25 Common Idioms In IELTS Speaking

  1. up-market –  Relatively expensive and designed to appeal to wealthy consumers
    ==> an upmarket restaurant that is quite pricey but also quite good
  2. cram – to try to accomplish a lot quickly, also can mean to try to put a lot of items in a tight fit, which is probably not idiomatic with that meaning.
    ==> The students are all cramming to get ready for the exams.  
  3. in high spirits – extremely happy
    ==> They’d had a couple of drinks and were in high spirits.
  4. keep one’s chin up – remain brave and keep on trying ; remain cheerful in difficult circumstances.
    ==> Keep your chin up. Don’t take your troubles to bed with you
    Keep your chin up. Things will get better sooner or later
  5. read my/your/his mind – W – guess what somebody is thinking
    ==>I was surprised he knew what I was planning, like he could read my mind. 
  6. get the ball rolling – start doing something, especially something big
    ==>I decided to set the ball rolling and got up to dance.
    ==> You should get the ball rolling as soon as possible to be well-prepared for the IELTS test.
  7. for ages – for a very long time
    ==>I waited for ages but he never showed up
  8. fill in for someone – do someone’s work while he is away; substitute for
    ==>Bill  is going to be filling in for me while I’m out on maternity leave.
  9. antsy – getting restless.
    ==>The guys are getting antsy, we need to go somewhere else before they get too noisy.
  10. (as) easy as pie – very easy
    ==>For Tom, getting a graphic design certificate was easy as pie –he seemed to have a natural talent for it.
  11. under the weather  – sick; not completely well
    ==>I noticed that the cat was looking a little under the weather.
  12. fingers-crossed = keep one’s fingers crossed (for someone or something) – to wish for luck for someone or something
    ==> fingers crossed for your driving test
    We’re keeping our fingers crossed that he’ll be healthy again very soon    
  13. have a chin-wag – have a long conversation between friends; have a chat
    ==>We had a good chinwag over a bottle of wine.
  14. chicken scratch (n) – the handwriting that is crammed or illegible
    ==>His signature—an unforgeably idiosyncratic chicken scratch
  15. the wee hours  – after midnight
    ==> He was up until the wee hours trying to finish his work.
  16. a blessing in a disguise – something that seems bad or unlucky at first, but results in something good happening later 
    ==>Losing that job was a blessing in disguise really.
  17. all in the same boat –  in the same difficult situation as someone else
    ==>
    None of us has any money, so we’re all in the same boat.
  18. beating around the bush – avoid the main topic and not speaking directly about it
    ==>Let’s stop beating about the bush and discuss this matter
  19. early bird (someone who gets up early)
    ==> never miss sunrise. I’m an early bird.
  20. a breath of fresh air – something that is new & refreshing
    ==> Selena was a talented and beautiful entertainer, a breath of fresh air in an industry fullof people all trying to copy each other.
  21. keep an eye on – W – to monitor a situation, not forget about it.
    ==>Keep an eye on the noodles, there almost done.  
  22. keep your nose to the grindstone – continue to put forward a good effort
    ==>If you keep your nose to the grindstone, you will finish this job tonight.
  23. know something [it, this] inside out – to be totally familiar with
    ==>He knows that subject backwards and forwards.
  24. leave well enough alone – W – to not try to change something that is good enough
    ==>This repair is not perfect, but let’s leave well enough alone.  
  25. now and then – W – on an occasional basis, often every is used as the first word of this idiomatic phrase.
    ==>Every now and then I have a good idea.  

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