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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Idioms relating to the shoulders, the skin and the spine  
from:  'a chip on the shoulder'   to:  'spine-tingling'

  • a chip on the shoulder
    • If someone has a chip on the shoulder, they feel resentful because they feel they are being treated unfairly, especially because of their background, their sex or their colour.

  • give someone the cold shoulder
    • To give someone the cold shoulder means to deliberately ignore them.
      "After giving my opinion, he gave me the cold shoulder."

  • old head on young shoulders
    • This expression is used to refer to a child or young person who thinks and expresses themselves like an older more-experienced person.
      "When she heard Emily warning her little brother to stay out of trouble, her mother thought: "That's an old head on young shoulders"."

  • put your shoulder to the wheel
    • If you put your shoulder to the wheel, you start putting a lot of effort into a difficult task.
      "We'll have to put our shoulders to the wheel to get the store ready for the opening day."

  • rub shoulders
    • If you rub shoulders with someone, you have an opportunity to meet and talk to a person who is wealthy, famous or distinguished.
      "In her job in public relations, Jenny sometimes rubs shoulders with famous people."

  • (a) shoulder to cry on
    • If you need 'a shoulder to cry on', you need to talk to someone who will listen to your problems and give sympathy and support when you are upset.
      "You can call me any time if you need a shoulder to cry on."

  • shoulder surfing
    • The practice of looking over somebody's shoulder when they are using a computer, cash dispenser or other electronic device, in order to obtain personal information (identification, account number, password, etc.) is called shoulder-surfing.

  • all skin and bone
    • If someone is all skin and bone, they are very thin or too thin.
      "After trekking in the Himalayas, he was all skin and bone."

  • by the skin of your teeth
    • To do or achieve something by the skin of our teeth means that you just managed to do it, but that you almost failed.
      "Leo passed the driving test by the skin of his teeth!"

  • jump out of one's skin
    • If you jump out of your skin, you are extremely surprised or shocked.
      "Jane nearly jumped out of her skin when the horse put its head through the kitchen window!"

  • more than one way to skin a cat
    • The expression 'there's more than one way to skin a cat' means that there are many different ways of achieving something.
      "How about trying a different method? There's more than one way to skin a cat you know!"

  • (no) skin off one's nose
    • To use this expression means that you don't care if something happens.
      "It's no skin off my nose if he doesn't accept the invitation - I don't care one way or another."

  • skin someone alive
    • If you are angry and threaten to skin someone alive, you mean that you are going to punish them severely.
      "If that kid damages my car again, I'll skin him alive!"

  • (put) skin in the game
    • If you put skin in the game, you show your confidence in a company by making a considerable investment or a financial commitment.
      "I got good news today. Apparently a serious investor is willing to put skin in the game."

  • have no spine
    • Someone who has no spine lacks courage or strength of character.
      "Billy would be incapable of defending us. He’s got no spine !"

  • (send) a shiver down someone's spine
    • If something sends a shiver down your spine, it makes you feel anxious, nervous or excited.
      "That song always sends a shiver down my spine"

  • spine-tingling
    • Something that is spine-tingling is thrilling or frightening.
      "My boyfriend loves spine-tingling movies but I get too scared to watch them!"

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