Idioms Activation Pack - Arms

Body Idioms Course Idioms | Vocabulary


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.

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There are 13 arms idioms in this Idiom Activation Pack. To be up in arms, Have one arm tied behind your back, Cost an arm and a leg, Lay down your arms, Strong-arm tactics, Keep somebody at arm’s length, Have a list as long as your arm, To give your right arm, Welcome someone with open arms, The long arm of the law, Twist someone’s arm, Chance your arm, and To bear arms. After you have seen, heard, and read the idioms and their meanings, you can activate them and make them part of your active vocabulary. You can do this by using the Idioms Activator which I have designed to give you plenty of practice in listening, reading, and writing the idioms you have learnt in this Idiom Activation Pack. These Idiom Activation Packs are designed to help you activate your English skills. I have been helping students learn, remember, and use the all-important idiomatic expressions for many years and now I want to reach many more students by using the latest technology. I have designed this Idiom Activation Pack to make learning British English idioms as easy and enjoyable as possible. Idioms Activation Pack - Arms

Body Idioms Course

Arm Idioms

Idioms Activator

To be up in arms

Being up in arms means being very angry about something.

"The whole village is up in arms about plans to build a new runway."

NOTE: In this case, arms means weapons, rather than the part of the body.

Have one arm tied behind your back

If you say you could do something with one arm tied behind your back, you are saying that you find it very easy.

"I've assembled so many flatpack pieces of furniture that I could do it with one arm tied behind my back."

Cost an arm and a leg

Something that costs an arm and a leg is very expensive.

"Upgrading all the systems is going to cost an arm and a leg."

Lay down your arms

If you lay down your arms, you surrender or stop fighting.

"Eventually the terrorists will have to lay down their arms and sit down at the negotiating table."

NOTE: In this case, arms means weapons, rather than the part of the body.

Strong-arm tactics

If you resort to strong-arm tactics, you resort to using force.

"We need to negotiate with the strikers not try to use strong-arm tactics."

Keep somebody at arm's length

To hold or keep somebody at arm's length means to avoid getting too friendly with them.

"Outside of the office, I always keep my work colleagues at arm's length because I want to keep my personal and work lives separate."

Have a list as long as your arm

Having a list as long as your arm means having many things to do.

"Everyone's going to have to do some overtime this week. We've got a list as long as your arm of things to do."

To give your right arm

If you would give your right arm for something, you want that something very much indeed.

"I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous."

Welcome someone with open arms

To welcome or greet somebody or something with open arms means to be very pleased to see the person or very pleased with the new thing.

"Despite initial reservations, the entire population has welcomed the immigrants with open arms."

The long arm of the law

The long arm of the law is a euphemism for the police or the law in general.

"Criminals are always looking over their shoulder, always afraid of the long arm of the law."

Twist someone's arm

If you twist someone's arm, you are putting pressure on them to doing something.

"After I twisted his arm a little, he agreed to help me."

Chance your arm

To chance your arm is to take a risk in order to achieve something.

"When I decided to leave the job and start my own business my colleagues thought I was chancing my arm."

To bear arms

To bear arms is to carry weapons.

"The problem with young people today is that they all feel they have the right to bear arms and are often too quick to use them."

NOTE: In this case, arms means weapons, rather than the part of the body.

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.

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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

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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

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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

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