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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Body idioms

Hands

(page 2)

overplay your hand If you overplay your hand, you are overconfident and spoil your chances of success by trying to obtain too much.
Sam is hoping for a bonus for his good results, but he may be overplaying his hand if he asks for a promotion.
upper hand If a person or organisation gets or gains the upper hand, they take control over a situation.
The authorities claim to have the upper hand in the fight against drinking and driving.
one hand washes the other (and together they wash the face) This expression means that when people cooperate and work well together, there is a better chance of a achieving results.
hands full If you have your hands full, you are very busy or have a lot to do.
Jenny has her hands full looking after three young children.
(all) hands on deck When there is a need for all hands on deck, everyone must help, especially if there's a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time.
As the opening day approached, it was all hands on deck to have everything ready in time.
the devil makes work for idle hands This expression means that people who do not have enough to do are often tempted to do something wrong.
It's not good for kids to have nothing to do at the week-end; the devil makes work for idle hands!
get your hands dirty If you get your hands dirty in your job, you become involved in all aspects of it, including work that is physical, unpleasant or less interesting.
His willingness to get his hands dirty won the respect and approval of the whole team.
in safe hands If something is in safe hands, it is being looked after by a reliable person or organisation, and is therefore at no risk.
I'll look after Jamie while you go shopping.  Don' worry - he'll be in safe hands.
hands tied If a person has their hands tied, something such as an agreement or a rule is preventing them from doing what they would like to do.
Mark deserves to earn more, but the manager's hands are tied by the recent salary agreement.
play into someone's hands If you play into someone's hands, you do exactly what your opponent or enemy wants you to do, so that they gain an advantage over you.
When the leaders of the protest movement became violent, they played right into the hands of the police.
a show of hands A show of hands is a method of voting where people give their opinion by raising a hand.
How many people agree?  Could we have a show of hands please?
take the law into your own hands If, instead of calling the police, you act personally against someone who has done something wrong, you take the law into your own hands.
Instead of calling the police, he took the law into his own hands and confronted the youth who had stolen his son's scooter.
wash your hands of If you wash your hands of a problem or situation, you refuse to deal with it any longer.
You can't just wash your hands of David's behaviour. He's your son!
   


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