Let your hair down with these English body idioms

A great way to learn English idioms, and avoid the overwhelming feeling of their abundance, is to separate the idioms by category. I will help you with that by giving you some common English idioms related to our BODY. This is also a great way to review vocabulary of body parts, because it’s so easy to forget these words we may not use on a daily basis.

1. get under (someone`s) skin

– to really annoy, or bother someone. To make someone upset

My coworker is really getting under my skin, he’s always complaining, and never wants to do his own work. He also never cleans up after himself in the lunch room!

2. thick-skinned

– not sensitive, and not easily upset

Jackson had a very rough childhood. He was overweight, and the kids at school often bullied him. However, he learned to defend himself and love his body, so now he’s quite thick-skinned; nothing can hurt his feelings.

3. a breath of fresh air

– something that is new, or different from before

My soccer team finally won a game, which was a breath of fresh air, because we had lost the last 7 games!

4. Don’t hold your breath.

– an expression used to tell someone not to wait for something, because it probably won’t happen (implies you’d pass out from not breathing before the action would happen)

For her 16th birthday, Lucy really wanted a brand new car from her parents as a birthday present. When she asked her dad if she could have a new BMW, he dad replied, “Don’t hold your breath.”

5. at each other’s throats

– people who are arguing or fighting

Mark and his brother never get along, and have fought since they were children about everything. They are at each other’s throats every time they are together.

6. a shoulder to cry on

– someone that gives you support, advice, or is there for you when you need help or are upset

I am so grateful for my best friend last year, because when my parents got divorced she was my shoulder to cry on.

7. behind (someone`s) back

– doing something without someone knowing, often used negatively when you do something bad and don’t want the person to find out

John found out that his coworker, Jan, was talking bad about him behind his back. Jan was telling everyone that he was lazy and unintelligent.

8. get off (someone`s) back

– to leave someone alone, and stop nagging, bothering, or criticizing them

My parents didn’t like my job, because they thought I deserved a better one. It’s been weeks that they’ve been bothering me about finding a new one, and I really wish they’d get off my back.


Lately, I have been making discussion questions, or sentence ‘fill in the blanks’ for you to practice these new idioms; however, this week there is a new challenge! I would like to answer YOUR questions. In the comment section, practice your idioms and questions by writing a question for me to answer using these new idioms. Here is an example:

Q: Is there anyone you would like to get off your back?


Happy Studying ♥

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  1. […] shared idioms related to the body, in fact, you can learn more idioms about the body on my blog right here. (Just a note, you can also search for this topic and more in the search bar on the right side of […]

  2. Free Friday: #FBF | English Outside The Box on September 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm

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  3. Michel on May 24, 2014 at 5:32 am

    2- Do You know somebody that is always at each other’s throats ?

    • Jennifer on May 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      **Do you people that are….** because it’s 2(or more) people fighting and to answer you, yes. I do know people who are always at each other’s throats. I won’t say their names though, public forum. 🙂

      • Michel Kaiser on May 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

        Thanks, for your Feed back Jennifer, it is really important to me.

  4. Michel on May 24, 2014 at 5:23 am

    I liked this challenge..

    1- Have somebody ever been did something behind your back ?

    • Jennifer on May 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      I’m glad you liked it!!
      **Has somebody ever done something….** 3rd person singular verb here, and present perfect has + past participle (done).
      Answer: unfortunately, yes. Things have been done behind my back. Like you said, it can be hurtful and bothersome.

  5. KleesButterfly on May 23, 2014 at 4:32 am

    very informative, thank you! There are some idioms on this list that I’ve never heard of before.

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