U Idioms and Quizzes

U Idiom Quiz #1

letter u

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. I have (had enough of) the man's bad manners so I do not want to meet him anymore.
a)   had it under oath with
b)   had it up the river with no paddle with
c)   had it up my sleeve with
d)   had it up to here with

2. Repairing computers is (suitable for the man) and he enjoys his work a lot.
a)   up-to-date for the man
b)   up the man's alley
c)   under pressure for the man
d)   up to no good for the man

3. We didn`t keep the man as a cook because his work was not (up to an acceptable standard).
a)   under fire
b)   under the wire
c)   up to par
d)   up and away

4. The man paid the border guard some money (illegally) to get a visa for the small country.
a)   under close scrutiny
b)   under the table
c)   up to no good
d)   under his belt

5. The boy is feeling a little (sick) so he won`t have dinner tonight.
a)   under control
b)   up and about
c)   under the sun
d)   under the weather

Your score is: ___  out of 5

U Idiom Quiz #2

letter u

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. The woman should (think carefully) and then she would not make so many mistakes.
a)   use her head
b)   use some elbow grease
c)   use every trick in the book
d)   be up a blind alley

7. We were (in a lot of trouble) when the motor in our boat stopped working.
a)   under cover
b)   up and about
c)   up the river with no paddle
d)   up-and-coming

8. It is (the man's decision) whether or not he goes to Europe.
a)   up to the man
b)   up for grabs
c)   under the circumstances
d)   upsetting the applecart

9. I did not want (to cause any problems) so I did not say anything during the meeting.
a)   to upset the applecart
b)   to be up in the air
c)   to use my head
d)   any ups and downs

10. I did not go to the movie last night because I was (very busy) writing an essay for university.
a)   up to my ears in work
b)   up to no good
c)   under a cloud
d)   up my alley

Your score is: ___  out of 5

U Idiom Quiz #3

letter u

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. After I had a good meal (in my stomach,) I began to work.
a)   under my breath,
b)   under my nose,
c)   under my belt,
d)   under my thumb,

12. My grandmother broke her hip but she is now able to move around (without help).
a)   under a cloud of suspicion
b)   under her own steam
c)   under her wing
d)   under the hammer

13. The manager was very angry and said that he would not use the supplier (forever).
a)   under the counter
b)   up front
c)   up the creek
d)   until hell freezes over

14. The new restaurant was aiming its business at the (rich and famous).
a)   upper crust
b)   unfamiliar territory
c)   unearthly hour
d)   upper hand

15. The big company has the (advantage) in their negotiations with the big supplier.
a)   unearthly hour
b)   unknown quantity
c)   unfamiliar territory
d)   upper hand

Your score is: ___  out of 5

U Idioms

letter u

ugly duckling

- an ugly or plain child who grows up to be attractive

The girl was an ugly duckling when she was a child but now she is very beautiful.

unaccustomed to (someone or something)

- not used to someone or something

The man was unaccustomed to waking up early in the morning.

Under Idioms

under a cloud

- depressed, sad

The woman has been under a cloud of depression since her cat died.

under a cloud (of suspicion)

- not trusted, suspected of doing something wrong

The politician is under a cloud of suspicion over the possibility of taking bribes.

under arrest

- arrested by the police before being charged with a crime

The three men were under arrest for robbing a bank.

under attack

- being shot at or attacked physically, being attacked verbally

The company president is under attack because of the scandal.

The soldiers were under attack during the battle.

under certain circumstances

- depending on or influenced by specific circumstances

Under certain circumstances the children can practice in the indoor stadium.

under certain conditions

- depending on or influenced by specific conditions

The mountain road is closed under certain conditions.

under (close) scrutiny

- being watched or examined closely

The business owner was under scrutiny after the accounting scandal.

The results of the election are under close scrutiny.

under construction

- being built or repaired

The hotel was still under construction, two years after it began.

under control

- not out of control, manageable

The fire was under control after the fire department arrived.

under cover

- hidden, concealed

The police officer was under cover during the robbery.

under fire

- being shot at or attacked physically, being attacked verbally

The soldiers were under fire during the battle.

The owner of the company is under fire for not paying his employees a fair salary.

under oath

- having taken a formal oath (solemn promise)

The man was under oath when he spoke before the judge.

under one`s belt

- something you have learned or experienced or mastered or achieved

When my friend has more experience as a cook under his belt he will look for a new job.

under one`s belt

- in one`s stomach

After I had a big breakfast under my belt I was ready for work.

under one`s breath

- in a whisper, with a low voice, very quietly

The man was talking under his breath during the movie.

The woman said something under her breath but I do not know what she said.

The customer was angry and said something under his breath when he left the restaurant.

under one`s nose

- within sight of someone, easily seen or found

My father found his driver`s license right under his nose where he had left it.

under one`s own steam

- by one`s own efforts, without help

The man was able to go home under his own steam even though he was feeling very sick.

under one`s thumb

- obedient to someone, controlled by someone

The man is only an assistant salesman but he has his boss under his thumb.

under one`s wing

- under the care or protection of (someone)

Our supervisor took the new employee under his wing to help him in the new job.

under orders

- caused by law or rules to follow a certain course of action

The soldier said that he was under orders to shoot the rifle.

under pressure

- experiencing something that causes stress or anxiety

The boy's father is always under pressure at work.

The student is under pressure to complete her essay this week.

The man is under much pressure because of his bad financial situation.

under (someone's) feet

- to annoy or interrupt someone when he or she is working

The children were under their mother's feet while she was cooking dinner.

under the circumstances

- because of the circumstances

The girl was very sick and under the circumstances did not have to take the exam.

under the counter

- secretly bought or sold

The new drug is being sold under the counter although the government has not approved it.

under the gun

- under pressure to do something or meet a deadline, in a stressful situation that requires quick action

I have been under the gun all week to finish my essay.

The company is under the gun to finish the project.

under the hammer

- for sale at an auction

The painting went under the hammer and it sold for a very high price.

under the influence of (someone or something)

- experiencing the effects of alcohol or drugs or a controlling power or person

The driver was under the influence of alcohol when he hit the young child.

The woman is under the influence of her boss.

under the sun

- anywhere on earth, everywhere

We looked for my wallet everywhere under the sun.

under the table

- in secret and usually illegal

The businessman paid some money under the table in order to get his product imported into the country.

under the weather

- feeling ill (but not seriously ill)

I am feeling under the weather so I am going to bed early tonight.

under the wire

- just barely in time

We sent in our payment for the school fees just under the wire.

under wraps

- secret, concealed

The design of the new stadium is still under wraps.

The release date for the new phone is under wraps.

We need to keep the information about the company under wraps.

unearthly hour

- absurdly early or inconvenient

We got up at an unearthly hour this morning so we could go camping.

unfamiliar territory

- an area of knowledge unknown to the speaker

Trying to pilot an airplane was unfamiliar territory for the flight attendant.

unknown quantity

- a person or thing which nobody knows much about

The new mayor is an unknown quantity and nobody knows what to expect.

unrequited love

- love that is not returned, one-way love

The woman was in love with the president of her company but it was unrequited love. He did not love her.

an unsung hero

- a hero who has received no praise or recognition for something

The young player is the unsung hero of the team's victory.

The firefighters were the unsung heroes of the flood where many people died.

until all hours

- until very late

We stayed up until all hours watching movies.

We were up until all hours as we waited for the game to start.

The meeting continued until all hours of the night.

until hell freezes over

- forever

My friend said that he would not talk to his girlfriend again until hell freezes over.

until the cows come home

- until very late

It is my birthday today and I plan to party until the cows come home tonight.

Up Idioms

up a blind alley

- on a route that leads nowhere, at a dead end

The police were up a blind alley in their search for evidence of the crime.

up against (someone or something)

- having trouble with someone or something

The student came up against many problems when he went to university.

up against (something)

- close to something

The ladder was standing up against the tree in the yard.

up and about

- healthy and moving around, not sick in bed

My uncle has been up and about for a couple of days since he left the hospital.

up and around

- out of bed and moving around, moving from one place to another

I was up and around before 6:00 AM this morning.

up and at 'em

- active and busy, up and at them

We will be up and at 'em very early tomorrow morning.

up and away

- up into the air and into flight

My parents got on the airplane and were quickly up and away.


- new

The woman is an up-and-coming singer.

up for (something)

- to be enthusiastic about something

The entire school was up for the final football game of the season.

up for grabs

- available for anyone

The new championship of the city is up for grabs.

up front

- honest, correct

The man was very up front when giving me the information about the new office.

up in arms

- equipped with guns or weapons and ready to fight

The villagers were up in arms and trying to fight against the government.

up in arms

- very angry

The teachers were up in arms about the proposal to change their contract.

up in the air (about something)

- not settled, undecided

Whether or not I will be able to go to London is still up in the air.

up in years

- old, elderly

Although my grandparents are up in years they still have much energy.

up one`s alley

- to be the type of thing that you are interested in or that you enjoy doing or that you are good at doing

Computers are up his alley so I am sure that he can fix your computer.

Tennis is up his alley so I am sure that he will play with you.

up one`s sleeve

- kept secretly for the right time or for a time that it is needed

My friend has something up his sleeve and will be able to find a job when he needs one.

up the creek

- in trouble

The woman is up the creek now that she has lost her passport.

up the creek with no paddle

- in trouble and unable to do anything about it

I think that we are up the creek with no paddle now that our car has no gasoline.

up the river with no paddle

- in trouble and unable to do anything about it

We were up the river with no paddle when we ran out of money on our vacation.

up to (a certain amount or number)

- until, as far as a certain amount or number, approaching a certain amount or number

There were probably up to thirty people at the meeting.

up to (a certain time)

- until, as far as a certain time, approaching a certain time

Up to last week I had never been inside a bowling alley.

up to a point

- partly, to some extent

I like my neighbor but only up to a point.


- modern, the latest standards of fashion

The kitchen in our apartment is not up-to-date at all.

up to here with (someone or something)

- sick of some continual bad or irritating behavior

I have had it up to here with his coming late to work.

up to it

- capable or fit for something

If he is up to it we can let him drive the truck to the new office.

up to no good

- doing something bad

The boys were up to no good after school.

up to one's chin

- very busy with something, deeply involved in something

The mayor has been up to his chin in the project to build a new convention center.

up to one`s ears in work

- have a lot of work to do

I would like to go with you but I am up to my ears in work at the moment.

up to par

- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or quality

The man's work was not up to par and he was asked to leave his job.

up to scratch

- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or quality

The carpenter's job was not up to scratch so we fired him.

up to snuff

- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or quality

When I get my computer skills up to snuff I will look for a job to use them.

up to (someone) to decide (something)

- to be responsible to choose or decide something

It is up to the manager to decide when the meeting will start.

up to (someone) to do (something)

- to be responsible to do something

It is up to the manager to clean the apartment lobby.

up to (something)

- to be occupied in or planning some activity that is often bad

I do not know what the boy was up to last night but it was probably something bad.

up to (somewhere)

- as far as, as deep or as high as

The water in the swimming pool came up to my waist.

up to speed

- to have the most recent information about something

It will take some time to bring the new employee up to speed.

I need to get up to speed on the issue before I can discuss it.

The new coach wants to be up to speed before the next game.

up to the challenge (to do something)

- to successfully respond to a difficult situation

The man is up to the challenge to complete the race.

The task is difficult but I believe that I am up to the challenge to do it.

up to the job

- capable or fit for something

If the new boy is up to the job we will let him do more.

up to the mark

- meeting normal standards, equal to the usual level or quality

The work was not up to the mark and the company would not pay for it.


- the very latest or most recent

We always try to get an up-to-the-minute weather report before we go skiing.

up until

- until

I was in the library up until midnight last night.

upon one's head

- to be one's own responsibility

The responsibility for the event was put upon my head.

upper crust

- rich and famous people, the highest class of people

The private club was full of the upper crust of the city.

upper hand

- a controlling power, an advantage

The union members have the upper hand in their negotiations with the company.

ups and downs

- good fortune and bad fortune, good times and bad times, difficulties

My cousin is having a few ups and downs but generally he is doing well.

upset the applecart

- to ruin or spoil a plan or idea

"Try not to upset the applecart as we have spent a lot of time working on this project."

upshot of (something)

- the result or outcome of something

The upshot of the meeting was that we would no longer continue to keep the store open.

upside down

- with the upper side turned toward the lower side

The boat was upside down in the water.


- to be worried or irritated or anxious

My sister is very uptight because of her exams.

Use Idioms

use every trick in the book

- to use every method possible

The apartment manager used every trick in the book to force the young family to leave.

use one`s head/bean/noodle/noggin

- to think carefully about something

"You should use your head a little more and try not to make the same mistake again."

use some elbow grease

- to use some effort

We used a lot of elbow grease to clean the oven.

use (someone or something) as an excuse

- to blame someone or something for something

My friend used his busy schedule as an excuse not to help us.

use strong language

- to use abusive or forceful language

The teacher used very strong language to make the children behave.

use up

- to use something until nothing is left, to spend or consume something completely

I used up all of the paper in the copy machine this morning.

used to

- formerly did something, had the habit of doing something

We used to live in a house but now we live in an apartment.

used to (something)

- to be accustomed to something

My friend is not used to living in such a big city.