Body Idioms

Head Over Heels For English: 30 Common Body Idioms

Idioms that incorporate parts of the body ingeniously create vivid imagery, transforming abstract ideas into more tangible and relatable concepts. These expressions play a crucial role in enriching our everyday communication, making it more colorful and compelling. For those who are either learning or teaching English, acquiring a grasp of these body idioms can be immensely helpful.

In this post, we have compiled a list of 30 common body idioms. Each idiom is accompanied by its meaning, and to help you understand its usage in real-life scenarios, we also provide example sentences. This hands-on approach will make it easier for you to understand and incorporate these idioms into your own language usage.

For those who would like to have a portable version of this resource, we’ve made it easy for you! A downloadable PDF version of these examples can be found at the end of this page.

Body Part Idioms

Cost an arm and a leg

Meaning: Something is very expensive.
Example Sentence:The designer dress she wanted cost an arm and a leg, so she decided to rent it instead.

Break a leg

Meaning: Wishing someone good luck.
Example Sentence:Before his big audition, his sister called and told him to break a leg.

Give a hand

Meaning: To help someone.
Example Sentence:Could you give me a hand carrying these bags upstairs?

Cry your eyes out

Meaning: To cry excessively.
Example Sentence:She cried her eyes out when she found out her pet had passed away.

Cold feet

Meaning: To feel nervous before a big event.
Example Sentence:She got cold feet just before her wedding, but her best friend reassured her.

Bite your tongue

Meaning: To avoid speaking.
Example Sentence:I had to bite my tongue to avoid saying something rude.

Face the music

Meaning: To confront the consequences of one’s actions.
Example Sentence:After cheating on the test, he had to face the music when he was caught.

Pull someone’s leg

Meaning: To tease or joke with someone.
Example Sentence:I’m just pulling your leg, I didn’t really forget your birthday.

Get it off your chest

Meaning: To express your feelings to feel better.
Example Sentence:I feel so much better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.

Play it by ear

Meaning: To improvise or play without a plan.
Example Sentence:We don’t have a plan for our road trip, we’re just going to play it by ear.

Get under one’s skin

Meaning: To annoy or bother someone.
Example Sentence:Her constant criticism really gets under my skin.

Lend an ear

Meaning: To listen to someone.
Example Sentence:If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here to lend an ear.

Have a heart

Meaning: To show compassion.
Example Sentence:Please have a heart and donate to those in need.

Wear your heart on your sleeve

Meaning: To openly show your feelings or emotions.
Example Sentence:He wears his heart on his sleeve, so it’s easy to tell when he’s upset.

Turn a blind eye

Meaning: To ignore something intentionally.
Example Sentence:You can’t just turn a blind eye to the environmental issues our planet is facing.

Put your foot in your mouth

Meaning: To say something embarrassing or inappropriate.
Example Sentence:I really put my foot in my mouth when I asked about her husband, not knowing they had recently divorced.

Have a gut feeling

Meaning: To have a strong intuition about something.
Example Sentence:I have a gut feeling that this is the right decision for me.

Head over heels

Meaning: To be extremely in love with someone.
Example Sentence:She fell head over heels for him the moment they met.

Keep your chin up

Meaning: To remain cheerful in a difficult situation.
Example Sentence:Even though she was going through a tough time, she kept her chin up and stayed positive.

Stick your neck out

Meaning: To take a risk for someone else.
Example Sentence:He stuck his neck out for his friend, even though he knew it might cause him problems.

See eye to eye

Meaning: To agree on something.
Example Sentence:Although they are from different political parties, they see eye to eye on this issue.

Back to the drawing board

Meaning: To start a task all over again.
Example Sentence:Our plan didn’t work out as we expected, so it’s back to the drawing board.

Off the top of your head

Meaning: To say something without thinking about it in advance.
Example Sentence: “Can you give me the answer off the top of your head, or do you need time to think about it?”

Have a chip on your shoulder

Meaning: To seem angry all the time because you feel that you have been treated unfairly or feel you are not as good as other people.
Example Sentence:Ever since he was overlooked for the promotion, he’s had a chip on his shoulder.

On the tip of your tongue

Meaning: When you know something but can’t quite remember it.
Example Sentence:His name is on the tip of my tongue, but I just can’t remember it.

Elbow grease

Meaning: Hard physical work, especially cleaning.
Example Sentence:This old furniture will look like new with a little elbow grease.

Pain in the neck

Meaning: Someone or something that is very annoying.
Example Sentence: “My neighbor’s loud music is a real pain in the neck.”

Shoulder the burden

Meaning: To take on a responsibility.
Example Sentence:He had to shoulder the burden of his father’s failed business.

Nose out of joint

Meaning: To feel upset or annoyed because you believe you have been treated unfairly.
Example Sentence:He got his nose out of joint when he wasn’t invited to the meeting.

Twist someone’s arm

Meaning: To persuade someone to do something.
Example Sentence: “I didn’t want to go to the party, but she twisted my arm.”

Download PDF

Body Idioms PDF

Related Resources

Body Parts In English
Body Parts Game
Body Parts Worksheets
Body Parts Quiz