Welcome to American English Idioms: Lesson 12. In this lesson you have 3 American English idioms to read, listen to, translate, and pronounce in English. Please focus and do your best so that you can learn and improve your knowledge of American English idioms. Don’t forget to use the comments section below to share your thoughts and what you’ve learned today.

Directions 1: Watch the video 2 or more times, and pay close attention to the audio and text.

Directions 2: Read the following text in English, then translate it using the translator on this page into your language if needed. When you finish, feel free to write a comment in the comments section below and let us know how you feel about what you’ve learned, as well as what you’ve learned.

BELOW THE BELT, HIT (SOMEONE)

In this context, the speaker is being figuratively mean-spirited by attacking their opponent’s weakness rather than attacking a strength. This phrasing originates from an old boxing technique, where a fighter would hold back and wait for the opponent to become tired before attacking. A more common metaphor for this phrase is “to hit someone below the belt.

People often use the term “below the belt” to refer to an unethical, unfair, or mean act that is deliberately designed to be underhanded or dishonest. This can include anything whether it be physical blows, verbal insults, or more subtle actions like lying about one’s personal information on an application form.

A hit below the belt is when someone attacks an opponent in a way that is unfair or unsportsmanlike. It typically involves cheap shots, harassment, or dirty tricks, and can be an act of violence, though it does not have to be. A boxer may strike an opponent’s groin in order to incapacitate them for the remainder of the fight. Boxers also sometimes use considerable force on this region; in some cases this can lead to serious injury or death.

Hit someone below the belt means to attack somebody’s vulnerabilities to inflict emotional or physical pain. The term originated from boxing, which is a sport where boxers fight with their fists below the waistline. This type of attack could also refer to a verbal attack.

BEND (SOMEONE’S) EAR

Bending someone’s ear is an informal phrase for nagging or talking too much, typically to a listener who already knows everything being said. If you have a friend who seems never able to stop talking about something, it may be because you’ve been bending their ear.

If you are bent on someone’s ear about information they have, it is likely that you are begging for their attention. It is possible that the person being bent on is annoyed by your persistence.

The phrase “bend someone’s ear” is an idiom, which means it can have different meanings, but the meaning in this context typically implies talking to someone for a long time about something that annoys or bores them.

One could spend hours listening to a friend talk about the latest headlines, but it has been documented that this behavior is a waste of time. Powerful people can use their ear-bending effects to push ideas and agendas on others through constant gossiping and discussing what’s going on in the public sphere.

When you bend someone’s ear, you are wasting their time. They have to listen to your conversation or they will not hear it. For example, that student is bending my ear right now about the issue of his grades. I don’t want to talk about this with him anymore.

BESIDE (ONESELF)

The phrase “beside oneself” is a metaphor that describes a person in a state of shock or in a heightened state of emotion. This phrase is commonly used to describe the emotions felt when one has been wronged, and it is also used to describe states of extreme happiness.

A person can be beside themselves with rage. It is often the result of a person being in a state of fury, or when they are extremely upset or agitated.

The phrase “beside oneself” is often used in a figurative sense to describe someone who is hysterical or emotionally distraught. It can also be used literally to describe the physical condition of someone who has fallen down and cannot get up on their own.

An individual may feel “beside themselves” when they are experiencing an intense emotion that surpasses their own ability to cope. Feelings of despair, anger, and fear can send people into a state of stress that can lead to irrational thoughts and even temporary insanity. When someone becomes “beside themselves,” they may lash out at others or harm themselves in order to feel some sense of relief from the overwhelming pressure they are feeling.

If someone is beside themselves with joy, they are feeling an intense happiness and elation. This person may also feel as if they are on the verge of laughing or crying. If someone feels such intense emotions, such as anger or worry, these feelings can cause them to feel like their mind is spiraling out of control. A person who is beside themselves is not in a position mentally to make sound judgments because of their high state of emotionality.

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