Smart Vocabulary-English Phrases and Idioms

English language is abundant with phrases and expressions. The phrases which might appear easy when you hear them for the first time may not have the literal same meaning as the words used in them. Such expressions are called idioms and using them in your conversation makes a good impression on the listener.

The idioms that I have listed below are all related to one part of the human body to another. Each has its own interesting interpretation. Let get started:

  • Head in the cloud

Meaning:

  • Dreamer
  • To be unaware of the present situation
  • Lack of presence in the current scene
  • Illogical or delusional

Usage:

He has been planning for setting up a big business without any idea of how he will manage the huge expenses that will be needed. His head is always in the cloud.

  • Let your hair down

Meaning:

  • To relax
  • To be do something freely
  • Unrestricted and carefree

Usage:

I had an extremely busy week, hence I have decided this weekend I will let my hair down and party all night.

  • Be all ears

Meaning:

  • Attentive
  • Listen keenly

Usage:

It was the bonus month, we were all ears awaiting the big announcement by the boss.

  • Lip service

Meaning:

  • To agree on something without showing any real support

Usage:

He agreed to my new business plan but it was more like a lip service, he did not contribute anything when it came to materializing the plan.

  • Keep one’s chin up

Meaning:

  • Be courageous in tough times
  • Show a brave front in adverse situation
  • To uphold a pleasant appearance in turbulent circumstances

Usage:

I have seen Ms. Smith go through the worst. She lost her wealth and property in the Tsunami yet she kept her chin up and built everything from scratch. Today everyone vouches for her stalwart personality.

  • Pain the neck/pain in the butt

Meaning:

  • Annoying
  • Irritating

Usage:

My worst child hood memories have been writing my Maths exams in school. Even though I prepared well but I could never score well, that subject was literally a pain in my neck.

  • Give someone a cold shoulder

Meaning:

  • Treat someone with contempt
  • To show an obvious displeasure towards somebody

Usage:

He continuously gave me a cold shoulder at work because he believed I had complained to the higher management about his last incomplete assignment.

  • To have your back against the wall

Meaning:

  • Limited options in tough times

Usage:

I hope the company has a good backup plan because if this deal also fails then their back is against the wall.

  • Be on someone’s back

Meaning:

  • Disapproving
  • Constantly annoying
  • Criticize

Usage:

My new boss is always on my back ever since I failed to deliver the proposed targets last time.

  • Get something off your chest

Meaning:

  • To disclose something that was causing stress
  • To feel unburdened by letting out a pent up emotions

Usage:

I have not slept so peacefully in years, I finally confessed to him about taking away more than my share in that deal. I feel something is off my chest.

  • Give your right arm

Meaning:

  • Desperate to achieve something
  • Do anything to get what you want

Usage:

He bought this new car and it is class apart. I can give my right arm to get one like that.

  • Put my finger on it

Meaning:

  • To identify exactly
  • To visibly point out

Usage:

Everything was perfect on our first date. Yet I said no to a second meeting. I could not point my finger to anything in particular. Just that something was missing.

  • Pull someone’s leg

Meaning:

  • To tease
  • To joke about someone to embarrass them
  • To take somebody’s case

Usage:

Everyone was pulling his leg once he told them about his new crush in the class.

  • Break a leg

Meaning:

  • Good luck
  • Best wishes before a performance

Usage:

As my name was announced for the next in line performance at this standup gig, my friend cheered me and said go break a leg.

  • To get your foot in the door

Meaning:

  • Enter an organization at a low position but with high chance of making it big in the future

Usage:

I was told if I made good contacts then I can get my foot in the door and get my hands on profitable deals.

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