Body parts – English idioms and sayings

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Pytanie English Odpowiedź English
A very long list.
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a list as long as arm
My shopping list is usually as long as my arm.
Something which has a sudden and positive effect on something.
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a shot in the arm
John's arrival was a real shot in the arm for this party.
To want something very much.
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to give one's right arm for sth
I would give my right arm for water. It's so hot!
The ability of the police and courts to force people to obey the rules.
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the long arm of the law
You'd better declare all your earnings or you won't escape the long arm of the law.
To be extremely expensive.
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to cost an arm and a leg
This new notebook will cost you an arm and a leg.
To use force and threats to make people do what one demands.
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to use strong-arm tactics
The police had to use strong-arm tactics in order to restore order.
To persuade someone to do something they do not want to do.
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to twist someone's arm
I didn't want to clean my room, but my mother twisted my arm and I had to do it.
One after another without interruption.
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back to back
I have three lectures back to back.
A polite phrase for rectum.
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back passage
My back passage hurts, I'm afraid I might be ill.
To do something without somebody knowing, in a way which is unfair.
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to do sth behind someone's back
My boss is very demanding, but I often take a coffee break behind his back.
To work extremely hard.
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to break one's back
I break my back doing all the housework without help.
To stop criticizing somebody.
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to get off somebody's back
Just get off his back and let him wear what he likes.
To really annoy someone.
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to get someone's back up
Clean the table or you'll get my back up.
We say it when we offer to help someone if they help us.
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You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
If I give Jane your number you'll give Suzy mine. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
To harm someone by treachery or betrayal of trust.
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to stab someone in the back
He was my best friend, I couldn't believe he stabbed me in the back like that.
To stop being involved in something. / To refuse to help someone.
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to turn one's back on something/someone
I know, my parents would never turn their back on me.
A beer belly (or pot belly) is, is the accumulation of visceral fat resulting in an increase in waist size.
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beer belly
Men in their forties often have beer bellies.
Very smooth.
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as smooth as a baby's bottom
This silk dress in as smooth as a baby's bottom.
To reach the lowest point in a continuously changing situation and to be about to improve.
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to bottom out
The prices of strawberries bottomed out last week.
The movement of people with education and skills from their own country to another country where they are paid more for their work.
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brain drain
Brain drain is a real disaster for a developing country.
To hit someone on the head.
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to brain someone
The victim was probably brained as he entered his flat.
To be physically strong but not very intelligent.
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to be all brawn and no brain
Many basketball players, unfortunately, are all brawn and no brain.
To spend a lot of time worrying about a problem and thinking about how to deal with it.
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to beat one's brains out
I'm beating my brains out trying to find a perfect holiday spot.
To ask for information or advice from someone who knows more about a subject than you do.
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to pick someone's brain
I don't know how to solve this riddle, I'd better go and pick John's brain.
When you say something as a joke, although you might appear to be serious.
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tongue in cheek
I never know when he is saying things tongue in cheek.
If things or people are cheek by jowl, they are very close together.
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cheek by jowl
I hate this place! The houses are cheek by jowl, you have no privacy here.
To show grief or guilt in an obvious or public way.
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to beat one's breast/chest
Don't beat your chest it was not your fault.
To reveal one's pent-up feelings.
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to get sth off one's chest
I'm glad I told you that. It feels so good to get it off my chest.
If you say that food or drink will put hair on someone's chest, you mean that the food will make them strong and healthy or that the drink is very alcoholic.
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to put hairs on one's chest
Come on! Have some doughnuts, they will put hairs on your chest.
Something that you say to someone in a difficult situation in order to encourage them to be brave and to try not to be sad.
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Keep your chin up.
Keep your chin up! We'll figure something out.
To be brave and not complain when bad things happen to you or people criticise you.
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to take it on the chin
I admire you, you are so strong, you always take it on the chin.
To be waiting eagerly to hear about something.
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to be all ears
Tell me what happened, I'm all ears.
To hit someone on the ear, usually as a punishment.
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to box someone's ears
Be quiet or I'll box your ears.
To be dismissed.
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to be out on one's ear
One day she was a top sales manager and the next day she was out on her ear.
Hard work, especially when cleaning something.
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elbow grease
You'll need some detergents and a lot of elbow grease to clean this mess.
1. Enough space to move around in. 2. The freedom to do what you want to do.
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elbow room
If we invite fifty people there'll not be enough elbow room for everyone.
To end a romantic relationship with someone.
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to give someone the elbow
They have been dating for four years and in the end he gave her the elbow.
If something can be seen with the naked eye, it can be seen without the help of a microscope.
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the naked eye
Viruses and bacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye.
When someone or something is eye-catching it is particularly attractive or noticeable.
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This dress is very eye-catching, it drives people attention.
Extremely quickly.
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in the blink of an eye
I'll do it in the blink of an eye.
To watch or look after something or someone.
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to keep an eye on something / someone
I'm going to take a shower, could you please keep an eye on the children?
To watch carefully for someone or something to appear.
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to keep an eye out for something / someone
Keep an eye out for rain.
To look at or read in a cursory manner.
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to run one's eye over
I didn't read this manual carefully, I just ran my eye over it.
To ignore something that you know is wrong.
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to turn a blind eye to sth
I saw him stealing the car, but I turned a blind eye to it because I was afraid.
To have a realistic understanding of your own ideas, actions, and decisions.
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to keep one's feet on the ground
I would like to have it, but I have to keep my feet on the ground I can't afford it.
To postpone doing what one should be doing.
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to drag one's feet
Come on, clean the table, don't drag your feet.
To suddenly become too frightened to do something you had planned to do.
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to get cold feet
I usually get cold feet just before the first date.
If you are keeping your fingers crossed, you are hoping for a positive outcome.
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to keep one's fingers crossed
I'm going for the job interview today, co keep your fingers crossed.
To be involved in lots of different things.
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to have a finger in every pie
Ask him, he might know he has, after all, he has a finger in every pie.
To identify someone as the guilty person.
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to point the finger at somebody
Don't point the finger at me, I didn't do it.
To remember;
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to put one's finger on
I know where I left it, I just can't put my finger on the exact spot.
To be clumsy and unable to hold things steadily without fear of dropping or damaging them.
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to be all fingers and thumbs
You'd better not give her this vase, she's all fingers and thumbs.
To do one's very best.
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to put one's best foot forward
Try to put your best foot forward and complete this project in time.
To say something by accident which embarrasses or upsets someone.
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to put one's foot in it
I thought she was pregnant, I guess I put my foot in it when I asked her when she was due.
To be very good at something.
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to be a dab hand at
He is a dab hand at cooking. He cooks as if he were a chef.
To have the power to do what you want.
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to have a free hand
I'm interested in the final result, you have free hand in everything else.
To have power and control.
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to have the upper hand
No surprise Italians won the match, they have the upper hand during the whole game,
To be discovered doing something illegal or wrong.
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to be caught red handed
He couldn't deny doing it, he was caught red handed.
To have an extremely close relationship, especially at work.
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to be hand in glove
Mary and Jane are hand in glove, they barely need to speak to know each other's thoughts.
When everyone helps to do something, it gets done quickly.
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Many hands make light work.
We got the tent standing in 5 minutes. Many hands make light work.
Said when asking someone to be kinder to you.
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Have a heart!
Have a heart! Don't make me work so late!
To cause a feeling of affectionate happiness.
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to warm the cockles of one's heart
Memories of my childhood always warm the cockles of my heart.
A person who treats other people badly and unfairly.
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Don't marry him, he's a heel. I bet he's going to beat you.
A fault or weakness in a person or system that can result in its failure.
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Achilles heel
Sweets are my Achilles heel.
To look shabby due to a lack of money
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to look down at heel
This restaurant looks rather down at heel, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to eat here.
To be completely controlled by something or someone.
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to be under the heel
Kate and John are under their mother's heel.
To have a party.
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to have a knees up
We are having a little knees up tonight, will you come?
Used to wish someone good luck, especially used in the theatre.
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Break a leg.
See you after the show! Break a leg!
To help someone to be more successful.
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to give someone a leg up
It gives one a leg up if one wants to become a doctor and has a doctor in the family.
To try to persuade someone to believe something which is not true as a joke.
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to pull someone's leg
Don't get mad, I was just pulling your leg.
To talk for a long time without stopping.
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to talk the hind leg(s) off a donkey
I can't stand her, she can talk the hind legs off a donkey.
If something crosses your mind, it means you think about it.
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to cross someone's mind
Such an idea didn't even cross my mind.
In speech but not in writing.
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by word of mouth
This agreement was reached by word of mouth, it's very informal.
Someone who has the brass neck to do something has no sense of shame about what they do.
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to have a brass neck
John has a brass neck to organize loud all-night parties.
To keep close watch on someone.
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to breathe down sb's neck
I can't focus with you breathing down my neck.
To be punished or severely criticized.
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to get it in the neck
I really got it in the neck when I hit my little brother.
To take a risk.
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to stick one's neck out
He shouldn't have stuck his neck out this way.
To be very involved in a situation.
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to be up to one's neck in sth
Judy is up to her neck in organizing her wedding.
To annoy someone.
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to get on someone's nerves
My boss really gets on my nerves.
To do something because you are angry, even if it is not in your best interest.
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to cut off one's nose to spite one's face
Don't quit your job because you're angry, it would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
You can use this expression to show that you don't care about something.
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It's no skin off my nose.
You can choose whichever you want, it's no skin off my nose.
When a woman says she is going to "powder her nose", she means she is going to the toilet.
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to powder one's nose
Excuse me, I need to powder my nose.
To annoy someone.
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to get up sb's nose
My father hates me singing, it really gets up his nose.
Not to like something because you think it is not good enough for you.
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to turn one's nose up at something
I gave him some beer, but he turned his nose up at it.
If you are thick-skinned, you do not get upset when people criticize you.
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to have a thick skin / to be thick skinned
He is very thick skinned, no remark can hurt him.
If you are thin-skinned, you get upset when people criticize you.
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to have a thin skin / to be thin skinned
Don't criticize him, he's very thin skinned.
By the smallest margin.
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by the skin of one's teeth
It was close, we escaped by the skin of our teeth.
To react angrily to something that someone says or does.
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to jump down someone's throat
My wife always jumps down my throat when I smoke.
If you have a green thumb or even green thumbs it means you are good at gardening, or growing plants.
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to have a green thumb
My father had a beautiful garden, well, he had a green thumb.
To conform to certain rules or standards.
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to toe the line
He will have to toe the party line, if he wants to become a minister.
An error in speaking in which a word is pronounced incorrectly, or in which the speaker says something unintentionally.
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a slip of the tongue
I didn't mean to reveal the secret, it was just a slip of tongue.

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