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Body Idioms - Explanations

Before looking at those explanations of various idioms using parts of the body, you might like to see how they are used in context in Mrs A's Diary or try out the Body Idioms Quiz.
  • to have one's hands full - to be very busy
  • to look down in the mouth - to look unhappy
  • to head for something - to be destined for something, especially something unpleasant
  • to put one's foot down - to be firm, to assert one's authority, to prevent something from happening
  • to hold one's tongue - not to say anything
  • to make one's blood boil - to make one very angry
  • to lose one's head - to panic
  • to make a clean breast of something - to tell the truth about something wrong that one has done
  • to get something off one's chest - to tell people about something that has been worrying one and feel relief
  • to feel or know something in your bones - to be certain that something is right / true without being able to explain why
  • to need a shoulder to cry on - to need a person who will listen sympathetically to one's troubles and will try to comfort one
  • a pain in the neck - something or somebody annoying or irritating
  • to be all ears - to listen carefully
  • to pull one's leg - to tell one something untrue for a joke
  • to see eye to eye - to agree, share the same opinions or views
  • (the / an) eyesore - extremely ugly
  • to stomach something - to endure, put up with
  • to put one's back up - to do or say something that will make one annoyed
  • (to have) a chip on one's shoulder - to behave rudely or aggressively (usually because one feels inferior or they think they have been treated unfairly)
  • to stick one's neck out - to take a risk, to do something that will make one open to danger
  • to stick out like a sore thumb - to be very obvious or noticeable
  • to make one's hair stand on end - to make one frightened or worried
  • to put on a brave face - to try not to show how unhappy or upset one really is
  • to turn a blind eye to something - to pretend not to notice, ignore
  • not to move a muscle - remain still, not to do anything
  • to get one on one's feet - to help one recover or return to a normal condition after an illness or a difficult time
  • (to give one) a pat on the back - to show, express approval or praise
  • to have a nose for something - to have an instinctive ability to find or recognise something
  • the hair-of-the-dog - an alcoholic drink taken as a cure the morning after an occasion when one has drunk too much alcohol
  • to have a brainwave - to have a sudden clever idea
  • to pay lip service to something - to say that one is in favour of something although one really has no intention of supporting it properly
  • 'let's face it' - an expression used when stating a fact or making a comment about something unpleasant or something one doesn't really want to admit
  • to have one's back to the wall - to have very great problems which one may not be able to overcome
  • 'It's no skin off my nose' - an expression used to say that it doesn't matter to one at all if a particular thing mentioned happens
  • to put one's finger on something - to see and identify exactly what it is


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