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Idiomatic Expressions
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Body Idioms




Example Sentence

all ears

fully listening

Give me a minute to finish my work and then I'll be all ears to hear about your project.

break a leg


Today's the big game, eh? Break a leg!

cold feet

nervous just before a big event

My sister didn't get cold feet until she put her wedding gown on.

cost an arm and a leg

be very expensive

These cakes are delicious, but they cost an arm and a leg.

cry your heart out

cry very hard

I cried my heart out when my best friend moved away.

face the music

meet, stand up to unpleasant conseqences, for example criticism or punishment

I stayed out all night. When I eventually got home I had to face the music from my wife.

(my) flesh and blood


I have to hire Mia. She's my own flesh and blood.

get something off one's chest

tell someone your problems

Thanks for listening to me complain about my boss. I just needed to get this off my chest.

give a hand, lend a hand

help (someone) do something

I can give you a hand when you move if you like.

have one's head in the clouds

be unaware or unrealistic about something

Amy has her head in the clouds if she thinks she's going to pass her exams without studying.

head over heels

deeply in love

My brother is head over heels for his new girlfriend.

head start

an earlier start

The kids gave Anthony a head start in the bicycle race because he was the youngest.

in over one's head

taking on a task that you can't handle

I was in over my head when I agreed to babysit the triplets and the dogs.

keep an eye on

take care of, watch in order to protect

I'll keep an eye on the dinner while you're on the phone.

keep one's chin up

try to be cheerful

Keep your chin up. I'm sure you'll make some friends soon.

learn by heart, know by heart


I learned my multiplication tables by heart in the fourth grade.

let one's hair down

relax, have fun

Go to the cottage and let your hair down this weekend.

(my) lips are sealed

promise to keep a secret

Don't worry, I won't tell your mother how much you spent. My lips are sealed.

makes my blood boil

makes me very angry

It makes my blood boil when people don't tie up their dogs.

neck of the woods

nearby location or region

I heard that they might be opening a post office in our neck of the woods soon.

(an) old hand

an experienced person

My uncle's an old hand at car repair. He'll know what the problem is.

over my dead body

not unless I'm dead and can't stop you

My daughter wants a tatoo. I told her she'd get one over my dead body.

pat on the back

recognition or a thank-you

The party organizers deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.

play something by ear

do something without a plan

We don't know if the weather will be good enough for camping. We'll have to play it by ear.

pull one's leg

joke or tease someone

I was just pulling your leg. I'm not really a police officer.

rule of thumb

basic rule (not always followed)

The rule of thumb is that the students wear black pants and white shirts.

see eye to eye


The couple don't see eye to eye on how to train their pets.

(by the) skin of one's teeth

just barely

I passed my exam by the skin of my teeth.

stick your neck out

help someone a lot, with possible bad consequences for oneself

I stuck my neck out for Bessie when she was thrown out of her house.

sweet tooth

a love of sugar or sweet things

I need three spoonfuls of sugar in my tea. I have a sweet tooth.

thick in the head

not very intelligent

I'm a bit thick in the head when it comes to reading a map.

wash one's hands of something

stop dealing with an issue or problem

I'm washing my hands of Mary's addiction. She is going to have to get some professional help.