Ten metaphors with body parts

Hi again and welcome to The Art of Business English. This week we are going to be looking at some metaphors that contain body parts. 

The use of metaphors in English is very common, so what is a metaphor? 

According to the Cambridge dictionary, a metaphor is an expression in English that describes a person or an object which possesses similar characteristics to the thing we are trying to describe. 

For example, "He has a heart of stone." is a metaphor used to describe someone who has no feelings or empathy towards others. 

So, now that you are clear on what a metaphor is I am going to show you some very useful ones that you can use in business to describe certain situations. 

As always, I will give you the expression and then the meaning, as well as an example sentence to help you understand the context. 

Let's jump to it. 

Send me your questions or comments

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Face (up to) the facts

Meaning: Accept a difficult situation.

Example: “Jim has to face up to the fact that his company went bankrupt.”

Shoulder the blame

Meaning: Take responsibility for something bad.

Example: “Teachers cannot be expected to shoulder all the blame for poor exam results.”

Foot the bill

Meaning: Pay for something.

Example: “It's a business lunch, so the company is footing the bill.”

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Head a team

Meaning: Lead a project group.

Example: “Marie is heading the sales team.”

Keep someone on their toes

Meaning: Make someone stay active and focused.

Example: “The visit of the CEO kept everyone on their toes.”

Have an eye for

Meaning: To be good at noticing.

Example: “Salespeople need to have a good eye for detail.”

Go hand in hand with

Meaning: If something goes hand in hand with something else, it happens at the same time as it or as a result of it.

Example: “Educational deprivation and poverty go hand in hand.”

Rule of thumb

Meaning: A practical and approximate way of doing or measuring something.

Example: “As a rule of thumb, I never start new projects on Fridays.”

Knee-jerk reaction

Meaning: A quick reaction that does not allow you time to consider something carefully.

Example: “He said no immediately without considering our proposal. It was a typical knee jerk reaction.”


Meaning: If you give someone a tongue-lashing, you speak angrily to that person about something that they have done wrong.

Example: “Yesterday, Mark gave Jesse a tongue-lashing for not finishing the reports on time.”

Final thoughts

I hope you found those metaphors using body parts useful. If you know any other interesting metaphors which use body parts, why don't you share them in the comments section below. 

See you all next week for another episode of The Art of Business English. 

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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