Archives for posts with tag: ears

Banging your head against a brick wall is a metaphor for putting in a lot of effort but meeting with resistance.

Keep a civil tongue in one’s head means be polite.

A woman’s hair is her crowning glory.
This is possibly a misquotation from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians 11:15.

She didn’t turn a hair means that she did not react, possibly in a situation where she should have been ashamed.

A stiff upper-lip is one which is not laughing, smiling or involved in sobbing.  British people used to be renowned for it.

Take it on the chin sounds as if “it” might be a punch.  This expression usually is advice about how to react to a disappointment.

Wipe the smile off your face may be an instruction to someone who is reacting inappropriately.  That will wipe the smile off your face could be a warning of unpleasantness ahead.

Poker-faced has nothing to do with fire-irons.  In the card game poker skilled players do not give away whether or not they have good cards.  Keeping a neutral expression on their face is part of their strategy.

Hot-headed means rash or impetuous.

He’s got his head screwed on is a saying about a sensible person.

Cut your teeth on…
…a teething ring?  Metaphorically this can be applied to someone’s early training in their work.

Teething troubles are things which go wrong at the start of new working practices or with new equipment, for example.

Through gritted teeth means reluctantly.  A clenched jaw is a similar expression.

Grit your teeth might be associated with grin and bear it.

Chin-wagging is chattering, nattering, gossiping or some other activity which involves exercising the lower jaw in speech.

Powdering one’s nose used to be a popular euphemism for the routine a lady might have before setting off on a journey home.

A honker and a hooter are slang words for nose.
Bash on the boko is an expression using another.  (The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang)

Follow your nose!  This is something we all do unless we are walking backwards or sideways like a crab.  It means just go straight ahead.  Perhaps it derives from following a smell.

Someone might turn their nose up at something.  This is an expression which implies that the owner of the nose ought to be more grateful.

What have you got between your ears?
A popular answer to this question about someone’s lack of common-sense or intelligence is “cotton-wool!”

Stiffnecked means obstinate or stubbornIt was applied to the people of Israel in the wilderness with Moses.  Exodus 32:9

I’ll wring your neck.
In my view this is an unacceptable threat unless the neck belongs to a fowl.

Don’t talk with your mouth full!
This is not just advice on manners.   Such behaviour may lead to choking or making a mess.  It also looks horrible.

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth is about being born into a wealthy family.

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings is a quotation from Psalm 8:2 which is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 21 verses 1-17.

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Silence is golden
Is a well-known saying.  The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying and Quotation gives a longer version: Speech is silver, but silence is golden.

If people only spoke when they had something important to say, a deathly hush would descend on the earth.
I haven’t managed to find a derivation of, or source for this.  Any ideas?

Be quiet,
Put a sock in it and
Pipe down are three ways of telling people not to talk.
Pipe up is the opposite, often used when someone says something unexpected.

You could hear a pin drop.
It was so quiet that even the sound of a small object falling to the ground was audible.

I can’t hear myself think.
It is so noisy that it is impossible to concentrate.

Keep mum.
Mummers used to mime: acting without words.  Keep mum means “Don’t say anything!”

Mum’s the word.
I’ll keep that secret.

Flabbergasted
Shocked into silence perhaps.  In any case it is a much nicer word than the more modern
gob-smacked which implies the violence of being hit in the mouth.

Speechless
means unable to think of anything to say (due to shock).

Struck dumb
and
dumbfounded mean more or less the same, but can also mean confounded or nonplussed, which implies confusion, but taken literally, would be having nothing to add.

One man who was afflicted in this way was Zechariah the father of John the Baptist.  His story can be found in St Luke’s Gospel Chapters 1 and 2.

Scandalised
is another word for shocked.

There’s none so deaf as those who don’t want to hear.

Sometimes people don’t listen. Matthew Chapter 13 verse 13 (NIV) ‘This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;
Though hearing they do not hear or understand.”’

Cloth ears.
Rag dolls don’t hear much, do they?

Walls have ears.
Sometimes you can be overheard from another room.

“Actions speak louder than words”
is a proverb.  What you do means more than the promise to do it.