Idioms exercise

Here are some common idioms with their meanings and example sentences.

Strain every nerve

To strain every nerve is to work really hard.

  • He strained every nerve to complete the project on time.

Be beside oneself

When you are beside yourself, you are out of mind.

  • She was beside herself with grief.

Be at sixes and sevens

When things are at sixes and sevens, they are in total disorder.

  • When I entered the room I found that everything was at sixes and sevens.

Give yourself airs

To give yourself airs is to behave arrogantly.

  • Of late he has been giving himself airs.

The order of the day

If something is the order of the day, it is the prevailing state of affairs.

  • Automation is the order of the day.

Keep pace with

To keep pace with is to develop or progress at the same time.

  • Agriculture in the US has kept pace with industrial activities.

Be out of date

To be out of date is to be obsolete.

  • These textbooks are out of date. They need revision.


If something is up-to-date it is modern or recent.

  • This is the most up-to-date book on the subject.

Hope against hope

To hope against hope is to hope even when the situation seems hopeless.

Get into hot water

To get into hot water is to get into trouble.

  • His controversial remarks got him into hot water.

Get the better of someone

  • To get the better of someone is to beat them.

Get out of hand

To get out of hand is to get beyond control.

  • The situation has gotten out of hand.