English Idioms Test

This test is designed for students of English as a second and foreign language, and allows learners to quickly assess their knowledge of English idioms and fixed phrases. An idiom is a common expression that has acquired a meaning that cannot easily be understood from the ordinary meanings of the words, as in “It’s raining cats and dogs" meaning "it's raining very heavily". At the end of the test you will see your test result and will be given a percentage. The test should take around 25 minutes to complete.


1) Hania and Joanna are as different as  ……… and cheese?
a) biscuits
b) chalk
c) ham
d) jam

2) My father wants me to study law, but I have made up my ……… to become an archaeologist, instead.
a) heart
b) head
c) brain
d) mind

3) If something frightens you it gives you the ……… .
a) wood
b) bulls
c) willies
d) hots

4) You haven't been studying much recently and you'd better ……… if you want to pass the Cambridge CPE exam.
a) thread your way through
b) meet your Waterloo
c) pull your socks up
d) change your spots

5) Magda was ……… after she heard that she had won a televison in a competition.
a) over the hill
b) on cloud nine
c) on the hop
d) over the peg

6) Donna ……… after her husband left her for a younger woman. 
a) read between the lines
b) lead the field
c) took to the bottle
d) spared the rod

7) Don't throw that old FCE testbook away. It will ……… in handy when your sister is studying for the college entry examination.
a) turn
b) find
c) come
d) give

8) Simon was given the cold ……… by the other teachers after informing the newspapers about widespread corruption at the college.
a) chin
b) shoulder
c) neck
d) back

9) Wild boar haven't been seen in this ……… of the woods for about ten years because of overhunting in the past.
a) walk
b) ward
c) neck
d) leg

10) Charles has been in Kamila's  ……… since he called her a fat slag.
a) bad letters
b) bad books 
c) bad records
c) bad papers

11) The school director's resignation came like a bolt from the  ……… . Nobody had expected it.
a) green
b) red
c) black
d) blue

12) Marcin's father wasn't happy to find his son ……… drunk on the bathroom floor with a bottle of Vodka beside him.
a) blind
b) stiff
c) deep
d) tight

13) The President is very old. He's as old as the ……… .
a) moon
b) grave
c) rock
d) hills

14) The Skwierzyna football team never win. So I wouldn't put my  ……… on them if I were you. You'll only lose it!
a) shoes
b) shirt
c) jacket
d) hat

15) If you tell Maria there's a surprise English test today, you won't see her for ……… .
a) dust
b) cloud
c) rain
d) fog

16) Neil is famous for making up the most incredible stories, so you'd better take them with a pinch of ……… .
a) snuff
b) pepper
c) salt
d) herbs

17) If you  ……… you work very hard.
a) work to the winds
b) work like a new leaf
c) work your fingers to the bone
d) work until you are blue and black

18) It took me several seconds to grasp the meaning of her statement but finally the ……… dropped.
a) penny
b) axe
c) hammer
d) stone

19) Jarek is the best swimmer in the water polo team. He can ……… spots off everyone else.
a) brush
b) knock
c) put
d) win

20) Magda has never turned her ……… on her family and offers help whenever they need it.
a) hair
b) eyes
c) back
d) stomach

21) The jacket fits like a ...... but the sleeve has a hole in it.
a) door
b) window
c) condom
d) glove

22) Joanna will never forgive you for letting the ……… . It was meant to be a secret!
a) cows out of the field
b) cat out of the bag
c) pig out of the poke
d) chickens out of the cage 

23) John's mean down in the ……… since his girlfriend ditched him for his best friend.
a) pockets
b) dumps
c) heels
d) carpets

24) Ever since Hania told him she was pregnant, Christopher has been ……… himself with worry.
a) next to
b) beside
c) beneath
d) over

25) I was knocked for ……… when Kate told me she had passed her driving test.
a) nine
b) eight
c) seven
d) six

26) A past experience you cannot change is ……… under the bridge.
a) a duck
b) water
c) a boat
d) traffic

27) Somebody who is foolish or stupid is ……… .
a) soft in the head
b) riding high 
c) over the moon
d) pushing up daisies

28) Mr Jones gave us ……… about losing our match against Gorzow.
a) cane
b) rod
c) stick
d) log

29) The children are really getting in my  ……… . Tell them to go and play outside.
a) hair
b) nerves
c) mouth
d) books

30) Angela will ……… in front of her boss to get a pay rise.
a) hue and cry
b) bow and scrape
c) leap and bound
d) wine and dine

31) Mrs Raven isn't capable of controlling the class. She is so timid she wouldn't say ……… .
a) kill the fatted cow
b) put the cat among the pigeons
c) boo to a goose
d) cry wolf

32) Kate Moss looks like ……… . She's far too skinny!
a) a kettle of fish
b) a bag of bones
c) a whale of a time
d) a bundle of nerves

33) Some of the boys in the class used to take the ……… out of Alfie's speech impediment.
a) hooray
b) mickey
c) cackle
d) hampers

34) If something ……… true it sounds true.
a) rings
b) chimes
c) shouts
d) beeps

35) I was  ....... off with some rotten apples at the corner shop.
a) palmed
b) handed
c) armed
d) fingered

36) To  ……… fun at someone is to laugh rudely at them.
a) give
b) stick
c) beat
d) poke

37) If the police find out it was us who smashed up the telephone box, we'll be in …… .
a) hot water
b) the beaten track
c) a mine of information
d) the drop of a hat 

38) It's easy to get a place at the local College of English. They accept all and  ……… .
a) people
b) road
c) sundry
d) league

39) Bill is a  ……… of habit. Every Sunday he goes for a swim in the river.
a) kind
b) animal
c) creature
d) type

40) The local Tesco hypermarket has been losing a lot of stock. It's high time they took a tough ……… with shoplifters.
a) measure
b) line
c) penalty
d) discipline

41) I'm looking for a new place to live. My flat doesn't have enough space to swing a ……… cat.
a) crow
b) cat
c) dog
d) giraffe

42) My neighbour is almost 50 but wears very short skirts, and low-cut tops. She looks like ……… .
a) a duck out of water
b) mutton dressed as lamb
c) sheep from goats
d) she has a flea in her ear

43) If you draw a ……… over something unpleasant, you try to forget something and avoid the subject.
a) scarfe
b) hat
c) hood
d) veil

44) Robin Hood was a ……… at archery. He always hit the target.
a) dab hand
b) rough diamond
c) vested interest
d) fine hand

45) Why do our students alway cheat in tests? I don't know, I haven't the ……… .
a) foggiest thought
b) foggiest idea
c) foggiest notion
d) foggiest answer

46) Marta looks great! She's really dressed to ……… .
a) destroy
b) kill
c) murder
d) slaughter

47) If you hide your ……… under a bushel, you are too modest to boast about your skills.
a) beard
b) looks
c) light
d) mind

48) You can shout until you're ……… in the face but she won't hear you. She's as deaf as a post.
a) blue
b) green
c) pink
d) black

49) The decision has already been taken, so there's no point in your ……… .
a) giving a tickle
b) taking the biscuit
c) being tickled pink
d) arguing the toss

50) She would have failed the practical exam by a long way, but the school decided to ……… the rules so that she passed.
a) bend
b) twist
c) skip
d) dodge

 

ESL / EFL

English Idioms test by
World English

© World English 2004