Words of the Week: Body Parts Idioms

Idioms, we all love them but their not always easy to understand. One way to help you learn them is to group them in some way. Today, we’re going to look at idioms related to body parts. Some of the meanings are quite clear and obvious but others can be slightly less easy to figure out. The important thing when using idioms is to make sure you get them 100% correct, even one incorrect word in an idiom can change everything.


(1) Hand

– Can you give me a hand?  (Meaning: can you help me?)

– Do you need a hand?  (Meaning: Do you need some help?)

– I know London like the back of my hand. (Meaning: I know London extremely well)

back of my hand
I know London like the back of my hand

(2) Foot

– I really put my foot in it last night. (Meaning: I made a big mistake and said something I shouldn’t have)

– Don’t worry, the company is going to foot the bill. (Meaning: The company is going to pay the entire bill)

(3) Head

– I’m going to head off. (Meaning: I’m going to leave now)

– I’m heading to the shops, do you want anything? (Meaning: I’m going to the shops)

(4) Arm

– I’d give my right arm for a glass of water. (Meaning: I’d do anything for a glass of water. I really want one)

– He paid an arm and a leg for that car. (Meaning: He paid a lot of money. It was very expensive)

(5) Leg

– Don’t worry, I’m only pulling your leg. (Meaning: I’m only joking. I’m not being serious)

– Don’t put anything heavy on that table, it’s on its last legs. (Meaning: It’s quite old and will break soon)

(6) Face

– You need to face the facts, you’re just not handsome enough for Angelina Jolie. (Meaning: You need to accept the situation)

– Ugh, I really can’t face going into work today. (Meaning: I really don’t want to go to work today)


Think about idioms in your language. Do you have direct translations of the ones above or do you have another way of saying it? Now, go out there and try to use one or two of them. The best way to remember an idiom or a phrase in English is to go and use it immediately in a conversation or in writing. Try writing an email to one of your friends and include one or two of the idioms above. Create the situation so that you can use them, it’s easier to do than you might think.


If you’d like to learn more vocabulary, check out our Learn English website for vocab activities.

If you’d like to test out your new idioms on an English person, think about booking one of our adult English courses in London.