Idioms related to the body


Idioms are fascinating linguistic tools that add color and depth to our everyday language. These expressions, often consisting of a group of words whose meaning cannot be deduced from the individual words themselves, bring a unique charm to communication.

Unlike literal language, where words convey their exact, dictionary-defined meanings, idioms rely on cultural context and shared understanding. Imagine telling someone to “hit the hay” when suggesting they go to bed. The literal meaning might involve farm chores, but the idiom is universally understood as an invitation to sleep.

Idioms can be related to anything from food to the weather but in today’s blog we are going to talk about idioms that involve a part of the body, here are some examples: 

  • Learn (off) by heart – Aprender de memoria
  • A head start – Una ventaja inicial
  • Chin up – Ánimo / Levanta la cabeza
  • To get sth off your chest – Sacarse algo de encima
  • Off the top of my head – A bote pronto / Sin pensarlo mucho
  • To pick somebody’s brain – Consultar a alguien / Sacarle información a alguien
  • On the tip of one’s tongue – En la punta de la lengua
  • To pick a bone with somebody – Tener una queja con alguien
  • To be all ears – Estar todo oídos
  • Break a leg – Buena suerte (en teatro)
  • To get cold feet – Echarse para atrás / Dudar en el último momento
  • To be head over heels – Estar perdidamente enamorado
  • Over my dead body – Antes muerto que permitirlo
  • Play sth by ear – Improvisar / Ir viendo sobre la marcha
  • Rule of thumb – Regla general
  • See eye to eye – Estar de acuerdo / Ver las cosas de la misma manera
  • Stick one’s neck out – Arriesgarse / Comprometerse
  • Wash one’s hands of sth – Lavarse las manos / Desentenderse de algo
  • To give/get the cold shoulder – Dar/recibir la espalda
  • Get off somebody’s back – Dejar de molestar a alguien
  • To keep at arm’s length – Mantener a distancia
  • On the tip of one’s tongue – En la punta de la lengua
  • A sight for sore eyes – Un regalo para la vista

Now that you know what these idioms mean, take a look at the exercise on the next page and match the idiom with their meaning:

Match the idioms (1-12) with their meanings (A-L):

  1. Learn (off) by heart 
  2. A head start 
  3. Chin up 
  4. On the tip of one’s tongue
  5. To be all ears 
  6. Break a leg 
  7. To get cold feet 
  8. To be head over heels 
  9. Play sth by ear 
  10. See eye to eye 
  11. Stick one’s neck out 
  12. To give/get the cold shoulder 


  1. To take a risk or put oneself in a vulnerable position for the sake of something important.
  2. To be deeply and madly in love or infatuated with someone.
  3. To become nervous or hesitant about a decision or action, often just before it is to happen.
  4.  A phrase used to encourage someone to stay positive or resilient in the face of challenges.
  5.  To agree or have the same opinion on a particular matter.
  6.  To memorize something thoroughly; to know it by memory.
  7.  An early advantage or opportunity to begin before others, providing a favorable position.
  8.  When you know something but can’t recall it at the moment; the information is almost within reach.
  9. To handle a situation without a definite plan, improvising as needed.
  10.  To be fully attentive and eager to listen to someone or something.
  11.  To intentionally ignore or be ignored; to treat someone with deliberate coldness or indifference.
  12.  A theatrical expression wishing someone good luck, especially before a performance or presentation.