Profession, Work or Study Idioms
for CSS and related Competitive Exams)
An agony aunt is a newspaper columnist who gives advice to people having problems, especially personal ones.
All in a day’s work
If something is all in a day’s work, it is nothing special.
Bad workers always blame their tools
“A bad worker always blames their tools” – If somebody does a job badly or loses in a game and claims that they were let down by their equipment, you can use this to imply that this was not the case.
A Baker’s dozen is 13 rather than 12.
A bean counter is an accountant.
Beggars can’t be choosers
This idiom means that people who are in great need must accept any help that is offered, even if it is not a complete solution to their problems.
Check also: English Grammar MCQs
A busman’s holiday is when you spend your free time doing the same sort of work as you do in your job.
Don’t give up the day job
This idiom is used a way of telling something that they do something badly.
A game plan is a strategy.
Give someone their cards
If someone is given their cards, they lose their job.
Give someone their marching orders
If you give someone their marching orders, you ask them to leave a place or fire them from a job.
The glass ceiling is the discrimination that prevents women and minorities from getting promoted to the highest levels of companies and organisations.
Check also: Uses of Prepositions MCQs | English Grammar MCQs
Good offices is help and support, especially in mediating in a dispute.
Have your work cut out
If you have your work cut out, you are very busy indeed.
Someone who rises quickly to a position of wealth or success is a high-flier.(‘High-flyer’ is an alternative spelling.)
Movers and shakers
Dynamic, important people who can get things done quickly and are influential are the movers and shakers.
New brush sweeps clean
‘A new brush sweeps clean’ means that someone with a new perspective can make great changes. However, the full version is ‘a new brush sweeps clean, but an old brush knows the corners’, which warns that experience is also a valuable thing. Sometimes ‘broom’ is used instead of ‘brush’.
(UK) Unimportant or very simple tasks are noddy work.
A number cruncher is an accountant or someone who is very good at dealing with numbers and calculations.
On the line
If somebody’s job is on the line, they stand a very good chance of losing it.
Pointy-heads are supposed intellectuals or experts, but who don’t really know that much.
A person of higher position or in authority pulls rank, he or she exercises his/her authority, generally ending any discussion and ignoring other people’s views.
A real trouper is someone who will fight for what they believe in and doesn’t give up easily. (People often use ‘Real trooper’ as the two words sound the same.)
If someone is a slave driver they work you very hard, often with unreal expectations of what you can achieve.
Speak to the organ grinder not the monkey
Talk to the boss not the subordinate
A stage rat is someone who enjoys doing any work connected with live theatre–acting, set design, lighting, stage managing, etc.
Swear like a sailor
Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a sailor.
Swear like a trooper
Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a trooper.
The teacher’s favorite pupil is the teacher’s pet, especially if disliked by the other pupils.
The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot
A skilled or knowledgeable person often fails to use their skills for the benefit of their family and people close to them.
In the army or in other organizations, the top brass are the people in the highest positions
Tread the boards
When someone treads the boards, they perform on stage in a theatre.
Trick of the trade
A trick of the trade is something used by people experienced in an area that helps them.
Work the system
If people work the system, they exploit the state or similar setup to their advantage.
Check also other CSS English Grammar Material:
- Test Your Knowledge: English Grammar MCQs
- Important English Idioms with Meaning and Examples
- English Grammar MCQs: Test Your Language Skills with 50 Questions
- Commonly Misused Words and How to Avoid Them
- Mastering English Grammar: Essential Tips Inside
- The Top 10 English Grammar Rules You Need to Know
- Why English Precis Writing Matters and How to Improve Your Skills
- Avoiding Common Mistakes in English Precis Writing
- A Comprehensive Guide to English Verb Tenses
- How to Build a Strong Vocabulary: Tips and Techniques