Vocabulary Exercise B [B1+]


Most patients do not use technical terms to describe how they feel. Instead they use layman language (normal, non-medical terms) and idioms, especially when they feel very well or very poorly. Some common idioms include:

killing me = severe pain

  • My ankle is killing me.

stiff as a board = joint spasm or muscle stiffness

  • My neck is as stiff as a board in the morning.

out of sorts = not feeling right e.g. vague or mild pain, spasm, nausea or so on

  • My back feels out of sorts.

off my food = no appetite

skin and bones = very thin

  • Since the stroke, my dad’s gone off his food and he’s nearly skin and bones now.

black out = to lose consciousness; to faint

  • I felt fine when I left the Emergency Department last night, but this morning I blacked out again. So I’ve come back.

fill a prescription = get medication the doctor has from the pharmacy

get out and about = go out to shop and meet friends

  • The pharmacy fills the prescriptions and brings them to the house. My dad can’t get out and about at the moment.

run in the family = a condition common in a family

  • My mother and uncle both had bad osteoarthritis of the knees. It runs in the family. So I know about knee replacement surgery.

take it easy = not work too hard; go at a slower pace and relax more

on the go = be very active

  • It has been hard for my dad to take it easy since his stroke. He used to be a business owner. He was always on the go.


How the patient is feeling

Instructions: Read what the patients or health professionals say, and choose the answer that best summarises each situation.

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