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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Body idioms


on hand I something, such as supplies or people, are on hand, they are present or readily available.
Extra pillows and blankets are on hand if needed.
hand in glove Two or more people who are in collusion, or work in close association, are said to be hand in glove.
After the match, it was discovered that he was hand in glove with the referee.
hand in hand If two or more things go hand in hand, they are associated or often happen at the same time.
In big cities, poverty and violence often go hand in hand.
hand it to someone If  you hand it to someone, you admit, perhaps unwillingly, that they deserve credit or praise for their achievements.
You've got to hand it to Sophie. She may be a snob, but her presentations are always excellent.
hand on a platter/plate If someone get something easily, without having to make an effort to obtain it, it is handed to them on a platter.
He was appointed sales director in his father's company.  The job was handed to him on a platter.
bite the hand that feeds you If you bite the hand that feeds you, you are unfriendly or do harm to someone who is kind to you.
If you say bad things about the person who gives you a job, you bite the hand that feeds you.
(at) first hand If you experience something yourself directly, without any intermediary, you experience it (at) first hand.
Getting to see the performance (at) first hand is much better than watching it on television.
force someone's hand If you force someone's hand, you make them do something unwillingly or sooner than planned.
The interviewer forced Brad's hand and made him reveal his relocation plans.
free hand If you have a free hand, you have permission to make your own decisions, especially in a job.
My boss gave me a free hand in the choice of agent.
get out of hand If a person or situation gets out of hand, they cannot be controlled any longer.
During the student demonstration, things got out of hand and several shop windows were broken.
heavy hand Dealing with or treating people with a heavy hand means acting with discipline and severity, with little or no sensitivity.
He ran the juvenile delinquent centre with a heavy hand.
iron hand/fist in a velvet glove This expression is used to describe someone who, behind an appearance of gentleness, is inflexible and determined.
To impose the necessary reforms, the leader used persuasion followed by force - an iron hand in a velvet glove.
left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing To say that 'the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing' means that within a group or organisation, communication is so bad that one person doesn't know what another person is doing.
like the back of one's hand If you know something like the back of your hand, you are very familiar with it and know it in detail.
Of course I won't get lost.  I know London like the back of my hand!
live from hand to mouth If you live from hand to mouth, you don't have any money to save because whatever you earn is spent on food and other essentials.
Most families in that area live from  hand to mouth.


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