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

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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:

  • a bad hair day – a day on which everything seems to be going wrong
  • a gut feeling – a sense, an instinctive feeling
  • a kick in the teeth – a blow, unfair treatment
  • a sight for sore eyes – someone/something you are happy/relieved to see
  • a skeleton in the closet – a shameful secret from someone’s past
  • a slap on the wrist – a gentle punishment
  • a slip of the tongue – a (usually minor) mistake in speaking
  • a weight off your shoulders – a relief after a period of worrying about something or dealing with a difficult situation
  • elbow grease – hard work
  • itchy feet – the need to leave/travel
  • joined at the hip – inseparable (referring to two or more people who spend a lot of time together)
  • more than meets the eye – more that first anticipated
  • music to your ears – good news/something you want to hear
  • to have nerves of steel – to be difficult to upset or frighten
  • teething problems – difficulties during the early stages of an endeavour
  • the upper hand – an advantage
  • to bite/hold your tongue – to stop yourself from saying something
  • to come to your senses – to start thinking sensibly
  • to dig your heels in – to stubbornly resist
  • to drag your feet – to do something slowly/put off doing something
  • to feel the pinch – to experience financial hardship
  • to find your feet – to become confident in an activity
  • to get off on the wrong foot – to make a bad start at something/with someone
  • to get something off your chest – to unburden yourself by saying something you have wanted to say for a long time
  • 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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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