Idioms for unhappiness – English Idioms – Online English Lessons

September 1, 2011 By Angela Boothroyd

Here are some useful expressions for expressing or talking about sadness.

down in the mouth

When you look down in the mouth you look depressed and unhappy.

Down in the mouth is the way you look when the corners of your mouth are turned down because you are unhappy.

Examples of use:

1. You’re looking down in the mouth. What’s the problem?

2. What’s wrong with Erica? She’s been looking down in the mouth all week.

down in the dumps (or in the dumps)

To be down in the dumps is to be depressed or miserable.

Examples of use:

1. He’s been down in the dumps ever since he lost his job.

2. Sharon is down in the dumps because her boyfriend has gone on holiday without her.

have a face like a wet weekend

To have a face like a wet weekend is to look very unhappy

British English. Informal.

Examples of use:

1. Cheer up. You’ve had a face like a wet weekend all day!

2. Every time I take my girlfriend to a football match she has a face like a wet weekend.

feeling blue or to have the blues

To feel (or look) blue is to feel (or look) depressed or unhappy.

The colour blue is often associated with feelings of sadness and depression.

Examples of use:

1. I’m feeling blue today.

2. She has the blues because she hasn’t seen her boyfriend for a week.

3. When I’m feeling blue I listen to some happy music to cheer myself up.

beside yourself with grief / worry

When you are beside yourself with grief or worry your feelings are so strong that you are overwhelmed by them.

Examples of use:

1. She was beside herself with worry when she lost her daughter in the shop.

2. They were beside themselves with grief when  their mother died.

reduced to tears

When someone or something reduces you to tears, they make you feel so unhappy that you cry.

Examples of use:

1. My boss reduced me to tears when he shouted at me.

2. Her mother reduces her to tears with her constant criticism.


If you feel downhearted you feel sad or depressed.

Examples of use:

1. Don’t be downhearted. You can retake your exams next month.

2. We have to move out of our home and I feel so downhearted.


If someone is heartbroken they are feeling intense and overwhelming sadness.

Examples of use:

1. He was heartbroken when his partner died.

2. We were heartbroken when our old dog died.

Can you use one of these expressions in a sentence?

What makes you feel blue?

Image © Erich Ferdinand