Road rash and gravel rash

Road rash and gravel rash are two idioms that mean the same thing. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the phrases road rash and gravel rash, where they came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.

Road rash is an idiom that means an abrasion to the skin caused by coming in contact with a sidewalk or road surface. A road rash is often the result of falling off a bicycle, skateboard, skates, or motorcycle. A runner or walker who trips and falls may also get a road rash. The phrase road rash came into use in the 1960s and is primarily used in American English. The plural form is road rashes.

Gravel rash is also an idiom that means an abrasion to the skin caused by coming in contact with a sidewalk or road surface. The expression gravel rash is primarily used in British English and can be traced to the story Kim written by Rudyard Kipling in 1901. The plural form is gravel rashes.


Ambulance personnel told him Reed had suffered a broken right femur and had road rash on both of his arms and his chest. (The Gasconade County Republican)

According to the lawsuit, Los Angeles resident Lisa Beardslee suffered a broken wrist, road rash and injuries to her neck and shoulder when a Bird scooter’s brakes failed at an intersection in the Mid-City neighborhood of Los Angeles. (The Santa Monica Daily Press)

Foolhardy thrill seeker gets a bad case of gravel rash as is sent flying from his dirt bike after doing a burnout in front of a pub (The Daily Mail)

“I’ve got bruises on both sides, a black eye, gravel rash and I’ve split my eyebrow.” (Cycling Weekly)

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