thumb, finger, foot


Idiom Explanation Example
under the thumb (of someone)/
under someone's thumb
controlled by someone Mario is definitely under the thumb of his wife.
thumbs up/
thumbs down
show approval or acceptance/
disaproval or rejection
City council gave us the thumbs up to build a new playground.
all fingers and thumbs do something in a clumsy and awkward way He’s very good with small children, they love him. But when it comes to babies, he’s all fingers and thumbs and they always end up crying.


Idiom Explanation Example
twist/wind/wrap someone around your little finger

influence a person so that he or she does everything for someone.

The little girl has her grandparents wrapped around her little finger. They do almost everything she asks for.
cross your fingers/
keep your fingers crossed
wish or hope for luck for yourself or someone else I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather next week. It’s my birthday and I want to have a picnic.
have/keep your finger on the pulse keep up to date with latest news Eugene has his finger on the pulse. He knows everthing about new developments in video games.
cannot put your finger on something not being able to identify something You look different, but why? I can't put my finger on it. Have you had your hair cut?


Idiom Explanation Example
sweep someone off their feet charm somebody extremely quickly The prince was so charming that the princess fell in love with him instantly. He swept her off her feet.
one foot in the grave close to death because of old age/illness (usually funny) My grandfather is 92 and he's been telling everyone for years that he has one foot in the grave.
start off on the right/wrong foot a good/bad beginning to something Patrick started off on the wrong foot with my mother by asking her how old she was.
put one’s foot down create firm rules or strongly asset something The teacher put her foot down about tardiness. It was something she found unacceptable in her students.
display incorrect answers

Exercises C1

Complete the sentences with the words below.

finger – foot – thumb

  1. I have a job interview tomorrow.
    Good luck! I’ll keep my   crossed for you.
  2. The dance teacher gave Anouk two   up for her performance of Swan Lake.
  3. I can tell my brother to do almost anything I want. I've got him wrapped around my little  .
  4. Mum convinced Dad to let us go to the dance, but he put his   down and said no when we asked for money to buy new dresses.

Choose the correct idiom.

  1. I like to tease my older sister and tell her that she is so old that she …
  2. When Katie came home, something was different. The flat was cleaner than usual or perhaps the furniture had been moved. She couldn’t decide what had changed.
  3. James’s first day at work went terribly and he was sure the boss thought he was arrogant.
  4. I'm sure the Queen of England has the best table manners in the word, but I wonder if she can use chopsticks. I think she'd be clumsy and drop the food everywhere.
  5. When I met your father, it was love at first sight. He was so romantic and he …
  6. Seymour does absolutely everything his mother asks him to, even though he is 40 years old.
  7. What can we do tonight? Do you know of anything fun?
    I’m not sure. Ask Max, he…

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