Leg Idioms

Body Idioms Course Idioms | Vocabulary

Idioms

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.

Vocabulary

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 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

LEG IDIOMS

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

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.”

SEA LEGS

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.

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