English Idioms - Body

at the top of one`s lungs

- as loud as one can, very loudly

I yelled at the top of my lungs to get the attention of the man.

bad blood

- anger or a bad relationship due to past problems with someone

There has always ben a lot of bad blood between the two supervisors.

behind one`s back

- when one is absent or without one's knowledge, secretly

He doesn't like people who talk behind his back.

blood is thicker than water

- family members are closer to one another than to others

Blood is thicker than water and people usually support their family rather than their friends in times of trouble.

blood runs cold

- one is terrified or horrified

My blood ran cold when I saw the man fall off the ladder.

break one`s neck

- do all one possibly can, try one's hardest

I broke my neck to try and get the report finished on time.

breathe down one`s neck

- follow closely, threaten from behind

My boss has been breathing down my neck all day to try and get me to work harder.

butterflies in one`s stomach

- a feeling of fear or anxiety in the stomach

The little boy had butterflies in his stomach when he had to give the speech in front of the class.

cold shoulder

- unfriendly treatment of a person

The office staff gave me the cold shoulder when I did not go to the going away party.

cut one`s throat

- spoil one's chances, ruin a person

He is cutting his own throat if he doesn't make an effort to find a new job quickly.

flesh and blood

- a close relative (father,daughter,brother)

It was his own flesh and blood who he refused to help when they needed money.

get off one`s back

- stop criticizing or nagging someone

I wish that my mother would get off my back about trying to find a better job.

get under one`s skin

- bother, upset

She is beginning to get under my skin with her constant complaining about the noise.

hold one`s breath

- stop breathing for a moment when one is excited or nervous

I held my breath and waited to see if my name had been called for an interview with the movie company.

jump down one`s throat

- suddenly become very angry at someone

His wife jumped down his throat when he came home late for the third day in a row.

jump out of one`s skin

- be badly frightened, be very surprised

I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw my girlfriend at the movie theater with someone else.

keep body and soul together

- keep alive, survive

He has been working very hard to try and keep body and soul together after his illness.

(not) move a muscle

- move very little (usually used in the negative)

I didn't move a muscle when the large dog approached me on the street.

neck and neck

- equal or nearly equal in a race or contest, tied

The two horses were running neck and neck until the end of the race.

off one`s back

- stop from bothering one, remove as an annoyance or pest

I wish my boss would get off my back and stop bothering me.

off one`s chest

- tell something to someone so it doesn't bother one anymore

I talked to my friend for a long time and was able to get my problems off my chest.

on one`s back

- making insistent demands of one, being an annoyance or bother

My sister is always on her daughter's back to clean up her room.

on one's shoulders

- one's responsibility

I don't want to have the failure of the project on my shoulders.

pain in the neck

- an obnoxious or bothersome person or event

The customer is a pain in the neck and is always complaining about something.

pat on the back

- praise

The man was given a pat on the back for his efforts to stop pollution in the river.

rub elbows or shoulders with someone

- be in the same place (with others), meet and mix with others

We went to the party in order to rub shoulders with some interesting artists.

save one`s breath

- keep silent because talking will not do any good

You can save your breath and not bother talking to him. He never listens to anyone.

save one`s neck

- save from danger or trouble

The worker tried to save his own neck without thinking of any of the other people.

scratch one`s back

- do something kind and helpful for someone in the hope that they will do something for you

If you scratch the supervisor's back he will help you when you need help.

shove something down one`s throat

- force one to do or agree to something not wanted or liked

The workers were angry because the boss tried to shove the new regulations about uniforms down their throats.

skin and bones

- a person or animal that is very thin, someone very skinny

The dog became skin and bones after his owner stopped giving him food.


- only on the surface, not having any deep or honest meaning

I believe that the speaker's interest in the environment is only skin-deep.

stab in the back

- say or do something unfair that harms a friend or someone who trusts you

My friend stabbed me in the back even after I made an effort to help him get a job.

stick one`s neck out

- do something dangerous or risky for someone

His friend will never stick his neck out to try and help other people.

straight from the shoulder

- open and honest way of speaking

He was speaking straight from the shoulder when he told the workers about the possible factory closing.

to the bone

- entirely, to the core, through all layers

He was wet to the bone after staying out in the rain for two hours.

turn one`s back on

- refuse to help someone in trouble or need

The woman turned her back on her friend when she was asked for some money to borrow.

turn one`s stomach

- make one feel sick

The sight of the dead dog on the road turned the stomachs of the children at the school.


- extremely timid, cowardly

Everyone thinks that the new boss handled the matter in a yellow-bellied manner.

Idiom Quizzes - Body

    Choose an idiom at the bottom to replace the expression in the brackets below:

  1. There is a lot of (anger) between my friend and myself.

    (a) butterflies in my stomach (b) bad blood (c) flesh and blood (d) skin and bones

  2. The woman (refused to help) her son when he lost his job and needed some money.

    (a) turned her back on (b) moved a muscle on (c) got off the back of (d) jumped down the throat of

  3. When I saw the dead horse it (made me sick).

    (a) stuck my neck out(b) scratched my back(c) turned my stomach(d) moved a muscle

  4. I cried out (as loud as possible) to stop the child from running out into the street.

    (a) off my back(b) skin-deep(c) straight from the shoulder(d) at the top of my lungs

  5. It was wet and cold out so when I returned home I was wet (throughout my body).

    (a) on my shoulders(b) neck and neck(c) to the bone(d) behind my back

  6. She is (trying her hardest) to finish painting her house before it rains.

    (a) cutting her own throat(b) breathing down my neck(c) getting under my skin (d) breaking her neck

  7. My supervisor (suddenly became angry at me) when I was late for the meeting.

    (a) jumped down my throat (b) jumped out of her skin(c) saved her breath (d) turned my stomach

  8. Although many people are affected by the problems in the company the president is only trying to (protect himself).

    (a) save his breath (b) save his own neck (c) stick his neck out (d) scratch his back

  9. The girl never eats and is (very skinny).

    (a) skin-deep (b) to the bone (c) skin and bones (d) yellow-bellied

  10. His friend never wants to (do anything extra or risky) to help others.

    (a) stick his neck out (b) shove something down his throat (c) jump out of his skin (d) cut his own throat

  11. He is (ruining his own chances) if he doesn't take a training course with the other members of the group.

    (a) holding his breath (b) getting off his back (c) on his shoulders (d) cutting his own throat

  12. The man at the video store is (an obnoxious person).

    (a) a pain in the neck(b) a pat on the back(c) a stab in the back (d) flesh and blood

  13. The other runners were (following closely behind me) during the marathon.

    (a) holding my breath (b) cutting my throat (c) breathing down my neck (d) getting under my skin

  14. He gave me (unfriendly treatment) when I saw him at the restaurant.

    (a) a pat on the back (b) the cold shoulder (c) neck and neck (d) skin and bones

  15. I don't want to have his resignation from the company (as my responsibility).

    (a) off my chest (b) scratching my back (c) on my back (d) on my shoulders