E Idioms and Quizzes

E Idiom Quiz #1

letter e

Quiz 1 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

1. My friend is always (pushing me on) when I am angry about something.
a)   egging me on
b)   excusing himself
c)   eating crow
d)   eating his words

2. The girl's mother gave her (a scolding) when she returned home late from school.
a)   every other
b)   an earful
c)   an eagle eye
d)   either feast or famine

3. Our boss has a style of managing his company that is (very relaxed).
a)   every minute counts
b)   easy to come by
c)   easy going
d)   ebb and flow

4. Cleaning up their new house will take the couple a lot of (effort and energy).
a)   elbow room
b)   elbow grease
c)   extenuating circumstances
d)   eleventh-hour decisions

5. The business leader was forced to (retract his statement) about the money that he had received.
a)   eat his heart out
b)   ease off
c)   express his anger
d)   eat his words

Your score is: ___  out of 5

E Idiom Quiz #2

letter e

Quiz 2 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

6. Our new house has a lot more (space) than our old one.
a)   eyes in the back of its head
b)   elbow room
c)   eager beavers
d)   elbow grease

7. We usually (go to a restaurant) about once a week.
a)   earn our keep
b)   eat and run
c)   eat our heart out
d)   eat out

8. The man says that he does not want the same kind of car as (the average person).
a)   every Tom, Dick, and Harry
b)   every so often
c)   even steven
d)   the early bird

9. We (finished by) going to a restaurant for a coffee after the concert.
a)   explained ourselves by
b)   engaged in small talk by
c)   ended up
d)   escaped notice by

10. We go to that restaurant (sometimes) but not very often.
a)   early on
b)   every so often
c)   every which way
d)   every time I turn around

Your score is: ___  out of 5

E Idiom Quiz #3

letter e

Quiz 3 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

11. It is easy to get our supervisor to (do what we want).
a)   enter our mind
b)   explain things away
c)   eat humble pie
d)   eat out of our hands

12. I do not know what is (bothering) my friend but he is very angry.
a)   eating
b)   easier said than done for
c)   edging out
d)   extending credit to

13. The man was (in every way) a sailor.
a)   even so
b)   every inch
c)   equal to
d)   every last one

14. (There is something good in every bad thing) and even after I lost my job good things happened.
a)   The early bird catches the worm
b)   There was enough to go around
c)   Every cloud has a silver lining
d)   It was the exception that proves the rule

15. (Everybody) in the apartment building was given a fire extinguisher.
a)   Everything but the kitchen sink
b)   Every nook and cranny
c)   Everything humanly possible
d)   Every living soul

Your score is: ___  out of 5

E Idioms

letter e

each and every

- every

"I want each and every student to bring his or her textbook tomorrow."

eager beaver

- a person who is always eager to work hard or do extra work

My colleague is an eager beaver and is always ready to work hard when we need him.

eagle eye

- an eye with sharp visual powers

The woman watched her young child with an eagle eye.

an ear to the ground

- attention that is paid to the way things are going or the way people feel and think about something

The president has an ear to the ground and knows everything that is going on in our company.


- a scolding, much talking in the form of complaints

The man gave his daughter an earful when she came home late.

early bird

- a person who gets up early or arrives early for something

My sister is an early bird and gets up very early every morning.

early bird catches/gets the worm

- a person who gets up early in the morning has the best chance of success

Our supervisor always goes to work before his colleagues because he knows that the early bird catches the worm.

early on

- at an early stage

We had a meeting early on to try and solve the problem.

earn one's keep

- to earn one's pay or a place to live by doing some work

I work hard in my uncle's garden in order to earn my keep when I stay with him.

ease off on (someone or something)

- to put less pressure on someone or something, to relax

The president was asked to ease off on his efforts to cut staff in the company.

ease up on (someone or something)

- to put less pressure on someone or something, to relax

The boy was having problems at school so the teacher eased up on him.

easier said than done

- to be easier to talk about than to do

I would like to change jobs but it is easier said than done.

easy come, easy go

- something that you get easily can be lost easily

My cousin does not care if he loses his job or not. For him, everything is easy come, easy go.

easy does it

- doing something slowly or without sudden movements

"Easy does it," I said as we moved the large piano.


- to be tolerant and relaxed

Our boss has a very easy-going management style.

easy to come by

- easy to find

Money is not easy to come by for many people with no education.

Eat Idioms

eat and run

- to eat a meal quickly and then leave

We had to eat and run in order to arrive at the soccer field early.

eat away at (someone)

- to bother someone, to worry someone

Money problems have been eating away at the man recently.

eat away at (something)

- to rot or destroy something

The mildew has been eating away at the window frame all year.

eat crow

- to admit that one is mistaken or defeated or wrong

Our boss was forced to eat crow when the figures that he presented at the meeting were wrong.

eat dirt

- to accept another`s insults or bad treatment

The accountant had to eat dirt because of the problems that he had caused.

eat humble pie

- to admit one`s error and apologize

The boy had to eat humble pie when his friends discovered his mistake.

eat in

- to eat at home, to eat in a restaurant where you have a choice to either eat in the restaurant or take the food out

We usually like to eat in on the weekends.

We went to the fast food restaurant and we decided to eat in rather than take the food out.

eat like a bird

- to eat very little

The boy eats like a bird. That is why he cannot gain enough weight to join the football team.

eat like a horse

- to eat a lot

My friend eats like a horse but he never gains any weight.

eat on the run

- to eat while going somewhere in a hurry

We often have to eat on the run during the day.

eat one`s cake and have it too

- to use or spend something but still keep it

The man wants to eat his cake and have it too and he will never give up anything.

eat one's hat

- to do something extraordinary or special if something that you do not think will happen actually happens (this is always used with if and is used when you are quite certain that something will happen and if it does not happen then you will do something extraordinary or special - like eating your hat)

I do not think that my friend will arrive here on time. If my friend does arrive here on time I will eat my hat.

I do not think that our team will win the game today. If our team does win the game today I will eat my hat.

eat one`s heart out

- to be envious, to be very sad

"You can eat your heart out - I am going to Hawaii for three weeks!"

eat one`s words

- to admit being wrong in something that one has said

The worker was forced to eat his words after his boss proved that he was wrong.

eat out

- to eat in a restaurant

I eat out three or four times a week.

eat out of (someone's) hand

- to do what someone else wants

The secretary had her boss eating out of her hand and she could do whatever she wanted.

eat (someone) out of house and home

- to eat much food in someone's home

The two teenage boys were eating their parents out of house and home.

eat up (something) or eat (something) up

- to appreciate something, to believe something

The students were eating up the comments by their professor.

The teacher ate up the boy's excuse.

eat up (something) or eat (something) up

- to eat everything on your plate

I ate up all my dinner and began my homework.

eating (someone)

- to be bothering or worrying someone

I do not know what is eating my friend but she is not in a good mood today.

ebb and flow

- the decrease and increase of something like the tide

The ebb and flow of the singer's popularity was always a topic of conversation.

edge out (someone) or edge (someone) out

- to win a competition against someone and get a job or position

I was able to edge out the other applicants to get the job.

educated guess

- a guess that is based on one's knowledge or facts or evidence so the guess is probably correct

The science teacher asked the students to take an educated guess to find the correct answer.

It is difficult to know how much the new stadium will cost but we can at least make an educated guess.

egg (someone) on or egg on (someone)

- to urge or push someone to do something

The boy is always egging his friend on to do stupid things.

either feast or famine

- to be or have either too much or not enough of something

It is either feast or famine for the woman. Sometimes she has lots of money and sometimes she has none.

eke out (a living)

- to earn one's living with difficulty

My uncle was unable to eke out a living on his farm so he sold it.

elbow grease

- the effort and strength to clean something

We will have to use much elbow grease to clean the kitchen.

elbow room

- enough space to be comfortable

The couple moved to the country in order to have more elbow room.

elbow (someone) out of (somewhere)

- to pressure someone out of somewhere

The woman elbowed the other shoppers out of the way so that she could buy some shoes.

the elephant in the room

- an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about, an important topic that people are aware of but which they do not want to talk about

Nobody at the meeting wanted to talk about the problem but it was the elephant in the room and everybody knew about it.

The bullying problem at the school was the elephant in the room that nobody wanted to talk about.

eleventh-hour decision

- a decision that is made at the last possible minute

The government made an eleventh-hour decision to save the hospital.

an embarrassment of riches

- too much of something that is good (so it is difficult to choose the best)

The company had an embarrassment of riches with many excellent candidates who applied for the job.

The museum has an embarrassment of riches with too many great objects to display.

emperor's new clothes

- used when many people believe something that is not true, a situation in which people are afraid to criticize something because everyone else seems to think that it is good or important

It was like the emperor's new clothes when nobody would criticize the popular politician although he was doing many bad things.

an end in itself

- something that one wants specifically for itself and not as a way to do or get something else

For many people travelling is an end in itself and the destination is not important.

end of one`s rope

- the last of one`s ability or ideas about how to do something

I am at the end of my rope regarding what to do about my job.

end of the line

- the conclusion or end or final step of something, the end of a train or bus route

The business is not doing well and it will probably be the end of the line for it soon.

We took the train until the end of the line.

end product

- the final result

The end product of the survey was a better understanding of how things are working in our company.

end up (doing something)

- to do something that one had not planned to do, to finally be or do something

I ended up studying rather than going to a movie last night.

The man ended up getting married to his neighbor.

end up (going somewhere)

- to go somewhere where you had not planned to go

We ended up going to a restaurant after the movie last night.

end up (somewhere)

- to finish at a certain place

We ended up at a small coffee shop near the restaurant.

end up with (something)

- to get something as a result of something

I ended up with a cold last weekend after being outside in the rain.

engage in (something)

- to be busy with something, to be occupied with something

The man is engaged in a new project.

The woman was engaged in a long conversation.

engage in small talk

- to talk about minor things rather than more important things

The sales staff engaged in some small talk before the meeting.

enough to go around

- to be enough of something to serve everybody

There was enough cake to go around so everybody had a piece.

enter someone's mind

- to appear in someone's thoughts or mind

It never entered my mind to make a reservation at the restaurant.

The idea of quitting the job never entered the woman's mind.

I do not understand why such a crazy idea entered my friend's mind.

equal to (something)

- to be able to deal with something

The apartment manager was equal to the task of managing the building.

escape (someone's) notice

- to not be noticed

The fact that my library books were overdue escaped my notice.

The hard work of the employee did not escape the manager's notice.

My appointment with the dentist escaped my notice.

even so

- nevertheless, however

My friend has always worked but even so he has no money saved.

even steven

- even with (someone or something)

Both teams were even steven by the middle of the game.

Every Idioms

every cloud has a silver lining

- there is something good in every bad thing

Every cloud has a silver lining and although I lost my job other good things have happened.

every dog has his day

- everybody will have a chance for success someday

You should be patient and wait until you get a chance. Remember every dog has his day.

every inch a (something)

- completely, in every way

Jack was every inch a sailor and loved to go out on the ocean with his boat.

every last one

- every single one

Every last one of the children received a certificate from the swimming club.

every living soul

- everybody

We gave a free newspaper to every living soul in the apartment building.

every minute counts

- time is very important

Every minute counts when the fire department goes to fight a fire.

every nook and cranny

- every small hiding place where you can put something

I looked in every nook and cranny of my apartment but I could not find my house keys.

every other

- every second one

I have to work every other Saturday evening.

every so often

- occasionally

You should stand up every so often when you are on a long plane trip.

every time one turns around

- frequently

Every time I turn around my little boy asks me a question.

every Tom, Dick and Harry

- the average person

The man said that he is not the same as every Tom, Dick and Harry.

every which way

- in all directions

The small children at the birthday party were running every which way.

everything but the kitchen sink

- almost everything

We took everything but the kitchen sink on our camping trip.

everything humanly possible

- everything in the range of human powers

The doctors did everything humanly possible to save the man after the accident.

the exception that proves the rule

- an exception to a rule proves that the rule exists

The salesman is very quiet and shy and he is the exception that proves the rule in his company. Everybody else is very talkative.

exception to the rule

- someone or something which differs from the usual/normal/theory/rule

Dogs for blind people are the exception to the rule related to taking an animals on a bus.

excuse (someone)

- to forgive someone

We excused the man for his rude comments because he did not know any better.

expand on/upon (something)

- to add more details or information to something

The teacher told the student that she needs to expand on her essay topic.

The city government will expand on its plans for a better transportation system next week.

The business plan looks good but someone needs to expand upon it and give us more details.

explain (oneself)

- to give an explanation for something wrong that you have done

The director was forced to explain himself after the accounting problems were discovered.

explain (something) away or explain away (something)

- to explain something so that it seems less important

The sales clerk tried to explain away the problem with the sales receipt.

express (one's) anger

- to release one's anger

The man often loses his temper which is not a good way to express his anger.

extend credit to (someone)

- to permit someone to owe you money or to use credit

The bank extended credit to the small company so that they could expand its business.

The man has no job and must find someone who will extend credit to him.

My friend used a credit card too often and now nobody will extend credit to him.

extend one's sympathy to (someone)

- to express sympathy to someone

We extended our sympathy to the family of the dead woman.

extenuating circumstances

- the special circumstances that cause something to happen

We were able to avoid paying the parking ticket because of extenuating circumstances.

eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

- a system of punishment where you punish someone in the same way that they hurt you

The citizens wanted an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth when they learned about the child's murder.

eye of the storm/hurricane

- in the middle of a difficult situation, in the middle of a hurricane

The politician is in the eye of the storm because of the scandal.

We are now in the eye of the storm with big problems all around us.

The university president is in the eye of the storm regarding the problem.

The wind was very calm as we seemed to be in the eye of the hurricane.


- face to face

I sat eyeball-to-eyeball with our boss during the meeting.

eyes are bigger than one`s stomach

- one takes or wants more food than he or she can eat

The man's eyes are bigger than his stomach. He will never finish the food that he took.

eyes in the back of one`s head

- the ability to know what is happening behind one`s back

The man has eyes in the back of his head and you can never borrow anything without him knowing about it.

eyes pop out

- much surprised

The woman's eyes popped out when she saw her name in the newspaper.