Idioms and Phrases Quiz

This English Grammar Quiz presents 20+ multiple-choice questions to test your knowledge of Idioms and Phrases. Each MCQ has four options, a correct answer, and an explanation. Go ahead and test your knowledge!

1. What does the idiom "break the ice" mean?

a) To start a conflict
b) To cool down a situation
c) To initiate a conversation in a social setting
d) To literally break ice

Answer:

c) To initiate a conversation in a social setting

Explanation:

"Break the ice" is an idiom used to describe the act of initiating conversation in a social setting, especially when people are shy or have not met before, to create a more relaxed atmosphere.

2. Choose the correct meaning of the phrase "hit the books".

a) To physically hit books
b) To start studying hard
c) To organize books
d) To choose a book to read

Answer:

b) To start studying hard

Explanation:

The phrase "hit the books" is an idiom that means to start studying hard. It's often used when someone needs to focus on their studies, especially before an exam.

3. What does the idiom "piece of cake" refer to?

a) A dessert
b) Something that is very easy to do
c) A small part of a larger problem
d) Sharing food with someone

Answer:

b) Something that is very easy to do

Explanation:

The idiom "piece of cake" means that something is very easy to do. It is used to express that a task or activity requires minimal effort.

4. Identify the meaning of the phrase "spill the beans".

a) To cook beans
b) To drop beans accidentally
c) To reveal a secret
d) To waste food

Answer:

c) To reveal a secret

Explanation:

"Spill the beans" is an idiom that means to reveal a secret or disclose confidential information, often unintentionally or prematurely.

5. What does the idiom "cost an arm and a leg" mean?

a) To be physically harmful
b) To be extremely expensive
c) To require a lot of effort
d) To involve physical work

Answer:

b) To be extremely expensive

Explanation:

The idiom "cost an arm and a leg" is used to describe something that is very expensive or has a very high price.

6. Choose the correct meaning of the phrase "burn the midnight oil".

a) To start a fire at night
b) To work late into the night
c) To waste resources
d) To be night owl

Answer:

b) To work late into the night

Explanation:

"Burn the midnight oil" means to work late into the night. The phrase originated from the practice of using oil lamps late at night while working or studying.

7. What does the idiom "a penny for your thoughts" mean?

a) A request for money
b) Asking someone what they are thinking about
c) Offering payment for advice
d) Saving money

Answer:

b) Asking someone what they are thinking about

Explanation:

"A penny for your thoughts" is a way of asking someone to share what they are thinking about, especially when they seem deep in thought or preoccupied.

8. Identify the meaning of the phrase "under the weather".

a) To be outdoors during bad weather
b) To feel unwell or sick
c) To be under a lot of pressure
d) To be protected from rain

Answer:

b) To feel unwell or sick

Explanation:

"Under the weather" is an idiom used to describe feeling ill or unwell. It does not refer to actual weather conditions but to one's health status.

9. What does the idiom "once in a blue moon" refer to?

a) A rare type of moon
b) An event that happens very rarely
c) A sad situation
d) A nighttime event

Answer:

b) An event that happens very rarely

Explanation:

"Once in a blue moon" is an idiom that means something happens very rarely or infrequently. A 'blue moon' is a term for a second full moon in a single calendar month, which is a rare occurrence.

10. Choose the correct meaning of the phrase "barking up the wrong tree".

a) Training a dog
b) Misunderstanding something
c) Accusing the wrong person or pursuing a mistaken line of inquiry
d) Planting trees incorrectly

Answer:

c) Accusing the wrong person or pursuing a mistaken line of inquiry

Explanation:

"Barking up the wrong tree" means that someone is mistaken or incorrect about something. It is often used when someone is wrongly accusing another or pursuing an incorrect assumption.

11. What does the idiom "the ball is in your court" mean?

a) A reference to tennis or basketball
b) It is up to you to make the next decision or step
c) Someone is playing a sport
d) A situation involving competition

Answer:

b) It is up to you to make the next decision or step

Explanation:

"The ball is in your court" means that someone has the responsibility to make a decision or take action next. It's often used to indicate that it's another person's turn to respond or decide.

12. Identify the meaning of the phrase "bite off more than you can chew".

a) To eat a large amount of food
b) To take on a task that is too big or beyond one's ability
c) To have dental problems
d) To be overly aggressive

Answer:

b) To take on a task that is too big or beyond one's ability

Explanation:

"Bite off more than you can chew" is an idiom meaning to take on more responsibility or a larger task than one can manage or handle.

13. What does the idiom "cut to the chase" mean?

a) To start a race
b) To get to the point without wasting time
c) To use scissors while running
d) To chase someone

Answer:

b) To get to the point without wasting time

Explanation:

"Cut to the chase" means to skip the preliminary details and get to the main point or important part of something, especially in conversation or storytelling.

14. Choose the correct meaning of the phrase "hit the nail on the head".

a) To do a carpentry job
b) To describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem
c) To injure oneself with a hammer
d) To build something

Answer:

b) To describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem

Explanation:

"Hit the nail on the head" means to describe or identify something very accurately. It's often used when someone has made a correct guess or rightly pinpointed the issue.

15. What does the idiom "let the cat out of the bag" mean?

a) To release a cat from a bag
b) To reveal a secret or disclose something accidentally
c) To shop for pets
d) To start a conflict

Answer:

b) To reveal a secret or disclose something accidentally

Explanation:

"Let the cat out of the bag" means to reveal a secret or disclose information, often unintentionally or accidentally, which was supposed to remain hidden.

16. Identify the meaning of the phrase "on the fence".

a) Literally sitting on a fence
b) Undecided or neutral about something
c) Building a fence
d) Watching something from a distance

Answer:

b) Undecided or neutral about something

Explanation:

"On the fence" means being undecided or neutral about a particular issue, not leaning toward any side in a decision or debate.

17. What does the idiom "pull someone's leg" mean?

a) To physically pull on someone's leg
b) To tease or joke with someone
c) To help someone walk
d) To trip someone

Answer:

b) To tease or joke with someone

Explanation:

"Pull someone's leg" is an idiom that means to tease or joke with someone in a playful way. It does not involve physical pulling.

18. Choose the correct meaning of the phrase "see eye to eye".

a) To have a staring contest
b) To have a vision problem
c) To agree with someone
d) To look closely at something

Answer:

c) To agree with someone

Explanation:

"See eye to eye" means to agree with someone or to have the same opinion or views about something.

19. What does the idiom "throw in the towel" mean?

a) To literally throw a towel
b) To give up or quit in defeat
c) To perform a cleaning task
d) To prepare for a bath

Answer:

b) To give up or quit in defeat

Explanation:

"Throw in the towel" means to give up or quit, especially in a contest or competition. It originates from boxing, where a trainer throws a towel into the ring to indicate surrender.

20. Identify the meaning of the phrase "under the weather".

a) To be outdoors during bad weather
b) Feeling ill or sick
c) To be protected from the rain
d) To have a mood affected by the weather

Answer:

b) Feeling ill or sick

Explanation:

"Under the weather" is an idiom used to describe feeling unwell or sick. It doesn't refer to the actual weather, but rather to one's health status.

21. What does the idiom "when pigs fly" mean?

a) When pigs are on an airplane
b) An event that is very likely to happen
c) Something that will never happen
d) A situation involving farm animals

Answer:

c) Something that will never happen

Explanation:

"When pigs fly" is a humorous way of saying that something will never happen. It's based on the idea that pigs cannot fly, making the scenario impossible.

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