BODY Idioms and Expressions! List of useful body parts idioms in English with meaning and example sentences. Learn these body idioms in English to increase your vocabulary and help your English sound naturally like a native.
Body Idioms and Sayings (1)
General List of Body Parts Idioms in English
- Be a Bundle of Nerves
- Bend over Backwards
- Birthday Suit
- Bite One’s Tongue
- Blood Is Thicker Than Water
- Brain Drain
- Breathe Easier (Easy)
- Built Like a Brick Shit-House
- Bust a Gut (Laughing)
- Bust Someone’s Balls
- Bust Someone’s Chops
- Don’t Hold Your Breath
- Eat, Sleep, and Breathe (Something)
- Elbow Grease
- Fit as a Fiddle
- Forty Winks
- Get Blood from a Stone
- Get in Shape
- Get on One’s Nerves
- Get One’s Ass In Gear
- Go Behind Someone’s Back
- Gut feeling
- Gut Reaction
- Have a Stick Up One’s Ass
- Have One’s Back Against the Wall
- Have Skin in the Game
- Joined at the hip
- Jump Down Someone’s Throat
- Knee-Jerk Reaction
- Lose One’s Nerve
- Not Know Your Ass (UK: Arse) from Your Elbow
- On the Blink
- On the Nod
- On the Rag
- On Your Toes
- Pick Someone’s Brain(s)
- Pop Someone’s Cherry
- A Hair’s Breadth
- Put Muscle Behind
- Put One’s Back Into Something
- Rub Elbows (with)
- Shanks’ Pony; Shanks’ Mare
- Skeleton in One’s Closet
- Skeleton in the Cupboard
- Slap on the Wrist
- Smell Blood (in the Water)
- Tear One’s Hair out
- To Have Butterflies in One’s Stomach
- To Piss Into the Wind
- To Work One’s Arse Off
- Toe the Line (Mark)
- Up The Wazoo
- Vertically Challenged
- Week at the knees
- Work One’s Tail (Butt) Off
- Zip It
- Zonk Out
Body Idioms with Meaning and Examples
List of body parts idioms and sayings in English from A to Z with meaning and example sentences.
Body Idioms (A, B)
Useful body parts idioms that start with A & B.
A Hair’s Breadth
- Meaning: A very small distance or amount
- Example: He came within a hair’s breadth of setting a new world record, but he got very tired in the last kilometer of the race.
- Meaning: Simplest, stripped-down
- Example: One way to be able to afford a car is to buy a bare-bones model-options like heated seats add a lot to the price.
Be a Bundle of Nerves
- Meaning: Be extremely nervous
- Example: I was a bundle of nerves before my exam, but I calmed down once we got the questions and started to work.
Bend over Backwards
- Meaning: To take great care to accommodate someone or do something right
- Example: I’ve bent over backwards to please you. But it never seems to be good enough.
- Meaning: Nakedness
- Example: There I was, in my birthday suit, when the doorbell rang.
Bite One’s Tongue
- Meaning: Remain silent even though one has a strong desire to say something
- Example: When Sheila started talking about the failure of the sales campaign, I had to bite my tongue—it failed because the materials she was responsible for weren’t ready!
Blood Is Thicker Than Water
- Meaning: Family relationships take precedence over others
- Example: My uncle will help us. He and I have had some disagreements, but blood is thicker than water.
- Meaning: Departure of talented, well-educated individuals from a place
- Example: Venezuela is experiencing a brain drain right now, with many professionals leaving for other countries because of bad conditions at home.
Useful Body Parts Idioms in English | Image 1
Breathe Easier (Easy)
- Meaning: Feel (more) secure after a period of difficulty
- Example: I think we can breathe easier now that we’ve met the sales quota. The district manager will begin worrying about other offices.
Note: This idiom is common even though it’s grammatically incorrect. No one would say “breathe more easily.”
Built Like a Brick Shit-House
- Meaning: Strong, well-built, heavy (said of a person)
- Example: Have John help carry those boxes; he’s built like a brick shit-house.
Note: You can also say “built like a brick house” to avoid the obscenity “shit.”
Bust a Gut (Laughing)
- Meaning: Laugh uncontrollably
- Example: When Jack showed up at the party in a clown suit, I thought I was going to bust a gut laughing.
Bust Someone’s Balls
- Meaning: To verbally harass or tease someone
- Example: Hey, I told the boss you were looking for a new job. -”Really? How could you do that? – I didn’t. I’m just busting your balls.
Note: Outside the USA, “bust one’s balls” may also be used to mean “work hard.”
Bust Someone’s Chops
- Meaning: Verbally torment someone
- Example: People keep busting my chops over the embarrassing speech I made at the dinner. I wish they’d just forget it.
Body Idioms (D,E)
Useful body idioms that start with D & E.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
- Meaning: Don’t expect what’s under discussion to happen soon.
- Example: We’ll eventually get raises, but don’t hold your breath.
Eat, Sleep, and Breathe (Something)
- Meaning: To have a strong passion for something; to think about it constantly
- Example: Joe eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball. Don’t even bother talking to him about anything else.
- Meaning: Hard physical effort
- Example: Painting your house takes some elbow grease – You have to scrape the old paint off first. But it’s cheaper than having it done.
Body Idioms (F)
Useful body idioms that start with F.
Fit as a Fiddle
- Meaning: In very good health
- Example: Three months ago Eamon seemed to be at death’s door, but now he’s fit as a fiddle. What happened?
Note: This is rather old-fashioned, but still used and understood.
- Meaning: A short nap
- Example: If you’re on a long drive, it’s helpful to stop and take forty winks every few hours if you can.
Body Idioms (G)
Useful body idioms that start with G.
Get Blood from a Stone
- Meaning: Try to perform a futile or impossible task
- Example: The court can fine me $1,000 if it wants to, but you can’t get blood from a stone.
Note: This expression is used in the negative: you can’t get blood from a stone.
Get in Shape
- Meaning: Exercise in order to improve one’s physical condition
- Example: I’ve got to get in shape. All I do is sit and watch television. I’m gaining weight.
Get on One’s Nerves
- Meaning: Tax someone’s patience, irritate someone
- Example: Bob won’t stop talking about last night’s game. He’s really getting on my nerves.
Note: A stronger form, “on one’s last nerve,” also exists.
Get One’s Ass In Gear
- Meaning: Get moving, begin working on something
- Example: OK, let me get my ass in gear, and I’ll meet you at the coffee shop in an hour.
Note: A less crude version is “get one’s rear in gear.”
Go Behind Someone’s Back
- Meaning: To conceal one’s actions from someone
- Example: Barbara went behind my back and went out with George. I’m really mad at her.
Useful Body Parts Idioms in English | Image 2
- Meaning: A sense or impression that your subconscious has about a person or situation
- Example: Jennifer’s mother had a gut feeling thatsomething was wrong when her daughter wasn’t home by 10o’clock.
- Meaning: An immediate feeling based on instinct
- Example: My gut reaction was that the new Tesla would fail, but it’s selling well.
Body Idioms (H)
Useful body idioms that start with H.
Have a Stick Up One’s Ass
- Meaning: Be very rigid
- Example: I don’t see why Jared has a stick up his ass about the schedule-”we’ve always changed it to suit our needs in the past.
Note: This is crude.
Have One’s Back Against the Wall
- Meaning: Have few choices, be cornered
- Example: I’m really sorry I had to lay Jason off, but my back was against the wall—if I didn’t, the company would have shut down our whole division.
Have Skin in the Game
- Meaning: Be risking something in an undertaking
- Example: I don’t have any skin in the game, so you can trust my opinion. I’m just trying to say what I think is best for you.
Note: This expression is American.
Body Idioms (J)
Useful body idioms that start with J.
Joined at the hip
- Meaning: To be exceptionally close to someone
- Example: Amy and her boss were joined at the hip; you never saw one without the other.
Jump Down Someone’s Throat
- Meaning: Strongly attack someone verbally
- Example: All I did was suggest that we might want to think about replacing Don, and Helen jumped down my throat.
Body Idioms (K,L)
Useful body idioms that start with K & L.
- Meaning: An immediate strong reaction to something; a reaction without consideration or thought
- Example: When I talk about going out with guys, my dad has a knee-jerk negative reaction. I wish he’d think about it and realize I’m old enough.
Lose One’s Nerve
- Meaning: To become frightened and abandon one’s goals
- Example: I was going to ask Jennifer out, but at the last minute I lost my nerve.
Body Idioms (N)
Useful body idioms that start with N.
- Meaning: A decision that’s easy to make; a problem that’s easy to solve
- Example: I like my current job, but the new place is offering me so much money that changing jobs was a no-brainer.
Not Know Your Ass (UK: Arse) from Your Elbow
- Meaning: Be stupid, ignorant
- Example: I wouldn’t assign that project to Ed, if I were you. He doesn’t know his ass from his elbow.
Body Idioms (O)
Useful body idioms that start with O.
On the Blink
- Meaning: Not working, intermittently not working
- Example: The computer’s on the blink, and we have work piling up!
Note: An American equivalent is “on the fritz.
On the Nod
- Meaning: Without a formal vote
- Example: The president wants us to make the decision on the nod, but I think we should vote on it.
On the Rag
- Meaning: Menstruating
- Example: Gina is very cranky today. Wonder if she’s on the rag.
Note: This has a rude, insulting flavor.
On Your Toes
- Meaning: Alert
- Example: The district manager is going to be visiting today, but we don’t know when. Be on your toes.
Body Idioms (P)
Useful body idioms that start with P.
Pick Someone’s Brain(s)
- Meaning: Get information from someone well-informed (about a particular topic)
- Example: Could I come by tomorrow? I’d like to pick your brains about selling on eBay. I know you’ve made a lot of money that way.
Pop Someone’s Cherry
- Meaning: To break the hymen; to lose one’s virginity. Often used as a metaphor.
- Example: The girl I went out with last night is a virgin! I think I’ll be popping her cherry soon.
Note: This is crude.
Put Muscle Behind
- Meaning: Exert one’s power in support of something; support something vigorously
- Example: The president said he would put muscle behind the campaign for reduced carbon emissions.
Put One’s Back Into Something
- Meaning: Put forth a strong effort, typically physical
- Example: You’ll be able to open the valve, but you’ll have to put your back into it.
Body Idioms (R, S)
Useful body idioms that start with R & S.
Rub Elbows (with)
- Meaning: Mingle with; meet in a group; socialize with
- Example: Come to the party with me. It’ll give you a chance to rub elbows with people who are already studying in the program.
Shanks’ Pony; Shanks’ Mare
- Meaning: The feet as a means of travel
- Example: We could go by Shanks’ pony, or we could take a cab. Which do you prefer?
Note: This is old and rather rare.
Skeleton in One’s Closet
- Meaning: A secret from one’s past; an embarrassing secret
- Example: The politician turned out to have skeletons in her closet that cost her the election.
Note: A USA equivalent is “skeleton in the closet.”
Skeleton in the Cupboard
- Meaning: A secret from one’s past; an embarrassing secret
- Example: We all have a few skeletons in the cupboard that we wouldn’t like to see revealed.
Slap on the Wrist
- Meaning: A minor punishment, especially one for a serious crime
- Example: The mayor’s son was arrested for dealing drugs, but he got just a slap on the wrist.
Smell Blood (in the Water)
- Meaning: Sense weakness or vulnerability; be ready to attack
- Example: The opposition party smelled blood after the president was hit with corruption charges.
Body Idioms (T)
Useful body idioms that start with T.
Tear One’s Hair out
- Meaning: Be extremely worried or frustrated.
- Example: I’ve been tearing my hair out, wondering how we’re going to be able to make this month’s rent payment, and all you do is sit there and watch television. Why don’t you try to get a job?
To Have Butterflies in One’s Stomach
- Meaning: Nervousness, anxiety, especially in advance of an important event
- Example: I have butterflies in my stomach because I have to give a big speech.
To Piss Into the Wind
- Meaning: Engage in an activity that’s so futile as to be a complete waste of time “
- Example: Don’t waste your time trying to talk to Wanda about her spending habits. You’re pissing into the wind.
Note: This is slightly crude.
To Work One’s Arse Off
- Meaning: Word very hard
- Example: We worked our arses off to finish the project and the boss didn’t even say thank you.
Note: In the USA, “work one’s ass off” is used.
Toe the Line (Mark)
- Meaning: To follow regulations or moral principles closely
- Example: During my freshman year I was pretty willd, but now I toe the line, and I haven’t been in trouble.
Note: Walk the line is an American variant.
- Meaning: Said ironically; not meant to be taken seriously
- Example: The satirist’s essay was tongue-in-cheek, but many people took it seriously.
Body Idioms (U, V)
Useful body idioms that start with U & V.
Up The Wazoo
- Meaning: Abundantly, to an excessive degree
- Example: I’ve got parts up the wazoo here, but I don’t have enough tools to assemble them.
Note: This is very informal and slightly obscene; the “wazoo” is the anus.
- Meaning: A short person.
- Example: I may be vertically challenged, but watch out for me on the basketball court – I can jump!
Note: This has a humorous flavor.
Body Idioms (W)
Useful body idioms that start with W.
Week at the knees
- Meaning: To feel emotion so strongly that it makes you feel unstable on your feet.
- Example: The thought of kissing him made me go weak at the knees.
Work One’s Tail (Butt) Off
- Meaning: Work very hard
- Example: You’ll have to work your tail off first semester, but Cornell is a very good school.
Note: These are used euphemistically-”they are more polite than “work your ass off.”
Body Idioms (Z)
Useful body idioms that start with Z.
- Meaning: Be quiet
- Example: OK, I’ll tell you the secret about Cynthia, but zip it!
- Meaning: To fall asleep quickly and deeply
- Example: I’ve been here since 6 a.m. I have to go home and zonk out.
Note: This is rare. “Crash” would be a more common alternative.
Body Idioms and Expressions (2)
Body Idioms: Idioms with Eyes
List of eye idioms with meaning.
- A Sight for Sore Eyes: Someone that you’re pleased to see
- All Eyes And Ears: Attentive
- All Eyes Are On: Watching alertly or attentively. Having prominent eyes. Everyone is paying attention to
- An Eye for an Eye: Justice in which reparation or vengeance exactly matches the harm caused to the victim
- Catch Someone’s Eye: Attract someone’s attention
- Cry Your Eyes Out: Cry hard for a very long time
- Keep an Eye On: To keep an eye on something or someone is to watch it periodically, to keep it under surveillance.
- Keep an Eye Peeled: Be observant; watch out for something
- See Eye to Eye: To concur, agree
- See Something Out of the Corner of Your Eye: Use peripheral vision
- Sight for Sore Eyes: A sight that makes you happy
- To be the Apple of Someone’s Eye: To be loved and treasured by someone
- Turn a Blind Eye: (to) Choose not to notice something
- Wandering Eye: A tendency to look at and desire women or men other than one’s committed romantic partner
- Black Eye: A mark of shame
- Blue Eyed Boy: A person who is a favorite of those in authority; someone whose mistakes are forgiven
- Baby Blues: Blue eyes.
Body Idioms: Idioms with Ears
List of ear idioms with meaning.
- All Ears: Listening willingly, waiting for an explanation
- Give Someone an Earful: angrily express an opinion to someone
- I’m All Ears: You have my attention, so you should talk
- Lend an Ear: Listen
- Play It by Ear: To respond to circumstances instead of having a fixed plan
- That’s Music to My Ears: I am very happy to hear this.
- The Walls Have Ears We: may be overheard; be careful what you say
- Wet Behind the Ears: inexperienced, immature, new to something
Body Idioms: Idioms with Nose
List of nose idioms with meaning.
- Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face: To act in a proud way that ultimately damages your own cause
- Have Your Nose in the Air: Have a snobbish or disdainful attitude
- It’s No Skin off My (Your) Nose (Back): The outcome will not affect me personally
- Keep Your Nose Clean: Avoid trouble or situations that compromise one’e honesty
- Keeping One’s Nose to the Grindstone: Working hard on something repetitive or tedious
- On the Nose: Precisely, at an exact time
- Powder One’s Nose: To use the restroom (lavatory). This is used by women
- Right Under (One’s) Nose: In an obvious location, yet overlooked
- Rub Someone’s Nose in (Something): Humiliate someone by repeating and criticizing his or her mistake
- Stick Your Nose into Something: Intrude into something that is not your affair
- Have a Nose for (Something): To have natural ability at something, a talent for finding something
Body Idioms: Idioms with Leg
List of leg idioms with meaning.
- The Story Has Legs: People are continuing to pay attention to the story.
- To Pay an Arm and a Leg: A very high cost
- To Pull Someone’s Leg: Lie playfully
- Break a Leg: Good luck! This is used for a stage performer-or for anyone else who is about to give some kind of a performance, such as an important speech
- A Leg Up: An advantage, a boost
Body Idioms: Idioms with Teeth
List of teeth idioms with meaning.
- By the Skin of One’s Teeth: Barely escaping disaster
- Cut Your Teeth on Something: To learn basic skills in a field
- Grind One’s Teeth: Be very annoyed or angry about something without being able to say anything about it.
- Armed to the Teeth: Carrying many weapons
Body Idioms: Idioms with Mouth
List of mouth idioms with meaning.
- All Mouth And No Trousers: Superficial, engaging in empty, boastful talk, but not of real substance
- Bad Taste In One’s Mouth: Unease, a feeling that something unspecified is wrong in a situation
- Butter Wouldn’t Melt in (Someone’s): Mouth This person is cool in manner, prim and proper
- By Word of Mouth: Via personal communications rather than written media
- Put Your Foot In Your Mouth: Say something that you immediately regret
- Run off at the Mouth: Talk a lot about unimportant things, talk incoherently
- A Hair’s Breadth: A very small distance or amount
Body Idioms: Idioms with Heart
List of heart idioms with meaning.
- After One’s Own Heart: Similar in a pleasing way
- Bare One’s Heart (Soul): To confess one’s deepest secrets
- Change of Heart: A change in one’s opinion or outlook
- Eat Your Heart Out!: (excl.) Go ahead, be jealous.
- Follow Your Heart: Rely on one’s deeper feelings and instincts when making a decision
- From the Bottom of One’s Heart: Sincerely and with deep feeling
- In a Heartbeat: Immediately. This is especially used in hypothetical situations
- Touch One’s Heart: Affect someone emotionally, be touching
Body Idioms: Idioms with Heel
List of heel idioms with meaning.
- Achilles’ Heel: The weak point of an otherwise powerful person or organization
- (Fall) Head Over Heels: (To become) infatuated, to fall suddenly in love
- Cool Your Heels: Wait
- Drag One’s Feet (or Heels): To do something reluctantly and slowly
- Hot on the Heels (of): In close pursuit
Body Idioms: Idioms with Hand
List of hand idioms with meaning.
- Hands are Tied: You are prevented from doing something. It is not within your power
- Hands Down: Undoubtedly
- Get One’s Hands Dirty: To do the unpleasant parts of a job
- Know (Something) Like the Back of One’s Hand: To be very familiar with something, especially an area
- Right-Hand Man: Chief assistant
- Wash Your Hands of (Something): Decline to take further responsibility; refuse to be involved with something anymore
Body Idioms: Idioms with Thumb
List of thumb idioms with meaning.
- All Thumbs: Clumsy
- Have Your Thumb Up Your Ass: Have nothing to do
- Rule of Thumb: A general principle or guideline, not a specific formula
- Thumbs-Up: Approval
Body Idioms: Idioms with Neck
List of neck idioms with meaning.
- Neck and Neck: Very close in a competition, with neither of two entities clearly in the lead
- Pain in the Ass; Pain in the Butt;
- Stiff-Necked: Stubborn; excessively formal
- Neck of the Woods: A region, especially one’s home region
- Up to One’s Neck: Nearly overwhelmed
- Pain in the Neck: Someone or something making your life difficult
Body Idioms: Idioms with Arm & Belly
- Arm Candy: An attractive woman accompanying a powerful or famous man at a social event
- Keep Someone at Arm’s Length: Avoid close interaction or cooperation
- Fire in the Belly: strong ambition
- Belly Laugh: Loud, hearty laughter
Body Idioms: Idioms with Feet
List of foot idioms with meaning.
- Drag Your Feet: Do something very reluctantly; delay doing something
- Find Your Feet: To adjust to a new place or situation
- Jump in with Both Feet: Begin a new experience wholeheartedly
- To Get Cold Feet: To experience reluctance or fear
- Vote with One’s Feet: To physically depart from something as a way of showing disapproval
- Have a Lead Foot: A tendency to drive very fast
- On the Back Foot: At a disadvantage
- Put Your Foot Down: Use your authority to stop negative behavior
Body Idioms: Idioms with Head
List of head idioms with meaning.
- Bury (Hide) One’s Head In the Sand: Ignoring something that’s obviously wrong, not facing reality
- Head and Shoulders: Above Far superior to
- Head Start: An advantage over everyone else
- Heads Up (excl.): Get ready! Be prepared
- Heads Will Roll (Are Going to Roll): People will be fired
- Off the Top of My Head: Guessing or estimating without full information
- Over One’s Head: In a situation where one is overwhelmed with tasks
- Rear Its Ugly Head (said of a problem or something unpleasant): Appear, be revealed
- Turn Something on Its Head: Reverse something, cause something to be done in a new way
- Use One’s Head: To think, to have common sense
- Tongue-in-Cheek: Said ironically; not meant to be taken seriously
- Shoulder A Weight Off Your Shoulders: You no longer worry about something or deal with something difficult
- Have a Chip on One’s Shoulder: To harbor resentment; to have an angry attitude
- Give Someone the Cold Shoulder: act hostile toward someone; to ignore, snub
Body Idioms: Idioms with Face and Chin
List of face and chin idioms with meaning.
- Put the Best Face On (Something): Emphasize the positive aspects of a bad situation
- Rub (Something) in Someone’s Face: Humiliate someone by repeating and criticizing his or her mistake
- Until You’re Blue in the Face: For a long time with no results
- Chin Up/ Keep Your Chin Up: Cheer up; try to be cheerful and strong
- Take It on The Chin: Be attacked; suffer an attack
Body Idioms: Idioms with Finger
List of finger idioms with meaning.
- Finger-Pointing: Blame; a situation within a group where each member attempts to blame others
- Not Lift a Finger: Do nothing to help
- Point the Finger: At Blame (someone)
- Someone’s Fingerprints Are All Over (Something): Someone’s influence is evident
- Work One’s Fingers to the Bone: Work very hard over an extended period
Body Idioms: Idioms with Lip
List of lip idioms with meaning.
- Give Lip Service to: Talk about supporting something without taking any concrete action
- Keep a Stiff Upper Lip: Control one’s emotions; not give in to fear or grief
- Tight-Lipped: secretive, unwilling to explain something
- Zip One’s Lip: Be quiet