Idiom – English – WBCS Preliminary Question Paper

Idiom English WBCS Preliminary Question Paper

WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2023

13. Select the idiom that best replaces the words in italics in the following sentence

You should review your options carefully before you make a decision.

(A) make hay while the sun shines

(B) sit on the fence

(C) look before you leap

(D) kill the golden goose



WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2022

  1. The idiomatic expression

      ‘A slap on the wrist’ means

(reprimand, rebuke, scolding)

(A) Short on time

(B) A very mild punishment

(C) To have a dispute

(D) To force an issue


  1. Replace the underlined portion with an idiom from the list below:

      They finally agreed on the business deal.

(concur, be in accord)

(A) let the cat out of the bag

(B) see eye to eye

(C) to feel under the weather

(D) to cut a corner




WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2021

2. The idiomatic expression ‘make both ends meet’ means

(manage, survive)

(A) get by      

(B) get over     

(C) get done      

(D) get well


4. The idiomatic expression, ‘once in a blue moon’, means

(hardly ever)

(A) rarely     

(B) frequently      

(C) regularly     

(D) never


6. The expression ‘holier than thou’ means

(self-righteous, complacent, smug, self-satisfied)

(A) pure     

(B) religious     

(C) moralistic     

(D) sanctimonious


7. To feel ‘under the weather’ means

(ill, indisposed, ailing)

(A) feel depressed     

(B) feel uncomfortable     

(C) feel unwell     

(D) feel uncertain




WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2020

5. The idiomatic expression
    “pull yourself together”
(A) drag oneself
(B) help one
(C) get angry
(D) calm down by oneself



WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2019

12. The idiomatic expression ‘see eye to eye‘ means
(A) agree with someone  
(B) to remain neutral   
(C) to take over (something)   
(D) to enjoy the best of both
23. He says he has invented a time machine, which is clearly a load of cobblers.
(A) Genuine       
(B) Great       
(C) Nonsense       
(D) Significant

WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2018

8) “A bolt from the blue” means
(a) sudden disaster
(b) in trouble
(c) blessing from above
(d) to remain neutral
24) He stood in hot water
(a) in trouble or disgrace
(b) met with an accident
(c) stepped into boiling water
(d) was angry
25) We didn’t really want that particular hotel, but it was a case of Hobson’s Choice.
(a) state of dilemma
(b) taking what is available or nothing at all
(c) teacher’s choice
(d) economical

WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2017

68. ‘Made up his mind’ means
(a) Remembered
(b) Resolved
(c) Forgot
(d) Lost
69. He is a dark horse.
(a) Silent
(b) Secretive
(c) Dangerous
(d) Possessing a secret ability
70. ‘At daggers drawn’ means —
(a) Friendly
(b) On bad terms with
(c) Acquainted
(d) Unknown
71. Everything was at sixes and sevens.
(a) Disordered
(b) Lost
(c) Found
(d) Sold


WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2016

1. There’s no love lost between them.
(a) Avoid
(b) Not on good terms
(c) Challenge
(d) Quarrel
2. Edmund Burke had a wonderful gift of the gab.
Gift of the gab means:
(a) Intelligence
(b) Humanity
(c) Eloquence (fluency, power of speech)
(d) Goodness
3. The expression ‘to take stock of’ means :
(a) To question
(b) To argue
(c) To survey
(d) To manipulate
4. The belief in watchcraft is losing ground.
(a) Becoming less acceptable
(b) Becoming popular
(c) Becoming powerful
(d) Losing principle

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2015

1. The singer was not in voice.
(a) Lost voice
(b) To sing well
(c) Had a cough
(d) did not sang well
2. No one dare call in question his honesty.
(a) Honesty of purpose
(b) Test
(c) Flatter
(d) Challenge
3. ‘Puts one in mind’ means
(a) Resolved
(b) Decided
(c) Reminds
(d) Received
4. ‘Hand and glove’ means
(a) Arrogance
(b) Enemy
(c) Maintain a distance
(d) Intimate terms

WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2014

59. I gave him a piece of my mind.
(a) Expressed love
(b) Fell in love
(c) Expressed anguish
(d) Trusted him
60. He has the gift of the gab.
(a) A talent for speaking
(b) A good voice
(c) A logical bent of mind
(d) Talking nonsense



WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2013

1. She is a little under the weather today.
(a) Feeling unwell
(c) Feeling excited
(b) In sync with the weather
(d) Feeling sad
2. He is such a good Samaritan. It means
(a) He is very clever
(b) He is a fool
(c) Someone who tries to help people
(d) He is a bad man
3. ‘To see red’ means
(a) to begin to understand
(b) To be mad with anger
(c) A narrow escape
(d) Smart and clean
4. The news came like a bolt from the blue.
(a) Windfall
(b) Thunderbolt
(c) Sudden and unexpected
(d) Shock

WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2012

2. ‘Hold fire’ means
(a) To delay doing something
(b) Catch Fire
(c) Prevent fire
(d) Magnify
3. To take up the gauntlet means
(a) To accept the challenge
(b) To refuse
(c) To appreciate
(d) To move
4. He triedby all means, by hook or crook to win the case.
(a) By any means fair or foul
(b) Bymoney
(c) By Man power
(d) By muscle power
6. He changed his job and was out of frying pan or fire.
(a) Happy with the job
(b) Misfit
(c) In a condition from bad to worse
(d) Lucky in the choice

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2011

1. In spite of all his brag he had ‘to eat humble pie‘ means that he had to
(a) Apologize
(b) Surrender
(c) Leave
(d) Eat his food
2. His observations were ‘beside the point‘ means that his observations were
(a) Written in point form
(b) Written beside points
(c) Not relevant
(d) Not heard by others
3. ‘A wild-goose chase‘ means
(a) Togo hunting
(b) To go on a foolish, fruitless search
(c) To chase wild geese
(d) To protect
4. He ‘made light‘ of his friend’s warning means he
(a) Lit a fire
(b) Showed the light
(c) Took seriously
(d) Treated lightly


WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2010

4. “In the time of danger, we should try to take the bull by the horns” means in the time of danger we try to
(a) Surmount it
(b) Face the situation boldly
(c) Overcome it
(d) Control ourselves
5. A clever man sweeps his family scandals under the _____
(a) Ground
(b) Floor
(c) Carpet
(d) Gravestone
6. It is usual nowadays to blow one’s own ____ to impress others.
(a) Horn
(b) Trumpet
(c) Drum
(d) Band
7. The separation from a near and dear one fills one’s mind with blues.
(a) Sadness
(b) Romanticism
(c) Nostalgia
(d) Colorfulness
8. ‘To give dog a bad name’ means :
(a) It is very difficult to destroy the reputation of a loyal person
(b) It is very difficult to lose a bad reputation
(c) It is very difficult to earn a good reputation in a bad company
(d) It is very difficult both to be loyal and do something that jeopardizes self-reputation

WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2009

1. ‘A bolt from the blue’
(a) A drop from the sky
(b) An unexpected shock
(c) Thunderbolt
(d) A blue sky
2. To go to the dogs.
(a) To turn over a new leaf
(b) To oil one’s own machine
(c) To be off one’s head
(d) To breathe one’s last
3. Poles apart
(a) Very distant
(b) Separate
(c) Totally different in views
(d) Very difficult
4. In the new place he had to earn by the sweat of his brow
(a) Very hard work
(b) Frown of his brow
(c) Seriously
(d) Idly


WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2008

3. ‘To come to the fore‘ means to become
(a) Prominent
(b) Aggressive
(c) Weak
(d) Aware
4. ‘On one’s toes‘ signifies
(a) Concentration
(b) Courtesy
(c) Punctuality
(d) Alertness
5. To make headway is to
(a) Make Progress
(c) To progress towards collision
(b) Make little progress
(d) To proceed to travel
6. Waiting with bated breath is to
(a) Feel very excited
(b) Feel breathlessness
(c) Waiting for the dentist with the complaint of bad breath
(d) Waiting to take revenge
7. She has been sitting on the books taken from the library for a month.
(a) Doing nothing with the books
(b) Reading the books carefully
(c) Reading the book slowly
(d) Keeping the books as a mark of protest
8. In a Hobson’s choice situation one
(a) Must accept what is offered as there is no alternatives
(b) Can freely choose from many alternatives
(c) Must choose only in consultation with order members of the group he/she belongs to
(d) Can do any of the above
9. A fly-by-night company l’nnespowsU01e
(a) Operates only at night
(b) Sends cargo by plane only
(c) Is interested only in making quick profits
(d) Operates from no fixed place

WBCS Preliminary Question Paper – 2007

29. Dance is an art form. But to be a dance attendant is to :
(subordinate, subsidiary)
(a) Take part in group dance
(b) Entertain by dancing
(c) Be subservient     
(d) Be flattering
30. To have other fish to fry
(have a subordinate role)
(a) To play the second fiddle
(b) To do the yeoman’s service
(c) To oil one’s own machine
(d) To cut the coat according to one’s cloth
31. At daggers drawn
(a) Hostile to others
(b) Violent to others
(c) Dangerous for others
(d) Violently opposed to each other
32. The receptionist of the hotel greeted us with the pink of courtesy.
(a) Very sweetly
(b) With seriousness
(c) Warmly
(d) Respectfully


WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2006

26. The truant boy promised to turn over a new leaf.
(a) Turn to nature
(b) Start a new and a better life
(c) Move away from the place
(d) Change for the worse
27. Please put on record my objections to this step.
(a) Put in writing
(b) Do not forget
(c) Play on a record-player
(d) Send them to the proper authorities
28. The man was willing to undertake the work for a consideration.
(a) Out of sympathy
(b) Against payment
(c) Only for a brief period
(d) On certain terms

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2005

3. A day in winter is cold but to turn a cold shoulder to a person is to
(a) Pursue him
(b) Ignore him
(c) Approach him
(d) Hurt him
Choose the opposite of the following idioms
4. On no account
(a) With an ill grace
(b) In the open
(c) By all means
(d) By hook or by crook
5. In a nutshell
(in short, briefly)
(a) In the open
(b) In all its detail
(c) To throw in the sponge
(d) To put on paper

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2004

16. The speaker spoke at length in fine he urged his audience to be patriotic
(finally, in short)
(a) In fine language
(b) With a noble gesture
(c) In telling phrases
(d) In conclusion
17. He faced a crisis and was in a fix.
(a) Motionless
(b) In a difficulty
(c) Confused
(d) Dumbfounded
18. He has been here for years and should know the ins and outs of the job.
(a) The secrets
(b) All the details
(c) Entries and exits
(d) The problems and their solutions
19. The improved tax collections are a shot in the arm for the country’s economy.
(a) A close-range shot
(b) A shot-gun blast
(e) A great encouragement
(d) At arm’s length
20. The president’s visit was called off at the eleventh hour.
(a) At the earliest opportunity
(b) At Il a.m.
(c) At the last possible moment
(d) Shortly before noon
21. The team made short work of their opponents.
(a) Disposed of quickly
(b) Underestimated the strength of
(c) Avoided working hard
(d) Fell short of
22. The man in the street is opposed to this idea.
(a) The beggar
(b) The pavement-dweller
(c) The destitute
(d) The average, ordinary



WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2003

15. He is not fit to hold a candle to predecessor.
(a) Unable to enlighten
(b) Incapable of following
(c) Not to be name in comparison with
(d) Unfit to guide

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2002

11. The screen is in character with the rest of the furniture.
(a) Complementing
(b) Contrasting
(c) In keeping
(d) Joining
12. I did not notice in him anything out of the way.
(remote place, finished, unusual)
(a) Familiar
(b) Strange
(c) Charming
(d) Attractive
13. He is not great lawyer but he has the gift of the gab
(a) A talent for speaking
(b) A pleasant face
(c) A serious bearing
(d) A silent nature
14. He stood his ground with firmness
(a) Dug up the ground
(b) Built a house
(c) Maintained his position
(d) Built a wall

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2001

7. He gained success by dint of hard work.
(by use of, by virtue of)
(a) By means of
(b) Force of
(c) By way of
(d) By virtue of
8. None can be a good orator without the gift of the gab.
(a) Ability of quote
(b) Ability improvise
(c) Fluency of Speech
(d) Wit and humor
9. The rule has been declared null and void.
(b) Incorrect
(a) Devoid of substance
(c) Invalid
(d) Inappropriate
10. Your arguments are of no avail.
(a) Helpless
(b) Meaningless
(c) Unprofitable
(d) Useless

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 2000

6. Her bank account was in the black.
(financially solvent)
(a) Contained untaxed money
(b) Had a credit balance
(c) Was kept secret
(d) Contained the profits of crime

WBCS Preliminary Question paper – 1999
1. It is high time that India and Pakistan iron out their differences over Kashmir and other issues.
(a) Find a solution
(b) Harden even further their belligerent attitude
(c) Smooth over an argument or quarrel
(d) Argue out
2. Keeping late hours in office is playing havoc with his health.
(a) Advantageous for
(b) Improving marginally
(c) Harming marginally
(d) Ruining completely
3. The success of his welfare project added another feather in his cap.
(a) Advantage
(b) Problem
(c) Friend
(d) Achievement to be proud of
4. Arrival and departure on the same day in addition to the tight work schedule, would be cutting in line.
(jump the queue)
(a) Nerve-racking
(b) Wise
(c) Leaving oneself the minimum time
(d) Relaxing
5. There were several communal violence throughout the globe.
(a) The model of the earth used for the study of geography
(b) A spherical body
(c) The world
(d) A planet
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