50 idiomatic expressions connected to body parts

i was compiling a list of 50 idiomatic expressions connected to body parts. and while i googled these phrases, i cracked up. of course, one shouldn’t take idioms by its literal meaning. however, i couldn’t help myself from laughing when i’m reading it sans its figurative content.

don’t take it literally!

an idiom contains words that when taken collectively shows us the figurative meaning of such phrase; otherwise, when each word is taken separately would indicate its usual, predictable meaning that could be readily found in a dictionary. idioms have cultural bearing and localized usage which require outsiders to be familiar with its meaning. however, an idiom’s popularity makes it universally known and used.

the thumb

thumbs up

thumbs up

1. to say someone is all thumbs, means that the person is lacking physical coordination, skill, or grace, or clumsy in doing things. also synonymous with be all fingers and thumbs and be all thumbs.

2. to thumb (one’s) nose means to express scorn or ridicule someone. also used as thumb your nose at somebody/something.

3. thumbs down is used to express rejection, refusal, or disapproval.

4. you say thumbs up means to express approval, success, or hope.

5. to be under (one’s) thumb, means to be under the control of someone or be a subordinate to someone.

6. to turn thumbs down (on someone or something) means to reject someone or something. its antonymous phrase is turn thumbs up (on someone or something).

7. a rule of thumb means a guiding principle gained through experience.

8. to stand/stick out like a sore thumb means someone or something is being obvious, noticeable, or easily recognized as different from the group.

9. to twiddle your thumbs means doing nothing practically useful while waiting for something to happen.

10. to thumb through (something) means to have a quick look at a pile of papers, pages of magazines, or book.

the heart

11. to say that someone is a man/woman after your own heart means you admire that person because of shared beliefs or likes.

12. at heart means to feel deeply.

13. by heart means you had learned something by rote or has memorized it word for word.

14. to do (one’s) heart good means to lift one’s spirits or make one happy.

15. to have (one’s) heart in (one’s) mouth means to be feel extremely frightened or anxious about something.

16. when you do something with half a heart, it means you are unenthusiastic or showing less interest with your work.

17. to wear (one’s) heart on (one’s) sleeve means to show one’s feelings clearly and openly by one’s behavior.

18. to do (something) in a heartbeat means to do something right away if you have the chance.

19. if someone had a change of heart, it means that the person has changed his or her feeling or opinion about something.

20. to eat one`s heart out means to feel much jealous, bitterness, or grief about something.

the eyes

21. all eyes means watching very closely or showing a lot of interests in something or someone.

22. to have/keep half an eye on something/somebody, means to watch something or someone without giving them your full attention.

23. if somebody’s eyes are bigger than their belly/stomach, it means he or she has taken more food than necessary.

24. to be be easy on the eye means to have an attractive or pleasing appearance.

25. to pull the wool over somebody’s eyes means to deceive someone in order to prevent them from knowing what you are really doing.

26. to turn a blind eye (to something) means to pretend or decide that something does not exist or not true because you don’t want to deal with it.

27. to catch somebody’s eye or catch the eye of somebody means to attract someone’s attention or to be attractive enough to be noticed.

28. to get your eye in means to become very good at a sport or activity by practicing it.

29. to have an eye for/on the main chance means someone is always looking for opportunities to make money or improve their situation.

30. to run one’s eye over something means to look at the entirety of something.

the bones

31. a bone of contention means a subject or cause of a conflict.

32. to be like a dog with a bone means to refuse to stop thinking or talking about a subject.

33. to have a bone to pick with somebody means to have a complaint or disagreement with someone.

34. i (can) feel it in my bones is used to express that you are certain something is true or will happen, although you have no proof at hand.

35. bone up (on something) means to study something thoroughly or to review the facts about something.

36. to make no bones about (something) means to say clearly what you think or feel about something (even though you may embarrass or offend someone).

37. to wear/work your fingers to the bone means to work very hard.

38. to cut something to the bone means to cut down severely on something (like monthly budget) or to reduce something to the lowest possible level or amount.

39. to the bone means as completely as possible; severity.

40. if he/she doesn’t have a [jealous, mean, unkind, or any other trait or characteristic] bone in his/her body, it means that the person does not have the trait or characteristic described.

the foot/feet

41. on the right foot means in a favorable or fortunate circumstances. its direct opposite is on the wrong foot.

42. to get off on the right foot means to begin doing something in a way that is likely to succeed. its antonymous phrase is get off on the wrong foot.

43. to put your foot in it or put your foot in your mouth means to say something by accident which may cause an embarrassment or hurt to someone.

44. to put your best foot forward means to do something in the best way possible so you can gain favorable opinion from other people.

45. to have two left feet means to be awkward or clumsy with one’s feet.

46. to foot the bill (for something) means to pay for the total amount of something.

47. to hold somebody’s feet to the fire or put somebody’s feet to the fire means to cause someone to feel pressure or stress.

48. to have a cold feet means to have a fear of doing something. this phrase could also mean cowardice at the moment of action.

49. to knock somebody off their feet means to cause someone great pleasure or surprise.

50. to think on one’s feet means to think and react quickly, especially in a situation where things are happening very fast.

source: The Free Dictionary
photo: VistaICO.com


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