IBPS RRB Phrases and Idioms | IBPS RRB 2021


In everyday conversation, we use a lot of phrases and idioms, irrespective of whatever language you might speak. For example, if you want to say that something is old in Hindi, we say “Baba Adam ke zamaney ka hai“. You might have similar idioms in Tamil, Telegu, Bengali, Gujarati or any other language that you might use. Similarly, in English, you have different phrases and idioms that help in better communication. In the English language paper in IBPS RRB Mains, you have to answer questions on idioms and phrases. Let us see how you can answer the IBPS RRB phrases and idioms questions in a smart way! Let’s begin!

Analyzing IBPS RRB Phrases and Idioms

Let us first analyze the questions on phrases and idioms that come in the IBPS RRB exam. Before you start your bank exam preparation, it really helps if you could know about the questions that come in the exam. Let us analyze the IBPS RRB phrases and idioms questions a little bit closer.

Average Number of Questions: The average number of questions vary from year to year. If you look at the previous year question papers, you would find that about 2-3 questions come from phrases and idioms every year. However, the number can go up in the coming years. In IBPS RRB mains 2021, you can expect at least 3 questions or even more from idioms and phrases.

The Level of Difficulty: The questions on idioms and phrases are generally easy to solve. However, in some years, some of the questions were of moderate difficulty.

The Amount of Practice That You Need: Idioms and phrases don’t really need intense practice every day. If you could solve 20-30 questions every week, then that would be more than enough. It would help you if you could go through some of the most common idioms and phrases. We would be providing some at the end of this post.

Some Facts About the IBPS RRB Idioms and Phrases Questions

What is the structure of the questions asked about idioms and phrases in IBPS RRB?

The structure of the questions is rather simple. There can be two types of questions. The first one is pretty straightforward. You would be given a phrase and be asked to choose the right meaning from the list of given options. However, these type of questions has become rare nowadays in IBPS RRB. The second type is more common. In this type of questions, you would be given a sentence. The first part would be a normal sentence but the second part of the sentence, you would have the idiom. The two parts would have a certain connection. You would have to choose the right answer from the options.

Example: His birthday was supposed to be a surprise! I can’t believe you let the cat out of the bag.

a) to let the pet roam around freely
b) to try to save someone from a disaster
c) to  make someone subordinate
d) to accidentally reveal a secret

Do I need to learn all of the idioms and phrases?

Well, there are hundreds of thousands of idioms in the English language. Learning them would take months of dedicated preparation. This is not exactly needed. You can easily understand a particular idiom or phrase by following a simple trick.

Is there any book that I can follow?

Most standard grammar books would have a section on idioms and phrases. Check out the following books:

They should be enough to cover the topic pretty well. Now, let’s look at the right approach to solving the question

Solving IBPS RRB Phrases and Idioms Questions

Let’s take a look at how you should approach such questions in your RRB exam. The approach is rather simple and it doesn’t require you to be a master of the English language. So, let us look at the steps you should follow to solve IBPS RRB phrases and idioms.

We are going to take the example that we cited above and see the step by step approach in which you can solve questions like these.


His birthday was supposed to be a surprise! I can’t believe you let the cat out of the bag.

a) to let the pet roam around freely
b) to try to save someone from a disaster
c) to  make someone subordinate
d) to accidentally reveal a secret

Solution: Here we have to find the meaning of the idiom ‘cat out of the bag’. Let us see how we can do that.

STEP 1 – Understand – The first thing that you need to do is read the sentence and understand what it is all about. Here we can guess that two people are talking about the planned surprise for another person’s birthday

STEP 2 – Look for clues – You need to look for clues that might unravel the meaning of the idiom. From the first part of the sentence, we get the word ‘supposed’. This means that something was planned. At the start of the second sentence, the person exclaims ‘I can’t believe’. This probably means that the other guy did something that spoiled the surprise.

STEP 3 – Look at the options – From the above step, it is clear that we should be looking for something that is similar to spoiling a surprise. In option (d), we get that. All the others are way off.

STEP 4 – Answer – Select Option (d) as the answer

Answer: Option (d)

Practice Questions

Question 1: I’m sorry I can’t come into work today. I’m feeling under the weather. 


(a) that weather is good
(b) it seems as it will rain
(c) to feel as if under suspicion
(d) to not feel well
(e) to be doubtful about the work

Answer: d

Question 2: I have been trying to figure this out for ages. Thanks so much, you’re right. You have to hit the nail on the head.


(a) to repair perfectly
(b) to hit exactly the right place
(c) to describe exactly where the actual opportunity lies
(d) to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem
(e) all are correct

Answer: d

Question 3: We missed our flight to Delhi because the connecting flight was late and to add insult to injury they made us pay for a new ticket as if it was our fault!


(a) to be compensated
(b) to make a situation worse
(c) to be reprimanded
(d) to be praised
(e) to be ruined

Answer: b

Question 4: Rupa might not be the most attractive but you can’t judge a book by its cover.I’m sure she is a sweetheart.


(a) to prove someone innocent
(b) to make someone a cheater
(c) to not judge someone or something based solely on appearance
(d) to select a book by seeing its contents
(e) to select a book by its quantity

Answer: c

Some Common Idioms for IBPS RRB English Preparation

Here are some of the common idioms that are commonly asked in IBPS RRB mains exam

Idiom Meaning Usage
A blessing in disguise a good thing that seemed bad at first as part of a sentence
A dime a dozen Something common as part of a sentence
Beat around the bush Avoid saying what you mean, usually because it is uncomfortable as part of a sentence
Better late than never Better to arrive late than not to come at all by itself
Bite the bullet To get something over with because it is inevitable as part of a sentence
Break a leg Good luck by itself
Call it a day Stop working on something as part of a sentence
Cut somebody some slack Don’t be so critical as part of a sentence
Cutting corners Doing something poorly in order to save time or money as part of a sentence
Easy does it Slow down by itself
Get out of hand Get out of control as part of a sentence
Get something out of your system Do the thing you’ve been wanting to do so you can move on as part of a sentence
Get your act together Work better or leave by itself
Give someone the benefit of the doubt Trust what someone says as part of a sentence
Go back to the drawing board Start over as part of a sentence
Hang in there Don’t give up by itself
Hit the sack Go to sleep as part of a sentence
It’s not rocket science It’s not complicated by itself
Let someone off the hook To not hold someone responsible for something as part of a sentence
Make a long story short Tell something briefly as part of a sentence
Miss the boat It’s too late as part of a sentence
No pain, no gain You have to work for what you want by itself
On the ball Doing a good job as part of a sentence
Pull someone’s leg To joke with someone as part of a sentence
Pull yourself together Calm down by itself
So far so good Things are going well so far by itself
Speak of the devil The person we were just talking about showed up! by itself
That’s the last straw My patience has run out by itself
The best of both worlds An ideal situation as part of a sentence
Time flies when you’re having fun You don’t notice how long something lasts when it’s fun by itself
To get bent out of shape To get upset as part of a sentence
To make matters worse Make a problem worse as part of a sentence
Under the weather Sick as part of a sentence
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it Let’s not talk about that problem right now by itself
Wrap your head around something Understand something complicated as part of a sentence
You can say that again That’s true, I agree by itself
Your guess is as good as mine I have no idea by itself

Here are some more:

Idiom Meaning Usage
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush What you have is worth more than what you might have later by itself
A penny for your thoughts Tell me what you’re thinking by itself
A penny saved is a penny earned Money you save today you can spend later by itself
A perfect storm the worst possible situation as part of a sentence
A picture is worth 1000 words Better to show than tell by itself
Actions speak louder than words Believe what people do and not what they say by itself
Add insult to injury To make a bad situation worse as part of a sentence
Barking up the wrong tree To be mistaken, to be looking for solutions in the wrong place as part of a sentence
Birds of a feather flock together People who are alike are often friends (usually used negatively) by itself
Bite off more than you can chew Take on a project that you cannot finish as part of a sentence
Break the ice Make people feel more comfortable as part of a sentence
By the skin of your teeth Just barely as part of a sentence
Comparing apples to oranges Comparing two things that cannot be compared as part of a sentence
Costs an arm and a leg Very expensive as part of a sentence
Do something at the drop of a hat Do something without having planned beforehand as part of a sentence
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Treat people fairly. Also known as “The Golden Rule” by itself
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch Don’t count on something good happening until it’s happened. by itself
Don’t cry over spilt milk There’s no reason to complain about something that can’t be fixed by itself
Don’t give up your day job You’re not very good at this by itself
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket What you’re doing is too risky by itself
Every cloud has a silver lining Good things come after bad things by itself
Get a taste of your own medicine Get treated the way you’ve been treating others (negative) as part of a sentence
Give someone the cold shoulder Ignore someone as part of a sentence
Go on a wild goose chase To do something pointless as part of a sentence
Good things come to those who wait Be patient by itself
He has bigger fish to fry He has bigger things to take care of than what we are talking about now by itself
He’s a chip off the old block The son is like the father by itself
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right by itself
Ignorance is bliss You’re better off not knowing by itself
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings This isn’t over yet by itself
It takes one to know one You’re just as bad as I am by itself
It’s a piece of cake It’s easy by itself
It’s raining cats and dogs It’s raining hard by itself
Kill two birds with one stone Get two things done with a single action by itself
Let the cat out of the bag Give away a secret as part of a sentence
Live and learn I made a mistake by itself
Look before you leap Take only calculated risks by itself
On thin ice On probation. If you make another mistake, there will be trouble. as part of a sentence
Once in a blue moon Rarely as part of a sentence
Play devil’s advocate To argue the opposite, just for the sake of argument as part of a sentence
Put something on ice Put a projet on hold as part of a sentence
Rain on someone’s parade To spoil something as part of a sentence
Saving for a rainy day Saving money for later as part of a sentence
Slow and steady wins the race Reliability is more important than speed by itself
Spill the beans Give away a secret as part of a sentence
Take a rain check Postpone a plan as part of a sentence
Take it with a grain of salt Don’t take it too seriously as part of a sentence
The ball is in your court It’s your decision by itself
The best thing since sliced bread A really good invention as part of a sentence
The devil is in the details It looks good from a distance, but when you look closer, there are problems by itself
The early bird gets the worm The first people who arrive will get the best stuff by itself
The elephant in the room The big issue, the problem people are avoiding as part of a sentence
The whole nine yards Everything, all the way. as part of a sentence
There are other fish in the sea It’s ok to miss this opportunity. Others will arise. by itself
There’s a method to his madness He seems crazy but actually he’s clever by itself
There’s no such thing as a free lunch Nothing is entirely free by itself
Throw caution to the wind Take a risk as part of a sentence
You can’t have your cake and eat it too You can’t have everything by itself
You can’t judge a book by its cover This person or thing may look bad, but it’s good inside by itself

So, these were some of the things that you can try out for solving IBPS RRB phrases and idioms questions. For more such interesting and useful articles on IBPS RRB preparation, keep browsing our website.

Best of luck!

Team Topprnotes.