Common Idioms - J

Idioms - J


- someone who is good at doing many different things

Our handyman at our building is a jack-of-all-trades; he can fix anything.

jack up

- to increase prices

The convenience store jacked up their prices on umbrellas when it rains.

jam on the brakes

- quickly put the brakes on in a car to stop

He jammed on the brakes and was able to avoid hitting the child.


- crowded, full

The train that we took this morning was jam-packed with people.

jazz up

- brighten up, add more noise or movement or color

They really jazzed up the community center for the party tonight.

John Doe

- name used for an unknown person

Why do the application forms use "John Doe" as the name of the person who is applying for something?

John Henry (John Hancock)

- signature

Please sign your John Henry here and we will process your order right away.


- new-comer

He`s a Johnny-come-lately and doesn`t really know what he is talking about.


- be at the right place when needed, right on time

He`s always Johnny-on-the-spot. Just when we need him he arrives.

jump all over someone

- criticize, scold, blame

As soon as I began to talk about my plans for the summer he jumped all over me.

jump at

- take or accept quickly and gladly

He jumped at the chance to go to Europe on company business.

jump bail

- run away and fail to come to trial and give up the money you have already paid to the court

He jumped bail and decided to go and live in a foreign country.

jump down someone`s throat

- criticize or become angry with someone

As soon as I reached the office he jumped down my throat over the missing file.

jumping-off place

- the starting place of a long trip

We gathered early in the morning at the jumping-off place for our trip to the mountains.

jump on someone

- scold, criticize, blame

Everyone jumped on him at the meeting because they were angry about the new schedules.

jump on the bandwagon (also get or climb on the bandwagon)

- join a popular activity

Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon to try and stop smoking in the workplace.

jump out of one`s skin

- be badly frightened

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw him at the window.

jump the gun

- start before you should

He jumped the gun and started selling the tickets before he should.

jump through a hoop

- do whatever one is told to do, obey any order

He is always ready to jump through a hoop for his boss so he is not very popular with the other employees.

jump to conclusions

- make a quick conclusion without thinking

Please don`t jump to conclusions over who broke the computer.

just about

- nearly, almost

I waited just about one hour before the concert started.

just now

- this very moment, a minute ago

The accident happened just now. The police haven`t even arrived yet.

just so

- with great care, very carefully

She always makes sure that her hair is just so before she goes out.

just the same

- nevertheless

I told her not to come early but just the same she came early anyway.

just what the doctor ordered

- exactly what is needed or wanted

Having the extra day off from work was just what the doctor ordered and he was able to get his many errands finished.

Idiom Quizzes - JK

Choose an idiom at the bottom to replace the expression in the brackets below:

1. Please put your (signature) on this piece of paper and the deal will be settled.

(a) jack-of-all-trades (b) Johnny-come-lately (c) John Doe (d) John Henry

2. He has been (working very hard) recently so that he can go on a nice holiday.

(a) keeping his fingers crossed (b) keeping his nose to the grindstone (c) keeping his nose clean (d) kicking the habit

3. All of the airlines have (joined the campaign) to eliminate smoking on their flights.

(a) jumped on the bandwagon (b) jumped the gun (c) jammed on the brakes (d) jumped out of their skin

4. He cooked the salmon steak (perfectly) before serving it to the guests.

(a) just the same (b) just so (c) just about (d) just now

5. He (memorized all) of the players on the football team.

(a) kept a secret (b) kept his word (c) knows by heart all (d) knuckled under all

6. The train was (very crowded) when I got on this morning.

(a) jam-packed (b) jacked up (c) jumping the gun (d) just about

7. I have to always (ask her constantly) to put away her computer discs after she uses them.

(a) keep a secret (b) keep after her (c) knock myself out (d) kick myself

8. The company (raised) the prices on all their new computers.

(a) jam-packed (b) jumped on the bandwagon of (c) jacked up (d) jumped down the throat of

9. I think that they have (begun a little too early) with the campaign.

(a) jumped out of their skin (b) jumped to conclusions (c) jumped down the throat (d) jumped the gun

10. He is very reliable and will always (do as he promises).

(a) keep his word (b) keep his fingers crossed (c) keep something under his hat (d) knock his head against a wall

11. There were (almost) 300 people at the wedding.

(a) just about (b) just so (c) jam-packed (d) just now

12. It is hard for his boss to (follow) all of his entertainment expenses.

(a) keep after (b) keep quiet (c) knuckle under (d) keep track of

13. A one-week vacation in a nice quiet place is (just what he needs).

(a) just so (b) just what the doctor ordered (c) just now (d) just the same

14. Since leaving university he has made a big effort to (phone and write) his friends.

(a) keep after (b) keep up with (c) keep in touch with (d) know by heart

15. If you go on a business dinner with him you will be able to (do two things) - enjoy the meal and discuss business.

(a) keep an eye on him (b) kill two birds with one stone (c) keep good time (d) knock your head against a wall

16. I don`t know what the problem is but as soon as I entered her office she (began to yell at me).

(a) jumped down my throat (b) jammed on the brakes (c) jumped out of her skin (d) jumped on the bandwagon

17. Could you please (look after) my suitcase while I go to the washroom.

(a) keep after (b) keep an eye on (c) knuckle under (d) not know if you are coming or going with

18. I (am hoping) that my sister will be able to sell her house.

(a) know by heart (b) am killing two birds with one stone (c) am keeping my finger's crossed (d) am keeping up appearances

19. He doesn`t (know anything) about how to use a computer.

(a) kick the bucket (b) know if he is coming or going (c) keep quiet (d) know the first thing

20. I nearly (fainted from fear) when I saw the large dog.

(a) jumped the gun (b) jumped out of my skin (c) jumped down my throat (d) jammed on the brakes

21. Her father is (able to do many things) and is a good person to ask for advice.

(a) a John Doe (b) a jack-of-all-trades (c) a Johnny-come-lately (d) a John Henry

22. She must (stay out of trouble) since her argument with the professor.

(a) keep her nose clean (b) keep a secret (c) keep her head above water (d) keep up appearances

23. She is a heavy smoker but she has been trying to (give up smoking) for years.

(a) kick the bucket (b) kick the habit (c) keep a secret (d) keep up with the Joneses

24. We must carefully (watch) our expenses this month.

(a) keep up (b) keep tabs on (c) know by heart (d) knuckle down

25. You shouldn`t (decide too quickly) and blame him for the computer problem.

(a) jump to conclusions (b) jump down his throat (c) jump out of his skin (d) jump on the bandwagon

26. Please don`t (go to a lot of trouble) when you prepare for the party.

(a) keep your eye on something (b) keep your fingers crossed (c) knock yourself out (d) keep up appearances

27. I (regret) not buying the ticket when it was available.

(a) knuckled down for (b) knocked myself out for (c) kicked myself for (d) kicked the habit for

28. He is a (new member) but he still thinks he knows everything about the job.

(a) John Henry (b) Johnny-come-lately (c) John Doe (d) jack-of-all-trades

29. She is always trying to (compete with her neighbors).

(a) Katie bar the door (b) keep house (c) keep her nose clean (d) keep up with the Joneses

30. He decided to keep the location of his new job (secret).

(a) (keep) after (b) (keep) under his hat (c) (keep) in touch (d) (keep) up

31. He has been (working with no success) trying to solve the problem.

(a) keeping up appearances (b) keeping his head above water (c) knocking his head against the wall (d) keeping his fingers crossed

32. The government surveyed many people to try and get the opinion of (the average person).

(a) John Doe (b) Johnny-come-lately (c) John Henry (d) jack-of-all-trades

33. The milkman (died) suddenly last month.

(a) kicked the habit (b) kicked the bucket (c) kept house (d) kicked himself

34. They (are in a lot of confusion) because of the new policy.

(a) don`t know the first thing about anything (b) are keeping their fingers crossed (c) don`t know if they are coming or going (d) are knocking their heads against the wall

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