Body parts are among the first words English learners are taught, which is perfectly understandable given that we use our bodies and talk about them a lot.
However, as is often the case in English, many of the nouns describing different parts of the human body are also verbs, and useful ones for that. More often than not students are left to discover them one by one on their own while reading or watching videos.
I decided to make it easier for you and give you a more or less complete list of such verbs in today’s post. (A quick disclaimer: most of the verbs below have multiple meanings; I’ll be looking only at those an average person is most likely to need in their day-to-day speaking – for others you can always consult a good dictionary.)
Starting from the top, our first verb is to head. It has several meanings:
1) to hit the ball with your head, especially in football
Don’t head the ball unless you know how to avoid injury.
2) to travel in a particular direction and often in a deliberate way
We headed out of town early in the morning to avoid traffic.
3) to be in charge, or, in other words, to be the head (=leader, the most important person) of a team, company etc.
Michael heads (up) the London branch of the company.
4) to be at the top of a group of people or things – just like the head is at the top of the body
The book heads the shortlist for the Booker Prize.