Idioms Exercise (354)

Choose the answer that best expresses the idiom in boldface.

  • Look at Willie hit that ball! He’s really a chip off the old block.

  • Don’t invite Hershel to the party; he’s such a wet blanket.

  • The family whose house was destroyed in the fire will have to start from scratch.

  • Don’t expect her to tell the boss how she feels; she never wants to stick her neck out.

  • It didn’t take long to see that Gretel is under her husband’s thumb.

Answers and Explanations

1. Look at Willie hit that ball! He’s really a chip off the old block.

Correct: exactly like his father
The image is that of a chip of wood or marble that possesses the same elements as the block from which it was hewn. The sentence suggests that the father is a skillful batter.

2. Don’t invite Hershel to the party; he’s such a wet blanket.

Correct: a negative person
As a wet blanket smothers a fire, this kind of person tends to spoil the enthusiasms of others.

3. The family whose house was destroyed in the fire will have to start from scratch.

Correct: rebuild their lives from very little
"Starting from scratch" means to address a situation with whatever materials are at hand. For example, a cook might bake a cake "from scratch."

4. Don’t expect her to tell the boss how she feels; she never wants to stick her neck out.

Correct: take a risk
The idea is that sticking one’s neck out is an invitation to have it chopped off. Prudent people do not take that chance.

5. It didn’t take long to see that Gretel is under her husband’s thumb.

Correct: is controlled by her husband
Anything held down by a person’s thumb is completely restricted as to movement.

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