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Proverbs and Sayings Meaning with Examples

Categories: ProverbsSayings

1. Call a spade a spade

To tell the truth without hesitating

Example: Some doctors believe in calling a spade a spade. They tell their patients the actual facts.

2. A bolt from the blue

A sudden, unexpected event

Example: The arrest of my father came to me as a bolt from the blue.

3. In the same boat

If two or more persons are in the same boat, they’re in the same difficult situation.

Example: My sister and I sail in the same boat.

Both of us don’t know driving

4. Miss the boat/ bus

To miss a chance

Example: I’m afraid we’ve missed the boat ,almost all the tickets for the week end’s orchestra have been sold.

5. Over my dead body

If you say something will happen your dead body, you mean you dislike it and will do everything you can to prevent it.

Example: X: I am marrying my girl friend this week end. Y: Over my dead body.

6. Make one’s blood boil

To make someone very angry

Example: When Air India Cancelled its flight to Mumbai,it made my blood boil. I was going to miss an important interview.

7. Bounce something off someone

To get someone’s feedback

Example: I bounced the idea of becoming an artist off with my friends before discussing it with my parents.

8. Bell the cat

To accomplish something impossible

Example: Who’s going to bell the cat and tell the boss that his own decisions were responsible for the current loss of the company?

9. Like a cat on hot tin roof

To be very nervous and edgy

Example: Waiting for the result of my JEE entrance, I was like a cat on hot tin roof.

10. Like a fish out of water

If you’re like a fish out of water in certain situation, you feel awkward because you haven’t experienced that situation before.

Example: Tony stood there staring at the walls, looking like a fish out of water.

11. Scrape the barrel

To use something you do not want to but you’ve no option.

Example: The recruiters had to scrape the barrel to get some employable engineers.

12. Separate the wheat from the chaff

To separate valuable from the inferior

Example: The recent performance appraisal to assess the employees will separate the wheat from the chaff.

13.Bite off more than you can chew

To take up more responsibility than you can handle

Example: She took more responsibilities on herself as she couldn’t say ‘no’ to his boss. I think he has bitten more than he can chew.

14. Blow your own trumpet

To be loud and boastful about your achievements

Example: My neighbor can stop praising himself. He blows his own trumpet.

15. Once in a blue moon

That which happens rarely.

Example: My brother gets home early once in a blue moon.

16. To come to a head

To reach the saturating point.

Example: The situation came to a head when he passed an insolent comment on me.

17. Make no bones about something

To be transparent about something, without any equivocation.

Example: Bob made no bones about getting a promotion along with a hike in his salary.

18. Break fresh/ new ground

To do something that was not done before.

Example: Our scientists are breaking new grounds in Artificial Intelligence.

19. In the same breath

To say two very contradictory things at the same time.

Example: The manager praises my colleague and talks of his average performance in the same breath.

20. Take away your breath

very astonishing.

Example: Her comeliness and charm took my breath away.

21. Sell like hot cakes

To sell very fast.

Example: The new model of a small car sold like hot cakes.

22. Burn the candle at both ends

To work excessively hard, say, by keeping two jobs

Example: Michael burns the candle at both ends. He goes to college in the morning and does a part time job in the evening.

23. Back against the wall

Be in a high pressure situation from where escape is difficult

Example: The bank has him with his back against the wall; he’ll have to pay up now

24. Close the door on someone

To withhold something for the present

Example: The Prime Minister decided to close the door on talks with other nations till other issues were resolved.

25. Burn the midnight oil

To work late in the night

Example:She had to burn the midnight oil for nearly two years to get into top IITs.

Part 2

1. Keep someone at arm’s length

To avoid someone intentionally

Example: I’ve always ensured to keep work place politics at an arms length

2. on cloud nine

To be very excited and happy.

Example: I was on cloud nine when my son received the Cambridge council award..

3. Under a cloud

To be doubtful or under suspicion.

Example: As far as we’re concerned, the victim’s wife is under a cloud of suspicion until we question her.

4. Head in the clouds

Not to be in touch with the ground realities.

Example: Many academicians have their heads in the clouds.

5. The other side of the coin

the opposite or contrasting aspect of a mattre

Example: I’d love to go out with you tonight, but, on the other side of the coin, I could use some extra sleep too.

6. In full swing

To happen at the highest speed or level of activity.

Example: Our Project team is working in full swing to meet the deadline.

7. Left out in the cold

To be ignored,To feel dejected

Example:KL Rahul was left out in the cold in the selection trials of the world cup.

8. Pour cold water on

To criticize to the extent that people lose enthusiasm to pursue something.

Example: The management poured cold water on the plan to build another engineering college.

9. Blow hot and cold

To vacillate between two opposing opinions, or behaviors

Example: The teacher blew hot and cold over the matter for few days and then finally decided get over with it.

10. Up in arms

Very upset or angry about something

Example: Media has traditionally been up in arms with the wrong policies of the government.

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Proverbs and Sayings Meaning with Examples. (2019, Nov 23). Retrieved from

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