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Idioms about the Five Senses

The term ‘five senses’ is used to refer to the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Today we’re going to take a look at five idioms about each of the five senses and tell you what they mean.


  • In the blink of an eye - in an instant
  • Out of sight, out of mind – an expression used to suggest that one is likely to forget someone/something when they are/it is no longer present/visible
  • The apple of someone’s eye – a person whom someone admires very much
  • To see things eye to eye – to agree on things
  • To turn a blind eye – to pretend not to notice


  • To follow your nose – to follow your instincts
  • To smell a rat – to suspect a trick/lie
  • To sniff around/out – to investigate/discover something through investigation
  • To turn your nose up at something – to show distaste for something in a way which implies it is beneath you
  • Under someone’s nose – directly in front of someone


  • Ears are burning – to hear your name being talked about/to be subconsciously aware that you are being criticised
  • Nothing between your ears – not very clever (no brain)
  • Out on your ear – disgraced and dismissed
  • To bend someone’s ear – to talk to someone at length/to pester someone for a favour
  • To keep your ear to the ground – to keep well informed on happenings and trends


  • A bad taste in your mouth – A strong feeling of disgust after an experience
  • An acquired taste – a thing you come to like after a long period of time
  • In poor taste – vulgar/offensive/thoughtless
  • To give someone a taste of their own medicine – to treat someone badly in the same way they treated you
  • To taste blood – to achieve an initial success which leads you to wanting more


  • Touch wood! – a superstitious expression said after a confident statement to ward off bad luck (usually while touching something that is made from wood)
  • To hit a nerve – to upset/provoke someone by talking about a particular subject
  • To keep in touch – to remain in contact
  • To touch base – to briefly renew contact with someone to check that they are all right/show that you are all right
  • Touch-and-go – a phrase used to describe the uncertainty leading up to an outcome

If you found this post useful, why not take a look at our other articles on idioms?

Are there any idioms you’d like to know the meanings or origins of? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below and we’ll include them in a future blog.

Have a good week!

26 May 2015
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One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

Terrie Penrose-Toms, Casterton College


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