Court and Judge Idioms and Quizzes
Court and Judge Idiom Quiz #1
Quiz 1 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
Court and Judge Idiom Quiz #2
Quiz 2 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
Court and Judge Idiom Quiz #3
Quiz 3 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.
Your score is: ___ out of 5
Court and Judge Idioms
abide by a decision
- to follow the orders that a court or judge has given
The company was forced to abide by the decision of the judge.
as sober as a judge
- alert and completely sober, not drunk, very formal
My father is always as sober as a judge when he gets into his car to drive.
at the mercy of (the court/someone)
- having no defense against the court or someone
beat the rap
- to escape conviction and punishment for a crime
cast doubt on (someone or something)
- to cause someone or something to be doubted
clear (someone's) name
- to prove that someone is not guilty of a crime, to show that someone did not do something wrong
come down hard on (someone)
- to scold or punish someone severely, to attack someone vigorously
cop a plea
- to plead guilty to a crime or decide not to fight against a charge in order to try and receive a light punishment, to plea bargain (usually done in a negotiation between the defendant and his or her lawyer and the prosecutor)
- to question a suspect or a witness in a trial
a cut-and-dried (case/decision)
- fixed, determined beforehand
decide in favor of (someone)
- to determine that someone is not guilty or is the winner of something
face the music
- to receive punishment or judgement for something wrong or illegal that you have done
fair and impartial
- a fair and unbiased look at something
The judge made a fair and impartial decision in the case against the small store.
find (someone) guilty
- to decide that someone is guilty in a court of law
The judge found the young man guilty of breaking and entering a small store.
find (someone) innocent
- to decide that someone is innocent in a court of law
for the record
- saying something so that there will be a record of a particular fact
get a slap on the wrist
- to get light punishment for a crime or wrongdoing
The boy got a slap on the wrist for causing the damage to the public washroom.
get a tongue-lashing
- to get a severe verbal scolding for doing something wrong
get down to the facts
- to begin to discuss things that matter, to get to the truth
get off (easy/lightly)
- to receive very little or no punishment for something
get off scot-free
- to go unpunished, to be acquitted of a crime
get one's day in court
- to get an opportunity to say or explain something in court, to get a chance to give one's opinion in court
The man was happy because he finally got his day in court.
get one's knuckles rapped
- to receive punishment for something
The boy got his knuckles rapped after a stern lecture from the judge.
get (something) out in the open
- to stop hiding a fact or a secret
get the benefit of the doubt
- to receive a judgement in your favor when the evidence is neither for you nor against you
give (someone) a fair shake
- to give someone fair treatment
give (someone) a slap on the wrist
- to give someone light punishment
give (someone) the benefit of the doubt
- to make a judgement in someone's favor when the evidence is neither for nor against the person
give (someone) his or her freedom
- to set someone free
go by the book
- to follow the rules exactly
go easy on (someone or something)
- to be kind or gentle with someone or something
The judge wanted to go easy on the young man but his bad attitude made it difficult to try and help him.
- to go unpunished or be acquitted of a crime
grain of truth
- the smallest amount of truth
hand a verdict/decision down (to someone)
- to announce or deliver a legal decision or verdict in a court
hang in the balance
- to be in an undecided state
The future of the criminal was hanging in the balance as he waited for the judge's decision.
have one's day in court
- to have an opportunity to say or explain something in court, to have a chance to give one's opinion in court
a hung jury
- a jury that is divided and unable to agree on a verdict
- when someone is absent from a court or meeting or something similar
in contempt of court
- in disobedience of the orders and authority of the court, in disrespect of the court process
in defiance of (someone or something)
- in resistence to someone or someone's orders
- operating or functioning (used for a court)
The court was in session when we arrived at the courthouse.
in (someone's) favor
- to someone's advantage
judge (someone) on his or her own merit
- to judge or evaluate someone on his or her own achievements and virtues
We judged the man on his own merit and not by what people were saying about him.
judge (something) on its own merit
- to judge or evaluate something on its own value
jump to conclusions
- to judge or decide something without having all the facts
the jury is still out on (someone or something)
- a decision has not been reached on someone or something (used often and in a casual manner when one has not made a decision about something)
a kangaroo court
- a court formed by a group of people to settle a dispute among themselves (the court is usually illegal)
keep one's own counsel
- to not tell other people about one's thoughts and plans
laugh (someone or something) out of court
- to dismiss someone or something as ridiculous
a leading question
- a question to a witness that is designed to suggest or produce the reply that is wanted by the questioner
The judge criticized the lawyer for asking leading questions during the trial.
let (someone) off (easy)
- to release someone without punishment
a miscarriage of justice
- a wrong or mistaken decision made in a court of law
moment of truth
- the point at which someone has to face the reality of a situation
not hold water
- to make no sense, to be illogical
on the bench
- a judge is sitting and directing a session of court
- being tried in court
an open-and-shut case
- a legal matter that is simple and uncomplicated
pick holes in an argument
- to find all the weak points or flaws in an argument
The experienced lawyer found that it very easy to pick holes in the argument of the main witness.
- to plead guilty to a crime or decide not to fight against a charge in order to try and receive a light punishment (usually done in a negotiation between the defendant and his or her lawyer and the prosecutor)
- the appropriate but chance reward or punishment by someone who deserves it
raise an objection (to/about someone or something)
- to make an objection about someone or something in a trial
The defense lawyer stood up during the trial to raise an objection about the testimony of the witness.
the responsible party
- someone who is legally or morally obliged to do something or accept the blame for something
rule in (someone's) favor
send (someone) up the river
- to send someone to prison
settle (something) out of court
- to reach an agreement without having to go through a court of law
sit in judgement of (someone)
- to make a judgement of someone
- to be tried in court
The man had to stand trial for stealing the credit cards.
swear on a stack of bibles
- to pledge to tell the truth about something (in a court of law someone may swear to tell the truth by placing his or her hand on a bible or other religious text)
The man swore on a stack of bibles that he had never seen the accused criminal before.
take an oath
- to make an oath, to swear to something
Before the trial began I had to take an oath and promise to tell the truth.
take the Fifth
- to refuse to incriminate oneself because of the protection of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States (in the U.S. a witness at a trial has this right)
The business executive decided to take the Fifth rather than give testimony at the trial.
take the stand
- to sit in the witness chair in a courtroom
throw oneself at the mercy of the court
- to ask a judge for mercy when being sentenced for a crime
throw the book at (someone)
- to punish someone as severely as possible, to make as many charges as possible against someone
a travesty of justice
- a legal action that is an insult to the system of justice
- taking and being bound by an oath
The man explained what had happened at the scene of the crime while he was under oath at the trial.