Animal Idioms in English - The English Digest

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Animal Idioms in English

April 7, 2023 English Comments Off

Here I am going to share a list of Animal Idioms in English

An idiom is a group of words that, when used together, has a figurative meaning that is different from its literal meaning. For example, “raining cats and dogs” doesn’t mean that cats and dogs are falling from the sky. Instead, it means that it is raining very heavily.

In this blog post, we will explore a list of animal idioms in English. These are idioms that use the characteristics and behaviors of various animals to convey a particular message or sentiment. Animal idioms in English are not only important to language, but they also add a fun and interesting element to it. By learning about animal idioms in English, you can improve your language skills, gain insight into the peculiarities of the English language, and impress your friends with your knowledge of colorful expressions.

In this post, we will cover the most commonly used animal idioms in English, including their meaning and example. We will explain each idiom in a simpler way to make it easier to understand. So, get ready to discover the fascinating world of animal idioms in English!

Here’s a list of animal idioms in English:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: It’s better to have something that is certain than to take a risk for something that may be better.

Example: “I’m not going to try to find a better job, I already have a good one. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

The cat’s meow: something that is very fashionable or attractive.

Example:  “These new shoes are the cat’s meow, everyone is going to want a pair.”

Put the cat among the pigeons: to cause trouble or create a commotion.

Example:  “As soon as she announced her resignation, she put the cat among the pigeons.”

Let the cat out of the bag: to reveal a secret.

Example: “I accidentally let the cat out of the bag and told everyone about the surprise party.”

Kill two birds with one stone: to accomplish two things at the same time.

Example: “By combining his exercise and commute, he was able to kill two birds with one stone.”

The elephant in the room: an issue that everyone is aware of but no one is willing to talk about.

Example: “The elephant in the room is the budget shortfall and we need to address it.”

A snake in the grass: a sneaky and untrustworthy person.

Example: “I don’t trust him, he’s a snake in the grass.”

A wild goose chase: a futile or fruitless pursuit.

Example: “Looking for a needle in a haystack is like a wild goose chase.”

A red herring: something that is used to distract from the main issue.

Example: “The argument about the color of the walls is a red herring and not relevant to the problem at hand.”

A horse of a different color: a different matter or issue.

Example: “The argument about the wallpaper is a horse of a different color, let’s focus on the main problem.”

A black sheep: someone who is different or doesn’t fit in with the rest of the group.

Example: “He’s always been the black sheep in his family, but they still love him.”

A lion’s share: the largest portion of something.

Example: “She took the lion’s share of the credit for the project even though we all worked on it.”

A snake oil salesman: someone who sells fake or useless products.

Example: “Don’t buy that product, it’s a scam and the salesperson is a snake oil salesman.”

Let sleeping dogs lie: to leave things as they are and not try to change them.

Example: “It’s best to let sleeping dogs lie and not bring up that argument again.”

A lionhearted: brave and fearless.

Example: “She’s a lionhearted woman and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.”

The worm has turned: a situation has changed, usually for the worse.

Example: “The worm has turned and now the company is facing financial difficulties.”

A cock-and-bull story: an unbelievable or far-fetched tale.

Example: “His explanation for being late is a cock-and-bull story and no one believes him.”

A beaver’s dam: a difficult or complicated task.

Example: “Building this website is a beaver’s dam and will take a lot of work.”

As busy as a bee: very active and working hard.

Example: “She’s always as busy as a bee, never taking a break from work.”

A dog-eat-dog world: a competitive and cut-throat environment.

Example: “The business world can be a dog-eat-dog world, so you have to be prepared to fight for what you want.”

A fox in the henhouse: an undesirable or harmful situation.

Example: “Having that politician in the office is like a fox in the henhouse, he’s only going to cause problems.”

A snake bite: a sudden and unexpected attack or problem.

Example: “The sudden drop in the stock market was like a snake bite, taking everyone by surprise.”

A wolf in sheep’s clothing: someone who is not what they appear to be.

Example: “Beware of that salesperson, he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing and will try to take advantage of you.”

A horse of a different feather: someone who is unique or different.

Example: “She’s a horse of a different feather and doesn’t fit in with the usual crowd.”

A wild card: someone or something that is unpredictable.

Example: “The weather is a wild card and can change at any moment.”

A monkey wrench: something that disrupts or spoils a plan.

Example: “The unexpected delay threw a monkey wrench into our schedule.”

A lion’s roar: a powerful and commanding voice.

Example: “His speeches always have a lion’s roar, commanding the attention of the audience.”

A fish out of water: someone who feels out of place or uncomfortable.

Example: “She was a fish out of the water at the party, not knowing anyone.”

A kangaroo court: a court that operates in an unfair and unjust manner.

Example: “The proceedings were like a kangaroo court, with the judge making all the decisions.”

A bear market: a market that is declining or experiencing a downturn.

Example: “The stock market is in a bear market, with stocks losing value.”

A cat and mouse game: a game or situation where one person is always trying to outwit or outsmart the other.

Example: “The negotiations were like a cat and mouse game, with both sides trying to get the upper hand.”

A butterfly effect: a small change that has a big impact.

Example: “The butterfly effect is in play, with a small decision leading to big consequences.”

A fishy business: something that is suspicious or untrustworthy.

Example: “The deal seems like a fishy business, I wouldn’t invest in it.”

A horse trade: a negotiation where both parties make concessions.

Example: “The agreement was a horse trade, with both sides giving something up.”

A pig in a poke: buying something without knowing its true value or quality.

Example: “The car was a pig in a poke and turned out to be a lemon.”

A bird’s eye view: a view from above, giving a broad perspective.

Example: “The drone provided a bird’s eye view of the city.”

A mouse that roared: a small or weak entity that becomes powerful or successful.

Example: “The startup was a mouse that roared, quickly becoming a leading company in the industry.”

A fish market: a noisy and chaotic place.

Example: “The stock exchange can be like a fish market, with everyone shouting and making deals.”

A catfight: a verbal or physical argument between two women.

Example: “The argument between the two actresses became a catfight, with both sides exchanging insults.”

A fox hunt: a search or pursuit.

Example: “The police are on a fox hunt for the suspect, trying to catch him before he gets away.”

A tiger by the tail: a situation that is difficult to control or handle.

Example: “Managing this project is like holding a tiger by the tail, it’s demanding and challenging.”

A snake oil salesman: a person who sells false or fraudulent goods or services.

Example: “Beware of that guy, he’s a snake oil salesman and will try to sell you anything to make a quick profit.”

A horse of course: a statement that is obviously true.

Example: “It’s a horse of course that the sky is blue.”

A bird in the hand: something that is certain and secure, rather than something uncertain.

Example: “I’d rather take the bird in the hand and accept the job offer, rather than wait for another opportunity that may not come.”

A dog’s breakfast: a mess or something that is done poorly.

Example: “The party was a dog’s breakfast, with everything going wrong.”

A cat’s paw: someone who is used or manipulated by another.

Example: “She’s just a cat’s paw, doing the bidding of the boss.”

A fish that got away: an opportunity or chance that was missed.

Example: “He always talks about the big fish that got away, regretting not taking the opportunity.”

A bird in the bush: something that is uncertain or possible, but not guaranteed.

Example: “I’d rather take the bird in hand and stay with my current job, rather than take a chance on the bird in the bush.”

A horse of a different color: a different issue or problem.

Example: “The new proposal is a horse of a different color, and needs to be considered separately.”

A cat’s meow: something that is fashionable or popular.

Example: “The new smartphone is the cat’s meow, with everyone talking about it.”

A fishbowl life: a life that is open and visible to others.

Example: “Being a celebrity means living in a fishbowl, with no privacy.”

A bird brain: a person who is not very intelligent or cunning.

Example: “Don’t listen to him, he’s a bird brain and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

A cat’s cradle: a complex or confusing situation.

Example: “The tax code is a cat’s cradle, making it difficult for people to understand.”

A horse of a lifetime: a rare and exceptional opportunity.

Example: “This job offer is a horse of a lifetime, and you should grab it while you can.”

A snake in the grass: a person who is deceitful or sneaky.

Example: “Beware of that colleague, he’s a snake in the grass and will try to sabotage you.”

A bird’s nest: a place where someone or something is safe or protected.

Example: “The island is a bird’s nest, providing a safe haven for the endangered species.”

A cat’s pajamas: something that is excellent or outstanding.

Example: “The new restaurant is the Cat’s Pajamas, with amazing food and great service.”

A fish fry: a social gathering or party.

Example: “The neighborhood is having a fish fry, and everyone is invited.”

A bird of a feather: people who are similar or have similar interests.

Example: “They’re a bird of a feather, always talking about cars and racing.”

A cat nap: a short and refreshing nap.

Example: “I just need a cat nap to recharge my batteries before continuing with work.”

A fish story: an exaggerated or unbelievable tale.

Example: “Don’t believe his story about catching the biggest fish ever, it’s just a fish story.”

A bird of passage: a person who is passing through or staying temporarily.

Example: “He’s a bird of passage, just here for a few days before moving on.”

A cat that swallowed the canary: a person who is acting suspiciously or looks guilty.

Example: “She’s got a grin on her face like a cat that swallowed the canary, leading me to believe she’s up to something.”

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: something that is certain and secure is more valuable than something uncertain.

Example: “I’d rather take the job offer I have in hand, rather than wait for another opportunity that may not materialize.”

A bird’s nest egg: a reserve of money or resources set aside for future use.

Example: “She’s been saving her bird’s nest egg, preparing for retirement.”

A fishhook: a trick or trap used to catch someone.

Example: “He fell for the fishhook, getting caught in the scam.”

A bird of prey: a predator that hunts for food.

Example: “The eagle is a bird of prey, hunting for small animals.”

A fish pond: a place where fish are raised or caught.

Example: “The lake is a fish pond, providing a great source of food for the local community.”

A cat’s whiskers: something that is excellent or top-notch.

Example: “The new restaurant is the Cat’s Whiskers, serving the best food in town.”

A fish tank: an aquarium for keeping fish.

Example: “The fish tank was filled with colorful and exotic fish, attracting attention from all visitors.”

A bird’s-eye chili: a type of chili pepper that is small and fiery hot.

Example: “The dish was made with bird’s-eye chili, adding a spicy kick to the flavor.”

A cat’s eye: a reflective marker placed on roads for better visibility at night.

Example: “The cat’s eye helped the driver see the road ahead, making it safer to drive.”

A fishmonger: a person who sells fish.

Example: “The local fishmonger provided fresh and delicious seafood, making it a popular destination.”

A birdie: a score of one under par in golf.

Example: “He made a birdie on the final hole, securing a win in the tournament.”

A cat’s tail: a trail or mark left by a cat.

Example: “The cat’s tail was found near the mouse hole, indicating a successful hunt.”

A fish scale: a small, flat plate-like structure on the skin of a fish.

Example: “The fish scale was used to determine the age of the fish, providing valuable information.”

A bird bath: a shallow basin used by birds to bathe and drink.

Example: “The bird bath was a popular spot for the birds, attracting a variety of species.”

A cat’s tongue: a tongue that is rough and raspy.

Example: “The cat’s tongue was used to clean its fur, removing any dirt or debris.”

A bird’s nest soup: a Chinese soup made from swiftlet nests.

Example: “The bird’s nest soup was a delicacy, considered to have health benefits and high nutritional value.”

A fish-eye lens: a type of lens that provides a wide-angle view.

Example: “The photographer used a fish-eye lens to capture the stunning panoramic view of the cityscape.”

Apart from this list of Animal Idioms in English, you can also refer to