1. Out of wits
Meaning – To annoy or frustrate one to the point of exasperation
Usage – That loud beeping noise is driving me out of my wits!
2. Call spade a spade
Meaning – To say the truth about something, even if it is not polite or pleasant
Usage – You have to call spade a spade and acknowledge the corruption built into this system!
3. Face the music
Meaning – To receive punishment; to accept the unpleasant results of one's actions
Usage – After failing a math test, Tom had to go home and face the music.
4. To play second fiddle
Meaning – To have a subordinate, lesser, or smaller role, position, or part (in something)
Usage – Because I wasn't willing to play office politics, I never got the big promotion and have been playing second fiddle ever since.
5. Casting pearl before swine
Meaning – To offer something valuable or good to someone who does not know its value
Usage – I'm afraid you're casting pearls before swine with your good advice - he won't listen.
6. Put the cart before the horse
Meaning – To do things out of the proper order
Usage – You're eating your dessert first! You've put the cart before the horse.
7. Not fit to hold a candle to
Meaning – Cannot compare to someone or something; is not nearly as good or desirable as someone or something
Usage – The sequel wasn't bad, but it's not fit to hold a candle to the original.
8. Egg on
Meaning – To urge someone to do something, often something mischievous
Usage – He has never been in trouble before, so I'm sure his friends egged him on to start the food fight.
9. For good
Meaning – For one's benefit, even though it may not be enjoyable or desired
Usage – It's time you started thinking about using your wealth for good, instead of wasting it on pleasure.
10. Achilles heel
Meaning – A small problem or weakness in a person or system that can result in failure
Usage – Science has always been my Achilles heel.
11. A leap in the dark
Meaning – A chance that one takes despite being uncertain of the consequences or outcome
Usage – Voters have taken a leap in the dark by electing outsiders with little or no political experience.
12. Cut the Gordian knot
Meaning – To solve a very challenging or daunting problem decisively
Usage – The company cut the Gordian knot that was strangling the market.
13. Blow one’s own trumpet
Meaning – Talk boastfully about one's achievements
Usage – He refused to blow his own trumpet and blushingly declined to speak.
14. A cakewalk
Meaning – A task that is easily, effortlessly, or certain to be accomplished
Usage – He has been running marathons for years now, so this 5000 m run will be a cakewalk for him.
15. Man of straw
Meaning – A weak person
Usage – She thought he was strong and honest, but he turned out to be nothing more than a man of straw.