Saturday, August 14, 2004


Be a good sport

Prerana Trehan

With the Olympics making headlines, this is a good time to learn idioms that are related to games. The words in parenthesis indicate the game to which the idioms allude.

Take the plunge: (swimming) do something important or difficult that you have been thinking of doing for a long time.

My girlfriend and I have finally decided to take the plunge and get married.

Back to square one: (board games) go back to the beginning of a project because previous attempts have failed.

It was almost certain that the hostages would be released but at the last minute the abductors put up new demands and now the negotiations are back to square one.

Wide of the mark: (archery) 1) be wrong: the budgetary estimates turned out to be rather wide of the mark.

2) miss what you were trying to hit: the hunterís shot was wide of the mark and the man-eater escaped once again.

On the spur of the moment: (horse-riding) do something suddenly, without planning.

I bought the car on the spur of the moment but now I feel I should have given it some thought.

On the cards: (tarot cards) likely to happen.

Some major restructuring is on the cards for our organisation this year.

Best bet: (gambling) the best thing you can do to achieve the result you want.

If you are looking for a job, your best bet is to approach placement consultants.

When the chips are down: (roulette) when you are in a difficult situation, especially one which tests whether you can trust people.

When the chips were down, most of his friends turned their backs on him.


Match the following sentences with their correct endings:

On the spur of the moment...

Your best bet...

It is only when the chips are down...

The project was in the final stages when we got some new inputs and now...

...that you learn who you learn who you can depend on.

...we will have to go back to square one.

...I decided to join a trekking expedition.

...would be to search the Internet for the information you want.

(Reference: Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)