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English Vocabulary

Idioms derived from parts of the body - Part II

Idioms are common in all kinds of English, formal and informal, spoken and written. Here is a list of idioms derived from the parts of the body.


Be out of your brain (be very drunk)

  • When he reached home last night, he was out of his brain.

Get your brain in gear (make yourself start thinking clearly and effectively)

  • I have got an important meeting today, so I have to get my brain in gear.

Rack your brain/brains (think very hard, usually in order to remember something or to find a solution to a problem)

  • I've been racking my brains but I still can't find a solution to this vexed problem.

Make a clean breast of it (confess a wrong doing)

  • At first he denied the offence, but later he decided to make a clean breast of it.

Cheek by jowl (very close together)

  • The children sat cheek by bowl in the packed hall.

Turn the other cheek (if you turn the other cheek, you donít get angry when someone attacks or insults you)

  • Non-violence policy requires that you turn the other cheek, when someone hits you.

Tongue in cheek (if you say something tongue in cheek, what you have said is a joke, although it might seem to be serious)

  • This book is a very engaging and at times tongue-in-cheek account of her brush with stardom.

Keep/play your cards close to your chest (not tell anyone what you plan to do)

  • You will never know what he is going to do next. He plays his cards close to his chest.

Get it off your chest (tell someone about something that has been worrying you)

  • If you have a problem, get it off your chest and you will feel better.

Keep your chin up (stay cheerful)

  • I was delighted to know that he was keeping his chin up despite all his difficulties.

Take it on the chin (be brave and not complain when bad things happen to you or people criticize you)

  • John took it all on the chin, though he was severely criticized by his boss.

Sections In This Article
Idioms derived from body parts - part I
Idioms derived from body parts - part II
Idioms derived from body parts - part III
Idioms derived from body parts - part IV

More English Vocabulary links
Words causing confusion
Words Confused owing to Similar Sound
Words Confused owing to faulty pronunciation
Common errors with nouns
irregular verbs
Verbs causing confusion
One-word Substitutes
Singular nouns that take plural verbs
Prepositional phrases




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