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Skeleton in the Closet and 49 Other Idioms about the Human Body: Part 1


This week, continuing with our series on idioms and what they mean, we’re looking at idioms about the human body. For those of you who are new to our blog – an idiom is a combination of words which has a figurative meaning separate from the actual definitions of the words used.

There is supposed to be something like 25,000 idioms in the English language, and while planning this blog we came up with almost a hundred that were related to the human body. We managed to narrow the list down to fifty idioms to share with you over the next two posts, but be warned: we haven’t included any idioms concerning the human heart – we’ll save that fascinating subject for a future article!

Here are the first twenty five idioms and their meanings:

  1. a bad hair day – a day on which everything seems to be going wrong

  2. a gut feeling – a sense, an instinctive feeling

  3. a kick in the teeth – a blow, unfair treatment

  4. a sight for sore eyes – someone/something you are happy/relieved to see

  5. a skeleton in the closet – a shameful secret from someone’s past

  6. a slap on the wrist – a gentle punishment

  7. a slip of the tongue – a (usually minor) mistake in speaking

  8. a weight off your shoulders – a relief after a period of worrying about something or dealing with a difficult situation

  9. elbow grease – hard work

  10. itchy feet – the need to leave/travel

  11. joined at the hip – inseparable (referring to two or more people who spend a lot of time together)

  12. more than meets the eye – more that first anticipated

  13. music to your ears – good news/something you want to hear

  14. to have nerves of steel – to be difficult to upset or frighten

  15. teething problems – difficulties during the early stages of an endeavour

  16. the upper hand – an advantage

  17. to bite/hold your tongue – to stop yourself from saying something

  18. to come to your senses – to start thinking sensibly

  19. to dig your heels in – to stubbornly resist

  20. to drag your feet – to do something slowly/put off doing something

  21. to feel the pinch – to experience financial hardship

  22. to find your feet – to become confident in an activity

  23. to get off on the wrong foot – to make a bad start at something/with someone

  24. to get something off your chest – to unburden yourself by saying something you have wanted to say for a long time

  25. to grease someone’s palm – to bribe someone

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms:

Have a good week!

Avani Shah


29 Sep 2014
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