Shoulder Idioms

Body Idioms Course Idioms | Vocabulary | Prepositions


I am determined to make idioms as accessible for all students as any other part of the English language. Reading and memorising lists of vocabulary is not the most productive, interesting, or useful exercise in English language learning. I created these Activities to encourage you to not only learn and remember many English idioms, but also to have fun with them, as having fun is a great aid to learning and remembering. It is important that you know as many idioms as possible as native English speakers use them with alarming regularity. I hope that as you work your way through the Idiom Activities you will make some of the idioms your own and use them regularly like a native.


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.


Prepositions are short words that usually go before nouns and sometimes before gerunds and which tell us about the time or place of things in relation to other things. There are few rules when it comes to learning prepositions and you really just have to learn them one by one. Most students of English find prepositions very difficult to learn and confusing to use. Prepositions are also important in phrasal verbs, and these also need to be learnt and memorised one by one. These Activities are designed to help you learn some of the more common prepositions in English.

Donate Newest All Categories Top Random Courses IPA Challenges Word Games Popup Lesson


Learn some common English idioms with this vocabulary activation pack. The idioms are: Give someone the cold shoulder, To have broad shoulders, Rub elbows or shoulders with, Shoulder to cry on, Shoulder to the wheel, Have a good head on your shoulders, Carry the world on your shoulders, Look over your shoulder, Stand on the shoulders of giants, Shoulder to shoulder, A chip on your shoulder, Fall squarely on someone’s shoulders, Head and shoulders above, and A weight off your shoulders.

Body Idioms Course




To give someone the cold shoulder is to behave towards them in a way that is not at all friendly, possibly for reasons the other person doesn’t understand.

“After the way she behaved, it’s hardly surprising he gave her the cold shoulder.”


If you have the ability to cope with unpleasant responsibilities and to be able to accept criticism calmly, you have broad shoulders.

“Faced with that kind of press coverage, it’s a good thing he has broad shoulders.”


To socialise with celebrities, or to spend time with people socially, is to rub elbows/shoulders with them.

“As a reporter on a gossip magazine I often rub elbows/shoulders with the rich and famous.”


A shoulder to cry on is someone who will comfort you emotionally when things have gone badly wrong.

“If she needs a shoulder to cry on, of course, I’m here.”


To put your shoulder to the wheel means to work vigorously and make a concentrated effort at something.

“It’s surprising how much you can get done when you put your shoulder to the wheel.”


If someone has a good head on their shoulders, they are intelligent and can be depended on to fulfil a particular role.

“She never went to university, but she has a good head on her shoulders.”


To feel under a lot of pressure because of your immense responsibilities is to carry the world on your shoulders.

“I wouldn’t want to be Prime Minister. You seem to have to carry the world on your shoulders.”


When you feel you are under imminent danger from someone or something you’re constantly looking over your shoulder.

“You seem a little paranoid, always looking over your shoulder.”


If you make a discovery based on the previous work of those who have gone before you, you are standing on the shoulders of giants.

“Because so many sacrifice for me, I stand on the shoulders of giants.”


To stand shoulder to shoulder with a group all person is to share their purpose and support them, especially during difficult times.

“The sergeant stood shoulder to shoulder with the inspector throughout the enquiry.”


Someone who has a chip on their shoulder appears constantly angry because they feel they have been slighted or are inferior to others.

“I used to have a chip on my shoulder about not having been to university.”


Something becomes the sole responsibility of you when it falls squarely on your shoulders.

“With my partners in prison, the success of this company falls squarely on my shoulders.”


Someone or something that is head and shoulders above someone or something else is far superior to them.

“As a chess player, he is head and shoulders above the rest.”


When something is a weight off your shoulders, you have rid yourself of something that has been travelling or worrying you for a long time.

“When I learned I wouldn’t have to give the presentation after all, it was a huge weight off my shoulders.”

Body Idioms

I originally thought that I would find 100 to 200 idioms related to the body, but as I continued gathering the idioms for each part of the body, I realised there were going to be considerably more. With an ever-growing list of idioms before me, I despaired of ever being able to complete the definitions and examples that would be required for each one. However, with a bit of elbow grease, I put my back into it, and managed to complete all 522 of them. In this course, you will find many of the idiomatic expressions related to the body.

Responsive image

Back Idioms

This lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 20 common British English idiomatic expressions. The idioms are, behind your back, break the back of something, watch your back, back to back, fell off the back of a lorry, scratch back, like water off a duck's back, turn your back on, get someone's back up, watch someone's back, put your back into something, back out of, on someone's back, a pat on the back, give the shirt off your back, back against the wall, stabbed in the back, back someone up, have or take the shirt off your back, when your back is turned, and bend over backwards.

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary | English in Use

Responsive image

Blood Idioms and Expressions

Blood is the vital fluid found in humans and other animals. There are many expressions in English that use the word blood. The expressions in this lesson include get blood out of a stone, blood is thicker than water, bloodshed, cold-blooded, in cold blood, hot-blooded, blood up, blood boils, blueblood, fresh blood, new blood, half-blood, run in the blood, own flesh and blood, young blood, blood clot, blood bank, blood brother, bloodlust, bloodthirsty, blood sport, blood wagon, bloodhound, bloodletting, bloodshot, bloody, blood diamond, and bloodstained.

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary | Listenings

Responsive image

Bone Idioms

The 12 idioms are, make no bones about it, a bone of contention, have a bone to pick with someone, dry as a bone, chilled to the bone, feel it in your bones, bone idle, close to the bone, have a skeleton in the closet, skin and bones, work your fingers to the bone, and bone shaking. This British English idioms lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 12 common British English idiomatic expressions which use the word bone. 

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary | English in Use

If you are on a mobile device, or want to open the lesson in a new window, click the button below. The lesson will open in a popup window.

Popup Lesson Donate

Popup Lesson

Use your study record to set lessons as completed, rate them with a 1-5 star rating, record vocabulary from the lesson for future reference, and take notes about the lesson for future reference.

Not Complete!

You have not completed this lesson yet. To complete it, click the Complete Lesson button.

Donate Complete Lesson Completed Lessons

Lesson Rating

You have not rated this lesson.

Donate Rate This All Ratings

Lesson Vocabulary

You have not created any vocabulary items for this lesson yet.

Donate Add New Vocabulary All Vocabulary

Lesson Notes

You have not created any notes for this lesson yet.

Donate Create Notes All Notes

Learn English with the most innovative and engaging English lessons available anywhere on the Internet and all completely free of charge! To personalise your experience in the Britlish Library and to keep track of the lessons you have studied and the vocabulary you have recorded, or the notes you have made about each class, sign up for a free account today.