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Vent Your Spleen and 49 Other Idioms about the Human Body - Part 2


One of the reasons English is so difficult to learn is because it is a language full of idioms. An idiom is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning separate from the actual definitions of the words used. When someone talks about a ‘storm in a teacup’, for example, they probably aren’t referring to actual storms in actual teacups!

It can be quite hard, as a second-language English speaker, to keep up with all these expressions, and so this year we’ve been compiling lists of idioms alongside their meanings. Last week we looked at the first half of 50 Idioms about the Human Body – now it’s time for part two!

  1. to have egg on your face – to feel foolish

  2. to have your ear to the ground – to pay attention to your surroundings in case new information should arise

  3. to have your hands are tied – to have no power to help

  4. to hold your head (up) high – to be confident and proud (often while facing gossip)

  5. to jump down someone’s throat – to criticise someone in a sudden, angry (and often uncalled for) manner

  6. to jump out of your skin – to be startle

  7. to keep your nose clean – to keep out of trouble

  8. to lend a hand – to help/assist

  9. to let your hair down – to relax and act without inhibitions

  10. to lose face – to be humiliate/to lose respect
  11. to lose your head – to lose self-control (i.e. to panic/become angry)

  12. to pay through the nose – to pay more than the expected price

  13. to play it by ear – to act depending on the current circumstance rather than according to a plan

  14. to pull someone’s leg – to tease someone

  15. to put someone’s nose out of the joint – to offend someone by hurting their pride

  16. to put your foot in your mouth – to say something tactless

  17. to see eye to eye – to agree

  18. to shoot yourself in the foot – to make a situation worse for yourself

  19. to stick out like a sore thumb – to be noticeably (and usually embarrassingly) different to surrounding people/things

  20. to vent your spleen – to express anger/to lose your temper

  21. to wash your hands of something – to renounce responsibility of something

  22. to work your tail/butt off – to work extremely hard

  23. up to your armpits/ears/elbows/eyeballs/neck – to be very busy/deeply involved with something (which, in the case of being ‘up to your armpits, might be rather unpleasant work)

  24. warts and all – including unattractive/unappealing qualities

  25. weak at the knees – overcome by strong emotions (usually love or desire)

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

Have a good week!

Avani Shah


06 Oct 2014
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