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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Body idioms


all in your head If something is all in your head, it is not real.  It is in your imagination.
Don't be silly.  Nobody is trying to harm you.  It's all in your head!
bite someone's head off If you bite someone's head off, you criticize them strongly (and perhaps unfairly).
I worked 10 hours a day all week and my boss bit my head off for not doing my share of the work!
can't make head or tail of If you can't make head or tail of something, you can't understand it at all.
Amy's message was so confusing.  I couldn't make head or tail of it!
come to a head If a problem or difficulty comes to a head, it reaches a point where action has to be taken.
The problem came to a head yesterday when rioting broke out in the streets.
drum something into someone's head If you teach something to someone through constant repetition, you drum it into their head.
When we were kids at school, multiplication tables were drummed into our heads.
head against brick wall If you bang your head against a brick wall, you continue vainly to try and achieve something in spite of several unsuccessful attempts.
I've been banging my head against a brick wall trying to explain the internet to my grandmother.
head in the clouds If you have your head in the clouds, you are so absorbed by your thoughts that you are not paying attention to what is happening around you.
He doesn't listen to the teacher - he's got his head in the clouds all the time!
head on a platter If someone makes you so angry that you want them to be punished, you want their head on a platter.
He was so angry when he read the article about his family that he wanted the journalist's head on a platter.
head and shoulders above To say that one person is head and shoulders above the others means that they are much better than the rest  of them.
The award winner was head and shoulders above the others.
old head on young shoulders This expression is used to refer to a child or young person who thinks and expresses themselves like an older more-experienced person.
When she heard Emily warning her little brother to stay out of trouble, her mum thought : "That's an old head on young shoulders".
head screwed on Someone who has their head screwed on is a sensible and realistic person.
Don't worry about him. He's adventurous but he's got his head screwed on.
head start If you have a head start, you have an advantage that enables you to make progress more quickly and have a greater chance of success.
Bringing detailed maps of the area gave us a head start over the others in the treasure hunt.
head over heels in love When a person falls passionately in love with another, they are said to be head over heels in love.
Tony's only interest at the moment is Maria.  He's head over heels in love with her!
hit the nail on the head If you hit the nail on the head, you are absolutely right about something or have guessed the exact nature of a problem or situation.
You hit the nail on the head when you said Mark had money problems. He's lost his job!
in over your head If you are in over your head, you are involved in something that is too difficult for you to handle.
I accepted to organise the festival, but I quickly realized that I was in over my head!
keep head above water To keep one's head above water means to try to survive by staying out of debt, for example a small business.
Business has been slow, but we've managed to keep our head above water.
keep a level head If you keep a level head,  you remain calm and sensible no matter  how difficult or distressful the situation may be.
All through the hijacking the pilot kept a level  head.
off the top of your head To say something off the top of your head means that you are giving an immediate reaction, and not a carefully considered opinion, so it might not be correct.
"How much do you think it will cost?" "Off the top of my head I'd say around $1000."
put your head on the block If you put yourself in a dangerous situation where you risk losing your job or your reputation if things go wrong, you put your head on the block.
Jenny asked me to recommend her son for the job, but I'm not putting my head on the block for someone I hardly know.
rear its ugly head If something unpleasant reapppears after lying dormant for some time, it rears its ugly head.
It is feared that fascism is rearing its ugly head again in some countries.
swelled/swollen head Someone who has a swelled or swollen head has become proud or conceited, usually because of a recent success.
Larry's promotion has given him a swelled/swollen head!
want head on a platter If someone makes you so angry that you want them to be punished, you want their head on a platter.
He was so angry when he read the article about his family that he wanted the journalist's head on a platter.
wet the baby's head This expression means to have drink to celebrate the birth of a baby.
When his first child was born, Tom invited his colleagues to a local bar to wet the baby's head.

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