Expressions of Vitality: Navigating Through Health Idioms

Grover LaughtonRevisado porKateryna Protsenko / más sobre Proceso editorial7 min
Creado: Jul 20, 2023Última actualización: Feb 12, 2024
Health Idioms

Ever hear the adage, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away?’ It is just one of many health idioms interwoven through our everyday conversations. These colorful phrases breathe life and vitality into language, giving it its pulse. With their unique blend of literal and figurative meanings, they paint a vivid picture of wellness using just words. This guide takes you on a journey through some of these health expressions. You’ll discover their meanings, origins, and how they’re used in everyday language. 

Why Idioms about Health Matter

Health expressions hold a special place in English, offering significant insights into our general perceptions of health, wellness, and life. They mirror our cultural beliefs and understandings about the human body, illness, vitality, aging, mental health, and even death.

These idioms tell us something about who we are. They highlight shared experiences that bind people, regardless of age or background. Everyone can likely relate to these scenarios if someone is in the pink of health, feels under the weather, or has a gut feeling about something.

Learning and understanding these English idioms about health and medical vocabulary helps us communicate more effectively and deeply connect with others. Whether chatting with friends, negotiating in a business setting, or trying to understand a captivating novel – knowledge of health idioms can enhance your comprehension and enrich your interactions.


Health Expressions about Well-being 

Numerous idioms convey the essence of health and well-being. These phrases are brimming with hidden meanings and charm our conversations. Here, we unravel some popular idioms, delving into their meanings:

  • Fit as a fiddle.

When we say someone is ‘fit as a fiddle,’ we imply that the person is in excellent health or physical condition, akin to a well-crafted, perfectly tuned fiddle.

Even at 70, my grandfather is as fit as a fiddle and loves going for morning runs.

Staying fit as a fiddle requires a balanced diet and regular exercise.

  • Feeling under the weather.

This expression is used when someone isn’t feeling well or is mildly ill. Its roots can be traced back to maritime traditions. Sailors who weren’t feeling well would take shelter below deck, hence under the weather. Today, it’s a gentle way of expressing being unwell.

I feel under the weather today, so I might skip the party.

During the meeting, he seemed a bit under the weather, and later we learned he had a slight fever.

  • Strong as an ox.

It describes someone physically strong. The idiom for healthy people compares them to an ox, a beast of burden historically used for heavy tasks because of its strength and endurance.

Despite his age, my father is still as strong as an ox and loves working in the garden.

You must be strong as an ox to compete in professional weightlifting.

  • Keep body and soul together.

This idiom refers to doing just enough to stay alive, especially during difficult times. It highlights the connection between physical sustenance and spiritual or emotional wellness.

With the low wages from his job, he could barely keep his body and soul together.

During her student years, she lived frugally, doing odd jobs to keep body and soul together.

  • Burning the candle at both ends.

The expression describes a person working too hard and not getting enough rest, leading to a toll on their health.

He’s been burning the candle at both ends, studying for his exams and working full-time.

You can’t keep burning the candle at both ends without facing health consequences.

  • Bursting with health.

It is one of the idioms for healthy people, describing someone in excellent physical condition. This idiom paints a picture of vibrancy and vitality as if the person’s good health was so ample; they could burst.

After implementing a new fitness regime, she’s been bursting with health these days.

Eating healthy foods and exercising can have you bursting with health.

  • Picture of health.

This idiom conveys an image where someone appears to be in perfect health. It is often used when someone looks well.

Despite recovering from an illness, she seemed the picture of health at her birthday party.

Regular sleep and a balanced diet keep me as fresh as the picture of health.

  • Catch one’s death (of cold).

This hyperbolic idiom is typically used when someone exposes themselves to cold weather inappropriately dressed, implying they might get severely sick.

Put on your jacket before you go outside, or you’ll catch your death of cold!

I nearly caught my death waiting for the bus in that freezing weather.

  • At death’s door.

It describes someone so sick that they seem near death. It underscores the gravity of the person’s condition. 

He felt at death’s door after days of high fever and hallucinations.

The expedition survivors were at death’s door when they were rescued.

These are just a few healthy idioms packed with interesting stories and deeper meanings. Understanding them helps us interpret conversations more accurately, beyond literal translations. They beautifully express various facets of our well-being in novel ways.

Discover All About the Health Expressions about Well-being

Mental Health Idioms in English

Emotional health is a matter of great significance, and there are a myriad of English idioms that allude to it. Here are some common phrases that underscore the many facets of mental well-being.

  • Down in the dumps.

It is used to describe someone feeling unhappy or depressed. It expresses a state of low spirits and is often used to communicate empathy and understanding toward someone’s emotional state. 

Ever since his pet passed away, he’s been down in the dumps.

I can tell you’re feeling down in the dumps. Do you want to talk about it?

  • Brokenhearted.

It is a universally recognized idiom to describe the intense emotional pain or sorrow one feels after losing a loved one or experiencing deep disappointment. 

She was brokenhearted when her long-time partner moved away.

It’s hard seeing him so brokenhearted after the divorce.

  • At the end of one’s tether.

This phrase expresses feeling extremely upset, frustrated, or stressed out to the point where you can’t deal with a situation any longer. It denotes a state of emotional exhaustion. 

She’s at the end of her tether with the mounting work stress.

He was at the end of his tether trying to balance his job and studies.

  • Feeling blue.

It is used to express the feeling of sadness or depression. The term ‘blue’ has been long associated with melancholy. 

She’s been feeling blue since her best friend moved away.

He couldn’t understand why he was feeling blue despite his recent successes.

Understanding medical terms and idioms gives us a richer vocabulary to discuss and express our emotional health and experiences. It reminds us how deeply language is tied to our emotional lives, offering an avenue for empathy, understanding, and connection.

Learn English Idioms with Promova

Wish to boost your understanding of English idioms from medicine? Promova is the perfect platform for you! With robust tools and resources, it is your one-stop solution to language learning and effective grasp of these expressions.

Whether starting from scratch or aspiring to improve your skills, Promova’s guided courses have got you covered. Each has a blend of vocabulary lists, interactive quizzes, etc., making grasping crucial English phrases and idioms easier. 

For real-world practice in speaking skills with fellow learners across the globe, join our Conversation Club. You can engage in free, weekly sessions that cover a wide range of topics. It’s a fantastic opportunity to practice speaking skills and interact with learners worldwide.

You can get access to our platform on the Web or download the app to your iOS / Android device. It means you can learn anytime and anywhere at your own pace. So why wait? Join Promova today for an immersive language-learning experience that will take your English skills to new heights with regular practice.


Idioms serve as a mirror to the culture they emanate from, offering a glimpse into collective human experiences. As we explore health expressions related to wellness, sickness, healing, and emotional well-being, we gain a deeper appreciation of language’s versatility and power and its ability to capture life’s complexities succinctly.


Can using medical idioms help in learning English?

Absolutely! Using idioms, including those related to well-being, can help you understand the language’s cultural nuances, enhancing your overall proficiency and fluency.

How can I use health expressions in everyday conversation?

Medical idioms can be naturally incorporated into your speech to express physical or emotional states, describe others’ conditions, or discuss broader health issues. The key is using them appropriately, reflecting their meaning and context.

What’s the best way to remember idioms?

Practice is key. Regularly use these expressions in your conversations and writings. You can also make flashcards with the idiom on one side and its meaning on the other for regular review.

What resources can help me learn more idioms?

Several online resources can aid your learning. In addition to Promova, websites like The Free Dictionary’s Idioms section and the Cambridge Dictionary have comprehensive lists of such expressions with explanations.


PromovaAug 29th, 2023
Excellent question! These idioms can add a touch of familiarity and lightness to professional conversations. For instance, using 'on the mend' when discussing a project's progress can symbolize improvement: "The project had a rough start, but we're on the mend and making steady progress.
Edwyn EstridgeAug 29th, 2023
How might these health idioms be used in professional settings, like the workplace?