Archives for posts with tag: nose

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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Down in the mouth
doesn’t need any explanation with the advent of emoticons. 😦

Go and wash your mouth out (with soap)!
If a child swore it was usual for this to be said.  Soap tastes horrible and would act as a deterrent to a repeat offence.

Your tongue will turn blue
was an alternative to the above.  Of course, if an adult was reported to have sworn, the story might have been that the air turned blue.

Put your tongue out!
A polite request by the doctor, which is quite the opposite of

Don’t stick your tongue out; it’s rude!

Put your nose to the grindstone.
A grindstone was used to sharpen knives, so why does getting on with some hard work involve sharpening your nose?

She’s always got her nose in a book.
“She” must be very short-sighted, but fond of reading.

That’s put your nose out of joint.
There isn’t a joint in a nose, is there?  This expression is used to describe someone being upset, perhaps by being outdone by a rival.

Two-faced.
The best picture of this is the one used for tragedy/comedy.  It is usually used to describe someone who says one thing to your face and another behind your back.  This one is from Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TragicComicMasksHadriansVillamosaic.jpg via antmooseWetman

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Theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE.

Put a brave face on it.
If you are upset or struggling or in pain, try not to show it.

Face up to it.
Look at something how it is or confront an issue.

You’re not just a pretty face.
This is usually meant as a compliment that someone is useful as well as ornamental.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
People disagree about what is beautiful.  Behold is an old word for look.

What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over.
If you are unaware of the details of a situation, you are less likely to be upset about it.

Keep your eye on the ball.
This can be literal advice to people learning sport or general advice to be aware of what is going on.

To be wet behind the ears.
This means inexperienced.  Does it have something to do with a new-born baby?

As long as you keep your head above water.
Of course it is not a good idea to drown, but this also applies to staying “in the black” financially and not being overwhelmed by responsibilities and busy-ness.

Two heads are better than one even if one’s only a sheep’s head.
An expression to use with care.  If someone is helping you, they might be insulted to be referred to as a woolly animal, but if you are the assistant, no offence is likely to be taken!

Use your head to save your legs.
If you plan your activities so that you do not need to make extra trips to the same place or in the same directions, you will have heeded this advice.

Bird-brained.
Birds have small heads and small brains are not as powerful as larger ones (?) so a bird-brained scheme is probably daft.

Give someone their head.
A horse is controlled by reins, but, if you give it its head, it can make its own decisions.

On your own head be it.
This is usually a warning to someone, who is embarking on a course of action, which may be risky.They would have to take the blame if it went wrong.  This expression is used in the Book of Joshua.

You can’t put an old head on young shoulders.
Young people are inexperienced and have to learn.  They can’t be expected to make the same decisions a more experienced person would.

That went over my head.
I didn’t understand.

Head for the hills.
Here head is a verb meaning “go in the direction of” and not a noun.
You could also set your face towards a place.

If you behave in a kind and loving way towards someone who has wronged you, you are said to be heaping coals of fire on someone’s head.  This is an exaggerated way of saying it will make them feel uncomfortable.  Romans Chapter 12 verse 20 quotes Proverbs Chapter 25 verses 21 to 22.