ARMS

arm of the law

The expression ‘arm of the law’ refers to the extent to which the authority or power of the law extends.
“He fled to South America hoping to escape the arm of the law.”

chance one’s arm

If you chance your arm, you try to do something even though there is little hope of success.
“Tony knew there was little hope of getting into Harvard but he decided to chance his arm anyway.”

cost an arm and a leg

If something costs an arm and a leg, it is very expensive.
“The new house cost us an arm and a leg, but we have no regrets.”

give your right arm

If you say “I’d give my right arm for that”, you mean that you want it a lot and would do almost anything to obtain it.
“I’d give my right arm to have an apartment on Central Park.”

up in arms

If you are up in arms about something, you are very angry.
“The population was up in arms over the demolition of the old theatre.”

(keep) at arm’s length

If you keep someone at arm’s length, you do not allow yourself to become too friendly with them.
“It’s not easy to become friends with Sophie; she tends to keep everyone at arm’s length.”

ELBOW:

more power to your elbow

The expression ‘more power to your elbow’  is used to express praise or encouragement to someone for doing something.
“I’ve left my job and I’m going to work free-lance from now on.”  “Well, more power to your elbow!

(use) use elbow grease

If you use elbow grease, you need energy and strength to do physical work such as cleaning or polishing.
“It took a considerable amount of elbow grease to renovate the house.”

elbow room

If you need some elbow room, you need more space to move.
“We shared a small office where neither of us had enough elbow room.”

BACK

behind someone’s back

If you do something behind someone’s back, you do it without letting them know about it./ To do something without them knowing, in a way which is unfair.
“I bought the car behind his back and now he’s really angry.”/

break your back

If you work extremely hard, or put a lot of effort into achieving something, you break your back to do it.
“If you want the job done well, you should accept to pay more. He’s not going to break his back for such a low price!”

get off my back!

If you tell someone to get off your back, you are asking them to stop finding faults or criticizing you.
“Liz, please, get off my back! You’ve been making comments about my work all morning!”

have your back to the wall

If you have your back to the wall, you are in serious difficulty
“With his back to the wall, the supplier had to accept the deal.”

keep your back covered

If you do something in case a problem might arise later, for which you might be blamed, you keep your back covered.
“You’d better make a copy of that letter to keep your back covered.”

scratch someone’s back

If you scratch someone’s back, you offer to help someone if they help you
“If you find a job for my son, I’ll vote for me. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

stab in the back

Someone who stabs you in the back, betrays you by doing something harmful to you when you thought you could trust them.
“His best friend stabbed him in the back by voting against him.”

BELLY:

go belly up

If a business or project goes belly up, it is unsuccessful or goes bankrupt.
“The restaurant went belly up before the end of the first year.”

(a) belly laugh

A belly laugh is a spontaneous, uncontrolled, hearty laugh.
“The comedian hoped that his jokes would produce long belly laughs.”

yellow belly / yellow bellied

A person who is yellow-bellied is cowardly, or not at all brave.
“The bus was full of yellow-bellied passengers who disappeared when the driver was attacked by two youths.”

STOMACH:

(have) butterflies in your stomach

If you have butterflies in your stomach, you are feeling very nervous.
“At the beginning of an exam, I always have butterflies in my stomach.”

(have a) cast iron stomach

If you can eat all sorts of food, and drink what you like, without any indigestion, discomfort or bad effects, it can be said that you have a cast-iron stomach.
“I don’t know how you can eat that spicy food. You must have a cast-iron stomach!”

BLOOD

that makes my blood boil!

If something makes your blood boil, it makes you really angry.
“His condescending attitude made my blood boil!”

make your blood run cold

Something that makes your blood run cold  shocks or scares you a lot.
“The look in the prisoner’s eyes made my blood run cold.”

blood, sweat and tears

A project or action which involves blood, sweat and tears requires a lot of effort and hard work.
“His success wasn’t due to luck. It was blood, sweat and tears all the way.”

BODY:

body language

Body language refers to any movement of the body that communicates emotions or information.
“He looks calm but his body language reveals a defensive attitude.”

enough to keep body and soul together

This expression means to have just enough to survive.
“In my first job I earned just enough to keep body and soul together.”

over my dead body

The expression ‘over my dead body’ is used when you absolutely refuse to allow someone to do something.
“Mum, can I get my nose pierced?” “Over my dead body!”

BONES:

bag of bones

To say that someone is a bag of bones means that they are extremely thin.
“When he came home from the war he was a bag of bones.”

have a bone to pick with someone

If you have a bone to pick with someone, you are annoyed with them and want to talk to them about it.
“Mark wants to see the boss. He says he’s got a bone to pick with him.”

bone of contention

A bone of contention is a matter or subject about which there is a lot of disagreement.
“The salaries have been agreed on, but opening on Sundays is still a bone of contention.”

make no bones about something

If you make no bones about something, you don’t hesitate to say something in a frank and open way.
“I made no bones about it. I told him his offer was unacceptable.”

throw someone a bone

If you throw someone a bone, you say something kind or reward them in some way to make them feel good.
“The old man can’t help very much but Bill throws him a bone now and then to keep him happy.”

work your fingers to the bone

A person who works their fingers to the bone is extremely hardworking.
“He deserves his success; he worked his fingers to the bone when he started the business.”

beat one’s brains out

If someone beats their brains out, they try very hard to understand something or solve a problem.
“My grandmother beats her brains out every evening trying to do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper.”

brain like a sieve

Someone who has a brain like a sieve has a very bad memory and forgets things easily.
“Oh, I forgot to buy the bread – I’ve got a brain like a sieve these days!”

all brawn and no brain

Someone who is physically very strong but not very intelligent is said to be all brawn and no brain.
“He’s an impressive player to watch, but he’s all brawn and no brain.

have something on the brain

If you have something on the brain, you think or talk about it all constantly.
“Stop talking about golf. You’ve got golf on the brain!”

(a) no-brainer

A decision or choice that requires little or no thought, because the best option is so obvious, is called a no-brainer.
“The choice was between a cash refund or having the amount credited to my account – it was a no-brainer. I took the cash!”

brains behind something

Someone who is the brains behind a project or action is the person thought to have planned and organised everything.
“The police have arrested a man believed to be the brains behind the bank robbery.”

pick someone’s brains

If you pick someone’s brains, you ask questions about a particular subject in order to obtain advice or information.
“Could we have lunch together? I’d like to pick your brains about something.”

rack one’s brains

If you rack your brains, you try very hard to think of something or to remember something.
“Christmas is always a hassle for me. I have to rack my brains every year to find ideas for presents.”

wrap your brain around something

If you concentrate on something in an effort to understand, you wrap your braiin around it.
“I need a translation of this report urgently, so wrap your brain around it fast!”

all ears

To say that you are all ears means that you are listening very attentively.
“Of course I want to know – I’m all ears!

fall on deaf ears

If something such as a suggestion or a request falls on deaf ears, it is ignored.
“I told Mark not to take any risks, but my advice fell on deaf ears.”

go in one ear and come out the other

To say that information goes in one ear and comes out the other means that it is immediately forgotten or ignored.
“I keep telling him about the risks but it goes in one ear and out the other. He never listens!”

grin from ear to ear

If somebody is grinning from ear to ear, they look very satisfied and happy.
“When we saw Paul grinning from ear to ear, we knew he had passed the exam.”

keep your ear to the ground

If you keep your ear to the ground, you make sure that you are aware of all that is happening and being said.
“We don’t know what has been decided, but Jack is keeping his ear to the ground!”

lend an ear

If you lend an ear to someone, you listen carefully and sympathetically.
“The best person to talk to is Jenny. She’s always ready to lend an ear.”

make one’s ears burn

If something makes your ears burn, you are embarrassed by what you hear, especially if the conversation is about you.
“The comments I overheard made my ears burn.”

music to your ears

If something is music to your ears, the information that you receive makes you feel very happy.
“His compliments were music to my ear.”

prick up your ears

If you prick up your ears, you suddenly pay attention to what is being said.
“The children pricked up their ears when they heard the word ‘ice-cream’.”

turn a deaf ear

If you turn a deaf ear to something, you refuse to listen.
“Sam turned a deaf ear to his wife’s advice and went off in the rain without an umbrella.”

play it by ear

To play it by ear means to improvise or act without preparation, according to the demands of the situation.
(Music: to play by remembering the tune, without printed music.)
“It’s hard to know how the situation will develop. Let’s just play it by ear.”

apple of your eye

A person, usually a child, who is the apple of your eye is one for whom you have great affection.
“My grandson is the apple of my eye.”

in the blink of an eye

If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens nearly instantaneously, with hardly enough time to notice it.
“The pickpocket disappeared in the blink of an eye.”

catch someone’s eye

If someone catches your eye, you find them attractive.
“The pretty girl near the door caught his eye.”

half an eye

If you have or keep half an eye on something, you watch it without giving it your full attention.
“She kept half an eye on the TV screen while she was preparing dinner.”

in the eye of the storm

A person or organisation who is in the eye of the storm is deeply involved in a difficult situation which affects a lot of people.
“The minister was often in the eye of the storm during the debate on the tax reform.”

in one mind’s eye

If you can visualise something, or see an image of it in your mind, you can see it in your mind’s eye.
“I can see the village in my mind’s eye but I can’t remember the name.”

in the twinkling of an eye

The expression ‘in the twinkling of an eye‘ means ‘very fast’ or ‘instantaneously’.
“Public opinion can change in the twinkling of an eye.”

look someone in the eye

If you look someone in the eye, or eyes, you look at them directly so as to convince them that you are telling the truth, even though you may be lying.
“He looked the boss in the eye and said he had noticed nothing unusual.”

more than meets the eye

This expression means that something is more complicated or more interesting than it first appears.
“They say it’s just a disagreement, but we think there’s more to it than meets the eye.”

one in the eye

If an event or development is an unexpected disappointment or defeat for someone, you can say that it is one in the eye for that person.
“My promotion was one in the eye for my ambitious colleague.”

see eye to eye

If you see eye to eye with somebody, you agree with them.
“I’m glad we see eye to eye on the choice of colour scheme.”

spit in someone’s eye

If you spit in someone’s eye, you treat that person with disrespect or contempt.
“Your father raised you as best he could. Don’t start spitting in his eye.”

turn a blind eye

If you turn a blind eye to something, you pretend not to notice what someone is doing.
“The old man turns a blind eye when he sees children taking apples from his garden.”

before your very eye

If someone does something before your very eyes, they do it in front of you, without attempting to hide what they are doing.
“He took the rubbish and, before my very eyes, he threw it into the neighbour’s garden!”

eagle eyes

Someone who has eagle eyes see or notices things more easily than others.
“Tony will help us find it – he’s got eagle eyes!”

eyes like a hawk

If you’ve got eyes like a hawk, you have good eyesight and notice every detail.
“Of course Dad will notice the scratch on his car – he’s got eyes like a hawk.”

eyes on stalks

If your eyes are on stalks when you look at something, they are wide open with surprise or amazement.
“The child’s eyes were on stalks as he watch the magician’s performance.”

eyes wide open

If you do somethingwith your eyes (wide) open, you are fully aware of what you are doing.
“I took on the job with my eyes wide open so I’m not complaining.”

feast one’s eyes on (something)

If you feast your eyes on something, you are delighted and gratified by what you see.
“As he drove along the coast, he feasted his eyes on the beautiful scenery.”

lay/set/clap eyes on

If you lay/set/clap eyes on someone or something, you look at or see them.
“I’ve heard of him but I’ve never clapped eyes on him.”

(a) sight for sore eyes

The expression ‘a sight for sore eyes’ refers to a person or thing that you are happy to see.
“Sam! You’re a sight for sore eyes! I haven’t seen you in a long time!”

raise eyebrows

Someone who raises their eyebrows at something shows surprise or disapproval by the expression on their face.
“When the boss arrived in jeans, there were a lot of raised eyebrows.”

not bat an eyelid

To say that someone does not bat an eyelid means that they do not seem shocked or surprised, nor are they nervous or worried. They show no emotion.
“When the sentence was pronounced, the prisoner didn’t bat an eyelid.”

FACE

face like a bulldog chewing a wasp

To say that someone has a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp means that you find them very unattractive because they have a screwed-up ugly expression on their face.
“Not only was he rude but he had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp!”

face like thunder

If someone has a face like thunder, they look very angry.
“When Dad is really angry, he has a face like thunder!”

face like a wet week-end

If someone has a face like a wet week-end, they look sad and miserable (as if their week-end had been spoiled).
“What’s wrong with Pete? He’s got a face like a wet week-end!”

face only a mother could love

This is a humorous way of saying that someone is ugly or unattractive.
“The poor guy has a face only a mother could love.”

face that would stop a clock

Someone who has a face that would stop a clock has a shockingly unattractive face.
“You’ll recognize him – he’s tall and thin, with a face that would stop a clock.”

face the music

If you have to face the music, you have to accept the unpleasant consequences of your actions.
“He was caught stealing. Now he has to face the music.”

face value

If you take something at its face value, you assume that it is genuinely what it appears to be.
“The car seems to be in good condition, but don’t take it at its face value; get a mechanic to check it out.”

change the face of (something)

When an innovation, discovery or event changes the face of something, it alters it completely or in a major way.
“Social networks have changed the face of modern communication.”

blow up in someone’s face

When working on a plan or project, if it suddenly goes wrong or fails, it blows up in your face.
“He accepted to organise the trip, but it blew up in his face when the airline company went on strike.”

brave face

When confronted with difficulties, if you put on a brave face, you try to look cheerful and pretend that the situation is not as bad as it looks.
“Even at the worst of times she put on a brave face.”

poker face

If you have a poker face, you show no emotion at all.
“All during the trial the suspect kept a poker face.”

save face

When someone saves face, they manage to avoid humiliation or embarrassment and preserve both their dignity and the respect of others.
“They allowed him to save face by accepting his resignation.”

keep a straight face

If you keep a straight face, you look serious although you really want to laugh.
“Our teacher was dressed so strangely that it was hard to keep a straight face!”

two-faced

Someone who is two-faced  is deceitful or insincere;  they will say one thing when you are present, and something else when you are not there.
“I don’t trust Billy. I find him two-faced.”

CHEEK:

cheek by jowl

When people are cheek by jowl, they are crammed uncomfortably close together.
“The refugees are living cheek by jowl in a temporary camp.”

of all the cheek!

Expresses annoyance or irritation at what someone has done or said.
“He said my presentation was one of the poorest. Well, of all the cheek!”

tongue in cheek

If you describe a remark as ‘tongue in cheek‘ you mean that it is not meant to be taken seriously; it is meant to be funny or ironic.
“Peter’s remark was taken more seriously than intended.  It was supposed to be tongue in cheek.

turn the other cheek

The expression ‘turn the other cheek’  means to accept mistreatment or rudeness without retaliating.
“Yes, he was very unpleasant, but I took that as unnecessary provocation, so I turned the other cheek.

CHIN:

keep your chin up

If you keep your chin up, you try to remain optimistic and cheerful when you find yourself in a difficult or unpleasant situation.
“You didn’t win this time but keep your chin up. There will be plenty more occasions.”

take it on the chin

When you take it on the chin, you are brave and accept adversity, criticism or defeat without complaining.
“When his contract was not renewed, Mark took it on the chin.”

FEET

feet of clay

If someone who is admired is found to have a weakness, fault or defect of character, they are said to have feet of clay.
“No one is perfect. Many successful people have feet of clay

back on your feet

If you are back on your feet, after an illness or an accident, you are physically healthy again.
“My grandmother had a bad ‘flu, but she’s back on her feet again.”

cut the ground from under someone’s feet

When someone cuts the ground from under another’s feet, they do something which weakens their position or spoils their plans.
“When we launched the new product, we cut the ground from under our competitors’ feet.”

drag one’s feet

If you say that a person is dragging their feet, you think they are unnecessarily delaying a decision which is important to you.
“The government is dragging it’s feet on measures to reduce pollution.”

find one’s feet

To say that someone in a new position is finding their feet means that they are learning what to do and gaining self-confidence.
“Our new trainee is beginning to find his feet.”

get cold feet

If you get cold feet about something, you begin to hesitate about doing it; you are no longer sure whether you want to do it or not.
“I wanted to enter the competition but at the last minute I got cold feet.”

get one’s feet wet

If you get your feet wet (or dip your toes in the water), you start to do something new or unfamiliar or explore new territory for the first time.
“It will be a totally new experience for me but I can’t wait to get my feet wet!

have itchy feet

A person who has itchy feet  is someone who finds it difficult to stay in one place and likes to move often and discover new places.
“Scott never stays long anywhere. He’s got itchy feet!”

have the world at your feet

If you have the world at your feet, you are extremely successful and greatly admired.
“The talented young actress has the world at her feet.”

keep your feet on the ground

A person who keeps their feet on the ground continues to act in a sensible and practical way, even if they become successful.
“Success hasn’t changed him. He has always kept his feet on the ground.”

land on your feet

If you land on your feet, you make a quick recovery after a difficulty such as a business failure, an illness, a loss, etc.
“Don’t worry about Bob. He always lands on his feet.”

pull the rug from under someone’s feet

If you pull the rug from under someone’s feet, you suddenly and unexpectedly remove all help or support.
“When Andy’s mother stopped sending him money, she pulled the rug from under his feet and forced him to find a job.”

regain one’s feet

If you regain your feet, you stand up again after stumbling or falling.
This expression can also mean that you are once again financially solvent after a difficult period.
“John helped his father to regain his feet when he tripped on the steps.”

rushed off your feet

If you are rushed off your feet, you are extremely busy.
“I’d love to have lunch with you but I’m rushed off my feet at work!”

stand on your own two feet

If you stand on your own two feet, you are independent and need no help from anyone.
“When young peope leave home, they learn to stand on their own two feet.”

think on one’s feet

A person who thinks on their feet  is capable of making good decisions without previous thinking or planning.
“Good lawyers need to be able to think on their feet when pleading a case.”

have two left feet

If you have two left feet, you are clumsy or awkward in your movements.
“I’m afraid I’m a bad dancer! I’ve got two left feet!”

FOOT:

my foot!

The expression ‘my foot!‘ is used to show that you do not believe something that has just been said.
“He said he had a summer home? My foot!  I doubt if he owns a tent!”

have/get a foot in the door

If you say that someone has a foot in the door, you mean that they have a small but successful start in something and will possibly do well in the future.
“With today’s unemployment, it’s difficult to get a foot in the door in any profession.”

have one foot in the grave

A person who is either very old or very ill and close to death has one foot in the grave.
“It’s no use talking to the owner. The poor man has one foot in the grave.”

put one’s best foot forward

If someone puts their best foot forward, they do something as fast as they can.
“It’s a long way to the station but if I put my best foot forward I should catch the next train.”

put one’s foot down

To put one’s foot down means to exert authority to prevent something from happening.
“The child wanted to sleep on the sofa, but his father put his foot down and made him go to bed.”

put one’s foot in one’s mouth

If you put your foot in your mouth, you do or say something that offends, upsets or embarrasses someone else.
“She really put her foot in her mouth when she mentioned the housewarming party – Andy hadn’t been invited!”

right/wrong foot

To get off (or start off) on the right/wrong foot means to start a relationship well or badly.
“I was looking forward to working with Anna but we seem to have started off on the wrong foot.”

the shoe is on the other foot

When the circumstances have reversed, and one person is now doing what the other person did in the past, you can say that the shoe is on the other foot.
“I used to advise my children to eat healthy food, but now that my daughter is a nutritionist, the shoe is on the other foot! “

shoot yourself in the foot

If you shoot yourself in the foot, you do or say something which is against your own interests.
“When Julie was asked at the interview if she had any weaknesses, she really shot herself in the foot the way she answered.”

get a foothold

If you get a foothold somewhere, you secure a position for yourself in a business, profession or organisation.
“The contract got the firm a foothold in the local administration.”

footloose and fancy free

A person who is footloose and fancy free has few responsibilities or  commitments of any kind and feels free to do as they please.
“John will never get married. He says he prefers to be footloose and fancy free.”

FINGERS

five-finger discount

If somebody gets a five-finger discount, they take something without paying; in other words, they steal.
“How could he afford that watch?” 
“Who knows – perhaps with a five-finger discount?”

get your fingers burnt

If you get your fingers burnt, you suffer as a result of an unsuccessful action and are nervous about trying again.
“He got his fingers burnt so badly in the last elections that he decided to withdraw from politics.”

hang on by the fingernails

When you hang on by the fingernails, you manage to continue to do something in a very difficult situation.
“The restaurant is losing more and more customers; the owner is just hanging on by the fingernails.”

have a finger in every pie

If someone has a finger in every pie, they are involved in a large and varied number of activities and enterprises.
“For information about the activities in this town, you should talk to John Brown.  He’s got a finger in every pie.”

keep your fingers crossed

If you keep our fingers crossed, you hope that something will be successful.
“I’m doing my driving test tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me.”

keep your finger on the pulse

If you keep your finger on the pulse, you are constantly aware of the most recent events or developments.
“A successful investor keeps his finger on the pulse of international business.”

not lift a finger

Someone who does not lift a finger makes no effort to help or provide assistance when it is needed.
“Many people saw the boy falling off his bike but not one of them lifted a finger.”

put a finger on something

If you are able to identify or understand something such as the cause of a problem or the solution to it, you put your finger on it.
“The atmosphere at the meeting was strange, but Marie couldn’t put a finger on the cause of it.”

put something on the long finger

If you put something on the long finger, you postpone it indefinitely.
“She says she intends to go back to college, but she keeps putting it on the long finger.”

all fingers and thumbs

If  you are all fingers and thumbs, you are awkward and clumsy and do things incorrectly.
“Would you mind wrapping this for me? I’m all fingers and thumbs!”

let slip through fingers

If you let something slip through your fingers, such as a good opportunity, you fail to obtain it or keep it.
“He should have accepted the job when it was offered. He let the opportunity slip through his fingers.”

have sticky fingers

Someone who has sticky fingers has a tendency to steal.
“Items have been disappearing from the stock recently. Do any of the employees have sticky fingers?”

works your fingers to the bone

A person who works their fingers to the bone is extremely hardworking.
“He deserves his success; he worked his fingers to the bone when he started the business.”

KNUCKLE(S):

knuckle down

If someone knuckles down to something, they start to work on it seriously.
“If you want to succeed, you’ll have to knuckle down to some serious work.”

near the knuckle

Something said to be ‘near the knuckle‘ is close to the limits of what people find acceptable, especially if it is sexually suggestive, or offensive to particular groups.
“Some of his jokes are a bit near the knuckle.”

rap someone on the knuckles

If someone gets a rap on/across the knuckles, they are punished or reprimanded, not very severely, but as a reminder not to do that again.
“Andy got a rap on the knuckles for leaving the kitchen in a mess.”

THUMB:

all thumbs / all fingers and thumbs

If you are all fingers and thumbs, you are awkward and clumsy and do things incorrectly.
“Would you mind wrapping this for me? I’m all fingers and thumbs!”

stick out like a sore thumb

If something sticks out like a sore thumb, it is very obvious or visible in an unpleasant way.
“The modern building sticks out like a sore thumb among the old houses.”

under your thumb

If someone is under your thumb, they are completely under your control or influence.
“Nobody ever protests. He has the whole group under his thumb.”

bad hair day

Originating as a humorous comment about one’s hair being unmanageable, this term has broadened to mean a day when everything seems to go wrong.
“What’s wrong with Jenny? Is she having a bad hair day?”

hair of the dog

Using as a remedy a small amount of what made you ill, for example a drop of alcohol when recovering from drinking too much, is called ‘a hair of the dog that bit you’.
“Here, have a drop of this. It’s a hair of the dog that bit you!”

by a hair’s breadth

If you avoid or miss something by a hair’s breadth, you only just manage to escape from a danger.
“A slate fell off the roof and missed the child by a hair’s breadth.”

get in someone’s hair

If you are getting in someone’s hair, you are annoying them so much that they can’t get on with what they are doing.
“I’d finish the report more quickly if my colleague wasn’t getting in my hair all the time.”

let your hair down

If you suggest that someone should let their hair down, you are telling them to relax and enjoy themselves.
“Come on! We’re not in the office now. You can let your hair down!”

makes your hair stand on end

If you are absolutely terrified of something, it makes your hair stand on end.
“Just the thought of getting on a plane makes my hair stand on end!”

(not/never) a hair out of place

If someone does not have a hair out of place, their appearance is perfect.
“Angela is always impeccably dressed – never a hair out of place.”

tear one’s hair out

If someone is tearing their hair out, they are extremely agitated or distressed about something.
“I’ve been tearing my hair out all morning trying to find the error.”

(not) turn a hair

If someone does not turn a hair, they show no emotion in circumstances where a reaction is expected.
“When the police came to arrest him, he didn’t turn a hair.”

split hairs

If you split hairs, you pay too much attention to differences that are very small or unimportant.
“If we start splitting hairs, we’ll never reach an agreement!”

widow’s peak

A V-shaped point formed by the hair in the centre of the forehead is called a widow’s peak.
(It was believed to be a sign of early widowhood.)

on hand

If something, such as supplies or people, are on hand, they are present or readily available.
“Extra pillows and blankets are on hand if needed.”

hand in glove

Two or more people who are in collusion, or work in close association, are said to be hand in glove.
“After the match, it was discovered that he was hand in glove with the referee.”

hand in hand

If two or more things go hand in hand, they are associated or often happen at the same time.
“In big cities, poverty and violence often go hand in hand.”

hand it to someone

If you hand it to someone, you admit, perhaps unwillingly, that they deserve credit or praise for their achievements.
“You’ve got to hand it to Sophie. She may be a snob, but her presentations are always excellent.”

hand (to someone) on a platter/plate

If someone get something easily, without having to make an effort to obtain it, it is handed to them on a platter.
“Donald was appointed sales director in his father’s company. The job was handed to him on a platter.”

bite the hand that feeds you

If you bite the hand that feeds you, you are unfriendly or do harm to someone who is kind to you.
“If you say bad things about the person who gives you a job, you bite the hand that feeds you.”

(at) first hand

If you experience something yourself directly, without any intermediary, you experience it (at) first hand.
“Getting to see the performance (at) first hand is much better than watching it on television.”

force someone’s hand

If you force someone’s hand, you make them do something unwillingly or sooner than planned.
“The interviewer forced Brad’s hand and made him reveal his relocation plans.”

have a free hand

If you have a free hand, you have permission to make your own decisions, especially in a job.
“My boss gave me a free hand in the choice of agent.”

get out of hand

If a person or situation gets out of hand, they cannot be controlled any longer.
“During the student demonstration, things got out of hand and several shop windows were broken.”

heavy hand

Dealing with or treating people with a heavy hand means acting with discipline and severity, with little or no sensitivity.
“He ran the juvenile delinquent centre with a heavy hand.

iron hand/fist in a velvet glove

This expression is used to describe someone who, behind an appearance of gentleness, is inflexible and determined.
“To impose the necessary reforms, the leader used persuasion followed by force – an iron hand in a velvet glove.”

left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing

To say that ‘the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing’ means that within a group or organisation, communication is so bad that one person doesn’t know what another person is doing.

like the back of one’s hand

If you know something like the back of your hand, you are very familiar with it and know it in detail.
“Of course I won’t get lost. I know London like the back of my hand!”

live from hand to mouth

If you live from hand to mouth, you don’t have any money to save because whatever you earn is spent on food and other essentials.
“Most families in that area live from hand to mouth.”

on hand

If you overplay your hand, you are overconfident and spoil your chances of success by trying to obtain too much.
“Sam is hoping for a bonus for his good results, but he may be overplaying his hand if he asks for a promotion.”

upper hand

If a person or organisation gets or gains the upper hand, they take control over a situation.
“The authorities claim to have the upper hand in the fight against drinking and driving.”

one hand washes the other (and together they wash the face)

This expression means that when people cooperate and work well together, there is a better chance of a achieving results.

hands full

If you have your hands full, you are very busy or have a lot to do.
“Jenny has her hands full looking after three young children.”

(all) hands on deck

When there is a need for all hands on deck, everyone must help, especially if there’s a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time.
“As the opening day approached, it was all hands on deck to have everything ready in time.”

the devil makes work for idle hands

This expression means that people who do not have enough to do are often tempted to do something wrong.
“It’s not good for kids to have nothing to do at the week-end; the devil makes work for idle hands!”

get your hands dirty

If you get your hands dirty in your job, you become involved in all aspects of it, including work that is physical, unpleasant or less interesting.
“His willingness to get his hands dirty won the respect and approval of the whole team.”

in safe hands

If something is in safe hands, it is being looked after by a reliable person or organisation, and is therefore at no risk.
“I’ll look after Jamie while you go shopping. Don’t worry – he’ll be in safe hands.”

hands tied

If a person has their hands tied, something such as an agreement or a rule is preventing them from doing what they would like to do.
“Mark deserves to earn more, but the manager’s hands are tied by the recent salary agreement.”

play into someone’s hands

If you play into someone’s hands, you do exactly what your opponent or enemy wants you to do, so that they gain an advantage over you.
“When the leaders of the protest movement became violent, they played right into the hands of the police.”

a show of hands

A show of hands is a method of voting where people give their opinion by raising a hand.
“How many people agree? Could we have a show of hands please?”

take the law into your own hands

If, instead of calling the police, you act personally against someone who has done something wrong, you take the law into your own hands.
“Instead of calling the police, he took the law into his own hands and confronted the youth who had stolen his son’s scooter.”

wash your hands of something

If you wash your hands of a problem or situation, you refuse to deal with it any longer.
“You can’t just wash your hands of David’s behaviour. He’s your son!”

on hand

If you overplay your hand, you are overconfident and spoil your chances of success by trying to obtain too much.
“Sam is hoping for a bonus for his good results, but he may be overplaying his hand if he asks for a promotion.”

upper hand

If a person or organisation gets or gains the upper hand, they take control over a situation.
“The authorities claim to have the upper hand in the fight against drinking and driving.”

one hand washes the other (and together they wash the face)

This expression means that when people cooperate and work well together, there is a better chance of a achieving results.

hands full

If you have your hands full, you are very busy or have a lot to do.
“Jenny has her hands full looking after three young children.”

(all) hands on deck

When there is a need for all hands on deck, everyone must help, especially if there’s a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time.
“As the opening day approached, it was all hands on deck to have everything ready in time.”

the devil makes work for idle hands

This expression means that people who do not have enough to do are often tempted to do something wrong.
“It’s not good for kids to have nothing to do at the week-end; the devil makes work for idle hands!”

get your hands dirty

If you get your hands dirty in your job, you become involved in all aspects of it, including work that is physical, unpleasant or less interesting.
“His willingness to get his hands dirty won the respect and approval of the whole team.”

in safe hands

If something is in safe hands, it is being looked after by a reliable person or organisation, and is therefore at no risk.
“I’ll look after Jamie while you go shopping. Don’t worry – he’ll be in safe hands.”

hands tied

If a person has their hands tied, something such as an agreement or a rule is preventing them from doing what they would like to do.
“Mark deserves to earn more, but the manager’s hands are tied by the recent salary agreement.”

play into someone’s hands

If you play into someone’s hands, you do exactly what your opponent or enemy wants you to do, so that they gain an advantage over you.
“When the leaders of the protest movement became violent, they played right into the hands of the police.”

a show of hands

A show of hands is a method of voting where people give their opinion by raising a hand.
“How many people agree? Could we have a show of hands please?”

take the law into your own hands

If, instead of calling the police, you act personally against someone who has done something wrong, you take the law into your own hands.
“Instead of calling the police, he took the law into his own hands and confronted the youth who had stolen his son’s scooter.”

wash your hands of something

If you wash your hands of a problem or situation, you refuse to deal with it any longer.
“You can’t just wash your hands of David’s behaviour. He’s your son!”

all in your head

If something is all in your head, it is not real. It is in your imagination.
“Don’t be silly.Nobody is trying to harm you.  It’s all in your head!”

bite someone’s head off

If you bite someone’s head off, you criticize them strongly (and perhaps unfairly).
“I worked 10 hours a day all week and my boss bit my head off for not doing my share of the work!”

can’t make head or tail of

If you can’t make head or tail of something, you can’t understand it at all.
“Amy’s message was so confusing. I couldn’t make head or tail of it!”

come to a head

If a problem or difficulty comes to a head, it reaches a point where action has to be taken.
“The problem came to a head yesterday when rioting broke out in the streets.”

drum something into someone’s head

If you teach something to someone through constant repetition, you drum it into their head.
“When we were kids at school, multiplication tables were drummed into our heads.”

bang your head against brick wall

If you bang your head against a brick wall, you continue vainly to try and achieve something in spite of several unsuccessful attempts.
“I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall trying to explain the internet to my grandmother.”

have your head in the clouds

If you have your head in the clouds, you are so absorbed by your thoughts that you are not paying attention to what is happening around you.
“He doesn’t listen to the teacher – he’s got his head in the clouds all the time!”

(want someone’s) head on a platter

If someone makes you so angry that you want them to be punished, you want their head on a platter.
“He was so angry when he read the article about his family that he wanted the journalist’s head on a platter.”

(be) head and shoulders above

To say that one person is head and shoulders above the others means that they are much better than the rest of them.
“The award winner was head and shoulders above the others

old head on young shoulders

This expression is used to refer to a child or young person who thinks and expresses themselves like an older more-experienced person.
“When she heard Emily warning her little brother to stay out of trouble, her mother thought: “That’s an old head on young shoulders“.”

(have your) head screwed on

Someone who has their head screwed on is a sensible and realistic person.
“Don’t worry about him. He’s adventurous but he’s got his head screwed on.”

(a) head start

If you have a head start, you have an advantage that enables you to make progress more quickly and have a greater chance of success.
“Bringing detailed maps of the area gave us a head start over the others in the treasure hunt.”

(be/fall) head over heels in love

When a person falls passionately in love with another, they are said to be head over heels in love.
“Tony’s only interest at the moment is Maria. He’s head over heels in love with her!”

hit the nail on the head

If you hit the nail on the head, you are absolutely right about something or have guessed the exact nature of a problem or situation.
“You hit the nail on the head when you said Mark had money problems. He’s lost his job!”

in over your head

If you are in over your head, you are involved in something that is too difficult for you to handle.
“I agreed to organise the festival, but I quickly realized that I was in over my head!”

keep head above water

To keep one’s head above water means to try to survive by staying out of debt, for example a small business.
“Business has been slow, but we’ve managed to keep our head above water.”

keep a level head

If you keep a level head,  you remain calm and sensible no matter  how difficult or distressful the situation may be.
“All through the hijacking the pilot kept a level head.”

off the top of your head

To say something off the top of your head means that you are giving an immediate reaction, and not a carefully considered opinion, so it might not be correct.
“How much do you think it will cost?” “Off the top of my head I’d say around $1000.”

put your head on the block

If you put yourself in a dangerous situation where you risk losing your job or your reputation if things go wrong, you put your head on the block.
“Jenny asked me to recommend her son for the job, but I’m not putting my head on the block for someone I hardly know.”

rear its ugly head

If something unpleasant reapppears after lying dormant for some time, it rears its ugly head.
“It is feared that fascism is rearing its ugly head again in some countries.”

swelled/swollen head

Someone who has a swelled or swollen head has become proud or conceited, usually because of a recent success.
“Larry’s promotion has given him a swelled/swollen head!”

wet the baby’s head

This expression means to have drink to celebrate the birth of a baby.
“When his first child was born, Tom invited his colleagues to a local bar to wet the baby’s head.”

HEART

(a) change of heart

If someone has a change of heart, they change their attitude or feelings, especially towards greater friendliness or coperation.
“He was against charity, but he had a change of heart when he saw the plight of the homeless.”

(to your) heart’s content

If you do something to your heart’s content, you do it as much and for as long as you want.
“When my parents are away, I can watch television to my heart’s content!”

(have your) heart in your mouth

A person who has their heart in their mouth feels extremely anxious or nervous faced with a dangerous or unpleasant situation.
“Emma had her heart in her mouth when she saw her two-year-old son standing in front of the open window.”

(have your) heart in the right place

A person who has their heart in the right place has kind feelings and good intentions, even if the results are not too good.
“The old lady’s cake wasn’t wonderful but she’s got her heart in the right place!”

(have your) heart set on something

Someone who has their heart set on something wants it very much.
“From an early age Tiger had his heart set on becoming a professional golfer.”

(have a) heart of stone

Someone who has a heart of stone is a cold person who shows others no understanding, sympathy or pity.
“She’s not the person to go to if you’ve got problems – she’s got a heart of stone!”

(the) heart of the matter

The most important part or aspect of a situation is called the heart of the matter.
“We need to get to the heart of the matter – what caused the accident?”

(wear your) heart on sleeve

If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you allow others to see your emotions or feelings.
“You could see she was hurt – she wears her heart on her sleeve.”

(someone’s) heart misses a beat

If your heart misses (or skips) a beat, you have sudden feeling of fear or excitement.
“When the lights suddenly went out, my heart missed a beat.”

(someone’s) heart sinks

If your heart sinks, you feel very unhappy and despondent.
My heart sank when I saw the amount of work waiting for me.”

put your heart into something

If you put your heart (and soul) into something, you are very enthusiastic and invest a lot of energy and hard work in it.
“Paul was determined to make a success of the project. He put his heart and soul into it.”

tug at the heartstrings

Something or someone who tugs at the heartstrings causes others to feel a great deal of pity or sadness.
“The hospital’s plea for donors tugged at the heartstrings of millions of viewers.”

LUNGS:

at the top of one’s lungs

If you shout at the top of your lungs, you shout as loudly as you possibly can.
“The place was so noisy that I had to shout at the top of my lungs to be heard.”

KNEES

bee’s knees

To say that someone/something is the bee’s knees means that you think they are exceptionally good.
“If you say “Chloe thinks she’s the bee’s knees” you mean that
Chloe has a high opinion of herself.”

on its knees / bring to its knees

When something such as a country or organisation is on its knees, or brought to its knees, it is in a very weak situation.
“The civil war brought the country to its knees.”

knee-high to a grasshopper

This term refers to a very young or small child.
“Last time I saw you, you were knee-high to a grasshopper!”

weak at the knees

Someone who is weak at the knees is (temporarily) barely able to stand because of emotion, fear or illness.
“The shock of the announcement make me go weak at the knees!”

LEGS:

not have a leg to stand on

To say that someone does not have a leg to stand on means that they cannot prove what they say.
“Three people testified against him. He didn’t have a leg to stand on.”

on one’s last legs

If you are on your last legs, you are in a very weak condition or about to die.
“I was so sick that I felt as though I was on my last legs!”

pull (someone’s) leg

If you pull somebody’s leg, you tease them by telling them something that is not true.
“Of course I’m not going to buy a sports car. I was just pulling your leg!”

put your pants on one leg at a time

To say that someone puts their pants on one leg at a time means that the person is a human being no different from anyone else.
“Don’t be scared to speak to him. He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us!”

have sea legs / find your sea legs

A person who has sea legs is used to walking on a moving ship, or has the ability to adjust to a new situation.
“It takes a while in a new job to find your sea legs.”

HEELS:

Achilles heel

This expression refers to a vulnerable area or a weak spot, in an otherwise strong situation, that could cause one’s downfall or failure.
“He’s extremely intelligent, but his inability to speak in public is his Achilles heel.”

bring someone to heel

If you force someone to behave in a disciplined manner, you bring them to heel.
“The boy had always behaved badly, but the new headmaster managed to bring him to heel.”

cool one’s heels

If you are left to cool your heels, someone keeps you waiting.
“After rushing to be on time for my appointment, I was left to cool my heels in the waiting room for an hour.”

dig in your heels

If you dig in your heels, you refuse to do something, especially if someone is trying to convince you to do so.
“My grandfather dug in his heels and refused to move to an apartment.”

hairy at the heel

A person who is hairy at the heel is thought to be untrustworthy or even dangerous.
“Rumour has it that the owner of the club is a bit hairy at the heel.”

TOES:

dip one’s toes in the water

If you dip your toes in the water, or get your feet wet, you start to do something new or unfamiliar, or explore new territory for the first time.
“It will be a new experience for me, but I can’t wait to dip my toes in the water!”

keep someone on their toes

If you keep someone on their toes, you make them stay alert and ready for action at any time.
“The manager never announces his visits beforehand. That’s his way of keeping the personnel on their toes.”

step/tread on someone’s toes

If you annoy or irritate someone by intervening in a situation that is their responsibility, you step on their toes.
“I could offer some advice but I’m afraid of stepping on someone’s toes.”

LIPS

lip service

If you pay lip service to an idea or cause, you give verbal support or approval, but fail to actually do anything.
“In spite of promising equal pay for women, the management is suspected of paying lip service to the promotion of women’s rights”.

stiff upper lip

If a person keeps a stiff upper lip, they contain their emotion and do not let other people see their feelings.
“When she heard the bad news, she kept a stiff upper lip.”

(my) lips are sealed

If you say that your lips are sealed, you promise not to reveal a secret.
“I promise I won’t tell anyone. My lips are sealed.”

smack/lick one’s lips

To say that a person is smacking or licking their lips means that they are showing that they are excited about something and are eager for it to happen.
“They were smacking their lips at the idea of the money they were going to make.”

MOUTH:

all mouth and no trousers

This is said of someone who talks a lot about doing something but never actually does it.
“He keeps saying he’s going to resign and travel around the world, but he’s all mouth and no trousers.”

butter wouldn’t melt in (someone’s) mouth

If you say that someone looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth, you mean that they look completely innocent, but that they are capable of doing unacceptable things.
“The boy who stole the purse looked as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.”

down in the mouth

When someone is down in the mouth, they look unhappy, discouraged or depressed.
“You look a bit down in the mouth. What’s the matter?”

foam at the mouth

Someone who foams at the mouth is extremely angry about something.
“The director was foaming at the mouth when he saw a picture of his children in the newspaper.”

live from hand to mouth

If you live from hand to mouth, you don’t have any money to save because whatever you earn is spent on food and other essentials.
“Most families in that area live from hand to mouth.”

make one’s mouth water

Food can make your mouth water when it looks and smells extremely good.
“That delicious smell from the kitchen is making my mouth water.”

put your money where your mouth is

If you put your money where your mouth is, not only do you express your interest, you give financial support to causes that you believe in.
“If people are really interested in helping the underprivileged, they should put their money where their mouth is.”

take words out of mouth

If you say exactly what someone else was going to say, you take the words out of their mouth.
“I entirely agree with you. You took the words out of my mouth.”

say a mouthful

If you make an important or lengthy remark, you say a mouthful.
“The customer said a mouthful when he gave the reason for his dissatisfaction.”

NECK

neck and neck

In a contest or competition, when two competitors reach the same level, they areneck and neck, so it is impossible to say who will win.
“At the moment the two teams are neck and neck for the Word Cup.”

(a) millstone around your neck

Something described as a millstone around your neck refers to a problem or responsibility that becomes a burden and a source of worry.
“The money he borrowed became a millstone around his neck.”

(a) pain in the neck

If you call someone a pain in the neck, you think they are very irritating or annoying.
“She’s a pain in the neck the way she keeps complaining!”

stick one’s neck out

If a person sticks their neck out, they draw attention to themselves by saying or doing something that others are afraid to do.
“Julie stuck her neck out and said that the sales target would be impossible to reach without extra staff.”

a yoke around one’s neck

An obligation, commitment or restraint that becomes an oppressive burden is called a yoke around one’s neck.
“When Matt lost his job, the repayments on the house became a yoke around his neck.”

THROAT:

at each other’s throats

Two people who areat each other’s throats are always fighting or arguing.
“The two candidates for the election are constantly at each other’s throats.”

cut your own throat

If you cut your own throat, you do something that will be the cause of your own failure or ruin your chances in the future.
“Tony has already missed a lot of classes. He’s cutting his own throat.”

jump down someone’s throat

If someone jumps down another person’s throat, they suddenly start shouting at them in a very angry manner.
“When I said the instructions were not very clear, she jumped down my throat!”

ram (something) down someone’s throat

If you ram something down someone’s throat, you force them to accept something against their will.
“I encourage him to learn English but I can’t ram it down his throat.”

stick in one’s throat

If something sticks in your throat (or craw), it is very difficult to accept and makes you angry or resentful.
“The way he treats women really sticks in my throat!”

nose out of joint

If something puts your nose out of joint, it offends or annoys you.
“When he discovered he wasn’t on the invitation list, that really put his nose out of joint

follow your nose

If you follow your nose, you go straight ahead.
This can also mean to follow your instinct in life.
“The station is at the end of the road – just follow your nose.”

have your nose in a book

If you have your nose in a book, you are totally concentrated on the book you are reading.
“Julie had her nose in a book during the whole journey.”

keep your nose clean

A person who keeps their nose clean behaves well and avoids trouble.
“He spent a term in prison a few years ago but he’s kept his nose clean ever since.”

keep nose to the grindstone

A person who keeps their nose to the grindstone is someone who concentrates on working or studying hard.
“Carla was so determined to get into the college of her choice that she kept her nose to the grindstone all year.”

led by the nose

Someone who is led by the nose is dominated or controlled by a person or group who makes them do exactly what they want.
“Jack has always been led by the nose by his mother.”

look down one’s nose

If someone looks down their nose at a person or thing, they consider that person or thing as inferior.
“Intellectuals often look down their noses at amusement parks and such.”

no skin off someone’s nose

To use this expression means that you don’t care if something happens.
“It’s no skin off my nose if he doesn’t accept the invitation – I don’t care one way or another.”

turn up one’s nose

If you turn up your nose at something, you reject it because you think it is not good enough for you.
“He’s out of work, but he turns up his nose at any job he’s offered.”

win by a nose

When there is a very slight difference between the winner and the other competitors, victory is won by a nose.
“One second ahead of the others, he won by a nose.”

SHOULDER

a chip on the shoulder

If someone has a chip on the shoulder, they feel resentful because they feel they are being treated unfairly, especially because of their background, their sex or their colour.

give someone the cold shoulder

To give someone the cold shoulder means to deliberately ignore them.
“After giving my opinion, he gave me the cold shoulder.”

old head on young shoulders

This expression is used to refer to a child or young person who thinks and expresses themselves like an older more-experienced person.
“When she heard Emily warning her little brother to stay out of trouble, her mother thought: “That’s an old head on young shoulders“.”

put your shoulder to the wheel

If you put your shoulder to the wheel, you start putting a lot of effort into a difficult task.
“We’ll have to put our shoulders to the wheel to get the store ready for the opening day.”

rub shoulders

If you rub shoulders with someone, you have an opportunity to meet and talk to a person who is wealthy, famous or distinguished.
“In her job in public relations, Jenny sometimes rubs shoulders with famous people.”

(a) shoulder to cry on

If you need ‘a shoulder to cry on’, you need to talk to someone who will listen to your problems and give sympathy and support when you are upset.
“You can call me any time if you need a shoulder to cry on.”

shoulder surfing

The practice of looking over somebody’s shoulder when they are using a computer, cash dispenser or other electronic device, in order to obtain personal information (identification, account number, password, etc.) is called shoulder-surfing.

SKIN:

all skin and bone

If someone is all skin and bone, they are very thin or too thin.
“After trekking in the Himalayas, he was all skin and bone.”

by the skin of your teeth

To do or achieve something by the skin of our teeth means that you just managed to do it, but that you almost failed.
“Leo passed the driving test by the skin of his teeth!”

jump out of one’s skin

If you jump out of your skin, you are extremely surprised or shocked.
“Jane nearly jumped out of her skin when the horse put its head through the kitchen window!”

more than one way to skin a cat

The expression ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ means that there are many different ways of achieving something.
“How about trying a different method? There’s more than one way to skin a cat you know!”

(no) skin off one’s nose

To use this expression means that you don’t care if something happens.
“It’s no skin off my nose if he doesn’t accept the invitation – I don’t care one way or another.”

skin someone alive

If you are angry and threaten to skin someone alive, you mean that you are going to punish them severely.
“If that kid damages my car again, I’ll skin him alive!”

(put) skin in the game

If you put skin in the game, you show your confidence in a company by making a considerable investment or a financial commitment.
“I got good news today. Apparently a serious investor is willing to put skin in the game.”

by the skin of one’s teeth

If you manage to do something by the skin of your teeth, you succeed in doing it but you almost fail.
“The traffic was so heavy I thought I’d miss the train, but I caught it by the skin of my teeth.”

grit your teeth

When you are determined to do something in spite of the difficulties involved, you grit your teeth.
“To reach safety I had to grit my teeth and wade through the mud.”

lie through your teeth

If you lie through your teeth, you lie openly and brazenly, knowing that what you are saying is completely false.
“I saw him breaking the window. If he denies it, he’s lying through his teeth.”

like pulling teeth

Something that is like pulling teeth is extremely difficult to obtain, especially if trying to extract information from someone.
“Getting him to talk about his job was like pulling teeth!”

sink one’s teeth into (something)

If you sink your teeth into something, you do it with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
“When Julie got promoted, she immediately sank her teeth into her new job.”

(have a) sweet tooth

Someone who has a sweet tooth enjoys eating sweet things like sugar, pastries, chocolate, etc.
“My mother will be delighted if you bring her chocolates – she’s got a sweet tooth.”

teeth chattering

If your teeth are chattering, you are extremely cold.
“Was I cold? My teeth were chattering!”

teething problems

The difficulties encountered during the initial stage of an activity or project are called teething problems.
“We had some teething problems when we first opened the bookshop, but now everything is okay.”

bite your tongue

If you bite your tongue, you stop yourself from saying what you really think.
“Sam decided to bite his tongue rather than get into an argument.”

get your tongue round something

If you are able to pronounce a difficult word or phrase, you can get your tongue round it.
“She’s from the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. Try getting your tongue round that!”

give the (rough) edge of your tongue

If you give the (rough) edge of your tongue, you scold someone severely or speak to them very aggressively or rudely.
“My boss was so angry that I really got the rough edge of his tongue.”

hold your tongue

If you hold your tongue, you stay silent and say nothing.
“The party was supposed to be a surprise, but unfortunately the little boy couldn’t hold his tongue.

keep a civil tongue

People who keep a civil tongue express themselves in polite terms.
“Don’t speak so rudely! You must learn to keep a civil tongue in all circumstances.”

(a) slip of the tongue

A slip of the tongue is a small spoken error or mistake.
“Did I say ‘blow down’? – Sorry, I meant ‘slow down’ – that was a slip of the tongue!”

on the tip of your tongue

To say that a word or answer is on the tip of your tongue, means that you’re sure you know it but have difficulty finding it.
“What’s that actor’s name? I know it … it’s on the tip of my tongue!”

tongue in cheek

If you describe a remark as ‘tongue in cheek‘ you mean that it is not meant to be taken seriously; it is meant to be funny or ironic.
“Peter’s remark was taken more seriously than intended. It was supposed to be tongue in cheek.”

tongue-lashing

When you scold someone severely, you give them a tongue-lashing.
“The teacher gave Jeremy a tongue-lashing when arrived late for school.”

tongue-tied

If you are tongue-tied, you have difficulty in expressing yourself because you are nervous or embarrassed.
“At the start of the interview I was completely tongue-tied!”

tongues are wagging / set tongues wagging

When tongues are wagging, people are beginning to spread gossip or rumours, often about someone’s private life.
“The photograph of the couple that appeared in a magazine really set tongues wagging.”

silver-tongued

A silver-tongued person is a smooth talker who speaks so convincingly that they manage to persuade others to do what they want.
“A silver-tongued salesman persuaded my mother to buy a new washing machine although the one she had was fine!”