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Health Idioms: 30 Useful Health and Medicine Idioms


Health Idioms & Sayings! List of useful health and medicine idioms in English with meaning and examples. Learn these health idioms with ESL picture to improve your English.

Medical and Health Idioms

List of Medical, Medicine and Health Idioms

  • Alive And Kicking
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • As fit as a fiddle
  • As pale as a ghost
  • As pale as death
  • At death’s door
  • Back on one’s feet
  • Be on the Mend
  • Bitter pill to swallow
  • Black-and-blue
  • Break out in a cold sweat
  • Catch one’s death of cold
  • Feel on top of the world
  • Get a charley horse
  • Go Under the Knife
  • Go Viral
  • Green around the gills
  • Have foot-in-mouth disease
  • Have one foot in the grave
  • Just what the doctor ordered
  • Kink in one’s neck
  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • Poison pill (n)
  • Run in the family
  • Sick and Tired of
  • Sick as a Dog
  • Snake Oil
  • Take your medicine
  • Taste of your own medicine
  • Under the weather

Health Idioms with Meaning and Examples

Learn list of health idioms, medical idioms, medicine idioms and doctor idioms with meaning and examples.

Alive And Kicking

  • Meaning: In good health despite health problems
  • ExampleI had coronary bypass surgery last winter, but I’m alive and kicking!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

  • Meaning: Eating healthy foods will keep one from getting sick (and needing to see a doctor)
  • Example: Have an apple for a snack, instead of those chips. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, after all.

As fit as a fiddle

  • Meaning: To be healthy and physically fit
  • ExampleMy grandfather is ninety years old but he is as fit as a fiddle.

As pale as a ghost

  • Meaning: Extremely pale
  • ExampleMy grandfather was as pale as a ghost when he entered the hospital. 

As pale as death

  • Meaning: Extremely pale
  • ExampleThe woman in the hospital waiting room was as pale as death.

At death’s door

  • Meaning: Very near death
  • Example: The sales manager was at death’s door after his heart attack.

Back on one’s feet

  • Meaning: Physically healthy again
  • ExampleMy mother is back on her feet after being sick for two weeks.

Be on the Mend

  • Meaning: Be improving after an illness
  • ExampleI was in the hospital for a week after I contracted malaria, but now I’m back home, and I’m on the mend.

Bitter pill to swallow

  • Meaning: An unpleasant fact that one must accept
  • Example: Losing the election was a bitter pill to swallow for the candidate.


  • Meaning: Bruised, showing signs of having been physically harmed
  • ExampleMy arm was black-and-blue after falling down the stairs.

Break out in a cold sweat

  • Meaning: To perspire from fever or anxiety
  • ExampleI usually break out in a cold sweat when I have to make a speech.

Catch one’s death of cold

  • Meaning: To become very ill (with a cold/flu etc.)
  • ExampleThe little boy was told to be careful in the rain or he would catch his death of cold.

Feel on top of the world

  • Meaning: To feel very healthy
  • ExampleI have been feeling on top of the world since I quit my job.

Get a charley horse

  • Meaning: To develop a cramp in the arm or the leg
  • ExampleThe swimmer got a charley horse while he was swimming.

Go Under the Knife

  • Meaning: Undergo surgery
  • ExampleI’m going under the knife next month to try to solve my knee problems. Hope it helps!

Go Viral

  • Meaning: Begin to spread rapidly on the Internet
  • ExampleMy friend’s satirical song about the Supreme Court decision has started to go viral.

Green around the gills

  • Meaning: To look sick
  • ExampleMy colleague was looking a little green around the gills when he came to work today.

Have foot-in-mouth disease

  • Meaning: Tto embarrass oneself through a silly mistake
  • Example: The man has foot-in-mouth disease and is always saying stupid things.

Have one foot in the grave

  • Meaning: To be near death (usually because of old age or illness)
  • ExampleMy uncle is very sick and has one foot in the grave.

Just what the doctor ordered

  • Meaning: Exactly the thing that is or was needed to help improve something or make one feel better
  • ExampleA short nap is just what the doctor ordered.

Kink in one’s neck

  • Meaning: A cramp in one’s neck that causes pain
  • ExampleI woke up this morning with a kink in my neck.

Laughter is the best medicine

  • Meaning: Laughing a lot is a very effective means of recovering from physical or mental injury
  • ExampleI think the best thing for you right now would be to spend some time with people you can joke around with. Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

Poison pill (n)

  • Meaning: An element introduced into the restructuring of a corporation so that it becomes undesirable for another corporation to take over.
  • Example: Acme Corporation approved a poison pill to prevent a hostile takeover.

Run in the family

  • Meaning: To be a common family characteristic
  • ExampleThe serious illness runs in the family of my friend.

Sick and Tired of

  • Meaning: Extremely annoyed by something that occurs repeatedly
  • ExampleI’m sick and tired of the way Neil always tries to get other people to do his work.

Sick as a Dog

  • Meaning: Extremely ill.
  • ExampleDid you have a good vacation?” -””Not really. I was sick as a dog the whole time.”

Snake Oil

  • Meaning: Medicine of unproven value; fraudulent medicine
  • ExampleThe Internet is full of people who sell snake oil that won’t help you at all with your medical problems.

Take your medicine

  • Meaning: Accept something unpleasant, for example, punishment, without protesting or complaining
  • ExampleHe really hates shopping, but he goes anyway and takes his medicine like a man.

Taste of your own medicine

  • Meaning: The same unpleasant experience or treatment that one has given to others
  • ExampleThis team likes to play rough, so let’s go out there and give them a taste of their own medicine!

Under the weather

  • Meaning: Not feeling well
  • ExampleMy boss has been under the weather all week and has not come to work during that time.

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Useful Health and Medicine Idioms in English

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