How Well Do You Know These Common English Clichés?

By: Becky Stigall
Estimated Completion Time
2 min
How Well Do You Know These Common English Clichés?
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Clichés are overused sayings or phrases. Let's use some in this fun quiz, to see how many you know and use yourself. Can you guess what each one of them means?
A ____ by any other name would smell as sweet.
steak
tomato
rose
cat
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is an expression that came from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Even if you call a rose a... banana... it would still smell like a rose.

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Waiting for the other ____ to drop.
house
leaf
shoe
cloud
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When something isn't finished, or a series of events must continue, you might be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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The _____ doesn’t fall far from the tree.
cat
bird
acorn
leaf
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In this expression, the acorn is the child and the tree is the parent. Some people say that the apple or the nut doesn't fall far from the tree.

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Actions speak louder than _____.
feet
songs
speeches
words
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Actions speak louder than words" is an expression that means you should walk the walk and talk the talk... or some other cliché.

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Back against the ______.
floor
porch
wall
car
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If your back is against the wall, you have nowhere to go.

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Raining cats and _______.
dogs
umbrellas
puddles
oceans
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Raining cats and dogs" means it's raining really hard. If the animals get even bigger, run!

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Bite your ______.
ear
finger
pet
tongue
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Bite your tongue" is an expression used to indicate that you should keep something to yourself.

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We’ll cross that ______ when we come to it.
pie
house
bridge
building
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This expression means that you'll deal with something when you have to.

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One foot on a banana peel, the other in the _____.
circus
shop
grave
gravy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"One foot on a banana peel, the other in the grave" is used to indicate that someone is about to die.

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Call a spade a _____.
hammer
pitchfork
tractor
spade
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you call a spade a spade, you speak directly.

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A picture is worth a thousand _____.
coins
dollars
pieces
words
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This expression means that looking at one picture is easier than a description that involves many words.

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You can’t judge a ____ by its cover.
book
ham
dog
job
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"You can’t judge a book by its cover" is an expression used to indicate that what's inside might be not be evident on the outside.

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Champagne taste and a ____ budget.
carrot
cake
pie
beer
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The expression "champagne taste and a beer budget" is used to describe someone who has expensive taste but no money.

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Caught with your hand in the ______ jar.
cookie
vanilla
dog treat
pickle
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you've been caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you've probably been caught stealing something more than cookies.

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Fight like ____ and dogs.
cats
frogs
people
dogs
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Cats and dogs are said to be enemies, so if you fight like them, you fight viciously.

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Fly by the seat of your _______.
hair
fire
airplane
pants
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Flying by the seat of your pants would indicate that you don't do much planning.

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A fool and his _____ are soon parted.
juice
spouse
money
job
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

We're selling the Brooklyn Bridge. Wanna buy it?

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Get back up on the _____.
horse
tree
pole
fence
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Some people might also say, "get back in the saddle." Either way, it means to try again after you've been thrown.

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Give them an inch, and they’ll take a _______.
foot
centimeter
mile
yard
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Some people are just greedy. Give someone a little of something, and they will want more.

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Good ______ make good neighbors.
grass
fences
picnics
block parties
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This expression means it's good to know your place and protect what's yours. Set some boundaries and such.

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Good things come to those who ____.
cry
yell
buy
wait
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Good things come to those who wait" is an expression used to indicate that patience is a virtue.

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Made of _____.
pie
wax
money
sassafras
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To be made of money is to be extremely rich. Must be nice.

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Make a ________ out of a mole hill.
party
mountain
cake
essay
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To make a mountain out of a mole hill is to make a big deal out of nothing.

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To make a long _____ short.
story
hair
leg
distance
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To make a long story short is to leave out all of the unnecessary details and get to the point.

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Monday morning ___________.
nap
workday
quarterback
crab
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Hindsight is always better than foresight. To be a Monday morning quarterback is to critique a situation after the fact.

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The more things change, the more they stay ________.
dark
the same
awful
stormy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This expression is used to indicate that although new things come along, some things never change.

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Necessity is the ______ of invention.
cousin
wife
pet
mother
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a phrase used to indicate that new ideas are the result of some sort of need.

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Nervous as a _______ on a hot tin roof.
owl
bird
tree
cat
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof" is an expression used to describe someone who is so nervous they are literally or figuratively jumping. Tennessee Williams wrote a play about that!

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Never put off until tomorrow what you can do _______.
next month
yesterday
today
never
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today" means that procrastination might make you lose out.

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Nothing ventured, nothing ______.
done
taken
gained
said
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained" means that if you don't try, you can't win.

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Paint yourself into a ______.
corner
house
porch
tizzy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To paint yourself into a corner is to leave yourself with no options.

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Take the ____ of least resistance.
test
job
band
path
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To take the path of least resistance is to do something the easy way.

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People who live in glass houses shouldn’t _____ stones.
throw
eat
find
keep
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This expression means that you should not point out the flaws of others if you have your own flaws. And who doesn't?

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Putting the ______ before the horse.
apple
cart
saddle
wheel
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To put the cart before the horse is to do something in the wrong order.

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Wake up on the wrong side of the _______.
horse
hay
bed
house
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You are probably cranky if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

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You Got:
/35
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