LEnglish – How the English Language Has Benefitted from the Leg

LEnglish – How the English Language Has Benefitted from the Leg

This page is part of LegCyclopedia, the Leg Encyclopedia. Other sections: LegTubeLegTasticLExerciseLegWorkLegFluenceLegaSeeLEnglishLegSpeakLegsApplaud and LegTech

Leg & English idioms
Show leg
Leg up
Pulling my leg
Tail between legs
Stretch your legs
Put pants one leg at a time

A lie has no legs

a bone in your leg

a leg in the door

a leg to stand on

a leg up

a lie has no legs

an arm and a leg

arm and a leg

as fast as your legs can carry you

be on (its/one’s) last legs

break a leg

Break a leg!

can talk the hind leg(s) off a donkey

can talk the legs off an iron potcock

a leg cost a pretty penny

cost an arm and a legcost/pay an arm and a leg

crooked as a barrel of fish hooks

feel your legs

first leg

fresh legs

get (one’s) leg over

get (one’s) sea legs

get a leg up

get a leg up on (someone)get a/(one’s) leg in the door

get up on hind legs

get your leg over

give (one) a leg up

give an arm and a leg (for something)

give an arm and a leg

forgive an arm and a leg for something

give leg bail

give somebody a leg-up

give someone a leg up

have a leg up on (someone)

have the legs of

He puts his pants on one leg at a time

hollow legs

leg it

leg man

leg up

not have a leg to stand on

on its last legs

on its/(one’s) last legs

on your hind legs

pay an arm and a leg

pull (one’s) leg

put (one’s) pants on one leg at a time

shake a leg

Show a leg

stretch one’s legs

tail between one’s leg

talk the hind leg off a donkey

to have a hollow leg

without a leg to stand on
==
Achilles’ heel is one’s weakness.
Bound hand and foot is to be literally or figuratively tied up.
Bring one to heel is to subdue someone.

Cool one’s heels is to pause to calm down or think before doing something rash.
Dig in one’s heels is to be obstinate.
Doesn’t have a leg to stand on is unsupported by evidence or corroboration.
Drag one’s feet is to delay.
Find one’s feet is to become accustomed or oriented.
Be fleet of foot is to be fast.
Foot the bill is to accept financial responsibility.
Get down on your knees means to figuratively submit or ask for forgiveness.
Get one’s feet wet is to have a modest or mild introductory experience; to put one’s toe in the water is to do so even more hesitantly.
Get or start off on the right foot is to make a good first impression or to act productively soon after beginning an endeavor, and to get or start off on the wrong foot is to leave a poor first impression or act counterproductively soon after beginning an endeavor.
Get one’s sea legs to become accustomed to the pitch and roll of a marine vessel or, by extension, to become used to a situation.
Have a foot in the door is to have an advantage that will enable one to obtain a desired result.
Have foot-in-mouth disease is to habitually make awkward or inappropriate comments.
Have one’s feet in both camps is to be opportunistically sympathetic to two opposing viewpoints.
Have feet of clay is to have a hidden flaw or weakness (an allusion to the fragility of clay).
Have itchy feet is to be restless.
Have one foot in the grave is to be in poor health or near death.
Have two left feet is to feel clumsy.
Have the world at one’s feet is to be afforded an opportunity for rewarding experiences.
“Head to toe” means “entirely” or “thoroughly.”
Keep one’s feet on the ground is to remain realistic and responsible.
Keep someone on one’s toes is to do or say one or more things that cause the person to remain alert or attentive.
“Knee-high to a grasshopper” is a colorfully exaggerated expression referring to being a small child.
Land on one’s feet is to recover from a setback.
“My foot” is an idiom for expressing skepticism.
On his or her last legs is in a state of exhaustion or near the point of giving up.
Pull someone’s leg is to deceive them for humorous effect.
Pull the rug from under one’s feet is to be deprived of support or disoriented by a sudden action; to have the rug pulled under one’s feet is to be the victim of such an action. “Have the ground cut out from under one’s feet” has the same meaning.
Put one’s best foot forward is to make a good impression.
Put one foot in front of the other is to begin a laborious undertaking.
Put one’s foot in it is to do or say something that gets one into an unfortunate situation, suggestive of stepping into an unpleasant substance.
Put one’s foot in one’s mouth is to say something awkward or inappropriate.
Put one’s feet up is to relax.
Put one’s foot down is to be insistent.
Put one’s foot to the floor is to suddenly hurry or increase one’s speed.
Set foot somewhere is to go into that place.
Shoot oneself in the foot is to do or say something disadvantageous to one’s own interests.
Stand on one’s own two feet is to act or live independently.
Step, or tread, on someone’s toes is to impinge on that person’s authority or responsibility or interfere with the person’s actions.
“The shoe is on the other foot” means that a situation has been reversed so that one who had been responsible for another’s misfortune is now suffering the same misfortune.
Think on one’s feet is to solve a problem reflexively or spontaneously.
Toe the line is to remain within the bounds of proper behavior or conduct.
Wait for the other shoe to drop is to be in expectation of receiving further developments or news.
Wait on someone hand and foot is to serve that person continuously.

==

Leg and Foot Idioms

Achilles’ heel (of someone or something)
– the weak part of a person/place/system/argument which can easily be attacked or criticized
The lack of a new stadium was the Achilles’ heel of the government’s plans to host the Olympics.

at (someone`s) heels
– close behind someone
The large car was at my heels while I was driving through the park.

back on one`s feet
– to recover from sickness or trouble, to become independent again
Our teacher was back on her feet shortly after her accident.
The man recently lost his job but he is now back on his feet.

balls of one’s feet
– the bottom of the feet behind the toes

The balls of my feet were very sore after walking all day.

bound hand and foot
– to have one’s hands and feet tied up
The bank manager was bound hand and foot by the bank robbers.

Break a leg!
– Good luck! (an expression that is used in theater performances)
“Break a leg!” the director called to the lead actor.

bring (someone) to heel
– to make someone obey you or pay attention to you again after he or she has stopped obeying or paying attention to you
The new supervisor quickly brought the employees to heel.

bring (someone or something) to its/their knees
– to have a negative effect on someone or something, to destroy someone or a group of people, to defeat someone or something
The strike by the teachers quickly brought the school district to its knees.

charley horse
– a cramp in one’s arm or leg from straining oneself or doing too much exercise
I got a charley horse while I was running this morning.

cool one`s heels
– to be forced to wait by someone in power or authority
I was forced to cool my heels in the lobby while I waited for the job interview.

cost an arm and a leg or cost (someone) an arm and a leg
– to cost much money
My father’s car cost him an arm and a leg.

dead on one’s feet
– very tired, worn out
I was dead on my feet when I returned from shopping all day.

dig in one’s heels
– to refuse to change one’s mind or one’s course of action
The man decided to dig in his heels and would not accept the offer to settle the dispute.

dip one’s toe in the water
– to slowly start to do something new in order to see if you like it or if other people will approve of it
I am doing some volunteer work at the hospital in order to dip my toe in the water and see if I like the medical field.

down-at-the-heels
– poorly dressed, looking poor
A man who looked down-at-the-heels came to the small cafe for dinner.

drag one`s feet
– to act slowly or reluctantly
Our company is dragging their feet about making a decision to hire new workers.

drag one`s heels
– to act slowly or reluctantly
My friend is dragging his heels about whether or not he should accept the new job.

fall head over heels
– to fall down (and maybe roll over)
The little boy fell head over heels when he was running in the park.

fall head over heels in love (with someone)
– to fall deeply in love with someone
The young man fell head over heels in love with the girl in his English class.

feet of clay
– a hidden or unexpected fault or weakness that a respected or powerful person has
The new manager has feet of clay and may not last very long in his new position.

find one’s feet
– to become accustomed to a new situation or experience
I was able to easily find my feet when I started my new job.

follow in (someone’s) footsteps
– to do what someone else has done (often to do the same job as one’s father or mother)
The young man followed in his father’s footsteps and decided to become an accountant.

a foot in the door
– an opening or opportunity to do something
I got a foot in the door when the company accepted my application.

foot the bill
– to pay for something
The company will foot the bill for my move to Paris.

footloose and fancy-free
– able to do whatever you want without any obligations
The couple have no children and they are footloose and fancy-free.

from head to toe
– from the top of one’s head to one’s feet
I dressed warmly from head to toe before I went outside.

get a foothold (somewhere)
– to find a starting point somewhere, to get a firm basis where further progress or development is possible
The small company was able to get a foothold in the breakfast cereal market.

get a toehold (somewhere)
– to find a starting point somewhere, to get a firm basis where further progress or development is possible
Our company was finally able to get a toehold in the textbook market.

get cold feet
– to become afraid and hesitant about something at the last minute
I wanted to go to Europe with my cousin but he got cold feet and decided not to go.

get off on the wrong foot with (someone)
– to make a bad start to a relationship
Unfortunately, my relationship with my new teacher got off on the wrong foot.

get one`s feet wet
– to do something for the first time, to gain your first experience of something
The writer got his feet wet in the publishing business and he is now ready to start his own business.

get one’s foot in the door
– to begin to do something that you hope will lead to future success (often used with jobs or careers)
I was able to get my foot in the door of the banking industry when I found a job at a bank.

get one’s sea legs
– to become accustomed to something, to become accustomed to a ship moving at sea
After a few days at my new job, I was able to get my sea legs.
After we got our sea legs, we were able to walk around the boat.

get to one’s feet
– to stand up
The audience got to their feet at the end of the concert.

go down on bended knee
– to show a lot of emotion when you are asking someone for something, to act like a servant
The man had to go down on bended knee to ask for the job.

go down on one’s knees
– to show a lot of emotion when you are asking someone for something, to act like a servant
I was forced to go down on my knees and ask my supervisor for a holiday.

go toe-to-toe (with someone)
– to be in close and direct confrontation or competition with someone, to be in close combat with someone
The two men went toe-to-toe in their debate.
The wrestlers went toe-to-toe for the championship.

hard on (someone’s) heels
– to be following someone very closely
The dog was hard on the young boy’s heels.

have a foot in both camps
– to support each of two opposing groups of people, to have an interest in two opposing groups of people
The new mayor has a foot in both camps of the development dispute.

have a hollow leg
– to be able to eat or drink a lot
I think that my friend has a hollow leg. He never stops eating.

have a lead foot
– to drive too fast
My friend has a lead foot and he has received many speeding tickets.

(not) have a leg to stand on
– to have no support for your position or opinion, to have no excuse or evidence for something
The criminal does not have a leg to stand on in his defense.

have a leg up on (someone)
– to have an advantage in your job or education because someone gives you help or money
The boy went to summer school which should give him a leg up on the other students in his class.

have cold feet
– to be afraid and hesitant about something at the last minute
I think that my friend has cold feet and will not go traveling with me.

have foot-in-mouth disease
– to embarrass oneself by a silly mistake or by saying something stupid
I think that my friend has foot-in-mouth disease. She is always making stupid statements.

have legs
– (an idea or plan or topic) is likely to succeed or to continue
The news story has legs. People will be talking about it for a long time.

have one foot in the grave
– to be near death
Our neighbor has one foot in the grave and I do not expect him to live much longer.

have one’s feet (planted firmly) on the ground
– to have sensible ideas, to have an understanding of what can be done in a certain situation
The new manager seems to have his feet on the ground and should have a sensible solution to our problems.
The man has his feet planted firmly on the ground and is very sensible.

have two left feet
– to move in a very awkward way when you dance
The man has two left feet and he is a very bad dancer.

keep on one’s toes
– to stay alert and watchful
The students were forced to keep on their toes by their new teacher.

keep one’s feet (firmly) on the ground
– to remain firmly established
The man is trying hard to keep his feet firmly on the ground with his new job and new apartment.
The man is trying to keep his feet on the ground now that he has a family.

kick up one`s heels
– to have a good time, to celebrate
We kicked up our heels and had a good time at the party.

knee-high to a grasshopper
– not very tall (usually used for a child)
My grandfather told me many stories when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

knock (someone) off his or her feet
– to surprise or shock someone so much that he or she does not know what to do, to overwhelm someone
The singer’s voice was so beautiful that it knocked me off my feet.

land on one’s feet
– to come out of a bad situation successfully
The man was able to land on his feet soon after he lost his job.

(not) let the grass grow under one`s feet
– to be idle, to be lazy, to waste time
My friend is never content to let the grass grow under his feet. He is always busy.

light on one’s feet
– to be able to move quickly and gracefully
The boxer is light on his feet and he wins many boxing matches.

make one’s toes curl
– to make one feel uncomfortable
The story about the horrible accident made my toes curl.

My foot!
– not possible, no way (used to say that you do not believe something)
“The secretary is absent from work because she is sick.”
“Sick, my foot! She is probably just lazy and wants a holiday.”

on bended knee
– with great humility
I went to my neighbor on bended knee to ask him if I could borrow some money.

on foot
– by walking
We decided to go to the stadium on foot.

on one’s feet
– standing up
I was on my feet for several hours yesterday. Today, I am very tired.

on (someone`s) heels
– close behind someone, following someone
The dog was on the heels of the small rabbit.
I was right on my friend’s heels as we hurried to the stadium.

on one`s toes
– alert, ready to act
The speaker kept the audience members on their toes by asking many interesting questions.

on (something’s) last legs
– something is almost worn out or finished
My television is on its last legs and I will soon have to buy a new one.
################UNTIL HERE############
on the heels of (something)
– soon after something
There was a big rain storm on the heels of the recent wind storm.

on tiptoe
– standing or walking on the front part of one’s feet
I stood on tiptoe in order to look into the construction site.

pay an arm and a leg (for something)
– to pay a lot of money for something
The woman paid an arm and a leg for her new coat.

play footsie (with someone)
– to attract someone’s attention by touching his or her foot under a table, to flirt with someone
The couple at the restaurant were playing footsie with each other.

pull (someone`s) leg
– to trick or fool someone in a playful way, to try to trick or joke with someomne by saying something that is not true
My friend was pulling my leg when he said that he had won much money.

put one’s best foot forward
– to try and make a good impression on other people, to act one’s best
I tried to put my best foot forward during the job interview.

put one’s foot down (about something)
– to object to something strongly, to refuse to do something, to refuse to allow something to happen
The woman put her foot down and stopped paying for the gas for her daughter’s car.

put one’s foot in one’s mouth
– to say something that is the wrong thing to say in a situation
I put my foot in my mouth and said that I did not like fish just before my friend served me fish for dinner.

put one’s toe in the water
– to slowly start to do something new to see if you like it or to see if other people will approve of it
I plan to put my toe in the water to see if the new job is suitable for me.

regain one’s feet
– to stand up again after falling or almost falling, to become independent after financial difficulties
I quickly regained my feet after almost falling on the sidewalk.
The man has finally regained his feet after losing his job.

set foot (somewhere)
– to go or enter somewhere
The restaurant owner has not set foot in his restaurant for several months.

set one back on one’s heels
– to surprise or shock or overwhelm someone
The announcement on the school’s loudspeaker set everybody back on their heels.

shake a leg
– to go fast, to hurry
“Please try and shake a leg. We are already late for the concert.”

the shoe is on the other foot
– the opposite is true, someone’s place or situation is changed into someone else’s place or situation
My friend always has problems at school but now the shoe is on the other foot and I am the one who is having problems.

shoot oneself in the foot
– to make a mistake or a stupid decision that makes a situation worse
The man shot himself in the foot when he refused to work extra to help his boss with the new project.

sit at (someone’s) feet
– to admire someone greatly, to be taught by someone
I would love to sit at the feet of the famous painter.

six feet under
– dead (buried six feet under the ground in a grave)
The criminal is a bad person and if he does not change, he will soon be six feet under.

stand on one’s own two feet
– to be independent and self-sufficient
The woman should do something to make her daughter stand on her own two feet.

start off on the wrong foot with (someone or something)
– to make a bad start to a relationship with a person or organization
I started off on the wrong foot with my boss and now we do not have a good relationship.
The man started off on the wrong foot with his company and he has many problems now.

step on (someone`s) toes
– to do something that interferes with or offends someone else
The man is careful that he does not step on anybody’s toes at his company.

stretch one’s legs
– to walk around after sitting or lying down for a period of time
The airplane passenger decided to stand up and stretch her legs.

sweep (someone) off his or her feet
– to overwhelm someone (with love etc.), to knock someone down
The woman was swept off her feet when she met the young man at the party.
The large wave swept the man off his feet at the seashore.

one’s tail is between one`s legs
– one has a feeling of being beaten or humiliated (like a frightened dog as it walks away)
The salesman was forced to leave the company with his tail between his legs after he told a lie about his sales figures.

take a load off one’s feet
– to sit down and relax
I sat down in order to take a load off my feet.

take to one’s heels
– to run away
The little boys took to their heels when the older boys approached.

think on one’s feet
– to think or reason or plan while one is talking or doing something (usually this is done under pressure)
I had to think on my feet when the flood waters began to approach my house.

throw oneself at (someone’s) feet
– to behave in a very humble manner
The man threw himself at his friend’s feet and asked for forgiveness for the problems that he had caused.

toe the line/mark
– to follow the rules, to do what one is expected to do
The team members were forced to toe the line when the new coach arrived.

tread on (someone`s) toes
– to do something that interferes with or offends someone else
I do not want to tread on my supervisor’s toes because he is not in a good mood today.

turn on one`s heel
– to turn around suddenly
The dog suddenly turned on his heel and ran away.

under (someone’s) feet
– to annoy or interrupt someone when he or she is working
The children were under their mother’s feet while she was cooking dinner.

vote with one’s feet
– to express one’s dissatisfaction with something by leaving or walking away
The students were voting with their feet when they began to leave the science course.

wait on (someone) hand and foot
– to serve someone in every possible way, to do everything for someone
I always wait on my friend hand and foot when she comes to visit me.

with one’s tail between one’s legs
– feeling beaten or humiliated (like a frightened or defeated dog as it walks away)
The saleswoman left the sales meeting with her tail between her legs because she did not meet the sales target.

Foot Idioms
back on one`s feet
– to recover from sickness or trouble, to become independent again
Our teacher was back on her feet shortly after her accident.
The man recently lost his job but he is now back on his feet.

balls of one’s feet
– the bottom of the feet behind the toes
The balls of my feet were very sore after walking all day.

bound hand and foot
– to have one’s hands and feet tied up
The bank manager was bound hand and foot by the bank robbers.

dead on one’s feet
– very tired, worn out
I was dead on my feet when I returned from shopping all day.

drag one`s feet
– to act slowly or reluctantly
Our company is dragging their feet about making a decision to hire new workers.

feet of clay
– a hidden or unexpected fault or weakness that a respected or powerful person has
The new manager has feet of clay and may not last very long in his new position.

find one’s feet
– to become accustomed to a new situation or experience
I was able to easily find my feet when I started my new job.

follow in (someone’s) footsteps
– to do what someone else has done (often to do the same job as one’s father or mother)
The young man followed in his father’s footsteps and decided to become an accountant.

a foot in the door
– an opening or opportunity to do something
I got a foot in the door when the company accepted my application.

foot the bill
– to pay for something
The company will foot the bill for my move to Paris.

footloose and fancy-free
– able to do whatever you want without any obligations
The couple have no children and they are footloose and fancy-free.

get a foothold (somewhere)
– to find a starting point somewhere, to get a firm basis where further progress or development is possible
The small company was able to get a foothold in the breakfast cereal market.

get cold feet
– to become afraid and hesitant about something at the last minute
I wanted to go to Europe with my cousin but he got cold feet and decided not to go.

get off on the wrong foot with (someone)
– to make a bad start to a relationship
Unfortunately, my relationship with my new teacher got off on the wrong foot.

get one`s feet wet
– to do something for the first time, to gain your first experience of something
The writer got his feet wet in the publishing business and he is now ready to start his own business.

get one’s foot in the door
– to begin to do something that you hope will lead to future success (often used with jobs or careers)
I was able to get my foot in the door of the banking industry when I found a job at a bank.

get to one’s feet
– to stand up
The audience got to their feet at the end of the concert.

have a foot in both camps
– to support each of two opposing groups of people, to have an interest in two opposing groups of people
The new mayor has a foot in both camps of the development dispute.

have a lead foot
– to drive too fast
My friend has a lead foot and he has received many speeding tickets.

have cold feet
– to be afraid and hesitant about something at the last minute
I think that my friend has cold feet and will not go traveling with me.

have foot-in-mouth disease
– to embarrass oneself by a silly mistake or by saying something stupid
I think that my friend has foot-in-mouth disease. She is always making stupid statements.

have one foot in the grave
– to be near death
Our neighbor has one foot in the grave and I do not expect him to live much longer.

have one’s feet (planted firmly) on the ground
– to have sensible ideas, to have an understanding of what can be done in a certain situation
The new manager seems to have his feet on the ground and should have a sensible solution to our problems.
The man has his feet planted firmly on the ground and is very sensible.

have two left feet
– to move in a very awkward way when you dance
The man has two left feet and he is a very bad dancer.

keep one’s feet (firmly) on the ground
– to remain firmly established
The man is trying hard to keep his feet firmly on the ground with his new job and new apartment.
The man is trying to keep his feet on the ground now that he has a family.

knock (someone) off his or her feet
– to surprise or shock someone so much that he or she does not know what to do, to overwhelm someone
The singer’s voice was so beautiful that it knocked me off my feet.

land on one’s feet
– to come out of a bad situation successfully
The man was able to land on his feet soon after he lost his job.

(not) let the grass grow under one`s feet
– to be idle, to be lazy, to waste time
My friend is never content to let the grass grow under his feet. He is always busy.

light on one’s feet
– to be able to move quickly and gracefully
The boxer is light on his feet and he wins many boxing matches.

My foot!
– not possible, no way (used to say that you do not believe something)
“The secretary is absent from work because she is sick.”
“Sick, my foot! She is probably just lazy and wants a holiday.”

on foot
– by walking
We decided to go to the stadium on foot.

on one’s feet
– standing up
I was on my feet for several hours yesterday. Today, I am very tired.

play footsie (with someone)
– to attract someone’s attention by touching his or her foot under a table, to flirt with someone
The couple at the restaurant were playing footsie with each other.

put one’s best foot forward
– to try and make a good impression on other people, to act one’s best
I tried to put my best foot forward during the job interview.

put one’s foot down (about something)
– to object to something strongly, to refuse to do something, to refuse to allow something to happen
The woman put her foot down and stopped paying for the gas for her daughter’s car.

put one’s foot in one’s mouth
– to say something that is the wrong thing to say in a situation
I put my foot in my mouth and said that I did not like fish just before my friend served me fish for dinner.

regain one’s feet
– to stand up again after falling or almost falling, to become independent after financial difficulties
I quickly regained my feet after almost falling on the sidewalk.
The man has finally regained his feet after losing his job.

set foot (somewhere)
– to go or enter somewhere
The restaurant owner has not set foot in his restaurant for several months.

the shoe is on the other foot
– the opposite is true, someone’s place or situation is changed into someone else’s place or situation
My friend always has problems at school but now the shoe is on the other foot and I am the one who is having problems.

shoot oneself in the foot
– to make a mistake or a stupid decision that makes a situation worse
The man shot himself in the foot when he refused to work extra to help his boss with the new project.

sit at (someone’s) feet
– to admire someone greatly, to be taught by someone
I would love to sit at the feet of the famous painter.

six feet under
– dead (buried six feet under the ground in a grave)
The criminal is a bad person and if he does not change, he will soon be six feet under.

stand on one’s own two feet
– to be independent and self-sufficient
The woman should do something to make her daughter stand on her own two feet.

start off on the wrong foot with (someone or something)
– to make a bad start to a relationship with a person or organization
I started off on the wrong foot with my boss and now we do not have a good relationship.
The man started off on the wrong foot with his company and he has many problems now.

sweep (someone) off his or her feet
– to overwhelm someone (with love etc.), to knock someone down
The woman was swept off her feet when she met the young man at the party.
The large wave swept the man off his feet at the seashore.

take a load off one’s feet
– to sit down and relax
I sat down in order to take a load off my feet.

think on one’s feet
– to think or reason or plan while one is talking or doing something (usually this is done under pressure)
I had to think on my feet when the flood waters began to approach my house.

throw oneself at (someone’s) feet
– to behave in a very humble manner
The man threw himself at his friend’s feet and asked for forgiveness for the problems that he had caused.

under (someone’s) feet
– to annoy or interrupt someone when he or she is working
The children were under their mother’s feet while she was cooking dinner.

vote with one’s feet
– to express one’s dissatisfaction with something by leaving or walking away
The students were voting with their feet when they began to leave the science course.

wait on (someone) hand and foot
– to serve someone in every possible way, to do everything for someone
I always wait on my friend hand and foot when she comes to visit me.

Heel Idioms
Achilles’ heel (of someone or something)
– the weak part of a person/place/system/argument which can easily be attacked or criticized
The lack of a new stadium was the Achilles’ heel of the government’s plans to host the Olympics.

at (someone`s) heels
– close behind someone
The large car was at my heels while I was driving through the park.

bring (someone) to heel
– to make someone obey you or pay attention to you again after he or she has stopped obeying or paying attention to you
The new supervisor quickly brought the employees to heel.

cool one`s heels
– to be forced to wait by someone in power or authority
I was forced to cool my heels in the lobby while I waited for the job interview.

dig in one’s heels
– to refuse to change one’s mind or one’s course of action
The man decided to dig in his heels and would not accept the offer to settle the dispute.

down-at-the-heels
– poorly dressed, looking poor
A man who looked down-at-the-heels came to the small cafe for dinner.

drag one`s heels
– to act slowly or reluctantly
My friend is dragging his heels about whether or not he should accept the new job.

fall head over heels
– to fall down (and maybe roll over)
The little boy fell head over heels when he was running in the park.

fall head over heels in love (with someone)
– to fall deeply in love with someone
The young man fell head over heels in love with the girl in his English class.

hard on (someone’s) heels
– to be following someone very closely
The dog was hard on the young boy’s heels.

kick up one`s heels
– to have a good time, to celebrate
We kicked up our heels and had a good time at the party.

on (someone`s) heels
– close behind someone, following someone
The dog was on the heels of the small rabbit.
I was right on my friend’s heels as we hurried to the stadium.

on the heels of (something)
– soon after something
There was a big rain storm on the heels of the recent wind storm.

set one back on one’s heels
– to surprise or shock or overwhelm someone
The announcement on the school’s loudspeaker set everybody back on their heels.

take to one’s heels
– to run away
The little boys took to their heels when the older boys approached.

turn on one`s heel
– to turn around suddenly
The dog suddenly turned on his heel and ran away.

Knee Idioms
bring (someone or something) to its/their knees
– to have a negative effect on someone or something, to destroy someone or a group of people, to defeat someone or something
The strike by the teachers quickly brought the school district to its knees.

go down on bended knee
– to show a lot of emotion when you are asking someone for something, to act like a servant
The man had to go down on bended knee to ask for the job.

go down on one’s knees
– to show a lot of emotion when you are asking someone for something, to act like a servant
I was forced to go down on my knees and ask my supervisor for a holiday.

knee-high to a grasshopper
– not very tall (usually used for a child)
My grandfather told me many stories when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

on bended knee
– with great humility
I went to my neighbor on bended knee to ask him if I could borrow some money.

Leg Idioms
Break a leg!
– Good luck! (an expression that is used in theater performances)
“Break a leg!” the director called to the lead actor.

cost an arm and a leg or cost (someone) an arm and a leg
– to cost much money
My father’s car cost him an arm and a leg.

get one’s sea legs
– to become accustomed to something, to become accustomed to a ship moving at sea
After a few days at my new job, I was able to get my sea legs.
After we got our sea legs, we were able to walk around the boat.

have a hollow leg
– to be able to eat or drink a lot
I think that my friend has a hollow leg. He never stops eating.

(not) have a leg to stand on
– to have no support for your position or opinion, to have no excuse or evidence for something
The criminal does not have a leg to stand on in his defense.

have a leg up on (someone)
– to have an advantage in your job or education because someone gives you help or money
The boy went to summer school which should give him a leg up on the other students in his class.

have legs
– (an idea or plan or topic) is likely to succeed or to continue
The news story has legs. People will be talking about it for a long time.

on (something’s) last legs
– something is almost worn out or finished
My television is on its last legs and I will soon have to buy a new one.

pay an arm and a leg (for something)
– to pay a lot of money for something
The woman paid an arm and a leg for her new coat.

pull (someone`s) leg
– to trick or fool someone in a playful way, to try to trick or joke with someomne by saying something that is not true
My friend was pulling my leg when he said that he had won much money.

Shake a leg – to go fast, to hurry
“Please try and shake a leg. We are already late for the concert.”

stretch one’s legs
– to walk around after sitting or lying down for a period of time
The airplane passenger decided to stand up and stretch her legs.

with one’s tail between one’s legs
feeling beaten or humiliated (like a frightened or defeated dog as it walks away)
The saleswoman left the sales meeting with her tail between her legs because she did not meet the sales target.

Toe Idioms
dip one’s toe in the water
– to slowly start to do something new in order to see if you like it or if other people will approve of it
I am doing some volunteer work at the hospital in order to dip my toe in the water and see if I like the medical field.

from head to toe
– from the top of one’s head to one’s feet
I dressed warmly from head to toe before I went outside.

get a toehold (somewhere)
– to find a starting point somewhere, to get a firm basis where further progress or development is possible
Our company was finally able to get a toehold in the textbook market.

go toe-to-toe (with someone)
– to be in close and direct confrontation or competition with someone, to be in close combat with someone
The two men went toe-to-toe in their debate.
The wrestlers went toe-to-toe for the championship.

keep on one’s toes
– to stay alert and watchful
The students were forced to keep on their toes by their new teacher.

make one’s toes curl
– to make one feel uncomfortable
The story about the horrible accident made my toes curl.
I was right on my friend’s heels as we hurried to the stadium.

on one`s toes
– alert, ready to act
The speaker kept the audience members on their toes by asking many interesting questions.

on tiptoe
– standing or walking on the front part of one’s feet
I stood on tiptoe in order to look into the construction site.

put one’s toe in the water
– to slowly start to do something new to see if you like it or to see if other people will approve of it
I plan to put my toe in the water to see if the new job is suitable for me.

step on (someone`s) toes
– to do something that interferes with or offends someone else
The man is careful that he does not step on anybody’s toes at his company.

toe the line/mark
– to follow the rules, to do what one is expected to do
The team members were forced to toe the line when the new coach arrived.

tread on (someone`s) toes
– to do something that interferes with or offends someone else
I do not want to tread on my supervisor’s toes because he is not in a good mood today.

By | 2017-12-05T09:44:03+00:00 November 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on LEnglish – How the English Language Has Benefitted from the Leg

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