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10 Funny English Idioms to Describe the Human Body

Human Body Idioms

Many of us - no, most of us - tend to be dissatisfied with our bodies from time to time. Too thin, too short, too tall or too fat. Weight gain tends to be an issue at this time of year - during the pre-holiday and holiday season - when we enjoy delicious home-baked cookies and cakes, rich family meals and parties. Come January, many of us, especially the older ones among us, myself included, start to think of ways to compensate for our seasonal overindulgences and the undesirable effects they have had on certain areas of our bodies. Here is a list of 10 funny (or not so funny) English idioms to describe the human body and its problem zones:

1. muffin top
A muffin top is a protruding roll of fat that spills out over the waistline of a skirt, pants or jeans. This fat looks like the top of a muffin. Today’s low-cut jeans, unfortunately, don’t do anything to minimize a muffin top - in fact, they can even emphasize it.

2. saddle bags
Originally, saddle bags were bags used to transport goods on horseback. The bags would hang on both sides of the horse. In terms of the human body - in particular, the female body - this idiom refers to an extra storage of fat on the outer upper thighs. As the idiom implies, this fat looks like saddle bags.

3. bat wings / bingo wings
Bat wings and bingo wings refer to the sagging skin and fat that hangs down on the underside of the upper arms. I can definitely see where the term bat wings comes from - the wings of bats do look similar to flabby arms; but where does the expression bingo wings come from? Do women and men who play bingo tend to have flabbier arms than others?

4. middle-aged spread
Middle-aged spread is not something that a lot of people in my age group like to think or talk about - because either they are about to get it, fear it, or already have it. Middle-aged spread refers to the increase in fat in the waist and buttocks area that typically occurs around the time of middle age.

5. spare tire/ spare tyre
A spare tire (American English) or spare tyre (British English) refers to an extra layer of fat that is wrapped around the waist area. As the idiom implies, it looks similar to the wheel of a car.

6. beer belly
While a beer belly is said to be due to the consumption of too much beer, eating too many delicious fattening meals and Christmas sweets is likely to produce a similar effect in the long-run. You can see Santa’s post-Christmas beer belly at the top of this page.

7. turkey neck
The expression turkey neck refers to what is otherwise called a double chin. It’s an extra fold of fatty, loose skin that hangs under the chin. It is said to look similar to the neck of a turkey.

8. pot belly
A pot belly is simply another term for a fat belly - it’ just like the term beer belly. If you’ve ever seen a pot-bellied pig, you will have a good idea of what a pot belly looks like.

9. chubby cheeks
Chubby cheeks refer to full or fat cheeks. Admittedly, on the right person, they can be cute.

10. stovepipe legs
This idiom refers to fat legs that, in terms of their form, look much like pipes - in particular the large pipes that are used to connect stoves to chimneys.

Maybe this isn’t the kind of article that is going to make you look forward to all of the culinary delights of the Holiday Season, now, is it? But you will, perhaps, have some funny (or not so funny) new idioms to use when talking about the human body!

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