ABC of Idioms with Body Parts

 Hello world-class nurses!

Kamusta mga pogi =)

This week I’d like to write about idioms. The English language has thousands of idioms. By an “idiom” we mean a number of words which, when taken together, have a different meaning from that of each separate word. If at the end of a long day, a person tells you that they’re “on their knees”, they are using “knees” idiomatically to mean that they’re extremely tired and feel like collapsing. If someone talks about their money worries and in the same breath tells you that they’re just about “managing to keep their head above water”, they mean that they’re struggling to keep out of debt.

In English, words and phrases connected with parts of the body are extremely common in idioms. Here are a few idioms connected with body parts beginning with ABC. Should you enjoy them, let me know; there are lots more to follow.


To keep someone at arm’s length: to avoid being friendly.

To give one’s right arm (usually with would): to be willing to make a sacrifice to get something.


To be on one’s back: to be ill in bed.

To have one’s back to the wall: to be struggling against great difficulty.


Blood is thicker than water: one’s own relations come before all other people.

To get blood out of a stone: to achieve the impossible.


To be all skin and bone: to be very thin

To make no bones about doing something: to have no hesitation in doing something (usually unpleasant).


A scatter-brained person: a careless, forgetful person

To rack one’s brains: to think very hard; to solve a problem or remember something.


To have the cheek to do something: to be bold, rude enough to do something.

To turn the other cheek: to refuse to retaliate.


To have a chin-wag: to chatter, talk with friends about unimportant matters.

To take something on the chin: to suffer severe difficulties with courage.

These idioms were shared from Everyday English for International Nurses. There are lots more to follow should you enjoy them. How many idioms do you know with body parts EARS, EYES and FACE?

Share the idioms you know with these body parts so that together you build your repertoire as a team of world-class English speaking nurses.

Warm hugs from Ireland,


© 2010 – 2011, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

Other posts you may be interested in:

About Marie - Your English Language Blogger 7 Articles
I'm a linguist, language teacher and business owner. I love to help people excel through English.
  • Anonymous

    Excellent info for new nurses, and even the old ones. I wish I had this info years ago when I came to the States. I had a pretty good command of the English language but had problems with the idioms and pronunciations.