Get Out of My Hair—8 of My Favorite English Body Idioms
Recently a friend told me it was time for me to let my hair down. She definitely wasn’t talking about a new hairstyle! So what do you think she meant? This is actually one of my favorite English body idioms. And when my friend said it, I immediately wanted to share it with you.
Plus, I haven’t done a lesson on English idioms for over a year.
So in today’s lesson, I’ll share 8 English idioms that focus on different parts of the body. You’ll learn exactly what those idioms mean, how to use them with examples, and get practice.
Don’t worry—you’ll also find out what it really means to let down your hair.
After you review the video lesson, be sure to check out the practice questions I have for you below.
Start using these English body idioms in your daily conversation.
Lesson by Annemarie
Review: 8 English Body Idioms with Examples
Idiom 1: To get cold feet
Imagine you have a presentation to give an English next week. You’ve been preparing but you’re still nervous. Just before the presentation you tell your colleague, “I don’t know if I can do this. I’ve got cold feet.”
Idiom 2: To get something off your chest
You have something difficult and uncomfortable to tell you’re friend. You really don’t want to do it but you know you have to. You might start with, “Sarah, this is really hard for me but I have to get something off my chest.”
Idiom 3: To have a chip on your shoulder
You come home from work. There are dishes in the sink that need to be cleaned and suddenly you get very frustrated or angry. It’s a small thing but you have an immediate reaction. Your spouse might say, “Why do you have such a chip on your shoulder?” In other words, why did you get so upset about something so small?
Idiom 4: To pull someone’s leg
Let’s imagine that you’ve just spent the last three months working really hard to organize a big event at your work. The day before the event, your colleague says, “Oh, did you hear we’re going to cancel it?”
You’d probably feel frustrated and shocked. After a moment your colleague says, “I’m just pulling your leg.”
In other words, she’s just joking.
“I wish everyone would just get out of my hair!!” This one is perfect for those days when you can’t get your work done because so many people are interrupting and bothering you.
Idiom 5: To let your hair down
Let’s go back to that situation where you’ve spent 3 months planning an event for 500 people at work. Thankfully, it went perfectly but after three months you’re feeling a quite stressed. When the event is over, your colleague says, “That was amazing. You did such a great job and now it’s time to let your hair down.”
Of course, she means it’s time to relax and have some fun.
Idiom 6: To be a pain in the neck
Planning an event for 500 people probably included moments that were a pain in the neck.
Now we could mean that you really do have pain in your neck, but in this situation it means something different. When we use this idiomatically, we mean that something is annoying, frustrating or it’s bothering us.
We can use this idiom to describe people as well. It’s definitely not positive, but we can do it. Maybe you have a colleague who loves to complain, never does his work, and shows up 20 minutes late to work every day. So you might say, “My colleague is such a pain in the neck!”
Idiom 7: To get out of someone’s hair
This one is perfect for those days when you can’t get your work done because so many people are interrupting and bothering you. You might think, “I wish everyone would just get out of my hair!!” You want them to stop bothering you.
Idiom 8: To rub elbows with somebody
Your friend might tell you, “I hope to rub elbows with some celebrities while I’m in Hollywood.” In other words, she hopes to spend time with someone or with a group of people she doesn’t normally spend time with.
Now it’s time to get some practice!
This week I’ve got 3 questions for you:
1. Have you ever gotten cold feet? If you have, what was the situation and what did you do about it? Did you give up? Did you cancel the event or did you find some way to go through with it to continue?
2. Imagine that you need to tell your best friend something difficult. It’s something that you’ve needed to tell her for a very long time. What would you say?
3. And finally, you’ve planned a really big vacation with your family and you decided to go skydiving. It’s the very last moment and you’re feeling super nervous, so what would you say?
Thanks for joining me this week and have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!
BONUS Question: Which idiom from today’s lesson was your favorite? Try using it in your own example sentence and share it with me.
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Love your lessons. I feel you are so real and give so many ways to practice English in a daily basis. 1) We were visting a new sculpture- slide in our neighborhood. I was ready to go, but I got cold feet and wasnt able to do it. Went down the stairs, relaxed that that option was available! 2) Patty I need to get something out of my chest. You need to know that Peter is an alcoholic. 3) I am so excited to jump… but suddenly my legs are shacking and I can hardly breath… I got cold feet… Read more »
Thanks for the kind feedback Susana. Your first example is so cool, well written and so interesting, the sculpture slide sounds really awesome! In your second example remember to use the preposition ‘off’ when you say – get something off my chest. Your third example is a really good one too, did this happen to you in real life? If it is something you say in that moment you can say ‘I have cold feet’ and just use ‘got cold feet’ for the past – eg. He left the airfield, I think he got cold feet. about skydiving today Well… Read more »
Love these examples, Susana!! You’ve done a nice job using them. And thanks for the kind comment. I’m glad the lessons are helpful. 🙂
Oh wow!!! Your site rocks!! I have been teaching ESL for over 20 years and I can say that I am totally impressed. Congrats! I will pass your site on to many of my clients here in São Paulo, Brazil.
Hi Robert, thanks so much for the comment! I’m thrilled to know that my site is useful and I hope your clients enjoy it too.
Hi Annemarie, thanks for another nice lesson. 1) Yes, I have cold feet every time I have to go to the dentist, but I am brave and I go 😉 2) Imagine seeing the husband of a closer friend of yours with another woman. It happened to me, and with much difficulty I told her: “It’s very painful, but I have to get something off my chest, because I think that being friends means that too …” 3) Oh, I would say “Ehmmm, I’m pulling your legs, I just wanted to take a ride on the plane” because never ever… Read more »
Ha! I have cold feet going to the dentist too! And good answers to numbers 2 and 3. I like that in number three you’ve decided to say “just kidding” instead of ‘I’ve got cold feet.’ And thank you for sharing your answer to number 2. Definitely a difficult situation. It sounds like you had a good way to handle it. 🙂
Good day Annimarie
Thank you for your wonderful and precious lessons for all the time I get in my inbox.
The 8 idioms are very related to my work because I’m working in daycare with lot of challenges at workplace.so I’m going to use all those at different situations as appropriately I can.
English is my second language so I have lot of things to improve . I would appreciate if you upload some lessons relating to IELTS wherether it is speaking or writing tips that will help other people too.
I’m glad you enjoyed this lesson and find it useful to you! Certainly in the workplace, we use a lot of idioms like that.
And thanks for the suggestion on IELTS. Also, you can get an overview of all my different lessons here. https://www.speakconfidentenglish.com/collections/
Hi Annemarie. 1. Yes I’ve gotten cold feet once when I had to go for my hand surgery and at the last minute I felt very scared to think that they will just give me local anesthetisia, but I still went for it. 2. A very good friend of mine was hiding something from me which I got to know from someone else. It was difficult for me to tell her that I already knew about it and its not good to hide stuff from friends. I told her and felt relief. It was when i got something off my… Read more »
Fantastic! I loved your examples and you were exactly right in how you used them. Well done. I’m sorry to hear about the person in your group of friends, though. That sounds frustrating. 🙂
first, i want to say thank for your lessons.
To your questions
1. Yes, i ve got cold feet often in my life. I had to lead a team building in a group in English, when i get nervous, I can’t speak and organize my mind well. And i couldn’t do well on thst day.
Some of the people was impatient with me. I felt really bad after.
2. To get something off my chest
3. I got a chip on my shoulder.
You’re so welcome. I’m glad my lessons are helpful to you. 🙂
I’m sorry to hear you had a challenging experience with leading a team in English. I hope you’ve found some great ways to improve the situation and are feeling better about it.
You’re right with number 2: to get something off my chest but let’s double check number 3. 🙂