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Grade 8 English Vocabulary

Grade 8 English Vocabulary

Idioms using human body parts - finger, thumb and hand

  • The plan has been given the thumbs up/down
    - has been approved (up) or rejected (down).
  • That office block sticks/stands out like a sore thumb next to such a beautiful park.
    – looks different from everything else in its environment (in a negative sense).
  • As a rule of thumb, always write down the code.
    - As a general, useful rule
  • The boss has given me a free hand at work.
    - Allows me to take whatever action I want to
  • Things got out of hand and the police arrived.
    - Got out of control.
  • I don’t really have any first-hand knowledge of nature conservation.
    - Direct/from experience
  • That restaurant has changed hands twice.
    - Been sold to a new owner
  • I have my hands full with three children.
    - Am very busy/have a lot of things to do.
  • I’d like to try my hand at scuba-diving one day.
    - Try it for the first time.
  • Give me a hand with this big box, will you?
    - Help me, e.g. to carry lift it
  • I have washed my hands off the whole project as it caused so many problems.
    - Stopped being involved in
  • I always like to have a dictionary to hand when I’m reading English newspapers.
    - Available; nearby
  • Rosa had all the statistics at her fingertips.
    - Remembers and quotes easily
  • I think I have put my finger on the problem.
    - Identify what is wrong.
  • Jane never lifts a finger at home.
    - Never helps out.
  • Paula has really got green fingers.
    - Everything she plants seem to grow beautifully.
  • He got his fingers burnt in a financial deal in 1998.
    - Suffered badly and lost a lot of money at the time.
  • I am getting my exam results tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
    - Hope for good luck


Rewrite the underlined part of each sentence with an idiom.

  • I think it would be good if you got some direct experience of working in a poor country before working for an aid organisation at home.
  • Jerry has withdrawn completely from the club committee. He was so disgusted that he just quit, and never wants to see any of them again.
  • That new power station on the coast is such an ugly sight! You’d think they would have built it to blend in with the landscape.
  • Have you ever had a go at water-skiing? My sister’s got a boat if you would like to try.
  • I always have to have the cookbook right next to me when I’m trying out a new recipe.
  • The Director of Police said that he has identified the cause of the mysterious disappearance of the woman.


  • First-hand
  • Washed his hands off
  • Sticks out like a sore thumb
  • Tried your hand
  • To hand
  • Put his finger on

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