lips, tongue


Idiom Explanation Example
my/his/her etc. lips are sealed promise not to discuss/reveal information I won’t tell anyone. My lips are sealed
on everyone’s lips talked about by a lot of people News of a royal engagement was on everyone’s lips.
stiff upper lip ability to not show negative emotions for example anger, fear, pain or disappointment (a character often associated with British people) Although it hurt when Harry broke his arm, he kept a stiff upper lip and did not cry.


Idiom Explanation Example
on the tip of one’s tongue when you are unable to remember a word or name although you know it What’s his name again? It’s on the tip of my tongue.
cat got your tongue? unable to speak because of embarrassment or shyness

Woman: Hello little Esther.
Mother: Say hello, Esther.
Woman: What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?

set tongues wagging cause people to gossip or spread rumours Photographs of the Prince in a jeweller’s shop set tongues across the country wagging.
tongue-in-cheek an insincere, joking or ironic comment/a comment which is not meant to be taken seriously I’m sorry if I offended you. My comments were tongue-in-cheek, I never thought you would take them seriously.
display incorrect answers

Exercises C1

Complete the sentences with the words below.

lip – lips – tongue

  1. Chris never shows his emotion. He has a stiff upper  .
  2. When she told her sisters about her new friend Michael the news set   wagging. That night her mother called to ask when the wedding was.
  3. Your secret is safe with me, my   are sealed.

Choose the correct idiom.

  1. —How do you say thank you in German?
    —It‘s something with D, like denke or donke
  2. —What were you and Jan talking about at lunch yesterday?
    —I can’t tell you. I promised not to say anything, …
  3. After serving a burnt omelette for dinner, Dad said he was the best cook in England.
  4. I know absolutely everything there is to know.
    What is the capital of Turkey?
    Well – I – um …
    —What’s the matter? …
  5. When the President’s daughter ran away with the journalist, everyone talked about it.

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