MBA Preparation / #Grammar

April 04, 2017 @ 01:15 PM

Idioms & Adages have 2 different connotations – VA for MBA Entrance Exams

Idioms & Adages - Verbal abilities | MBARendezvous

Published: Tuesday, 07 June, 2016 09:50 AM

Idioms & Adages have 2 different connotations – Verbal Ability for MBA Entrance Exams


Idioms and Adages reveal two special expressions of the language, different from the usual sentences. Idioms and adages are expressions and sayings that have meanings beyond what can be understood by their individual words.

An idiom is a phrase or a fixed expression that has a figurative, or sometimes, literal meaning. An idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. An adage, on the other hand, is an old, short proverb that is generally accepted to have some truth to it.

1. Rooted in context

Both idioms and adages are rooted in different contexts. Several idioms arise out of a particular context. It is a form of language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of its own words and grammar. For instance, ‘blow your trumpet’ is an idiom related to music which means ‘to boast about your own talents and success’ and ‘throw in the towel’ is an idiom related to boxing which means ‘to give up.’ An adage is usually a philosophical and memorable sayings, containing some piece of wisdom and considered true by many people. An adage seems to have gained credibility over a long period, through its use, for instance, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’

2. Importance

Both idioms and adages make the language interesting and colourful. Idioms can be used to express complicated ideas briefly, for instance, the idiom ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ captures the thought, ‘being inquisitive can lead you to a dangerous situation.’ Idioms can also create a clear mental picture in the mind for better understanding, for instance, a person who has walked up a steep hill will understand the effort involved, as expressed in the idiom ‘learning a language is an uphill task.’ Since adages have been passed down over time, they denote collective and accepted wisdom. Adages provide guidelines with which to live, for instance, ‘there is no gain without pain,’ denotes the value of hard work.

3. Use

Adages can be used to inspire, educate and challenge people. They can serve as guiding principles and remind us about the importance of morality and kindness. As they capture collected wisdom over time, they act as an important link with the past. Idioms, on the other hand, freshens up the language, adding a new dimension to it. A person who uses idioms smartly creates an impression on the minds of the audience. Using idioms is a sign that a person is in command of the language and skilful at that.

 4. Durability

Adages have stood the test of time and get passed on from generation to generation. Also, the wisdom, knowledge and lesson that they express more or less has universal appeal and is accepted as true over time. Some idioms, however, may run out of fashion or a new idiom might take its place.

5. Examples




1. beat a dead horsw

to force an issue that has already ended

2. kick the bucket


3. queer the pitch

ruin a plan

4. under the weather

feeling ill

5. use your loaf

use your head


1. Fish and visitors stink after three days.

2. A man is known by the company he keeps.

3. All’s well that ends well.

4. God helps them that help themselves.

5. A sound mind lives in a sound body.

Both adages and idioms have different connotations, yet, together they make language interesting and an enjoyable experience.

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