List of Important Idioms / One Word Substitution in English

Here is the list of Important Idioms / One Word Substitution in English. This list will help you in your preparation for SSC, IBPS, SBI & Other competitive exams. It has some of the important idioms listed which have been asked in previous exams.
In most of these competitive exams, few questions are asked on One Word Substitution from a list of options. One among that list, there is a word which have the meaning of that word or sentence and vice / versa. Candidate have to find that right word among those options. Only a candidate who have better vocabulary can give right answer to all those questions. A candidate a score these marks if He/She prepares well. Here we are providing a large collection of Idioms for one word substitution practice. For better preparation of competitive exams, candidates should check out these Idioms list given below.


List of Important Idioms / Collection of One Word Substitution in English


Important Advice -
Those Friends, who are a little weak in English, should read English Newspaper like The Hindu daily to have a better grip on English language and learn the idioms given in that (if any). This will held them in increasing their marks in this section. Also it will be helpful for your preparation of current affairs and GK. 
The below given list have Various Idioms of English.
This list also includes Various Idioms asked in Previous SSC Exams & Others.

List of Idioms / One word Substitution

  • A test in which cells from diseased organs are removed and tested - Biopsy
  • A person who writes decoratively - Calligrapher
  • Pertaining to cattle - Bovine
  • A back-stabber : A person is a back-stabber who unexpectedly betrays your trust.
  • To keeps one's temper : To be in good mood
  • To have an axe to grind : A private end to serve
  • A frog in your throat : A physical condition that makes your voice sound deeper.
  • Above my head : Too difficult for me to understand because of my lack intelligence.
  • Abreast-of-the-situation:Being aware of the latest information.
  • Against the stream : Opposite to the natural flow of things.
  • Beat the air :  To make useless efforts
  • Bee in one’s bonnet : To go on talking about something which other people think is not important
  • Be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth : To be born in a rich family
  • Be in the driving seat : Bearing all responsibilities
  • To burn one’s fingers : To lose on account of foolish behavior
  • A cat and dog life :--To lead a life full of quarrels
  • A cold fish : A person devoid of emotions
  • To die hard :--Change with great difficulty
  • To eat humble pie :-To apologise in a humble manner
  • Once in a blue moon :-Very rarely
  • To plough a lonely furrow :---To work without help or support
  • A cock and bull story :-An improbable excuse
  • To kick one’s heels :-To wait with nothing to do
  • A hard nut to crack :A difficult problem
  • Smell a rat :Suspect something foul
  • Tooth and nail :-----With all one’s power
  • By leaps and bounds :-Rapidly
  • To pull one’s leg :------to joke; tease someone
  • To keep one’s fingers crossed :To hope fervently
  • Harp on the same string – Dwell on the same subject
  • Bury the hatchet – End the quarrel and make peace
  • Feather one’s own nest – Make money unfairly
  • Leave one in the lurch – Desert one in difficulties; leave one in a helpless condition
  • To eat humble pie – To apologize humbly; to yield under humiliating circumstances
  • To eat your words – To take back what you have said
  • One who is very careful and particular –meticulous
  • Live in relationship a man and a woman living without being married concubiange
  • One who is determined to exact full vegeance for wrong done to him vindictive
  • Commencement of words with the same letter –alliteration
  • A place where bees are kept; a collection of beehives - Apiary
  • A person living permanently in a certain place –domicile
  • To slap with a flat object –swat
  • One who pays too much attention to his cloths and appearance- dandy
  • One who pretends illness to escape duty –malingerer
  • To make both ends meet – To live within one’s income
  • Kill two birds with one stone – To achieve two results with one effort
  • To bring to light : to reveal
  • To be like a drowned rat : to be soaking wet
  • To compensate a person etc. For loss or damage –indemnify
  • A plan for or route to be followed on a journey itinerary
  • A short literary description marked by delicacy –vignette
  • A long journey especially by sea –voyage
  • A person who opposes another- antagonist
  • A person who is very selective disgusted easily and is hard to please –fastidious
  • Something that can not be harmed –inviolate
  • Fear of crowds –ochlo phobia
  • A funeral bell- knell
  • A person who is pure and clean – immaculate
  • Art of cutting tree and bushes into ornamental shape- topiary
  • Old age when a man behave like a fool –dotage
  • One who comes from a village and considered stupid –bumpkin
  • One who fights for money –mercenary
  • One who forsakes religion –renegade
  • One who is guilty of firing property –arsonist
  • One who talks continuously –loquacious
  • Person obsessed with one idea or subject- monomaniac
  • Person who does not believe in any religion –pagan
  • Person who holds scholarship at a university –bursar
  • Person who is against the ordinary society esp. Dressing –hippy
  • Stick to one’s guns – Remain faithful to the cause
  • A man of straw – A man of no substance
  • Leave no stone unturned – Use all available means
  • A home for old people- infirmary
  • A place for wild animals and birds –menagerie
  • A house or shelter for a dog –kennel
  • A place where pigs are kept –sty
  • A place where birds are kept – aviary
  • A case in which the blade of a sword is kept- sheath ,scabbard
  • A place where lather is tanned- tannery
  • One who drives a motor car –chauffeur
  • A person leaving his native country to settle in another- emigrant
  • A person having the same name –namesake
  • A person who is talkative –garrulous
  • To kill the goose that laid the golden egg : to lose a valuable source of income though greed
  • To cut a Gordian knot : solving a difficult problem
  • From hand to hand : from one person to another
  • Hard and fast rules : strict rules
  • To eat an humble pie : to submit oneself to humiliation and insult
  • Person who is always dissatisfied –malcontent
  • Person who lives alone and avoid others –recluse
  • An assembly of hearers –assemblage
  • One who is unrelenting and cannot be moved by entreaties inexorable
  • Regard for others as principle of a action-altruism
  • Person who claims to have great love for understanding of what is beautiful in nature , art etc –aesthete
  • A disease which spreads by contact –contagious
  • An animal story with moral –fable
  • Person who pilots or travels in a balloon airship or other aircraft- aeronaut
  • Witty , clever retort –repartee
  • A story in which ideas are symbolised as people- allegory
  • A common place remark –platitude
  • A sudden rush of wind –gust
  • Not conforming to ordinary rules of behaviour –eccentric
  • Short descriptive poem or picturesque scene or incident –idyll
  • A person who is reserved in talks- reticent
  • A short stay at a place –sojourn
  • A raised place on which offering to a god are made –altar
  • Government by the gods- theocracy
  • Government by old man – gerontocracy
  • A gathering a religious place - congregation
  • Government by the worst citizen- kakistocracy
  • Government run universally –panarcy
  • A funeral procession comprising a number of mourners cortege
  • Murder of one’s children –filicide
  • Murder of one’s brother –fratricide
  • A person with full discretionary power to act on behalf of a country- plenipotentiary
  • To derive a thing of its holy character –desecrate
  • A small piece of wood- chip
  • A pioneer of a reform movement –apostle
  • Wicked to a high degree –heinous
  • A place where animals are kept - Sanctuary
  • Something in which water-dwelling plants or animals / fishes are kept - Aquarium
  • Animal living in water - Aquatic
  • The original inhabitants of a country- aborigines
  • Dungeon entered by trapdoor –oubliette
  • Science of printing –typography
  • One who robs smuggler of his smuggled goods after the border has been crossed –hijacker
  • Use of more words than are needed to express the meaning –pleonasm
  • The science of judging of a person’s character capabilities etc. From an examination of the shape of his skull- phrenology
  • A political leader who tries to stir up people –demagogue
  • A light sailing boat built especially for racing yacht atonement for one’s sins –repentance
  • Be the embodiment or perfect example –personify
  • A person who maliciously destroys by fire –incendiary
  • The line which a plough cuts in the ground –furrow
  • A person who forsakes religion –renegade
  • A person concerned with practical results and values- pragmatist
  • Responsible according to law –legitimate
  • Decision made upon a political question by the votes of all qualified persons- plebiscite
  • Shining , brilliant and magnificent –resplendent
  • Cutting for stone in the bladder- lithotomy
  • A heavy unnatural slumber –stupor
  • Changing one’s mind too quickly –vacillation
  • To do away with rules- abrogate
  • A person sharing responsibility for a political party’s discipline and tactics –whip
  • Food which agrees with one’s taste –palatable
  • A story in verse –ballad
  • Plain or self evident truth- truism
  • A person who has just started learning –apprentice
  • Person who loves nature –aesthete
  • Person who pretends to have more knowledge- charlatan
  • Persuasive and fluent speech- eloquence
  • Physician who delivers babies –obsterician
  • Place where cows are sheltered –byre
  • Place which provides both board and lodging –inn
  • Power of reading thoughts of others –telepathy
  • Ridiculous use of works –malapropism
  • Ride on someone’s back –piggyback
  • Room leading into a large room –anteroom
  • Seat on elephant’s back –howdah
  • Song sung at burial –dirge
  • Thing that bring gentle and painless death from incurable disease –euthanasia
  • To explain a spiritual truth- benign
  • To do away with rule –abrogate
  • To explain a spiritual truth –parable
  • Using of new words –neology
  • A small enclosure for cattle ,sheep ,polutry etc- pen
  • Music played or sung at night below a person’s window –serenade
  • Strong and settled dislike between two persons –antipathy
  • A small house with all rooms on one floor –bunglow
  • An extremly deep crack or opening in the ground –chasm
  • Lottery in which an article is assigned by lot to one of those buying tickets –raffle /draw
  • One who always runs away from danger –timid
  • One who despises persons of lower social position –snob
  • Gradual recovery from illness –convalescence
  • One who is determined to exact full vegeance for wrong done to him –vindictive
  • Commencement of words with the same letter –alliteration
  • A person living permanently in a certain place –domicile
  • To slap with a flat object –swat
  • Fear of words –logophobia
  • Funny imitation of a poem –parody
  • Giving up throne by the king –abdication
  • Go back and forth –shuttle
  • Group of three novels –trilogy
  • Language difficult to understand –jargon
  • List of explantation –glossary
  • One who is more than a hundred years old –centenarian
  • One who is given to pleasure of the flesh –epicure
  • One who lives on others –parasite
  • Loud talk or speech –harangue
  • Man having the woman’s quality- effeminate
  • Man of lax moral- licentious
  • Man whose wife is unfaithful to him- cuckold
  • Something that cannot be taken away –inalienable
  • One who travels from place to place –tramp
  • To move along with quick short twisting actions- wriggle
  • Be the emodment or perfect example of –characterise
  • One who deserts his religion –apostate
  • Custom of having many wives –polygamy
  • Person who belives that god is everything and eveyting is god pantheist
  • A thing kept in memory of an event –souvenir
  • One who doesn't believe in God - Atheist
  • One who believe in God - Theist
  • Art of working with metals - metallurgy
  • A place where animals are slaughtered for the market –abattoir
  • The dwelling place if an animal underground- borrow
  • A place where treasurers ,stores ,ammunition are hidden –cache
  • A graveyard where dead are buried –creche
  • An original glass bottle for holding wine or other alcoholic drinks –decanter
  • A squirrel’s home –dray
  • One who works in return for being taught the trade- disciple
  • One whose attitude is to eat, drink and merry –epicurean
  • People in rowdy one who is against the religion –heretic
  • One who eats human flesh- cannibal
  • One who lives at the same time –contemporary
  • One who is a habitual drunker- sottoper
  • Idioms / One word substitution for SSC IBPS SBI RBI Exams
  • Relationship by blood or birth –consanguinity
  • Belief or opinion contrary to what is generally accepted- heresy
  • A country ruled by two country –condomunium
  • A lady’s purse –reticule
  • A religious song –hymn
  • A verse letter- epistle
  • A animal story with moral –fable
  • One who comes from a village and considered stupid –bumpkin
  • One who fights for money- mercenary
  • One who forsakes religion –renegade
  • One who is guilty of firing property –arsonist
  • One who loads and unloads ships –stevedore
  • One who retires from society to live a solitary life- recluse
  • One who pretends to be what he is not- hypocrite
  • A professional rider in horse races –jockey
  • A number of sheeps –flock
  • A collection of flags –bunting
  • A number of stars grounded together- constellation
  • The house of an arab –dowar
  • A factory for manufacturing of beers- brewery
  • A place for the collection of dried plants –herbarium
  • A case in which the sword is kept- sheath
  • Free from infection –immune
  • The dead body of a animal –caracass
  • The science of colours –chromatics
  • The science of the structure of human body- anatomy
  • The art of effective speaking –elocution
  • The study of rocks and soils –geology
  • The study of mountains –oralogy
  • The study of languages –philology
  • The study of the origin and history of words –etymology
  • The study of ancient writing- paleography
  • The art of preserving skin –taxidermy
  • The period between two reigns –interregnum
  • A council of clergymen- synod
  • The ceremony at which a man becomes a priest –ordination
  • A round or cylindrical container used for storing things such as food, chemicals or rolls of film - Canister
  • A place of permanent residence - Domicile
  • One who steals others written content - Plagiarist
  • That cannot be altered or withdrawn - Irrevocable
  • Money paid to employees on retirement - Gratuity
  • A place where clothes are kept - Wardrobe
  • Words uttered impiously about God - Blasphemy
  • One who compiles a dictionary - Lexicographer
  • Violating religious things –sacrilege
  • One who intolerantly devoted to a particular creed –bigot
  • Engaged to be married –betrodated
  • An instrument for recodings the revolutions of the earth –gyroscope
  • A poem of mourning- elegay
  • A hollow space in a wall for a  –niche
  • One who introduces performing artists on the stage program –compere
  • One who studies the pattern of voting in elections-  psephologist
  • Murder of one’s parents –parricide
  • Murder of one’s sister –sororicide
  • Let the cat out of the bag – Reveal a secret
  • Put the cart before the horse – Put or do things in the wrong order
  • A hard nut to crack – A difficult problem
  • By hook or by crook – By fair or foul means
  • All that glitters is not gold : things are not always as attractive as they appears
  • A good for nothing : a worth less person
  • A good Samaritan : a friend in need
  • A person who is filled with excessive enthusiasm – extrovert
  • A person who os bad in spelling –caco graphist
  • A person claiming to be superior in culture and intellect to others-  highbrow
  • Person obsessed with one idea or subject- monomaniac
  • Person who does not believe in any religion –pagan
  • Person who holds scholarship at a university –bursar
  • Person who is against the ordinary society esp. Dressing –hippy
  • Person who is always dissatisfied- malcontent
  • Person who lives alone and avoid others- recluse
  • Person who loves nature –aesthete
  • Person who pretends to have more knowledge charlatan
  • Persuasive and fluent speech eloquence
  • Physician who delivers babies –obstetrician
  • Place where cows are sheltered byre
  • Place which provides both board and lodging inn
  • Power of reading thoughts of others telepathy
  • Ridiculous use of works malapropism
  • Ride on someone’s back piggyback
  • Room leading into a large room anteroom
  • Seat on elephant’s back howdah
  • Song sung at burial dirge
  • Thing that bring gentle and painless death from incurable disease euthanasia
  • To explain a spiritual truth benign
  • To do away with rule abrogate
  • To explain a spiritual truth parable
  • Using of new words neology
  • A person who gives written testimony for use in a court –deponent
  • A person who makes, sells ladies hats, etc. –milliner
  • A small enclosure for cattle ,sheep, etc pen
  • Music played or sung at night below a person’s window serenade
  • Strong and settled dislike between two persons antipathy
  • A small house with all rooms on one floor bungalow
  • An extremely deep crack or opening in the ground chasm
  • Lottery in which an article is assigned by lot to one of those buying tickets raffle/draw
  • One who always runs away from danger timid
  • The act of violating the sanctity of church –sacrilege
  • A style in which a writer makes a display of his knowledge –pedantic
  • One who thinks that human nature is essentially evil –cynic
  • Interested mainly in a small group country etc. –insular
  • The period between two reigns- interregnum
  • One who despises persons of lower social position snob
  • Gradual recovery from illness convalescence
  • A low area storm with high winds rotating about a centre of
  • Low atmospheric pressure –cyclone
  • A fault that may be forgiven –venial
  • One who is likeable –amiable
  • Person who gives himself up to luxury and sexual pleasures –voluptuary
  • A field or a part of a garden where fruit trees grow –orchard
  • A women of lax moral –harlot


  • To mediate between two parties in a dispute- intercede
  • The branch of science which deals with the problems of the old –geriatrics
  • Property inherited from one’s father pr ancestors –patrimony
  • Something left in a will by someone who has died- legacy
  • The doctrine that human souls pass from one body to another at the time of death –transmigration
  • A drawing on transparent paper –transparency
  • One who is very careful and particular –meticulous
  • One who pays too much attention to his cloths and appearance- dandy
  • One who pretends illness to escape duty –malingerer
  • One who talks continuously –loquacious
  • One who deals in cattle –drover
  • One who cuts precious stones –lapidist(lapidary)
  • One who cure eye disease –oculist
  • One who sells sweets and pastries –confectioner
  • Poem in short stanzas narrating a popular story- ballad
  • One who does not know how to save the money- spendthrift
  • Walk in a vain , self‐important way –strut
  • Clumsy or ill‐bred fellow –boor
  • A small shop that sells fashionable clothes, cosmetics etc. –boutique
  • The normal abode of any animal or plant —habitat
  • A person who is skilled in horsemanship equestrian
  • To atone one’s sins –expiate
  • The rule of a person who is tyrant –despotism
  • Of outstanding significance –monumental
  • A tumour which is not likely to spared –benign
  • To remove the skin of a potato or and orange- peel
  • Explicit understanding to do something –promise
  • To surround with armed forces- besiege
  • A person who wishes to throw over all establishments –anarchist
  • Forcing out(blood etc.) From its vessel –extravasate
  • A book or picture produced merely to bring in money —pot‐boiler
  • Deviation or departure from common rule of standard –anomaly
  • Elderly women in charge of a girl on social occasions- chaperon
  • Land so surrounded by water as to e almost and island –peninsula
  • Part‐song for several voices without instrumental accompaniment   madrigal
  • A person without objective reality   –   hallucination
  • Open rebellion of soldiers and sailors against lawful authority  –mutiny
  • A verse letter    –    epistle
  • A person who travels from place to place  – itinerant
  • Something which can be taken for granted  – postulate
  • Words used in ancient time but no longer in general use now  – archaic
  • Cutting all the waste paper into pieces –  shredding
  • A solider who fights for money    – mercenary
  • Government by all      – pantisocracy
  • Two wheeled cab for two to ride indie with driver mounted up behind – hansom
  • Destroy without any trace – obliterate
  • Submarines operate below the surface of the seas-  subterranean
  • Morning prayer in the church regularly – matins
  • An unreal and visionary ideal – chimerical
  • Give back to the users their youthful vigor and appearance – rejuvenate
  • A lover of mankind   – altruist/philanthropist
  • An unconventional style of living –  bohemian
  • A person who is blindly devoted to an idea –  chauvinist
  • Suave (polished and light heart person) – debonair
  • A dabbler (not serious in art, science and literature-  dilettante
  • That cannot be entered by force – impregnable
  • A person who leads an immoral life libertine/lecher
  • One hates the institution of marriage –misogamist
  • One who eats everything – omnivorous
  • One who works for the welfare of the women –philogynist /feminist
  • A boastful fellow –swashbuckler
  • A noisy quarrelsome women, a shrew –termagant
  • One who is habitual drunken toper/sot
  • One who is brilliant performer on stage(specially music) –virtuoso
  • An annual calendar with position of stars- almanac
  • A statement accepted as true without proof –axiom
  • Examination of living tissue- biopsy
  • Compulsory enlistment for military service –conscription
  • An exact copy of handwriting ,printing –facsimile/xerox
  • Animals which live in a flock , used for human beings also gregarious/sociable
  • An act of separation from a person to avoid infection –quarantine
  • Dress with medals, ribbons worn at official ceremonies- regalia
  • One who is settles in another country –immigrant
  • One who knows many languages –polyglot
  • To talk through one’s hat :---To talk ignorantly
  • By word of mouth :--By spoken message
  • To kill two birds with one stone :---To achieve two results with one effort
  • To turn the tables :To reverse the situation
  • At the eleventh hour :---At the last moment
  • To burn one’s boats :-Go back on a decision
  • A burning question :-An important topic
  • Sitting on the fence :------Hesitate between two decisions
  • Cast away — to throw aside
  • By fits and starts – In short periods, not regularly
  • To kiss the book : to take an oath in a produce or commodities
  • To kiss the dust : to be defeated in battle
  • Someone not fit to be chosen - Ineligible
  • A laconic speech : a concise
  • To look to one's laurels : to take care not to lose one's place
  • To win laurels : to gain distinction or glory in s contest
  • To smell of the lamp : to show signs of strenuous preparation for an examination or a speech etc
  • Look before you leap : think before action


Hope this list of Idioms / One word substitution will help you in your preparation for SSC (CGL, CHSL, MTS & Others), IBPS (PO, SO, Clerk, RRB), SBI (PO, Clerk, SO), RBI etc. or any other exam in which these questions are asked.
All the best for your exams.
Check Commonly Misspelled Words
How to solve Jumbled Sentences Problems
Shortcut Tricks for Exam preparation