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IELTS speaking exam can be stressful, especially when someone is judging you for every word you speak. Put aside your mixed feelings, let hot potatoes be, and let sleeping dogs lie!

The best way to prepare for your IELTS speaking exams is to try to sound more natural and fluent; this is where idioms come into the picture. Using idiomatic language can help you speak like a native English speaker and score well in your IELTS speaking exam.

Here in this blog, we have collated a list of idioms that can help you pass your IELTS speaking exam with flying colors.

1.     Idioms from A:
2.     Idioms from B:
3.     Idioms from C:
4.     Idioms from D:
5.     Idioms from E:
6.     Idioms from F:
7.     Idioms from G:
8.     Idioms from H:
9.     Idioms from I:
10.   Idioms from K:
11.   Idioms from L:
12.   Idioms from M:
13.   Idioms from N:
14.   Idioms from O:
15.   Idioms from P:
16.   Idioms from R:
17.   Idioms from S:
18.   Idioms from T:
19.   Idioms from U:
20.   Idioms from W:

Idioms from A:

  • A blessing in a disguise – something that seems bad or unlucky at first, but results in something good happening later
  • A breath of fresh air – something that is new and refreshing
  • A drop in the ocean – every small part of something much bigger
  • A hot potato – a controversial topic
  • A penny for your thoughts – asks someone who is being very quiet what they are thinking about
  • A piece of cake – very easy
  • A wild goose chase – futile cause
  • A bad egg – worthless
  • A sleeping partner – a partner who doesn’t work
  • Ace – to do well
  • Against the clock – do something as fast as possible and try to finish it before a certain time
  • All in the same boat – in the same difficult situation as someone else
  • And then some – and even more, and more than has been mentioned
  • Antsy – getting restless
  • At all costs – do everything you can to achieve/succeed something
  • At the drop of a hat – immediately, instantly
  • At mayor’s nest – something illusionary
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Idioms from B

  • (the) bottom line – most important number or information
  • (Go) back to the drawing board – to start planning something again because the first plan failed
  • Be all ears – eager and ready to listen
  • Be sick to death of something/doing something – to be angry and bored because something unpleasant has been happening for too long
  • Beating around the bush – avoid the main topic and not speaking directly about it
  • Before long – a rather short amount of time
  • Bent out of shape – often used to admonish others not to be too upset
  • Between devil and deep sea – between two dangers that are equally harmful
  • Blessing in disguise – something good is coming out of bad
  • Broke – usually financial related
  • Bump into – to meet someone by chance
  • Burn the midnight oil – stay up late
  • Bushed – tired

Idioms from C

  • (On the) cutting edge – the most modern, up to date process or product/equipment
  • Call it a day – end the job for the day
  • Catch your/my/his eye – something or someone that has a visual attraction for you, can be a written description as well
  • Change one’s mind – to change a decision or opinion
  • Chicken scratch (n) – the handwriting that is crammed or illegible
  • Chill out – relax, calm down
  • Cost an arm and a leg – really expensive
  • Cram – to try to accomplish a lot quickly, also can mean to try to put a lot of items in a tight fit
  • Crash course – a quick lesson

Idioms from D

  • Down in the dumps – unhappy
  • Down to earth – practical and realistic
  • Dutch courage – Courage inspired by alcohol
  • Duck and drakes – to spend lavishly

Idioms from E

  • (as) easy as pie – very easy
  • Early bird – someone who gets up early
  • Explore all avenues – investigate every possible means to find a solution to a given problem or to achieve a desired outcome

Idioms from F

  • (to be) fed up with – tired of, disgusted with
  • Far cry from – very different from
  • Far- fetched – usually refers to an idea, choice, decision, plan that may be unusual, probably not a good choice
  • Fill in for someone – do someone’s work while the responsible party is away
  • Find my feet – to become comfortable doing something
  • Fingers-crossed – to wish for luck for someone of something
  • For ages – for a very long time
  • Fresh/clean out of something – have sold or used up the last of something
  • Full of beans – a person who is lively, active, and healthy

Idioms from G

  • Get a head start – start before all others
  • Get a kick out of – to get excitement or pleasure from an event or thought
  • Get the ball rolling – start doing something, especially something big
  • Get on the nerves – annoying someone
  • Get/jump on the bandwagon – join a popular trend or activity
  • Give (lend) somebody a hand – to give some forms of assistance with a task
  • Give it one’s best shot – do the bets that one can
  • Give the benefit of the doubt – to decide you will believe someone or something
  • Go the extra mile – to make an extra effort

Idioms from H

  • Hard feelings – the emotion of being upset or offended
  • Have a chin-wag – have a long conversation between friends
  • Have/get mixed feelings about something – to be uncertain about something
  • Hear on the grapevine – This idiom means “to hear rumors” about something or someone
  • Hit the books – to study
  • Hit the hay – go to bed
  • Hit the ceiling – get angry
  • Hit the nail on the head – to be right about something

Idioms from I

  • In deep water – in difficulty
  • In high spirits – extremely happy
  • In the heat of the moment – say or do it without thinking because you are very angry or excited
  • In the nick of time – not too late, but very close
  • It takes two to tango – both people involved in a bad situation are responsible for it

Idioms from K

  • Keep an eye on – to monitor a situation, not forget about it
  • Keep one’s chin up – remain brave and keep on trying
  • Keep something at bay – keep something away
  • Keep your nose to the grindstone – continue to put forward a good effort
  • Kill two birds with one stone – to accomplish two different things at the same time
  • Know something inside out – to be totally familiar with

Idioms from L

  • Last straw – the final problem in a series of problems
  • Leave well enough alone – to not try to change something that is good enough
  • Lend an ear – to listen carefully and in a friendly way to someone
  • Let sleeping dogs lie – to not talk about things which have caused problems in the past, or to not try to change a situation because you might cause problems
  • Let the cat out of the bag – to reveal a secret or a surprise, often without an intention to do so

Idioms from M

  • Make a fuss over – overly care for someone/something
  • Miss the boat – miss an opportunity
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Idioms from N

  • Next to nothing – to cost very little
  • Not playing with a full deck – someone who lacks intelligence
  • Now and then – on an occasional basis, often “every” is used as the first word of this idiomatic phrase

Idioms from O

  • (Right) off the top of my head – saying something without giving it too much thought or without precise knowledge
  • On cloud nine – very happy
  • On the ball – active and aware of things
  • On the dot – happens at a particular time, precise time, exact time
  • On the go – busy
  • Once in a blue moon – happens very rarely
  • Over the moon – to be extremely pleased or happy

Idioms from P

  • Pull the wool over someone’s eyes – deceive someone into thinking well of them
  • Put at your eggs in one basket – put all your money or effort into one thing
  • Put yourself in somebody’s shoes – Imagine that you are in somebody’s position in order to understand his/her feelings

Idioms from R

  • Read my/your/his mind – guess what somebody is thinking
  • Read my/your/his mind – refers to the idea that thoughts are known by another
  • Run of the mill – average, ordinary

Idioms from S

  • See eye to eye – two (or more people) agree on something
  • Set in their ways – not wanting to change
  • Sit on the fence – to be undecided
  • Soul mate – someone you trust very deeply
  • Swan song – the last piece of work produced by an artist

Idioms from T

  • Take with a grain of salt – consider something to be not completely true or right
  • Taste of your own medicine – means that something happens to you, or is done to you that you have done to someone else
  • The in thing – something fashionable
  • The real McCoy – genuine
  • The wee hours – after midnight
  • Throw in the towel – give up on something
  • To be up in arms about something – Upset or angry about something
  • To pick holes in something – to find weak points
  • To be on the same boat – to be in similar situation
  • To beat around the bush – to approach indirectly
  • To split hair – to argue unnecessarily
  • To get down – to something to begin to do something
  • To fight tooth and nail – to fight in a determined manner
  • To strain every nerve – trying hard
  • To turn up one’s nose – to refuse
  • To put a shoulder to the wheel – helping others without expectation
  • To bring the house down – to make everyone laugh
  • To be on cloud nine – very happy
  • To be a dog with two tails – very happy
  • To bring to the book – to punish
  • To have a whale of the time – to have fun

Idioms from U

  • Under the weather – sick
  • Up-market – relatively expensive and designed to appeal to wealthy consumers
  • Up-to-the-minute – the very latest or most recent

Idioms from W

  • White elephant – an unprofitable investment, something that is large and unwisely and is a nuisance and /or expensive to maintain
  • Whole nine yards – Everything, the entire amount, as far as possible
  • Work flat out – work very hard
  • Wouldn’t be caught dead – Would never like to do something

Speaking English like a native English speaker is not as difficult as it seems; all you need is the right coach, and you can speak fluently and perfectly. Get in touch with our counsellors at your nearest Jamboree center or talk to them over the phone and understand IELTS, exam patterns, and more.

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