50 Medical Idioms with Meaning

50 Medical Idioms with Meaning

Here are 50 medical-related idioms with their meanings:

General Health

  1. Alive and kicking: In good health, doing well.
  2. Under the weather: Feeling unwell, slightly sick.
  3. Feeling on top of the world: Feeling great, happy and healthy.
  4. Cost an arm and a leg: Very expensive (often referring to medical bills).
  5. Run down: Feeling tired and lacking energy.
  6. Not firing on all cylinders: Not functioning at your best (mentally or physically).
  7. Feeling chipper: Feeling energetic and cheerful.
  8. In the pink: In excellent health.
  9. A clean bill of health: A doctor’s confirmation of good health. 1 Bite the bullet: To face an unpleasant or painful situation (like a medical procedure).

Diagnosis and Treatment

  1. On the mend: Recovering from an illness or injury.
  2. Out cold: Unconscious.
  3. Splitting headache: A very severe headache.
  4. A flare-up: A sudden worsening of a chronic condition.
  5. Throw up: To vomit.
  6. Run some tests: To perform medical examinations to diagnose an illness.
  7. A second opinion: Consulting another doctor for confirmation of a diagnosis.
  8. A Band-Aid solution: A temporary or quick fix for a bigger problem.
  9. The writing is on the wall: It is clear what the diagnosis or outcome will be (often negative).

Emotions and Behaviors

  1. Scared stiff: Extremely frightened.
  2. Pale as a ghost: Very pale, often from fear or illness.
  3. Drive someone up the wall: To make someone extremely frustrated or anxious.
  4. A hypochondriac: Someone who is excessively worried about their health.
  5. Head in the sand: To ignore a problem (often a health issue).
  6. Go bananas: To go crazy or lose control (informal).
  7. Laughing gas: Nitrous oxide, a pain reliever used in dentistry (informal).

Diet and Lifestyle

  1. You are what you eat: Your diet affects your health.
  2. Clean eating: Eating healthy, unprocessed foods.
  3. Off the wagon: Having relapsed on a bad habit (e.g., smoking after quitting).
  4. Hit the gym: To go and exercise.
  5. Get some rest: To sleep and recover from illness or exertion.
  6. Fuel your body: To eat healthy foods to give yourself energy.
  7. Burn the midnight oil: To stay up late working (which can be unhealthy).
  8. Couch potato: Someone who is lazy and inactive.


  1. A guinea pig: Someone who volunteers for a medical experiment.
  2. Push the envelope: To take risks, especially regarding health (e.g., extreme sports).
  3. Break a leg: A good luck wish before a performance or surgery (even though it refers to an injury).
  4. A shot in the arm: Something that gives a boost or improves a situation.
  5. When pigs fly: When something impossible happens (often used to describe a desired medical treatment).
  6. Nipping it in the bud: Dealing with a problem early on to prevent it from getting worse.

Doctor and Patient

  1. Bedside manner: A doctor’s ability to connect with and comfort patients.
  2. Second opinion: Consulting another doctor for confirmation of a diagnosis.
  3. Crack the code: To finally diagnose a medical mystery.
  4. Quack doctor: A fake or untrustworthy medical professional.
  5. Doctor’s orders: Instructions given by a doctor for treatment.

Medical Procedures

  1. Go under the knife: To undergo surgery.
  2. Pull the plug: To stop life support on a terminally ill patient (a very sensitive term).
  3. On-life support: Being kept alive by machines.
  4. On the operating table: Undergoing surgery.
  5. Kick the bucket: To die (informal).

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