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ESL Idioms Quiz

Updated on April 21, 2015

ESL Idioms Quiz


Idioms Quiz

1. If you are in a situation that offers two possibilities and neither of them is acceptable, you are 'Between a rock and a …...'

  • stereo system
  • bulldozer
  • hard place

2. Which idiom means someone died?

  • He's plonked on the bed.
  • He's kicked the bucket.
  • He's dead tired.

3. Which idiom means someone is snooping?

  • Take your fingers out of your ears!
  • Your nose is sniffing!
  • Keep your nose out of my business!

4. If you try to do much of something

You _____ off more than you could _______.

  • bit / chew
  • gave / see
  • tore / handle

5. If there is a problem that no one wants to discuss, but it is a very obvious issue, then you would say:

  • the elephant in the room.
  • the pirate in the bath.
  • the lady with the green smile.

6. Which person will inevitably be in trouble?

  • A dinosaur
  • The kiwi's cousin
  • Dead man walking

7. If something goes very wrong, what shape is it?

  • Pear-shaped
  • Apple-shaped
  • Melon-shaped

8. Is the following sentence right or wrong?

When the accountant asked to look at the original books, she didn't realise what a can of worms it would be.

9. Complete the idiom: Last year was the toughest for the company, but at long last we're beginning to see _______ at the end of the _________.

  • gold / storm
  • light / tunnel
  • fireworks / footpath

10. I think he was going to suggest that I stay behind and work late, but I was saved by the _____ when you called and told me you were outside waiting.

  • doctor
  • phone call
  • bell

11. Which expression best describes problems at the beginning of a project or activity?

  • Teething problems.
  • Baby teeth.
  • Dental problems.

12. If you show insincere remorse, you are described as having:

  • dishonest sweat
  • crocodile tears
  • false compassion

13. If you 'Dodge a Bullet', it means you:

  • You are quite flexible.
  • You don't like hard work.
  • You narrowly avoided a problem.

14. Where do 'nice guys finish'?

  • Last.
  • First.
  • Somewhere in the middle.

15. If you threaten to hit someone, you give them a _________ .

  • knuckle sandwich
  • palm pancake
  • finger whip

16. Look at the love idioms below. Which ones have an error?

  • Head over feet in love
  • Made for each other
  • Find Mr Right
  • Love at first site
  • Give someone a first chance
  • Match made in heaven

17. Choose the correct idiom that means lots of hard work and suffering:

  • Blood, sweat and tears.
  • Sweat, blood and tears.
  • Tears, sweat and blood.

18. If you have to start something from the beginning again, you would say:

  • Back to square zero.
  • Back to square one.
  • Back to nil.

19. How would you describe something that is very expensive?

  • It costs an arm and a leg.
  • It costs the crown jewels.
  • It costs a ring and a finger.

20. Complete the idiom: Every cloud has a ______ lining.

  • Golden
  • Silver
  • Bronze

21. To say that something has come to an end, you would say '_________ has left the building.'

  • Bruce Lee
  • Elvis
  • Jim Morrison

22. If you hear a story that is too incredible to believe, you would describe it as:

  • Cat and Mouse
  • Fox and Bunny
  • Cock and Bull

23. An old fashion or foolish type of person might be described as:

  • Fuddy-duddy
  • Hissy-pissy
  • Harem-Scarem



24. Place the following idioms next to the correct heading (2 each):




  • over the moon
  • fall off the back of a lorry
  • a face like a wet blanket
  • like a dog with 2 tails
  • five finger discount
  • down in the mouth

25. If you 'Hit the sack' or 'Hit the hay', it means you want to go to........?

  • the farm
  • the party
  • bed

26. If someone is 'Straight as an arrow', they are:

  • boring
  • honest
  • careful

27. Tick the idioms that relate to crime and punishment:

  • Beat the rap.
  • Cop a plea.
  • The jury is still out.
  • Throw oneself at the mercy of the court.
  • Get a slap on the wrist.
  • In a family way.

28. If you are happy and excited, you are like a:

  • Child in a sweet shop.
  • A bull in a china shop.
  • A cat on a hot tin roof.


  1. Between a rock and a hard place.
  2. He kicked the bucket.
  3. Keep your nose out of my business!
  4. You bit off more than you could chew.
  5. The elephant in the room.
  6. Dead man walking.
  7. Pear-shaped.
  8. Right.
  9. Light at the end of the tunnel.
  10. Saved by the bell.
  11. Teething problems.
  12. Crocodile tears.
  13. You narrowly avoided a problem.
  14. Nice guys finish last.
  15. Knuckle sandwich.
  16. Head over heels in love. Love at first sight. Give someone a second chance.
  17. Blood, sweat and tears.
  18. Back to square zero.
  19. It costs an arm and a leg.
  20. Every cloud has a silver lining.
  21. Elvis has left the building.
  22. Cock and Bull.
  23. Fuddy-duddy.
  24. Sadness – down in the mouth / a face like a wet blanket. Deceit - fall off the back of a lorry / five finger discount. Happiness - like a dog with 2 tails / over the moon
  25. Bed.
  26. Honest.
  27. All are related to crime and punishment except 'In a family way.'
  28. Child in a sweet shop.

© 2015 Muttface


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