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18 English Idioms With Body Parts

4 min read
24 November 2020
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Both American and British English use idioms that use parts of the body to explain ideas. Often these phrases don’t have anything to do with the body, but the idioms express these thoughts easily. Read our idiom compilation to enrich our English vocabulary about part of the body!


1. To keep at arm’s length

to avoid being connected to someone or something
I didn’t trust her, so I kept her at arm’s length.


2. On the tip of my tongue

to be almost able to remember or expressed
His name was on the tip of my tongue, but I needed to ask him.


3. To pick someone’s brain

to talk with someone to find out information from them
Jon is very good at math, so I picked his brain about a homework problem.


4. Off the top of my head

information offered quickly, without research or calculation
Off the top of my head, I remember 11 people on the guest list.


5. To cost an arm and a leg

to be very expensive
That shirt from Hermes costs an arm and a leg!


6. To stick one’s neck out

to take a risk
I stuck my neck out when I bought that antique rug. I hope it's worth more money later on! 


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7. Get something off one’s chest:

to tell someone your problems or frustrations
Thanks for listening to me complain about my brother. I needed to get it off my chest.


8. Give someone a hand (with something)

to help someone
Can you give me a hand with this box? It’s too heavy to carry on my own.


9. Keep your chin up

to try to stay positive when things seem negative
Keep your chin up! Things will get better soon.


10. Like pulling teeth:

to be very difficult
Getting Bobby to clean his room is like pulling teeth.


11. All ears

To give someone their full attention
“I cannot wait to hear what you have to say. I am all ears!”


12. Cold shoulder

To ignore someone
“Steve would not take to James after their argument. He has given him the cold shoulder.”



13. Itchy feet

To move around a lot
“Julie could not wait to go on her travels. She has itchy feet!”


14. Long arm of the law

Describes how efficient the law system can be.
“Tony was caught by the police for speeding. He could not escape the long arm of the law.”


15. Old hand

To have lots of experience
“Shirley has been with the bakery for a long time. She is an old hand at making cakes.”


16. Sweet tooth

To have a taste for sweet food
“I bought John a big box of chocolates for his birthday. He has such a sweet tooth!”


17. Elbow room

To be very crowded
"I did not like working in that cramped office. There was not enough elbow room!”


18. Eye-catching

To catch your attention
“Did you see Candida in her pink dress? She is very eye-catching!”


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