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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hokudai/Cast 85: Extreme Body Parts 2

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Body parts are often used in phrases that have nothing to do with the body part. For example, look at these four body parts:
leg ankle toes and foot.

If we start at the top with 'leg' we have "Shake a leg." This means two things. First, it means 'get up' and second, it means 'hurry up.' 'Shake a leg' - Move fast or get up quickly. Another phrase with 'leg' is from actors and the stage. Actors think it is bad luck to say 'Good luck' so instead of saying 'Good luck' to an actor before he goes out on stage to act, they say something that is not good. They say, 'Break a leg.' 'Break a leg' means 'good luck.'

The next word, ankle, has one that is often used, especially to new mothers or fathers. It's ankle-biter. An ankle-biter is a baby or a small child because they are walking or crawling around your ankles. 

Toes. There are two phrases that we can use with toes. One is 'toe the line.' This means to be the same as everyone else, or to conform and be serious along with everyone else. The other phrase is 'be on your toes.' This means 'be alert.'

Finally we have 'foot.' First we have 'foot in the mouth.' This you've said something wrong, you shouldn't have said it, and you can't take it back so you have your foot in your mouth. The other one deals with beginning. The other phrase is 'foot in the door.' Once you get your foot in the door you have a new beginning or an opportunity, if you are on your toes, to go higher in an organization, become more popular, or earn more money once you get your foot in the door.

So our phrases, starting with leg, are:
  • shake a leg
  • break a leg
and ankle
  • ankle-biter
  • toe the line
  • be on your toes
  • foot in the mouth
  • foot in the door
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Mirai Sozo is the School of Future Learning at Hokuriku University. The primary focus is on language (English and Chinese) and management (hospital administration, sports, and business).
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