Lip Idioms

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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Learn some common British English idioms with this lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: Pay lip service, Lick your lips, Bite your lip, Give someone lip, My lips are sealed, Smack lips, Slip of the lip, Tight-lipped, Lock lips, Pass my lips, Stiff upper lip, A bit lippy, Read my lips, Loose lips, Button your lip, and On everyone’s lips. This lesson is part of the Body Idioms series at

Body Idioms Course




When you pay lip service to someone or something, you are saying you agree with it or support it when you do not.

“I don’t want you to just pay lip service to my suggestion, I want you to think about it.”


To lick your lips is to show your eagerness or anticipation for a future event.

“My students have been licking their lips in anticipation of this book.”


To bite your lip is to decline to respond emotionally to something which is annoying or irritating.

“If a bully tries to make you angry, simply bite your lip and walk away. Bullies hate that.”


To speak in a rude or disrespectful manner to someone is to give them lip.

“If you give me any more of your lip, I’ll punch you.”


If your lips are sealed, you are refusing to divulge information about something.

“I’m telling you nothing. My lips are sealed.”


If you smack your lips you are showing that you are eager to eat, or that you enjoyed eating something.

“I told it was the best roast beef I had ever tasted, smacking my lips.”

NOTE: Smacking in this case is not hitting like a smack but is making a smacking sound with your lips.


A slip of the lip/tongue is an inadvertent mistake made in speaking.

“No, I didn’t mean to say he had won. I’m sorry but it was a slip of the lip/tongue.”


if someone is being tight-lipped, they are not giving any information about something.

“I must say you’re being very tight-lipped about what he said.”


Another term for kissing is to lock lips.

“I would like to lock lips with her.”


If you promise not to say anything about something, you can say that not a word will pass your lips.

“She promised that not a word of it would pass her lips, and then she told everyone.”


The famous British stiff upper lip is the ability to show no emotional response no matter how difficult the circumstances.

“I was taught to keep a stiff upper lip regardless of circumstances.”


Someone who is a bit lippy tends to say things that are rude or disrespectful to others.

“He can be a bit lippy at times, which is why he never gets promoted.”


When you ask somebody to read/watch your lips you are asking them sarcastically to really listen to what you are saying to them.

“Read/watch my lips! We’re not going to Disneyland.”


If you talk too much and reveal too much sensitive information, you are described as loose lipped.

“In World War II, the Americans use the expression ‘loose lips sink ships’ to try to stop people giving the enemy secrets.”


To tell someone to button their lip is to tell them in a rather rude way to shut up and stop talking.

“I wish you would just button your lip. You have been going on about the same thing all morning.”


Something which is on everybody’s/everyone’s lips is something that everybody is talking about.

“Since the newspapers got hold of what he had done, his name is been on everyone’s lips.”

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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