Commonly Used Body Idioms in English

Learn useful body idioms in English with meaning and examples.

List of common idioms with Body Parts.

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Body Idioms | Eye Idioms

A Sight for Sore Eyes

  • Meeting: Someone that you’re pleased to see
  • Example: I’m so glad to see you! You’re a sight for sore eyes.

All Eyes And Ears

  • Meening: Attentive
  • Example: The team was all eyes and ears as the coach explained the challenges ahead.

All Eyes Are On

  • Meaning: Watching alertly or attentively.
  • Example:  After the candidate’s strong performance in the first debate, all eyes are on him to see if he will make a mistake this time.

An Eye for an Eye

  • Meeting: Justice in which reparation or vengeance exactly matches the harm caused to the victim
  • Example: Negotiations broke down, and the war devolved into an endless eye-for-an-eye cycle of revenge.

Catch Someone’s Eye

  • Meeting: Attract someone’s attention
  • Example: I was reading Internet classified ads, and an ad for an old Ford Mustang caught my eye.

Cry Your Eyes Out

  • Meeting: Cry hard for a very long time
  • Example: After my boyfriend broke up with me, I cried my eyes out.

Body Idioms: Idioms with Eyes

idioms with Body Parts

Keep an Eye On

  • Meeting: To keep an eye on something or someone is to watch it periodically, to keep it under surveillance.
  • Example: I’m leaving my son with you for the day. Please keep an eye on him.

Keep an eye peeled

  • Meeting: Be observant; watch out for something
  • Example: If you go to the mall, keep an eye peeled for Anita-”she said she’s be there.

See Eye to Eye

  • Meeting: To concur, agree
  • Example: I don’t see eye to eye with Frances on the workflow, but she’s the boss.

See Something/somebody Out of the Corner of Your Eye

  • Meeting: Use peripheral vision
  • Example: How did you know I was here? You didn’t even look up! — I saw you out of the corner of my eye.

To be the apple of someone’s eye

  • Meeting: To be loved and treasured by someone
  • Example: You are the apple of my eye!

Turn a Blind Eye (to)

  • Meeting: Choose not to notice something
  • Example: My husband always supports me and is willing to turn a blind eye to my faults.

Wandering Eye

  • Meeting: A tendency to look at and desire women or men other than one’s committed romantic partner
  • Example: I know Sean has a wandering eye, but I’m sure he’s never cheated on me.

Black Eye

  • Meeting: A mark of shame
  • Example: By overcharging customers, you not only gave the company a black eye – you broke the law.

Blue Eyed Boy

  • Meeting: A person who is a favorite of those in authority; someone whose mistakes are forgiven.
  • Example: Steve is the supervisor’s blue-eyed boy. He doesn’t really do that much work, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

Baby Blues

  • Meaning: Blue eyes.
  • Example: I know Jason is bad for me, but when I get a look at his baby blues I can’t resist him.

Body Idioms | Mouth Idioms

All Mouth And No Trousers

  • Meaning: Superficial, engaging in empty, boastful talk, but not of real substance.
  • Example: He’s all mouth and no trousers. If we put up a united front against him, he’ll crumble.

Bad Taste In One’s Mouth

  • Meaning: Unease, a feeling that something unspecified is wrong in a situation
  • Example: The agreement is OK, I guess, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth – I’m afraid that it will bring us real problems in the future.

Butter Wouldn’t Melt in (Someone’s) Mouth

  • Meaning: This person is cool in manner, prim and proper
  • Example: Jones has exceptional presence of mind on the soccer field. He always looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

By/through Word of Mouth

  • Meaning: Via personal communications rather than written media
  • Example: I heard about this new K-pop singer through word of mouth – I haven’t even seen an ad on Facebook.

Put Your Foot In Your Mouth

  • Meaning: Say something that you immediately regret
  • Example: I really put my foot in my mouth when I asked about your divorce so soon after It happened. I’m so sorry.

Run off at the Mouth

  • Meaning: Talk a lot about unimportant things, talk incoherently
  • Example: I like Kevin, but he’s always running off at the mouth during meetings. We can never get anything done.

Ear Idioms

All Ears

  • Meaning: Listening willingly, waiting for an explanation
  • Example: Why did you delete the file I was working on? I’m all ears.

Give Someone an Earful

  • Meaning: angrily express an opinion to someone
  • Example: Wow, my mom gave me an earful when I said I’d be home at 1 a.m. Guess I’ll be going home early!

I’m All Ears

  • Meaning: You have my attention, so you should talk
  • Example: I’d love to hear about your trip to Indonesia. I’m all ears!

Lend an Ear

  • Meaning: Listen
  • Example: Lend an ear, and I’ll tell you what people said at the meeting yesterday.

Play It by Ear

  • Meaning: To respond to circumstances instead of having a fixed plan “
  • Example: I don’t know whether tickets will be available, but I think we should go to the airport and play it by ear.

Body Idioms: Idioms with Ears

idioms with Body Parts

That’s Music to My Ears

  • Meaning: I am very happy to hear this.
  • Example: When the boss said I’d be getting a raise next year, that was music to my ears!

The Walls Have Ears

  • Meaning: We may be overheard; be careful what you say
  • Example: Try to speak quietly—the walls have ears around here.

Wet Behind the Ears

  • Meaning: Inexperienced, immature, new to something
  • Example: Shawna is smart, but she’s still wet behind the ears as a programmer. She’ll need time to master the system.

Leg Idioms

The Story Has Legs

  • Meaning: People are continuing to pay attention to the story.
  • Example: Many are wondering whether the story of the Trump campaign’s alleged connections with Russia will have legs, or fade away.

To Pay an Arm and a Leg

  • Meaning: A very high cost
  • Example: I had to pay an arm and a leg, but the car’s running again.

To Pull Someone’s Leg

  • Meaning: Lie playfully
  • Example: Really? Justin Bieber is having a sex change operation?? – No. I’m pulling your leg.

Break a Leg

  • Meaning: 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.
  • Example: The play opens tomorrow. Break a leg!

A Leg Up

  • Meaning: An advantage, a boost
  • Example: I’m going to take a summer school class. I think it’ll give me a leg up when I take calculus at the university next year.

Nose Idioms

Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

  • Meaning: To act in a proud way that ultimately damages your own cause
  • Example: I realize you’re mad that Lynn was assigned to take over the project, but don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. We still need you, and it’ll be better if you cooperate.

Have Your Nose in the Air

  • Meaning: Have a snobbish or disdainful attitude
  • Example: That girl has had her nose in their air ever since she moved here. She doesn’t seem interested in making friends with any of us.

It’s No Skin off My (Your) Nose (Back)

  • Meaning: The outcome will not affect me personally.
  • Example: I don’t really care if Jean’s project fails. I’m in a different department, so it’s no skin off my nose.

Keep Your Nose Clean

  • Meaning: Avoid trouble or situations that compromise one’s honesty
  • Example: There are all kinds of scams in real estate, but it’s better to keep your nose clean if you want to advance.

Keeping One’s Nose to the Grindstone

  • Meaning: Working hard on something repetitive or tedious
  • Example: In my son’s first semester he went to parties and got bad grades, but now he’s keeping his nose to the grindstone.

Body Idioms: Idioms with Nose

idioms with Body Parts

On the Nose

  • Meaning: Precisely, at an exact time
  • Example: The presentation will begin at 8 on the nose. Don’t miss it.

Powder One’s Nose

  • Meaning: To use the restroom (lavatory). This is used by women.
  • Example: Order me another drink-”I’ll be right back. I just have to powder my nose.

Right Under (One’s) Nose

  • Meaning: In an obvious location, yet overlooked
  • Example: I looked all over for my keys, and they were right under my nose, in the center of my desk.

Rub Someone’s Nose in (Something)

  • Meaning: Humiliate someone by repeating and criticizing his or her mistake
  • Example: I really screwed up my speech, and Caroline keeps rubbing my nose in the disaster.

Stick Your Nose into Something

  • Meaning: Intrude into something that is not your affair
  • Example: My financial discussions with my sister are private, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t stick your nose into something that really doesn’t concern you.

Have a Nose for (Something)

  • Meaning: To have natural ability at something, a talent for finding something
  • Example: I enjoy going to thrift shops with Shawna—she has a nose for bargains.

Teeth Idioms

By the Skin of One’s Teeth

  • Meaning: Barely escaping disaster
  • Example: We got home by the skin of our teeth – we were on the last plane out before the airport was closed.

Cut Your Teeth on Something

  • Meaning: To learn basic skills in a field
  • Example: I cut my teeth on carpentry when I was in school and working summers.

Grind One’s Teeth

  • Meaning: Be very annoyed or angry about something without being able to say anything about it.
  • Example: Jason spent half the meeting claiming credit for work that I did. I was sitting there grinding my teeth, but with the chairman there I couldn’t tell him off.

Armed to the Teeth

  • Meaning: Carrying many weapons
  • Example: The robber is armed to the teeth, so the police have surrounded the building but aren’t trying to move in.

Heart Idioms

After One’s Own Heart

  • Meaning: Similar in a pleasing way
  • Example: You’re a woman after my own heart – few people like Irish food, but I know you’ll always go out for bangers and mash with me.

Bare One’s Heart (Soul)

  • Meaning: To confess one’s deepest secrets
  • Example: Last night my girlfriend bared her soul and told me about her difficult childhood.

Change of Heart

  • Meaning: A change in one’s opinion or outlook
  • Example: I’ve had a change of heart – you can go ahead and go to the movie with your boyfriend, even though I told you you couldn’t.

Eat Your Heart Out! (excl.)

  • Meaning: Go ahead, be jealous.
  • Example: My dad is buying me a new car. Eat your heart out!

Follow Your Heart

  • Meaning: Rely on one’s deeper feelings and instincts when making a decision
  • Example: Yes, you might make less money that job, but if it really attracts you, you should follow your heart.

From the Bottom of One’s Heart

  • Meaning: Sincerely and with deep feeling
  • Example: I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart how much I appreciate your help.

In a Heart beat

  • Meaning: Immediately.
  • Example: This is especially used in hypothetical situations. If Joe asked me, I’d marry him in a heart beat!

Touch One’s Heart

  • Meaning: Affect someone emotionally, be touching
  • Example: It really touches my heart to see so many starving children and not be able to do anything about it.

Heel Idioms

Achilles’ heel

  • Meaning: The weak point of an otherwise powerful person or organization
  • Example: Manchester United are very strong this year, but their striker may be their Achilles’ heel.

(Fall) Head Over Heels

  • Meaning: (To become) infatuated, to fall suddenly in love
  • Example: After just a few dates, Jennifer fell head over heels for Bill. Now she won’t talk about anything else.

Cool Your Heels

  • Meaning: Wait
  • Example: We agreed we’d meet at the mall at 3. But you left me cooling my heels for two whole hours.

Drag One’s feet (or Heels)

  • Meaning: To do something reluctantly and slowly
  • Example: My boyfriend has been dragging his feet on wedding preparations. I wonder if he really wants to marry me.

Hot on the Heels (of)

  • Meaning: In close pursuit
  • Example: Toyota far outsells any other other automotive brand in Indonesia, with Honda hot on the heels of Daihatsu for second place.

Head Idioms

Bury (Hide) One’s Head In the Sand

  • Meaning: Ignoring something that’s obviously wrong, not facing reality
  • Example: You can bury your head in the sand if you want to, but Bruce is stealing, and sooner or later we’re going to have to deal with it.

Head and Shoulders Above

  • Meaning: Far superior to
  • Example: In my opinion, Toyota pickup trucks are head and shoulders above other brands on the market.

Head start

  • Meaning: An advantage over everyone else
  • Example: You’ve got a head start over / another’s trying to get the job because you’ve got relevant work experience.

Heads Up (excl.)

  • Meaning: Get ready! Be prepared.
  • Example: Heads up! The vice-president is visiting the office today, and I want everyone here.

Body Idioms: Idioms with Head

idioms with Body Parts

Heads Will Roll (Are Going to Roll)

  • Meaning: People will be fired.
  • Example: The ad campaign for the new model was an absolute disaster. I think heads are going to roll.

Off the Top of My Head

  • Meaning: Guessing or estimating without full information
  • Example: Off the top of my head, I’d say the presentation will take you about four hours to finish.

Over One’s Head

  • Meaning: In a situation where one is overwhelmed with tasks
  • Example: I got in over my head when I took 17 credits at school-I had to drop a class.

Rear Its Ugly Head (said of a problem or something unpleasant)

  • Meaning: Appear, be revealed
  • Example: We were almost finished with the spreadsheet when the problem of the write-offs reared its ugly head.

Turn Something on Its Head

  • Meaning: Reverse something, cause something to be done in a new way.
  • Example: The theory of plate tectonics turned our understanding of earthquakes on its head.

Use One’s Head

  • Meaning: To think, to have common sense.
  • Example: You shouldn’t buy a new car until you’ve paid off the debt from your student loan. Use your head!

Body Idioms | Hand Idioms

Hands are tied

  • Meaning: You are prevented from doing something. It is not within your power.
  • Example: I’d like to raise people’s salaries but my hands are tied.

Hands Down

  • Meaning: Undoubtedly
  • Example: The Eagles have hands down the best team in the NFL this year.

Get One’s Hands Dirty

  • Meaning: To do the unpleasant parts of a job
  • Example: The boss isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty. He’ll come right into the machine shop and work with us if we need him to.

Know (Something) like the Back of One’s Hand

  • Meaning: To be very familiar with something, especially an area “
  • Example: If you’re in Columbus, be sure to look up Jim. He knows Ohio like the back of his hand.

Right-Hand Man

  • Meaning: Chief assistant
  • Example: I will be in Europe for two weeks. But anything you can need you can get from my right-hand man, Jason. He’ll be here.

Wash One’s Hands of Something

  • Meaning: To assert that one will take no further responsibility for something “
  • Example: You all haven’t completed your assigned tasks, and I think this project will be a disaster. I’m washing my hands of the whole thing.

Thumb Idioms

All Thumbs

  • Meaning: Clumsy
  • Example: Don’t trust Jack around your expensive glassware – he’s all thumbs.

Rule of Thumb

  • Meaning: A general principle or guideline, not a specific formula
  • Example: As a rule of thumb, you can estimate three weeks of work for each unit of the project.

Thumbs-Up

  • Meaning: Approval
  • Example: It really pleased me that the boss gave me a thumbs-up on my presentation.

Neck Idioms

Neck and Neck

  • Meaning: Very close in a competition, with neither of two entities clearly in the lead
  • Example: For several years, General Motors and Toyota were neck and neck in worldwide sales, but Toyota pulled ahead.

Neck of the Woods

  • Meaning: A region, especially one’s home region
  • Example: I’ll come and see you the next time I’m in your neck of the woods.

Pain in the neck

  • Meaning: Someone or something making your life difficult
  • Example: This calculus homework is a real pain in the neck.

Stiff-Necked

  • Meaning: Stubborn; excessively formal
  • Example: The boss seems stiff-necked and hard to approach, but I’ve seen her help employees who are in trouble without ever taking credit or drawing attention to herself.

Up to One’s Neck

  • Meaning: Nearly overwhelmed
  • Example: I’m up to my neck in work this week. Let’s get together next Wednesday.

Arm Idioms

Arm Candy

  • Meaning: An attractive woman accompanying a powerful or famous man at a social event
  • Example: The famous actor recently got divorced, but he showed up at the Academy Awards with arm candy.

Keep Someone at Arm’s Length

  • Meaning: Avoid close interaction or cooperation
  • Example: I don’t have anything against Matthew, but we went on a date last year and it didn’t work out. So I keep him at arm’s length.

Feet Idioms

Drag Your Feet

  • Meaning: Do something very reluctantly; delay doing something
  • Example: If you’d quit dragging your feet and finish the drawings, we could get out of here for a long weekend.

Find your feet

  • Meaning: To adjust to a new place or situation
  • Example: Did it take you long to find your feet when you started your new job?

Jump in with Both Feet

  • Meaning: Begin a new experience wholeheartedly
  • Example: I think Fitriana is going to work out great in the new job. We started showing her the programming language yesterday, and she really jumped in with both feet.

To Get Cold Feet

  • Meaning: To experience reluctance or fear
  • Example: I was ready to dive into the pool from the high board, but I got cold feet and couldn – It’s do it.

Vote with One’s Feet

  • Meaning: To physically depart from something as a way of showing disapproval
  • Example: People voted with their feet on the new Chevolet models, staying away from showrooms.

Have a Lead Foot

  • Meaning: A tendency to drive very fast
  • Example: I refuse to get in a car with Courtney. She has a lead foot, and she’s already been in three accidents.

On the Back Foot

  • Meaning: At a disadvantage
  • Example: The ruling party was on the back foot after allegations of corruption from a major newspaper.

Put Your Foot Down

  • Meaning: Use your authority to stop negative behavior
  • Example: Usually I let the kids watch some television, but last night they had it on for five hours. I’m going to have to put my foot down.

Belly Idioms

Fire in the Belly

  • Meaning: Strong ambition
  • Example: I worry about my son. He’s smart enough to succeed, but he doesn’t have the fire in the belly.

Belly Laugh

  • Meaning: Loud, hearty laughter
  • Example: Dumb and Dumber” isn’t a sophisticated movie, but it delivers plenty of belly laughs.

Shoulder Idioms

A weight off your shoulders

  • Meaning: You no longer worry about something or deal with something difficult
  • Example: Talking over my problem with myclose friend was a weight off my shoulders.

Have a Chip on One’s Shoulder

  • Meaning: To harbor resentment; to have an angry attitude
  • Example: Jared still has a chip on his shoulder because he didn’t get the promotion last year.

To Give Someone the Cold Shoulder

  • Meaning: To act hostile toward someone; to ignore, snub
  • Example: Why did you give me the cold shoulder at the party? I thought we were friends.

Body Idioms | Face Idioms

Put the Best Face On (Something)

  • Meaning: Emphasize the positive aspects of a bad situation
  • Example: The mayor tried to put the best face on the loss of the Olympic Games, pointing out that houses would not have to be demolished.

Rub (Something) in Someone’s Face

  • Meaning: Humiliate someone by repeating and criticizing his or her mistake
  • Example: I really screwed up my speech, and Caroline keeps rubbing the disaster in my face.

Until You’re Blue in the Face

  • Meaning: For a long time with no results
  • Example: I can talk with John until I’m blue in the face, but he still doesn’t understand the procedure.

Finger Idioms

Finger-Pointing

  • Meaning: Blame; a situation within a group where each member attempts to blame others
  • Example: I’m not going to get into finger-pointing because the sales campaign failed. The lesson is that we need to work better as a team.

Not Lift a Finger

  • Meaning: Do nothing to help
  • Example: I worked all night on the new ad campaign. Jacob was in the office for most of the evening, but he was playing video games. He didn’t lift a finger to help me.

Point the Finger At

  • Meaning: Blame (someone)
  • Example: Shareholders pointed the finger at the board of directors for the losses, and voted most of them out.

Someone’s Fingerprints Are All Over (Something)

  • Meaning: Someone’s influence is evident
  • Example: Colin isn’t listed as an author on this report, but his fingerprints are all over it.

Work One’s Fingers to the Bone

  • Meaning: Work very hard over an extended period
  • Example: I’ve been working my fingers to the bone, and you have the nerve to ask me to stay late again? I can’t believe it.

Chin Idioms

Chin Up; Keep Your Chin Up

  • Meaning: Cheer up; try to be cheerful and strong
  • Example: It’s too bad you didn’t get the job, but keep your chin up – another one will come along.

Take It on the Chin

  • Meaning: Be attacked; suffer an attack
  • Example: Week after week the coach says we can win, but in every game we take it on the chin.

Lip Idioms

Give Lip Service to

  • Meaning: Talk about supporting something without taking any concrete action
  • Example: Every year the president pays lip service to the idea of a balanced budget, but he never takes steps to cut spending.

Keep a Stiff Upper Lip

  • Meaning: Control one’s emotions; not give in to fear or grief
  • Example: I know flying is scary for you, but keep a stiff upper lip and it will be all right.

Tight-Lipped

  • Meaning: Secretive, unwilling to explain something
  • Example: The president remained tight-lipped about why he decided to fire his chief economic adviser.

Zip One’s Lip

  • Meaning: Be quiet
  • Example: OK, I’ll tell you the secret about Cynthia, but zip your lip about it!

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