The following are some commonly used idioms that include parts of the body. You may hear them used quite frequently in social conversations and on television. Focus on the idioms in this section that you are not familiar with, and memorize them. Then, see if you can use some of them in your daily speech.
1. two left feet: This means someone who is clumsy Example: My cousin has two left feet when it comes to dancing.
2. to keep something/someone under one’s thumb: This means to be in control of a situation Example: I keep my son under my thumb by having a curfew.
3. to stick one's neck out: This refers to taking a chance or a risk Example: If you don’t stick your neck out once in a while, you’ll never accomplish what you want.
4. to know something by heart: This means to memorize something Example: I know the words to that song by heart.
5. to hit the nail on the head: This means to be correct Example: When you said that we’d get home in time, you hit the nail right on the head.
6. to see eye to eye with someone: This means to agree with someone Example: Although I don’t always see eye to eye with my daughter, we love each other very much.
7. to face the music: This means to deal with a situation, to accept the consequences of your actions Example: It’s about you faced the music and dealt with your problem.
8. lips are sealed: This means to keep a secret Example: I promise I won’t tell John your secret; my lips are sealed!
9. to cost an arm and a leg: This is an expression used to mean something is very expensive Example: New cars these days cost and arm and a leg.
10. to give one’s right arm: This means that you would do anything to get what one’s wants Example: I’d give my right arm to be able to see the Rolling Stones in concert.
11. to pull someone’s leg: This means to joke with someone Example: Did you mean what you said or were you just pulling my leg?
12. to get cold feet: This means to be unsure of a situation, change one’s mind about a situation Example: It’s normal to have cold feet just before your wedding.
13. to give someone a hand: This means to help someone Example: Could you please give me a hand putting up this picture?
14. to eat out of someone’s hand: This is an expression that means to be under someone’s influence Example: Your little daughter has you eating out of her hand.
15. to wait on someone hand and foot: This means to attend to someone’s every need and want Example: I’m tired of waiting on you hand and foot; you need to start doing things for yourself.
16. to hold someone/something at arm’s length: This expression means to keep someone at a difference from you emotionally. Example: Because he is afraid to get married, he tends to hold his girlfriend at arm’s length.
17. to twist someone’s arm: This means to force someone Example: You don’t have to twist my arm to make me go to the movies with you; I want to go!
18. to walk arm-in-arm: This means to walk with arms around each other Example: That couple always walksarm in arm together.
19. as long as one’s arm: This means very long Example: He told a story as long as my arm.
20. to not have the heart to do something: This means to lack the desire or strength to do something Example: I didn’t have the heart to tell him that his dog died.
21. to do something to one’s heart’s content: This means to do something as long as one wishes Example: I love Saturdays, because I get to sleep to my heart’s content.
22. to take something to heart: This means to be upset or affected by something Example: Please don’t take this to heart, but I don’t like your new dress.
23. from the bottom of one’s heart: This idiom means with sincere and deep feeling. Example: She meant what she said from the bottom of her heart.
24. to have a heart of gold: This means to be very kind Example: My daughter does so much for people; she has a heart of gold.
25. to have a heart of stone: This refers to someone who is very unfeeling Example: That selfish old man has a heart of stone.
26. to be all ears: This refers to listening intently Example: Please tell me what happened; I’m all ears!
27. to be up to one’s eyeballs in something: This means to be very busy doing something Example: I’m up to my eyeballs in work this week.
28. to turn a deaf ear: This means to ignore someone. Example: He always turns a deaf ear to people who complain.
29. to play something by ear: To play something from memory Example: I learned how to play the piano by ear.
30. to keep one’s ears open: This means to listen and try to find out information Example: Keep your eyes and ears open, and tell me if you find out anything about John’s accident.
31. to have something coming out of one’s ears: This means to have too much of something Example: I’ve got so much extra food, it’s coming out of my ears.
32. to keep one’s fingers crossed: This means to hope you are lucky Example: Keep your fingers crossed that we make it home in time to pick up Andy.
33. to put one’s finger on something: This means to know or to be able to explain something. Example: I just can’t put my finger on where I met that man.
34. to point one’s finger at someone: This means to blame someone Example: You always try to point your fingerat me, when it’s Anne’s fault.
35. to have someone wrapped around his/her finger: This means to be under that person’s influence Example: Your daughter has you wrapped around her little finger.
Cheryl Posey, MS CCC-SLP email@example.com 774-212-3241 Copyright 2010-2019