“I can see it in your face!”, some people say. One sees in people’s faces what they are thinking and feeling. Some people have “mobile features*”, while others’ faces are “inscrutable*”. There is the famous British “stiff upper lip” to hide emotions and show “sang froid*”. Here are 10 English idioms about people’s looks.

  1. a long face – look unhappy. e.g. “Max has a long face, because his football team didn’t win last night.”
  2. a face like thunder – look angry. e.g. Jack came home with a face like thunder. “I missed the train,” he said.
  3. ashen-faced – look shocked. e.g. The manager came out of the office ashen-faced. All the money had gone.
  4. butter wouldn’t melt in his / her mouth – innocent, good. e.g. “What? You think Tracy stole the money? She looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth!”.
  5. down in the mouth – look sad. e.g. “A car hit Lily’s cat. That’s why she’s down in the mouth.”
  6. eyes like saucers* – look surprised. e.g. When he opened his wallet, her eyes were like saucers. She had never before, in all her life, seen so much money.
  7. red-face – embarrassed. e.g. When the school offered the guests coffee, there was no milk. Afterwards, there were a few red faces.
  8. raised eyebrows – look surprised. e.g. There were raised eyebrows in the hall when the headmaster announced his retirement.
  9. stiff upper lip – show no emotion. e.g. His dad told him not to cry when the nurse put the needle in his arm. He did not. He kept his stiff upper lip.
  10. smile from ear to ear – look very happy. e.g. Holly opened her A Level results. She smiled from ear to ear. They were good results.

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