Bone Idioms

Body Idioms Course Idioms | Vocabulary | English in Use

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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. 

Body Idioms Course

BONE IDIOMS

MAKE NO BONES ABOUT IT

Make no bones about it means that what is said is accurate and cannot be objected to.

“He made no bones about the fact that he despised his ex-wife.”

A BONE OF CONTENTION

Where there is a subject or issue over which there is continuous argument we say there is a bone of contention.

“The riding bicycles on the pavement, while safer than on the road, is nevertheless a bone of contention.”

HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH SOMEONE

Having a bone to pick with someone means to have a minor disagreement with them.

“I’ve got a bone to pick with the baker about that bread he sold me yesterday. It was stale.”

DRY AS A BONE

Something that is as dry as a bone is exceedingly dry.

“You need to water these flowers; the soil is as dry as a bone.”

CHILLED TO THE BONE

When you are extremely cold you are chilled to the bone.

“With no heating in the flat it wasn’t long before we were all chilled to the bone.”

FEEL IT IN YOUR BONES

If you sense something intuitively and with certainty, you feel it in your bones.

“Put some extra coal on the fire, tonight is going to be bitterly cold. I can feel it in my bones.”

BONE IDLE

Someone who is bone idle is extremely lazy.

“I really don’t understand why my daughter is so bone idle when it comes to her studies.”

CLOSE TO THE BONE

If you make a very personal or overly honest remark to somebody, it might be considered to be close to the bone.

“I know you are only joking, but what you said was a bit close to the bone.”

HAVE A SKELETON IN THE CLOSET

Having a skeleton in the closet/wardrobe/cupboard means that you have a hidden and terrible secret that you don’t want anyone to know about.

“Every family has a skeleton in the cupboard which would destroy their reputations if it ever got out.”

SKIN AND BONES

Someone described as skin and bones is extremely skinny and underweight.

“The dog was all skin and bones when we got him from the rescue home.”

WORK YOUR FINGERS TO THE BONE

To work/wear your fingers to the bone means to work very hard for a long time.

“I worked my fingers to the bone to write this book.”

BONE SHAKING

A situation which is violently unsteady, jolting, and uncomfortable, is said to be bone shaking.

“The roads were in such a bad state of repair that the entire journey was bone shaking.”

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