case.
Some time ago the two brothers quarrelled, but they have now made it up (become reconciled).
PASS: He generally passed by (overlooked) the faults of his subordinates.
The crew of the boat passed through (underwent) terrible sufferings.
He passed himself off as (pretended to be) a nobleman.
He poses all for (is regarded as) a great Sanskritist.
PICK: The Committe picked out (selected) the best players for the team.
He lost twenty pounds in sickness, but is now picking up (regaining or recovering health).
PULL: Unless we pull together (co-operate, work together in harmony) we cannot succeed.
My cousin pulled through (passed with difficulty) the examination.
The doctor says the patient will pull through (recover from his illness).
It is far easier to pull down (demolish) than to build up.
He was pulled up (scolded, rebuked) by the President.
PUT: He puts on (assumes) an air of dignity.
Please put out (extinguish) the light.
He was put out (vexed, annoyed) when I refused his request for a loan.
The plaintiff was put out (disconcerted) when the suit was dismissed.
He tried to put me off (evade me, satisfy me) with promises.
He has put in (made, sent in) a claim for compensation.
While travelling I had to put up with (endure) a good deal of discomfort.
I cannot put up with (tolerate) his insolence.
They put him up to (incited him to) mischief.
I am sorry to put you to (give you) so much trouble.
He put off (postponed) his departure for a week.
The measure was put through (passed) without opposition.
RUN: On account of overwork he is run down (enfeebled).
He always runs down (disparages) hid rivals.
The lease of our premises has run out (expired, come to an end).
He has run through (squandered away) his fortune.
The tailor's bill has run up to (amounted to) a large amount.
He has run into (incurred) debt.
While turning the corner I ran against (chanced to meet) an old friend.
Recently my expenses have run up (increased) considerably.
The cistern is running over (overflowing).
SEE: I saw through (detected) the trick.
It is hard to see into (discern) his motive.
His friends were present at the station to see him off (witness his departure).
SET: The High Court set aside (annulled) the decree of the lower court.
He immediately set about (took steps towards) organizing the department.
He set off (started) for Peshawar early this morning.
The frame sets off the picture (i.e., enhances its beauty by contrast).
He has set up (started business) as a banker.
I have enough capital to set me up (establish myself) in trade.
He hired a palatial bungalow and set up for (pretended to be) a millionaire.
I was obliged to set him down (snub him).
You may set down (charge) his loss to me.
Who set you on (instigated you) to do it ?
These seats are set apart (reserved) for ladies.
In his speech on prohibition, he set forth (explained, made known) his views at length.
The robbers set upon (attacked) the defenceless travellers.
Winter in England sets in (begins) about December.
SPEAK: In this city there is no free library to speak of (worth mentioning).
I was determined to speak out (express my opinion freely).
STAND: They are determined to stand up for (vindicate, maintain) their rights.
Let this matter stand over (be deferred or postponed) for the present.
It is hard but I think I can stand it out (endure it to the end without yielding).
He is always standing up for (championing the cause of) the weak and oppressed.
We shall be formidable if we stand by (support) one another.
STRIKE: He is struck down with (attacked by) paralysis.
The Medical Council struck off (removed) his name from the register of medical practitioners.
While we were planning a family picnic, my sister struck in (interrupted) with the suggestion that we invite our neighbour's children as well.
TAKE: The piano takes up (occupies) too much room.
It would take up (occupy) too much time to tell you the whole story.
He takes after (resembles) his father.
At present I am reading the Essays of Bacon, but it is sometimes difficult to take in (comprehend, understand) his meaning.
Recently he has taken to (become addicted to) opium eating.
TALK: We talked over (discussed) the matter for an hour.
I hope to talk him over (convince him by talking) to our view.
TELL: I am afraid your antecedents will tell against you (i.e., prove unfavourable to you).
The strain is telling upon (affecting) his health.
THROW: My advice was thrown away (wasted) upon him, because he ignored it.
The bill was thrown out (rejected) by the Assembly.
In disgust he threw up (resigned) his appointment.
When he became rich he threw over (abandoned or deserted) all his old friends.
TURN: The factory turns out (produces, manufactures) 20,000 lbs of cloth a day.
If he is lazy, why don't you turn him off (dismiss him) ?
He turned out (proved) to be a sharper.
His very friends turned against (became hostile to) him.
Who can say what will turn up (happen) next ?
He promised to come, but he never turned up (appeared).
WORK: We tempted him with many promises, but nothing would work on (influence) him.
He worked out (solved) the problem in a few minutes.
He is sure to work up (excite) the mob.
He worked upon (influenced) the ignorant villagers.