Digestive System Idioms

Body Idioms Course Idioms | Vocabulary | English in Use


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.

English in Use

The Activities categorised as English in Use look at the way we use English in everyday life. The Activities cover the actual use of English and examine grammar, punctuation, and functionality of the language. For any student studying English as a second language or English as a foreign language, English in Use Activities are particularly useful for improving speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. These Activities will help you to develop your confidence in using different types of text such as fiction, newspapers and magazines, as well as learning to speak and write about things such as the weather and travel, as well as preparing you for typical situations such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket.

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The 18 idioms are, cast-iron stomach, go belly up, to be yellow-bellied, hate someone's guts, gutted, gut-wrenching, not able to or cannot stomach something, a fire in your belly, sick to the stomach, a gut reaction or feeling, butterflies in your stomach, misery guts, turn the stomach, in the pit of your stomach, I have no stomach for something, have guts, to have a strong stomach, and have a bellyful of something. This British English idioms lesson will help to you learn, remember, and use 18 common British English idiomatic expressions to do with the digestive system. 

Body Idioms Course



If you can eat or face anything, particularly things that make other people feel sick, we say you have a cast-iron stomach.

“My brother-in-law had a cast-iron stomach and would often eat vindaloos, while I could only manage a madras.”


If a company or business fails and goes out of business, we say it has gone belly up.

“Over half of new businesses go belly up within the first two years.”

NOTE: Probably from the fact that dead animals are often found belly up.


Person who is cowardly or lacks courage is yellow-bellied.

“Don’t be so yellow-bellied! Tell her to leave you in peace.”


If you hate someone’s guts, you absolutely detest them.

“Why do you stay married if you hate his guts?”


When you are extremely unhappy or disappointed by something that has happened outside of your control, you are gutted.

“The patient was gutted when his new kidney was rejected.”



Something that you find extremely unpleasant or which causes you great distress or sadness is gut-wrenching.

“I have to say that was the most gut-wrenching scene I’ve ever witnessed in the movie.”

NOTE: To wrench is to pull suddenly with some force.


If you cannot tolerate or endure someone or something, you’re not able to/cannot stomach them/it.

“I’m not able to/can’t stomach such excessively self-indulgent kind of behaviour.”


A fire in your belly is when you have the emotional fortitude or drive to achieve something or to take action.

“He approached the problem with a fire in his belly and quickly found a solution.”


Something that makes you feel sick to your stomach is so unpleasant it makes you feel physically ill.

“The first time I went to the scene of an accident, I felt sick to my stomach.”


A gut reaction/feeling is a based on your immediate feelings or intuition about someone or something.

“When I heard his story my gut reaction was to disbelieve him. Now I’m not so sure.”


A feeling of nervousness in your stomach is called butterflies in your stomach.

“I think that anyone who has to speak in public experiences butterflies in their stomach.”


Someone who perpetually complains and is never happy when they should be could be described as a misery guts.

“I’m not going to spend four hours on a plane with that misery guts, that’s for sure.”


When you feel sick, and usually because you’re upset or angry about something, that something turns your stomach.

“The thought of having to eat six raw eggs after every workout turned my stomach.”


If you feel something in the pit of your stomach, you have a strange tight feeling in your abdomen, usually because you are afraid.

“I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.”

NOTE: Pit is the lowest part of something.


When you dislike or are unable to tolerate something, you have no stomach for it.

“I have no stomach for opera.”


To have the guts to do something is to be brave and courageous enough to undertake it.

“Trust me, he doesn’t have the guts to fire you.”


If you can experience very unpalatable things without feeling upset, you have a strong stomach.

“Some of the things I saw as a policeman demanded a very strong stomach.”


When you have had a bellyful of something, you have had more of it than you are willing to tolerate or endure.

“I’ve had a bellyful of your complaining.”

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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Idioms Activation Pack - Arms

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

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary

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Leg Idioms

Learn some common British English idioms in this video English lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: Tail between your legs, On its last legs, Get a leg up, Pulling your leg, Shake a leg, Break a leg, Not have a leg to stand on, Stretch your legs, Legwork, and Sea legs. This lesson is part of the Body Idioms series of idioms lessons.

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary

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Lip Idioms

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

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary

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