Vocabulary, Verbs, Idioms

parts of the body full

We’ll look at parts of the body vocabulary, verbs, idioms with definitions and examples, including:

– verbs used to show actions and uses of different body parts
– verbs and phrasal verbs using parts of the body
– idioms with parts of the body

Actions associated with different parts of the body

Head – to nod, to shake, to turn
Nod your head if you agree and shake it if you don’t.
Turn your head to the left.

Neck – to bend
Bend your neck to look down at your toes.

Shoulder – to shrug
He didn’t know the answer so he shrugged his shoulders

Stomach – to digest
We needed a nap after lunch to digest the huge meal we had eaten.

Arm – to bend
Bend your arms slowly when doing push-ups. 

Elbow – to bend
When I bend my elbow it hurts.

Leg – to walk, to jog, to run
Babies learn to walk when they’re about one. They can’t run until much later.

Knee – to bend, to kneel
After the operation it was difficult for him to bend his knee to kneel down.

Foot – to tread, to step, to stamp
She trod on a nail by mistake.
He stepped over the sleeping dog.
She stamped her foot when she wasn’t allowed more sweets.


parts of the body face

Ear – to listen, to hear
I always listen to music in the gym.
I heard that she had moved to Ireland.

Eye – to look, to see, to watch, blink, wink
Look at the price of that ring!
I saw an owl last night.
We never watch television in our house.
She blinked when the doctor shone the torch into her eye.
The old man winked at the nurse.

Mouth – to talk, to speak
It’s rude to talk with your mouth full.
He always speaks very loudly.

Lips – to smile
She smiled politely at his joke.

Teeth – to bite, to chew, to chatter
The dog bit the postman’s leg.
No one could chew the tough steak.
My teeth were chattering with the cold.


parts of the body hands

Hand – hold, shake, wave
Hold my hand when we cross the road.
He has a very firm handshake.
The Queen waved her hand at the crowd.

Wrist – bend
Don’t bend you wrist too far back or it might hurt.

Fingers – point, drum
‘Look!’ she pointed a giant bear
She drummed her fingers on the desk waiting for his answer.

Verbs and Phrasal Verbs using parts of the body

to head
to hit a ball with your head, to lead, to go in a particular direction
If he hadn’t headed that ball they would have lost the match.

to head for
to move in the direction of
She was heading to the exit when he called her back.

to head off
to leave a place, to start a journey
It’s late, I think I’ll head off home now.

to head something off
to take action to prevent something happening
Proper water management can head off crop failures.

to head out
to depart, to begin a journey
The boats were all heading out of the marina.

to head over
to go to/towards
I’ll head over to yours when the match is finished.

to head up
to lead
He will be heading up the new Sales team.

to eye up
to look at something with interest or desire
He eyed up the food greedily.

to mouth
to form words with the lips without making sound
She mouthed her prayers.

to mouth off
to speak loudly and aggressively
She was mouthing off about her sister when her sister walked in.

to nose around
to search for something, usually in a secret way
The journalists were nosing around trying to find a story.

to be all ears
full of interest to hear something
Tell me how the date went – I’m all ears

to hand
to give something to someone using hands
Please hand me the green piece of paper.

to elbow
to push one’s elbow into someone
Old ladies always elbow their way to the front.

to leg it
colloquial to run off, usually to avoid being caught
The thief legged it when he heard the police sirens.

to back down
to withdraw a claim or demand
When she saw the evidence she backed down.

to back out
to withdraw from a commitment
He backed out of the tournament at the last minute.

Idioms with parts of the body

head over heels
deeply in love
You can see he’s head over heels in love with Mary.

tear one’s hair out
to be very worried or exasperated
Her mother was tearing her hair out when
Elle wasn’t home by midnight.

in the blink of an eye
very quickly
The new perfume sold out in the blink of an eye.

keep an eye on something
to look after something by watching over it
Please keep an eye on the stove; I have to make a phone call.

have a nose for something
to have a natural ability at something
Policeman Plod had a nose for solving the crimes.

play it by ear
leave plans loose and decide on action as the situation changes
It’s raining so I’m not sure we’ll go to the park today, let’s play it by ear.

bite one’s tongue
to stay silent even though you want to say something
I wanted to give her a piece of my mind but
I bit my tongue.

by the skin of one’s teeth
just barely, usually to escape disaster
He did no work and only passed the exam by the skin of his teeth.

keep one’s chin up
try to be cheerful
Keep your chin up, I’m sure you’ll find a job soon.

a finger in every pie
be involved in many different activities, used positively or as a criticism
If you need some help ask Tom, he’s got a finger in every pie.

learn something by heart
Children have to learn their times tables by heart in Year 3.

have/get butterflies in one’s stomach
to be anxious, nervous
Whenever I see him I get butterflies in my stomach.

cost an arm and a leg
to cost a lot, be expensive
I love her new car but it cost an arm and a leg.

a leg up
an advantage
She only studied law because her uncle could give her a leg up when she qualified.

foot the bill
to cover the cost of an expense
I guess I’ll have to foot the bill again.

drag one’s heels
to do something slowly and reluctantly
Governments around the world are dragging their heels in addressing climate change.

Parts of the body vocabulary, verbs, idioms