Health & Sickness Idioms & Expressions

Have you ever heard the phrase 'sick as a dog'? Even if you haven't heard it, it is commonly used by English speakers to tell that one is very sick. There are a lot of phrases, idioms to express one's sickness or health. In today's blog, we will check these idioms. It is better to get a pen and paper, as it is said, 'Spoken words fly, written words remain,'.

Alive And Kicking

Meaning: It means someone is in good health despite health problems.

Example: I had spinal surgery, but I’m alive and kicking!


An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Meaning: Eating healthy foods will keep one from needing to see a doctor.

Example: I usually have an apple for the snack. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, after all.


As fit as a fiddle

Meaning: To be healthy and physically fit.

Example: Despite many surgeries, she is as fit as a fiddle.


As pale as a ghost (death)

Meaning: Extremely pale.

Example: You look as pale as a ghost; you should see the doctor.


Back on one’s feet

Meaning: Physically healthy again.

Example: She is fortunately back on her feet after being seriously sick for the last months.


Be on the mend

Meaning: Be improving after an illness.

Example: I was hospitalized due to COVID-19, but now I’m back home, and I’m on the mend.



Meaning: Bruised, showing signs of having been physically harmed.

Example: My legs were black-and-blue after the car accident.


Black out

Meaning: To lose consciousness, to faint, to pass out.

Example: She blacks out whenever she sees blood.


Break out in (something)

Meaning: To begin showing a rash or other skin disorder.

Example: I break out in a rash if I eat peaches. 


Break out in a cold sweat

Meaning: To perspire from fever or anxiety.

Example: After walking under the breeze, he broke out in a cold sweat.


Catch one’s death of cold

Meaning: To become very ill (with cold/flu etc.).

Example: If you keep wearing only a cardigan during winter, you will catch your death of cold.


Get a charley horse

Meaning: To develop a cramp in the arm or the leg.

Example: I suddenly got a charley horse and fell down during trekking.


Go Under the Knife

Meaning: Undergo surgery.

Example: I’m going under the knife because of the hernia in my neck.


Green around the gills

Meaning: To look sick.

Example: He looks a little green around the gills whenever he stays up late till 4 a.m.


Kink in one’s neck

Meaning: A cramp in one’s neck that causes pain.

Example: I woke up this morning with a kink in my neck.


Knock Someone For Six

Meaning: An illness (or perhaps bad news) that really affects somebody.

Example: The chronic cough knocked me for days.


Out Of Sorts

Meaning: A little unwell.

Example: They are a little out of sorts because of the flu.


Sick as a Dog

Meaning: Extremely ill.

Example: I was sick as a dog because I had to spend the night outside.


Under the weather

Meaning: Not feeling well.

Example: My grandpa was under the weather for the last days, we were very scared because he would be hospitalized again.

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