bare your heart (or soul) to someone
If you bare you heart (or soul) to someone, you reveal your innermost thoughts and feelings to them.
“Mike couldn’t keep things to himself any longer. He decided to bare his soul to his best friend.”
bear the brunt
A person who bears the brunt of something is the one who suffers the most when something bad or unpleasant happens.
“When things go wrong, his assistant always has to bear the brunt of his anger. “
bent out of shape
If you get bent out of shape, you become annoyed or upset about something that is usually not that important or cannot be avoided.
“Don’t get bent out of shape if you’re delayed. We’ll wait for you.”
beside yourself (with emotion)
If you are beside yourself (with an emotion), you lose your self-control because of the intensity of the emotion you are feeling.
“He was beside himself with grief when he lost his son.”
bored to tears (also: bored to distraction/bored to death/bored silly)
If you find something so dull and uninteresting that it makes you sad enough to cry, you are bored to tears.
“I could see that my son was bored to tears by the historical documentary.”
carry the torch for someone
If you carry the torch, you have strong feelings for someone with whom you do not or cannot have a relationship.
“He’s been carrying the torch for Julie since their college days, before she married Ted.”
wouldn’t be caught/seen dead
If someone says that they wouldn’t be caught or seen dead in a particular place or doing something, they mean that they would be too ashamed or embarrassed.
“My seven-year-old son thinks he’s a big boy; he wouldn’t be caught dead holding my hand in front of his friends!”
If someone is cheesed off with something, they are annoyed, bored or frustrated.
“Jenny is absolutely cheesed off with her job.”
(have a) chip on your shoulder
If someone has a chip on their shoulder, they are resentful because they feel they are being treated unfairly, especially because of their background, their sex or their colour.
“He’s got a chip on his shoulder because he’s from a working-class family.”
close to home
If a remark or comment is close to home, it is so true, or it affects you so directly, that you feel uncomfortable.
“Alan looks embarrassed. Bob’s comment must have been close to home.”
come apart at the seams
To say that someone is coming apart at the seams means that they are extremely upset or under severe mental stress.
“Bob has had so many problems lately, he’s coming apart at the seams.”
cork up something
If you cork up your feelings or emotions, you fail to show or express them.
“It would be better if she showed her grief and didn’t cork up her feelings.”
cut to the quick
If you cut someone to the quick, you hurt their feelings or offend them deeply.
“Alan was cut to the quick when Joe expressed doubt about his sincerity.”
If you talk about how someone is, or feels, deep down, you are describing what they are like or what they really feel deep inside, behind the outward appearance.
“He appears to be indifferent to his success, but deep down he’s very happy”
(like a) fish out of water
If you feel like a fish out of water, you feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.
“As a non-golfer, I felt like a fish out of water at the clubhouse.”
fit of pique
Someone who reacts by showing their resentment or annoyance when their pride has been wounded, or they feel insulted, is said
to have a fit of pique.
“His partner left the table in a fit of pique.”
A Freudian slip is a mistake made by a speaker which is considered to reveal their true thoughts or feelings.
“So you got the job – I’m so sad … Sorry, I mean ‘glad’!”
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!”
get a grip on yourself
If you get a grip on yourself, you try to control your feelings so as to be able to deal with a situation.
“After the initial shock, Lisa got a grip on herself and called an ambulance.”
get something out of your system
This expression means that you get rid of a strong emotion or desire by expressing it openly or trying to fulfill it.
“Tell you parents how you feel – it’s better to get it out of your system.”
get worked up
If you get worked up about something, you become upset, annoyed or excited, often unnecessarily.
“It’s his first day at school tomorrow and he’s all worked up about it.”
If someone becomes very emotional and starts behaving in a crazy way, they go bananas.
“If you announce that you are going to drop out of school, your parents will go bananas!”
go off the deep end
If a person goes off the deep end, they become so angry or upset that they cannot control their emotions.
“Eva will go off the deep end if her kids leave the kitchen in a mess again.”
go to pieces
If you go to pieces, for example after a terrible shock, you are so upset or distressed that you cannot lead a normal life.
“Jack nearly went to pieces when his son died in a car crash.”
If you groan inwardly, you feel like expressing despair, disapproval or distress, but you remain silent.
“On his return, when Pete saw the pile of files on his desk, he groaned inwardly.”
Enjoying something which is not generally held in high regard, while at the same time feeling a bit guilty about it, is called a guilty pleasure.
“Reading gossip magazines is a guilty pleasure for many women… and some men too!”
(as) hard as nails
A person who is (as) hard as nails is unsentimental and shows no sympathy.
“Don’t expect any sympathy from him. He’s as hard as nails.“
head over heels in love (with someone)
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!”
change of heart
If someone has a change of heart, they change their attitude or feelings, especially towards greater friendliness or cooperation.
“He was against charity, but he had a change of heart when he saw the plight of the homeless.”
couldn’t give a hoot
To say that you don’t or couldn’t give a hoot means that you don’t care at all about something.
“She wears eccentric clothes but she couldn’t give a hoot about what others think.”
hot under the collar
If you get hot under the collar, you feel annoyed, indignant or embarrassed.
“If anyone criticises his proposals, Joe immediately gets hot under the collar.”
keep a 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 the bad news was announced, she kept a stiff upper lip.”
lick one’s wounds
When a person licks their wonds, they try to recover their confidence or spirits after a defeat, failure or disappointment.
“Poor Hugo is licking his wounds after being dropped from the team.”
look on the bright side
If you look on the bright side, you view a mostly unpleasant situation in a positive and optimistic way and the see the favourable aspects.
“OK. You know nobody. But look on the bright side – you’ll make lots of new friends!”
love me, love my dog
This expression means that if someone loves you, they must love everything about you, including everyone and everything you love.
“Harry didn’t like Sally’s best friend, but Sally said : ‘love me, love my dog!'”
(have a) lump in your throat
If you have a lump in your throat, you have a tight feeling in your throat because of a strong emotion such as sadness or gratitude.
“The speech was so touching that I had a lump in my throat.”
makes your 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.”
makes your flesh crawl
Something that makes your flesh crawl fills you with disgust or makes you feel very nervous.
“Just talking about snakes makes my flesh crawl!”
(have) mixed feelings
When you have mixed feelings about something, you react to it with conflicting emotions; you are happy and unhappy at the same time.
“I had mixed feelings about leaving the company. I was excited about my new job but sad to be leaving my colleagues.”
no hard feelings
If you have no hard feelings, you feel no resentment or bitterness about something.
“When Alan was promoted instead of Steve, he said to Steve : ‘No hard feelings I hope.”
not give a hang
If you do not give a hang about something, you are totally indifferent to it and do not care at all about it.
“I’m not interested in football so I don’t give a hang about which team wins.”
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.”
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!”
open (or reopen) old wounds
If you open or reopen old wounds you revive memories of an unpleasant event, situation or dispute that took place in the past.
“He carefully avoided the subject so as not to open old wounds.”
pour your heart out
If you pour your heart out to someone, you express your feelings freely.
“When she needs to pour her heart out to someone, Elsa goes to visit her grandmother.”
(as) proud as a peacock
A person who is as proud as a peacock is extremely proud.
“When his son won first prize, Bill was as proud as a peacock.”
proud/pleased as punch
Someone who is as proud or pleased as punch is delighted or feels very satisfied about something.
“Dad was as proud as punch when he won the tennis match.”
put your foot in your mouth
If you put your foot in your mouth, you say something that offends, upsets or embarrasses someone.
“Jenny really put her foot in her mouth when she mentioned the housewarming party – Andy hadn’t been invited.”
reduce someone to tears
If your behaviour or attitude makes someone cry, you reduce them to tears.
“The teacher criticised her presentation so harshly that she was reduced to tears.”
regain your composure
If you regain your composure, you calm down and control your emotions again after a stressful or upsetting event.
“It took her a while to regain her composure after hearing the insulting remarks.”
When someone saves face, they manage to avoid humiliation or embarrassment and preserve their dignity and the respect of others.
“They allowed him to save face by accepting his resignation.”
(have a) soft spot
If you have a soft spot for someone or something, you particularly like them.
“My grandfather has always had a soft spot for his first grandchild.”
If something speaks volumes, it expresses a reaction or opinion very clearly, with no need for words.
“The happy smile on the child’s face when he opened the box spoke volumes about my choice of gift.”
let off steam
A person who lets off steam releases surplus energy or strong feelings either through intense physical activity or by talking in an unrestrained manner.
“Let’s bring the kids to the playground so they can let off steam.”
If someone gets steamed up about something, they become very angry, excited or enthusiastic about it.
“Calm down – there’s no need to get all steamed up about it!”
in a stew
When someone is in a stew about something, they are worried and agitated.
“When she was organizing the wedding reception, Laura got into a stew over the seating arrangements.”
in a stitherum
Someone who is (all) in a stitherum is excited, agitated or confused about something.
“The mayor’s resignation created quite a stitherum in the town.”
strike/hit a raw nerve
If something you say strikes or hits a raw nerve, it upsets someone because they are very sensitive about the subject.
“You struck a raw nerve when you mentioned divorce. They’re separating.”
swallow one’s pride
If you swallow your pride, you accept something humiliating or embarrassing, for example having to admit that you are wrong or that you have less knowledge that you thought.
“When Jill failed the exam, she had to swallow her pride and repeat the course.”
Pleasant but unimportant words that lovers say to each other are called sweet nothings.
“He whispered sweet nothings in her ear as they danced.”
take a fancy (to someone)
If you take a fancy to someone or something, you develop a fondness for them or begin to like them.
“I think Paul has taken a fancy to the new intern!”
take a load/weight off your mind
If something takes a load (or weight) off someone’s mind, it brings great relief because a problem has been solved.
“When the company closed down, finding a new job took a load off Tom’s mind.”
tear your 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!”
A person who is on tenterhooks is in a state of anxious suspense or excitement.
“The candidate were kept on tenterhooks for hours while the panel deliberated.”
thank your lucky stars
When someone says they can thank their lucky stars, they are expressing heartfelt gratitude or feeling particularly fortunate.
“I can thank my lucky stars I wasn’t on the train that crashed.”
think the sun rises and sets on someone
If you consider someone to be the most wonderful person in the world, you think the sun rises and sets on them.
“She adores her husband – she thinks the sun rises and sets on him!”
think the world of someone
If you think the world of someone, you like or admire them very much.
“She’s a wonderful grandmother – the children think the world of her.”
If something such as a feeling or reaction is thinly veiled, it is barely hidden.
“The boy’s disappointment was thinly veiled when he opened his present.”
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!”
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.”
(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.”
knock/take the wind out of your sails
If someone or something knocks or takes the wind out of your sails, they make you feel less confident by doing or saying something that you do not expect.
“The bank’s rejection of my request for a loan really took the wind out of my sails.”
turn on the waterworks
If someone turns on the waterworks, they start to cry, especially to obtain something.
“If he doesn’t get what he wants, the child immediately turns on the waterworks.”
over the moon
If you are over the moon, you are absolutely delighted.
“We were all over the moon when we heard the good news.”
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!”
wear your heart on your sleeve
If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you allow others to see your emotions or feelings.
“You could see that she was hurt – she wears her heart on her sleeve!”
wish the ground would swallow you up
When you are so embarrassed by something that you would like to disappear, you wish the ground would swallow you up.
“When I realized I was reading the wrong report, I stood there in front of the group wishing the ground would swallow me up!”
be/mean the world to someone
When you are or mean the world to someone, you are very important or precious to them.
“His daughter means all the world to Mr. Jones.”
throw a wobbly
When someone, generally a capricious person, throws a wobbly, they have a fit of nerves or bad temper and lose all self-control, usually because of something unimportant.
“He’s a very calm person – not the sort of man to throw a wobbly if he doesn’t have a clean shirt!”
written all over face
When someone’s feelings or thoughts are very clear, you can say that they are written all over their face.
“Her affection for her grandson was written all over the old lady’s face.”