IN SAFE HANDS.
TO BE ON HAND.
TO GET ONE’S FINGERS BURNED.
What do you make of these phrases? By themselves they may not mean much but when used in a context they carry a lot of meaning. Let's take a closer look:
‘Your child is in safe hands with the baby sitter,’ means that the child will be well looked after by the baby sitter.
‘My friend was on hand in my hour of grief,' tells us that the friend was helping me when I was in grief. They were in attendance or available in case of need.
‘I got my fingers burned last time I associated with him,’ means that my experience with him was unpleasant and I learnt a painful lesson, especially in regard to trust in interpersonal relationships.
The phrases in these three examples are known as idioms. Idioms are often used to communicate things more forcefully and memorably. Idioms are very much entrenched in the culture of a country and each country has its own set of idioms derived from its culture and its language. English has hundreds of idioms and they can be categorised based on themes.
The human body is phenomenal in the sense that it is such a well oiled machine with each part doing a specific function. The human body is made use of in large measure in idiomatic expressions as all of us are conversant with its functions and can relate to expressions concerning it. Plenty of idioms are available on all parts of the human body. In the quiz that follows we learn some idioms based on the theme of 'hands' - and remember that idioms are used more often in informal conversations rather than in formal ones.