Love Is in the Air! 5 Idioms about Love.

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Birds are singing, bees are buzzing and florists are seeing dollar signs. It can only mean one thing…


Valentine’s Day is coming!

If you’re not sure how to tell that special person just how much you love them, maybe these love idioms will help....


Idiom: to be ‘head over heels’

Normal English: to be completely in love


Your heel is the back of your foot, and your head is your head. If I am ‘head over heels’ in love with someone, I am so in love my body has turned upside down, with my feet at the top and my head at the bottom.


Example: ‘Did you hear? Sarah has a new boyfriend!’ ‘Yes, I hear they’re head over heels in love with each other.’


Idiom: to wear my ‘heart on my sleeve’


Normal English: to be completely honest about my feelings.


Like many English idioms, this one comes from Shakespeare. In Shakespeare’s Othello the villian, Iago, gives the following speech:



It is as sure as you are Roderigo,

Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.

In following him, I follow but myself;

Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,

But seeming so, for my peculiar end;

For when my outward action doth demonstrate

The native act and figure of my heart

In complement extern, ’tis not long after

But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve

For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.

Othello, Act 1, Scene 1, 56–65

Don’t worry if you don’t understand this, not many native speakers do. The important part is the end, where Iago says he will display his true feelings by placing his heart on his sleeve (the arm of his shirt) for the birds or ‘daws’ to eat.

Example: Jamelia always wears her heart on her sleeve; if she’s sad, we know it.


Idiom: to be ‘on the rocks’

Normal English: to be near the end of a relationship.


This one is not so happy. If your relationship is ‘on the rocks’, it might be time to re-install Tindr. This idiom references a ship which has crashed into the coast. The ship may still be above water, but it is definitely going to sink.


Example: Kate and Mary’s relationship has been on the rocks ever since their dog died.


Idiom: puppy love

Normal English: young, adolescent love.


‘And they call it...puppy love’, so sang the 14 year old Donny Osmond in 1972, and this phrase has been a key part of Valentine’s Day ever since.


Puppy love refers to the pre-adolescent love you feel as a child. In the same way a puppy (baby dog) is devoted to its mother/owner, so children are dedicated to each other.


Puppy love is often used as a joke: it is sentimental and sugary.


Example: ‘Your son gave my daughter a Valentine’s card at school today’ ‘Ah how sweet, puppy love.’


Idiom:  the apple of my eye

Normal English: the person I love the most.


This idiom has a long history. Some scholars think it originally came from a mistranslation in the Bible. In the original, it would have been ‘aperture’ (hole) of my eye, but was misrecorded as the more confusing ‘apple’.


Nevertheless, this idiom has been used by poets, monarchs and English people of every type for centuries. As another saying goes, ‘everybody loves somebody’ and at one time or another, everyone has had ‘an apple’ for their eye.


Example: ‘Your new boyfriend is so sweet and attractive!!’ ‘Yes, he is the apple of my eye.’


Happy Valentine’s Day!


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