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IELTS Idioms

above board

If a situation or business is above board, it is honest and legal.
below the belt

If someone says something that is below the belt, they say something cruel and unfair.
by fair means / foul

If someone tries to achieve something by fair means or foul, they use any possible method to achieve it, not caring if their behaviour is dishonest or unfair.
call a spade a spade

If you call a spade a spade, you speak honestly and directly about a subject even if it offends people.
a level playing field

A level playing field is a situation that is fair and where no one has an advantage over other people. * You can also use even or uneven instead of level.
stab someone in the back

If someone that you trust stabs you in the back, they secretly do something which hurts and betrays you.
not beat around/about the bush

If you don't beat around the bush or don't beat about the bush, you say what you want to say clearly and directly.
lay/put your cards on the table

If you lay your cards on the table or put your cards on the table, you tell someone the truth about your feelings, opinions, or plans.
to someone's face

If you say something, especially something critical or unpleasant, to someone's face, you say it directly to them.
on the level

Someone or something that is on the level is honest or true.
come clean

If you come clean about something, you tell the truth about it.
move the goalposts

If someone moves the goalposts, they change the rules or aims in a situation or activity, in order to gain an advantage and to make things more difficult for the other people involved. * You can also say that someone shifts the goalposts.
fair and square

If someone wins a competition or does something fair and square, they do it without cheating or lying.
keep your nose clean

If you keep your nose clean, you behave well and avoid trouble. [INFORMAL]

Choose the correct idioms:



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