The world of idioms

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Below you will find some passages with “body idioms” –  translate them, find Russian equivalents and learn the ones that you like most;  when rendering your stories for home reading try to use as many idioms as you can.


The word «idiom» is  used to describe the «special phrases» that are an essential part of a language. Idioms may be «special» in different ways: for example, the expression to kick the bucket  seems to follow the normal rules of grammar, although we cannot say «kick a bucket» or «kick the buckets», but it is impossible to guess that it means «to die». Phrases like «all right», «on second thoughts», and «same here», which are used in everyday English, and especially in spoken English, are «Special» because they are fixed units of language that clearly do not follow the normal rules of grammar.

      We use idioms to describe the good times, the bad times, and all the major events in our lives from birth to death -   from the cradle to the grave,  from rags to riches:

Idioms through your life


on the way,  be expecting,  the happy event,   the patter of tiny feet

good times:

a whale of a time,  sitting pretty, in seventh heaven,  this is the life!  Have the time of your life,  on top of the world

bad times:

trials and tribulations,  there’s trouble brewing,  in a tight corner,  have  a thin time of it,  a sticky wicket,  be up against it

getting married:

pop the question, get spliced,  tie the knot,  make an honest woman  of sb

being rich:

well off,  want for nothing,  strike it rich,  stinking rich,  make money  hand over fist,  make a mint

being poor:

hard up,  strapped for cash,  in the red,  feel the pinch,  on the breadline,   not have two pennies to rub together

being ill:

Under the weather,  in a bad way,  off colour,  at death’s door,  like death warmed up

old age:

Getting on,  over the hill,   long in the tooth,   not be getting any  younger,  have one foot in the grave


Snuff it,  go the way of all flesh,  six feet under,  push up the daisies,  kick the bucket

                                  (From «Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of English Idioms»)

In English we often use words connected with the body in popular idioms. First see if you can fill in the spaces in the story, and then look at the list of the idioms below the text.


Ned Clifton, the —-guard, was beginning to get cold —. The reason was that he had turned a blind — to the fact that a tall stranger had entered the house of Gloria de Posh, the actress. Perhaps the stranger had been pulling his — when he had told Ned that he was a veterinary surgeon who had come to see Abigail, the actress's dog. Abigail was the apple of Gloria's —. Any attempt to hurt her made the actress's — boil. Every day she took Abigail for a drive in her second-— car. Sometimes she would give a lift to a hitch-hiker who had been — a lift, and, with her — in her —, pretend that she wasn't really an actress at all but a shop-assistant who lived in the town. Few people recognized her in the old car. Later, hitch-hikers would be all — when they heard the rumour that the famous Gloria de Posh, the — and — of every party, occasionally was in the habit of giving lifts to hitch-hikers. Ned decided to take a second opinion; after all, two — are better than one. He telephoned his friend Ken Grubbing, also a —-guard to another famous film star, to see if Ken had a —-wave which would help him solve the 'veterinary surgeon' problem. "You should have — the line," Ken said. "Your trouble is that you're getting too long in the —. You'll believe anything. She's bound to ask questions later, so go on in and own up to your mistake. Don't be two-—. If you start deceiving her, she'll give you the cold — and eventually will get rid of you because she doesn't trust you." These were strong words. Ned was —-tied. He knew his duty. He rushed into the house. The actress was lying on the floor. Dead? No. She had fainted with a shock. The vet had announced that the dog must have an operation. Real tragedy had struck.

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