The Idiom Connection Idioms and Quizzes Idioms


Court and Judge Idioms

Idiom Of The Day
follow me on facebook

Court and Judge Idioms

abide by a decision

- to follow the orders that a court or judge has given

The company was forced to abide by the decision of the judge.

as sober as a judge

- alert and completely sober, not drunk, very formal

My father is always as sober as a judge when he gets into his car to drive.

at the mercy of (the court/someone)

- having no defense against the court or someone

My friend was at the mercy of the court when he went before the judge.

beat the rap

- to escape conviction and punishment for a crime

The man hired a good lawyer and was able to beat the rap easily.

cast doubt on (someone or something)

- to cause someone or something to be doubted

The evidence presented at the trial cast doubt on the woman's testimony.

clear (someone's) name

- to prove that someone is not guilty of a crime, to show that someone did not do something wrong

The woman went to court to clear her name of the false charges.

come down hard on (someone)

- to scold or punish someone severely, to attack someone vigorously

The judge came down hard on the boy who had been arrested for breaking into a house.

cop a plea

- to plead guilty to a crime or decide not to fight against a charge in order to try and receive a light punishment, to plea bargain (usually done in a negotiation between the defendant and his or her lawyer and the prosecutor)

The man copped a plea and went to hear what the judge would decide regarding his case.

cross-examine (someone)

- to question a suspect or a witness in a trial

The lawyer was very careful when he began to cross-examine the witness.

a cut-and-dried (case/decision)

- fixed, determined beforehand

The case was cut-and-dried and it ended in less than one hour.

decide in favor of (someone)

- to determine that someone is not guilty or is the winner of something

The court decided in favor of the government in its dispute with the striking workers.

face the music

- to receive punishment or judgement for something wrong or illegal that you have done

The young man was forced to face the music for the crimes that he had committed.

fair and impartial

- a fair and unbiased look at something

The judge made a fair and impartial decision in the case against the small store.

find (someone) guilty

- to decide that someone is guilty in a court of law

The judge found the young man guilty of breaking and entering a small store.

find (someone) innocent

- to decide that someone is innocent in a court of law

The woman went to court but the judge found her innocent of all charges.

for the record

- saying something so that there will be a record of a particular fact

I was told, for the record, that my case had very little chance of succeeding in a court of law.

get a slap on the wrist

- to get light punishment for a crime or wrongdoing

The boy got a slap on the wrist for causing the damage to the public washroom.

get a tongue-lashing

- to get a severe verbal scolding for doing something wrong

The girl got a tongue-lashing from the judge over her role in the crime.

get down to the facts

- to begin to discuss things that matter, to get to the truth

When the trial began the lawyers tried to get down to the facts of the case.

get off (easy/lightly)

- to receive very little or no punishment for something

The young man got off easy and did not have to go to jail for his crime.

get off scot-free

- to go unpunished, to be acquitted of a crime

The man was able to get off scot-free in the case involving his illegal transactions.

get one's day in court

- to get an opportunity to say or explain something in court, to get a chance to give one's opinion in court

The man was happy because he finally got his day in court.

get one's knuckles rapped

- to receive punishment for something

The boy got his knuckles rapped after a stern lecture from the judge.

get (something) out in the open

- to stop hiding a fact or a secret

The lawyers tried to get things out in the open during the trial.

get the benefit of the doubt

- to receive a judgement in your favor when the evidence is neither for you nor against you

The girl got the benefit of the doubt and was not found guilty of the crime.

give (someone) a fair shake

- to give someone fair treatment

The man did not believe that the judge would give him a fair shake at his trial.

give (someone) a slap on the wrist

- to give someone light punishment

The judge gave the young offender a slap on the wrist and he was required to do some community work as compensation for his crime.

give (someone) the benefit of the doubt

- to make a judgement in someone's favor when the evidence is neither for nor against the person

The police gave the man the benefit of the doubt and did not arrest him as a suspect for the crime.

give (someone) his or her freedom

- to set someone free

The court decided to give the man his freedom because of his good behavior in prison.

go by the book

- to follow the rules exactly

The court clerks always go by the book when they are dealing with court matters.

go easy on (someone or something)

- to be kind or gentle with someone or something

The judge wanted to go easy on the young man but his bad attitude made it difficult to try and help him.

go scot-free

- to go unpunished or be acquitted of a crime

The man was able to go scot-free although many people thought that he stole some money.

grain of truth

- the smallest amount of truth

There was only a grain of truth in what the witness said during the trial.

hand a verdict/decision down (to someone)

- to announce or deliver a legal decision or verdict in a court

The court clerk announced that the judge would hand the verdict down in the morning.

hang in the balance

- to be in an undecided state

The future of the criminal was hanging in the balance as he waited for the judge's decision.

have one's day in court

- to have an opportunity to say or explain something in court, to have a chance to give one's opinion in court

The business executive had his day in court and was cleared of any wrongdoing.

a hung jury

- a jury that is divided and unable to agree on a verdict

The trial ended in a hung jury which made another trial necessary.

in absentia

- when someone is absent from a court or meeting or something similar

The judge looked at the evidence and sentenced the man in absentia.

in contempt of court

- in disobedience of the orders and authority of the court, in disrespect of the court process

The man refused to answer the questions of the judge and was found to be in contempt of court.

in defiance of (someone or something)

- in resistence to someone or someone's orders

The union was in defiance of the court order and was given a large fine.

in session

- operating or functioning (used for a court)

The court was in session when we arrived at the courthouse.

in (someone's) favor

- to someone's advantage

The judge ruled in our favor in our dispute with the hospital.

judge (someone) on his or her own merit

- to judge or evaluate someone on his or her own achievements and virtues

We judged the man on his own merit and not by what people were saying about him.

judge (something) on its own merit

- to judge or evaluate something on its own value

We judged the business proposal on its own merit.

jump to conclusions

- to judge or decide something without having all the facts

The manager jumped to conclusions and accused the employee of stealing from the company.

the jury is still out on (someone or something)

- a decision has not been reached on someone or something (used often and in a casual manner when one has not made a decision about something)

The jury is still out on whether or not we will move or not.

a kangaroo court

- a court formed by a group of people to settle a dispute among themselves (the court is usually illegal)

There was a kangaroo court in the movie where the ranchers made their own court.

keep one's own counsel

- to not tell other people about one's thoughts and plans

Our lawyer was keeping his own counsel about how to proceed with our defense.

laugh (someone or something) out of court

- to dismiss someone or something as ridiculous

The lawyer wanted to sue the man for kicking the dog but the judge laughed the case out of court.

a leading question

- a question to a witness that is designed to suggest or produce the reply that is wanted by the questioner

The judge criticized the lawyer for asking leading questions during the trial.

let (someone) off (easy)

- to release someone without punishment

The judge let the man off easy in spite of the strong case against him.

a miscarriage of justice

- a wrong or mistaken decision made in a court of law

The trial was a miscarriage of justice and nobody was happy with the result.

moment of truth

- the point at which someone has to face the reality of a situation

The moment of truth in the trial came when the lawyer presented the last piece of evidence.

not hold water

- to make no sense, to be illogical

The argument by the lawyer did not hold water.

on the bench

- a judge is sitting and directing a session of court

There was no indication by the court of who would be sitting on the bench during the important trial.

on trial

- being tried in court

The man is on trial for stealing money from his company.

an open-and-shut case

- a legal matter that is simple and uncomplicated

It was an open-and-shut case after the lawyer presented the evidence to the judge.

pick holes in an argument

- to find all the weak points or flaws in an argument

The experienced lawyer found that it very easy to pick holes in the argument of the main witness.

plea bargain

- to plead guilty to a crime or decide not to fight against a charge in order to try and receive a light punishment (usually done in a negotiation between the defendant and his or her lawyer and the prosecutor)

The man decided to plea bargain in order not to have a long trial with an uncertain result.

poetic justice

- the appropriate but chance reward or punishment by someone who deserves it

It was poetic justice when the supervisor who was harassing the workers lost his job because the president did not want him to work for the company anymore.

raise an objection (to/about someone or something)

- to make an objection about someone or something in a trial

The defense lawyer stood up during the trial to raise an objection about the testimony of the witness.

the responsible party

- someone who is legally or morally obliged to do something or accept the blame for something

The judge determined that the man was the responsible party for the damage and must pay a large penalty.

send (someone) up the river

- to send someone to prison

The judge sent the man up the river for three years.

settle (something) out of court

- to reach an agreement without having to go through a court of law

It was very difficult but we were able to settle the dispute out of court.

sit in judgement of (someone)

- to make a judgement of someone

The tribunal members were sitting in judgement of the group involved in the trade dispute.

stand trial

- to be tried in court

The man had to stand trial for stealing the credit cards.

swear on a stack of bibles

- to pledge to tell the truth about something (in a court of law someone may swear to tell the truth by placing his or her hand on a bible or other religious text)

The man swore on a stack of bibles that he had never seen the accused criminal before.

take an oath

- to make an oath, to swear to something

Before the trial began I had to take an oath and promise to tell the truth.

take the Fifth

- to refuse to incriminate oneself because of the protection of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States (in the U.S. a witness at a trial has this right)

The business executive decided to take the Fifth rather than give testimony at the trial.

take the stand

- to sit in the witness chair in a courtroom

The main witness at the trial took the stand after the other witnesses were finished.

throw oneself at the mercy of the court

- to ask a judge for mercy when being sentenced for a crime

The man threw himself at the mercy of the court and asked for a light sentence.

throw the book at (someone)

- to punish someone as severely as possible, to make as many charges as possible against someone

The criminal was not sorry for his crime so the judge decided to throw the book at him.

a travesty of justice

- a legal action that is an insult to the system of justice

The trial was a travesty of justice and nobody was happy with the result.

under oath

- taking and being bound by an oath

The man explained what had happened at the scene of the crime while he was under oath at the trial.

Idiom Quizzes - Court and Judge

    Choose an idiom to replace the expression in the brackets:

  1. The fate of the criminal was (in an undecided state) as the jury discussed the case.

    (a) hanging in the balance (b) going by the book (c) fair and impartial (d) sitting in judgement

  2. There was (an equally divided jury) and it was impossible to make a decision for the case.

    (a) a kangaroo court (b) a travesty of justice (c) a miscarriage of justice (d) a hung jury

  3. The young man (went unpunished) for his crime.

    (a) gave himself a fair shake (b) got off scot-free (c) stood trial (d) kept his own counsel

  4. The defendant was sentenced by the judge (while he was absent from the courtroom).

    (a) in session (b) on the bench (c) in absentia (d) under oath

  5. The man had a good lawyer and was able to (escape conviction for the crime).

    (a) give himself a slap on the wrist (b) beat the rap (c) abide by the decision (d) face the music

  6. The woman (pleaded guilty to her crime) in the hope that she would get a light punishment.

    (a) got a slap on the wrist (b) got the benefit of the doubt (c) copped a plea (d) raised an objection

  7. The man was charged with (disobeying the judge's orders) during the lengthy trial.

    (a) a leading question (b) an open-and-shut case (c) jumping to conclusions (d) contempt of court

  8. The evidence in the case was not clear so the judge decided to give the young woman (a judgement in her favor).

    (a) the benefit of the doubt (b) her freedom (c) a grain of truth (d) poetic justice

  9. The judge (punished the man severely) for his role in the bank robbery.

    (a) cross-examined the man (b) judged the man on his own merits (c) came down hard on the man (d) cast doubt on the man

  10. The case was basically (determined beforehand) because of the strong evidence against the man.

    (a) at the mercy of the court (b) for the record (c) the moment of truth (d) cut-and-dried

  11. The lawyer worked hard to (find flaws in) the arguments and excuses of the defendant.

    (a) throw the book at (b) pick holes in (c) go easy on (d) decide in favor of

  12. The arguments of the accused criminal's lawyer (made no sense).

    (a) did not hold water (b) cleared his name (c) got down to the facts (d) settled out of court

    Return to Main Index