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Body idioms in English

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January! It is the first month of the New Year and the one of resolutions! As I walked past the gym near my house I saw that even more people had joined and the place was surprisingly crowded. And then it got to me! It’s January; the month when the majority of people decide to focus on their body and get fit. So this is what I’m going to do today. I’m going to focus on the body and get your brains fit with some useful body idioms. Enjoy!

To be all ears

This is a funny picture to imagine literally, but to be all ears doesn’t have to do anything with your hearing tools and abilities. It simply means that someone is ready to pay full attention to what another person has to say.
Tell me all about your last holidays! I’m all ears!

head with ears

Behind somebody’s back

How many of you indulged into mischief when you were children? Did you try to get rid of the healthy-disgusting food you were served while your mum wasn’t looking? Well that was very naughty of you. To do something behind someone’s back means to do something without this person knowing about it. It’s important to say that this idiom has a negative meaning as it refers to doing something rather unfair.
I don’t trust Mike. He says all these kinds of bad things behind people’s back.

Chip on your shoulder

Now if someone has done something behind your back, then you have the right to have a chip on your shoulder! This doesn’t mean that there is something on your shoulder of course. It just means that you express an angry behaviour because you feel unfairly treated.
I had a great chip on my shoulder at the meeting as I felt everyone was against me.

chip on shoulder

A sight for sore eyes

Usually when my eyes are sore all I want to see is nothingness, as this is the only treatment I can think of. But I guess I wouldn’t be upset if my best friend appeared with a delicious chocolate cake in front of my eyes. It would be a sight for sore eyes and would cheer me up for sure! If you call someone or something a sight of sore eyes, it means that you are happy to see it/them. This idiom can also mean that you find someone very attractive.
What a lovely dress! You are certainly a sight for sore eyes!


To get cold feet

It’s winter and it’s freezing so I bet your feet get cold quite often. However, this phrase doesn’t have much to do with your body temperature. To get cold feet means to feel scared to do something you were planning to do, especially if it's a big decision or something you've never done before, such as getting married or do bungee jumping!

Many people get cold feet when they are about to ask for a raise!

snowmen cold feet


Idioms are an important part of learning a language as they are not only about vocabulary and structures. They are a piece of a nation's culture and therefore it is worth learning as many as you can!

What kind of body idioms do you have in your mother tongue? Are there any body idioms which are the same or similar in English? Please share your thoughts and comments below!