BELOW THE BELT, HIT (SOMEONE), BEND (SOMEONE’S) EAR, and BESIDE (ONESELF): American English Idioms #12

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) to act unfairly

1. John told Robert about the job he was planning to apply for and Robert went out and got it himself! Robert doesn’t play fair. He hits below the belt.

2. Mary introduced Sally to her boyfriend, Mike, and before she knew it, Sally and Mike were dating. That was below the belt.

The expression originates from the sport of boxing, in which it is against the rules to hit one’s opponent below his or her belt.

This is another way of saying ‘dirty trick’ A: The phrase ‘below the belt’ has a fairly negative connotation. In the boxing sense, hitting someone below the belt refers to hitting them with an underhand punch, which is illegal in the ring. In the example you have given, John has described Robert as not being fair and the use of the phrase below the belt implies that the situation is unfair or that John did something ‘dirty’ by not letting Robert know about the job opportunity first.

Below the Belt is a term used to describe a person who does something to gain an unfair advantage. It is usually used in a situation where a person does something they know will hurt the other party, but not to their own disadvantage. The person taking the action is called the “below the belt” party, while the person receiving the action is the “above the belt” party.

BEND (SOMEONE’S) EAR to talk to someone for a long time

1. I dread it every time that woman calls me on the telephone because she bends my ear about how her children don’t appreciate her.

2. Don’t mention politics to Bill. He loves talking about politics and he’ll bend your ear about it for hours.

The expression usually has a negative connotation.

When we say someone “bends our ear” or “bends someone’s ear,” it means they talk too much. We use this expression to express displeasure, especially with a person who seems to have an excessive tendency to talk. 

Examples:

1.In any case, I would not be happy with anyone who told me that they would “bend my ear about it for hours”. BEND (OF) EARS to listen to someone talk for a long time

  1. The best thing I’ve ever seen on television was a political debate where candidates bent their ears for the entire event.
  2. My friend Tom is a political junkie. He loves to bend your ears about politics.
  3. When she talks about politics, no one can stop her from bending your ears for hours.

5.In any case, I would rather have Bill talk about sports, especially football, than politics.

6. Bend his ear and then tell him what you think.

7. If you have a friend with ears that do not bend, it’s time to let him go.

8. I could hear his ear for miles before I finally realized I was talking to Bill.

9. I bent his ear and now he thinks he is the best cook in the world.

10. When she heard me talking about my wife, she bent my ear.

BESIDE (ONESELF) distraught; very anxious and troubled

1. When the mother couldn’t find her young son in the crowd, she was beside herself with worry.

2. I was beside myself when I realized the fire had destroyed my house.

The most common use of “beside oneself” means to be upset or excited. The words beside or beside oneself mean upset, disturbed, confused, or excited. You can be beside yourself because you are upset or excited about something.

Examples:

1.In fact, we were all beside ourselves. beside oneself; agitated; upset; distressed

2. She was beside herself at the news.

3. He was beside himself at the thought of losing his job.

4. I was beside myself with grief at their deaths.

5. The children were beside themselves with joy.

6. The teacher was beside herself with worry.

7. He was beside himself with excitement.

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