Bone 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 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



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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”

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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Nose Idioms

Learn some common British English idioms in this video English lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: As plain as the nose on your face, Keep your nose out, Turn your nose up at, Stick your nose in where it’s not wanted, Can’t see further than the end of your nose, Under your nose, Cut off your nose to spite your face, Brown-nose, Put someone’s nose out of joint, No skin off my nose, Look down your nose at, Rub your nose in it, Powder your nose, and Have a nose for.

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary

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Shoulder Idioms

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.

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary | Prepositions

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Tongue Idioms

This lesson will help you to learn, remember, and use 12 common English idioms about the tongue. The 12 idioms are, set tongues wagging, silver tongued, loose tongue, tongue in cheek, sharp tongue, get tongue around, wicked tongue, on the tip of your tongue, civil tongue, tongue-lashing, cat got your tongue, and bite or hold your tongue.

Categories: Idioms | Vocabulary | English in Use

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