Living things are constantly growing and changing, and in the same way, so does language. If you are a student of literature then you can easily recognize differences between Old English, Shakespeare’s English and modern-day English. Present-day English is evolving at a rapid pace, imbibing scientific and business jargon, social media slang and new words and phrases from other languages. An important point to consider in modern English is there has been an increased tendency to veer towards idiomatic usage. Idioms are not a separate part of the language that can be excluded but in fact, an essential part of the general vocabulary of English. The more one learns about idioms, the more eloquent he or she sounds. We have covered 20 English idioms that will boost your knowledge and proficiency in the language and now we have another 15 popular ones that will make you sound like an English pro-
1. A Fabian Policy
A slow and cautious strategy intended to wear down and delay the opposition; avoiding direct confrontation. This phrase comes from the policy adopted by Roman politician and general Fabius Maximus, who through a careful ploy of delaying tactics avoided a decisive contest with Carthage military commander Hannibal’s army and foiled their plans to conquer them.
Example – Virat Kohli employed Fabian tactics in the run chase against Australia, taking singles and doubles to frustrate Aussie bowlers, instead of going for aggressive shots.
2. A Curtain Lecture
This is an amusing one, especially for husbands. A curtain lecture is the scolding of a husband by his wife in private. There are many instances when a couple goes to social occasions and the husband a makes a total fool of himself. His wife doesn’t say anything to him in order to avoid embarrassing him, but reprimands him in private for his behavior.
Example – Rohit got a curtain lecture from his wife after his drunken behavior at her in-laws party.
3. A Freudian Slip
An unintentional mistake or slip-up from a speaker that (according to Sigmund Freud) results from the operation of unconscious wishes or conflicts and can reveal the individual’s true thoughts.
Example – Shazia’s Freudian slip during a conversation with the HR executive revealed her animosity for her manager, who had been harassing her for quite some time.
4. A Jaundiced Eye
The prejudice of someone who is bent on finding fault with notions of envy, distaste of hostility.
Example – While evaluating candidates for the analyst job, a senior manager must ensure that he or she never looks at any shortlisted profiles with a jaundiced eye.
5. A Latchkey Kid
A child who returns from school to an empty house without adult supervision for part of the day, because both of his/her parents are working.
Example – There is a general perception that the lack of parental attention to latchkey kids may result in them demonstrating anti-social behavior in their teenage years.
6. A Left-Handed Compliment
It essentially means a remark which comes across as pleasant but has doubtful sincerity and could be construed as an insult.
Example – Rohan’s constant praise of Shalini despite her inexperience came across as a left-handed compliment to her.
7. The Primrose Path
A life of ease and pleasure, or a course of action that seems easy and appropriate but can actually end in disaster.
Example – In the lower strata of the society, children are especially vulnerable to leading the primrose path fraught with crime and danger.
8. A Pyrrhic Victory
A victory in which the victor incurs such devastating damage that it is tantamount to defeat.
Example – The battle of Aleppo turned out to be a pyrrhic victory for Bashar Al-Assad’s government, since many citizens of the city perished as collateral damage.
9. A Quixotic Project
A project which is considered foolish and extravagantly romantic, totally unrealistic.
Example – U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the US-Mexico border is nothing but a quixotic project of his whimsical mind.
10. One’s Salad Days
The time when one is young and inexperienced.
Example – During one’s salad days, a person has very few responsibilities as compared to the later years of life.
11. Sanguinary Language
A language that uses many cuss or swear words.
Example – On social media sites, the scope for respectful and constructive debates and discussions is reducing by the day, as supporters of different political parties indulge in sanguinary language to run down each other.
12. The Seamy Side of Life
The morally degraded, disagreeable, unpleasant aspects of life, such as crime and violence, poverty and hunger etc.
Example – Living in Delhi-NCR has its perks and benefits, but the sexual harassment and lecherous looks that females endure daily are the seamy side of living in the national capital.
13. A Square Peg (in a round hole)
A person who is not suited to his position or work, surrounding etc, doesn’t fit in.
Example – Vivek was adept in technical knowledge, but lacked English proficiency, so joining a managerial job would make him a square peg in a round hole. To gain sufficient confidence and English skills, he joined Pep Talk after seeing an ad on the internet.
14. A Wet Blanket
A person who spoils a jolly atmosphere or who does not join the fun of others.
Example – Rohan acted like a wet blanket every time his office team planned an outing – he would make one excuse or the other to not partake in any team-building exercise.
15. A Cog In The Machine
An unimportant, insignificant person in a large, complex organization.
Example – Anurag’s opinions mostly fell on deaf ears in the multinational he worked in the USA. It was almost like he was a cog in the machine where only the senior managers had their say.