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.Body Idioms Course
TAIL BETWEEN YOUR LEGS
If someone is compelled to leave somewhere in humiliation, having made a mistake or having failed, they leave with their tail between their legs.
“It was nice to see the braggart leave with his tail between his legs for a change.”
NOTE: A dog which has been defeated with keep its tail between its legs as a sign of surrender.
ON ITS LAST LEGS
Someone or something that is on their/its last legs is just about at the end of its usefulness and efficacy.
“I’m afraid the gearbox is on its last legs.”
GET A LEG UP
Someone who gets an advantage over others through receiving support or encouragement has got a leg up.
“If my brother hadn’t given me a leg up, I would never have had the capital to start my business.”
PULLING YOUR LEG
If someone is pulling your leg, they are having a joke at your expense.
“Don’t listen to him. He’s pulling your leg.”
SHAKE A LEG
To tell someone to get a move on or hurry up is to tell them to shake a leg.
“Come on! We’ll be late if you don’t shake a leg.”
BREAK A LEG
An ironic way to wish someone good luck, and one which originated in the theatre, is to tell them to break a leg.
“There’s a big crowd in tonight. Break a leg!”
NOT HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON
When you are unable show good reasons to back up your argument or to justify your actions, you don’t have a leg to stand on.
“If you knew you didn’t have a leg to stand on, why on earth did you take them to court in the first place?”
STRETCH YOUR LEGS
If, after a long period of sitting down, you get up and walk around to loosen your muscles, you stretch your legs.
“I prefer travelling by train as you can always get up and stretch your legs by walking from one end of the train to the other.”
Legwork is the physical tasks that have to be done in relation to an otherwise sedentary job.
“My assistant does most of the legwork for me, thankfully.”
Once you get experience of a new and challenging situation, you are said to have your sea legs.
“He’s still in probation and has not found his sea legs yet.”
NOTE: People who are at sea for the first time often find themselves being seasick and unable to stand on a rolling deck. It takes some time to get used to being in such an environment so that you can stand steady on your sea legs.
Use your study record to set lessons as completed, rate them with a 1-5 star rating, record vocabulary from the lesson for future reference, and take notes about the lesson for future reference.
You have not completed this lesson yet. To complete it, click the Complete Lesson button.
You have not rated this lesson.
You have not created any vocabulary items for this lesson yet.
You have not created any notes for this lesson yet.
Learn English with the most innovative and engaging English lessons available anywhere on the Internet and all completely free of charge! To personalise your experience in the Britlish Library and to keep track of the lessons you have studied and the vocabulary you have recorded, or the notes you have made about each class, sign up for a free account today.