Bodily expressions finale: Bodies and skeletons

One of William Blake's watercolour illustrations for Robert Blair's poem "The Grave", 1805

One of William Blake’s watercolour illustrations for Robert Blair’s poem “The Grave”, 1805

Fittingly, on this ghoulish day, Glosso comes to the end of its series of bodily expressions (see links to the previous posts below). In our grand Hallowe’en finale, we’ve gathered those instances where skeletons and bodies (dead or alive) take their place in the expressions of our daily lingo.

And in the round-up of posts below, we tally the number of expressions we’ve gathered for each of our body parts. You might be surprised to see which one of them takes the biscuit …



1. Over my dead body

2.. To keep body and soul together

3. To know where all the bodies are buried

4. (To need) warm bodies

5. A body blow

6. He doesn’t have a [mean/bad/jealous etc.] bone in his body


I have a skeleton in my closet …

"Le squelette de Mirabeau sortant de l'armoire de fer" by Marechal - Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Wiki Commons)

“Le squelette de Mirabeau sortant de l’armoire de fer” by Marechal – Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Wiki Commons)


* Categories, and number of expressions:

In first place are hearts, with 58 expressions using that organ of love, pain and heartbreak

The runner-up is hands, with 47 idioms making use of our busiest extremities

And the third prize goes to eyes, with 46 phrases honoring those gateways to our souls

Honorary mentions go to heads and feet, which provide 33 and 31 expressions respectively.

I: Hair, heads & brains
Hair: 13;  Head: 33;  Brain: 5
II: Eyes & ears
Eye(s): 46; Ear(s): 24
III: Faces, noses & mouths, teeth, cheeks & chins
Face: 19; Nose: 19; Lip 9; Mouth: 19; Teeth: 11; Tongue: 12; Cheek: 5; Chin: 3
IV: Necks, throats & shoulders
Neck: 9; Throat: 7; Shoulder: 12
V: Chests, breasts & hearts
Chest: 4; Breast: 3; Heart: 58
VI: Arms & hands, fingers & thumbs
Arm: 10; Elbow: 9; Hand: 47; Finger: 12; Knuckle: 4; Thumb: 5
VII: Bellies & bottoms, hips, loins & backs
Belly: 5; Bottom/ass: 12; Hip: 2; Loins: 2; Back: 17
VIII: Legs, feet, toes & heels
Leg: 12; Knee: 6; Feet: 31; Toe: 5; Heel: 12
IX: Blood, sweat & tears, skin & bones, nerves, muscles
Blood: 23; Vein: 1; Sweat: 10; Tears: 7; Nerves: 5; Sinew/muscle: 6; Bone: 22; Skin: 11
X: Bodies and skeletons
Body: 6; Skeleton: 1


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