Idioms about animals

Idioms about animals

a little bird told me
Meaning: I got this information from a source I cannot reveal.; I don’t wish to divulge where I got the information

as gentle as a lamb
Meaning: Said about kind , innocent, mild-mannered people.

as rare as hen’s teeth
Meaning: If something is as rare as hen’s teeth, it is very rare.

at the end of one’s rope
Meaning: If you say someone is at the end of their rope you mean that they are in a situation in which they have no resources, strength, or patience left.

back the wrong horse
Meaning: If you back the wrong horse, you support someone or something that later cannot be successful.

be a chicken
Meaning: be a coward.

be a cold fish
Meaning: be a person who is distant and unfeeling

be like a fish out of water
Meaning: to feel uncomfortable in a situation

be the cat’s whiskers
Meaning: The phrase to be the cat’s whiskers is an old idiomatic expression. If you feel you are the cat’s whiskers, you consider yourself to be the center of the universe.

beat a dead horse
Meaning: To persist or continue far beyond any purpose, interest or reason.

beef up
Meaning: To strengthen or make something more effective.

big fish in a small pond
Meaning: One who has achieved a high rank or is highly esteemed, but only in a small, relatively unimportant, or little known location or organization.

big frog in a small pond
Meaning: The phrase big frog in a small pond refers to a very important person in a place where there are less important people. This idiom alludes to a large frog that dominates other less challenging frogs.

bird’s-eye view
Meaning: The phrase a bird’s-eye view is an idiomatic expression. Literally, it refers to a view seen from high above.

call off the dogs
Meaning: If you call off the dogs, you stop criticizing or attacking someone.

cash cow
Meaning: A cash cow refers to someone or something that generates a steady return of profits; a moneymaker.

cat got your tongue
Meaning: Why aren’t you speaking?

chicken out
Meaning: To refuse to do something because of fear.

Meaning: not brave.

cock-and-bull story
Meaning: The phrase a cock-and-bull story is an idiomatic expression that refers to a story or explanation which is obviously not true.

count one’s chickens before they hatch
Meaning: To assume success too early, before it is certain.

cry wolf
Meaning: to ask for help when there is really no danger.

cuckoo in the nest
Meaning: A cuckoo in the nest is an unwelcome intruder in a place or situation which crowds out everything else.

curiosity killed the cat
Meaning: Curiosity killed the cat is a proverb used to warn someone not to be too curious about something and ask too many questions because this can get you into trouble.

dark horse
Meaning: The phrase dark horse is an idiomatic expression that refers to a usually little-known person who unexpectedly wins or succeeds, especially in a competition of some sort.

dead duck
Meaning: said about someone or something that is doomed to failure or death.

Meaning: said about a world where people do anything to be successful.

dogs are barking
Meaning: If your dogs are barking, this means that your feet are hurting.

drink like a fish
Meaning: If you drink like a fish, you drink alcohol excessively.

eat like a horse
Meaning: The phrase the eat like a horse is an idiomatic expression that means to eat large amounts of food.

escape the rat race
Meaning: The phrase ‘escape the rat race’ is an idiomatic expression that means ‘leave a job or way of life in which people compete endlessly and aggressively with each other to be successful’.

every dog has its day
Meaning: everyone has a time of success and satisfaction.

fall prey to
Meaning: Be victimized by; be harmed by; be vulnerable to

fight like cat and dog
Meaning: Continually arguing with each other

fish for compliments
Meaning: Try to manipulate people into praising you

fish story
Meaning: The phrase fish story refers to an exaggerated story.

frog in one’s throat
Meaning: To have a frog in one’s throat means to be unable to speak clearly because one’s throat is dry or blocked.

grin like a Cheshire cat
Meaning: To smile very broadly. This is an allusion to a fictional cat popularised by Lewis Carroll’s depiction of it in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and known for its distinctive mischievous grin.

grouse about someone or something
Meaning: To complain.

have a cow
Meaning: to be very worried, upset or angry about something

have bigger fish to fry
Meaning: Have more important things to do; If you say you have bigger fish to fry, you mean you have more important things to do.

have kittens
Meaning: to be very worried, upset or angry about something.

have other fish to fry
Meaning: to have other things to do; to have more important things to do.

help a lame dog over a stile
Meaning: said about someone who helps people who are in difficulty or trouble.

horse of a different color
Meaning: a different matter.

hungry as a bear
Meaning: If you are as hungry as a bear, it means you are really hungry.

in two shakes of a lamb’s tail
Meaning: In a very short time.

keep the wolf from the door
Meaning: To have enough money to be able to ward off poverty or hunger.

lame duck
Meaning: Someone or something that is disabled, helpless, ineffective, or inefficient.

let sleeping dogs lie
Meaning: If you let sleeping dogs lie, you leave things as they are to avoid trouble.

let the cat out of the bag
Meaning: Reveal a secret, usually a secret you or others are trying to keep

like a moth to a flame
Meaning: Drawn to something or someone despite the dangers

like water off a duck’s back
Meaning: Without any effect.

lion’s share
Meaning: If someone gets the lion’s share of something, they get the largest part of it.

look like mutton dressed as lamb
Meaning: Said about a woman who tries to look much younger.

make a monkey out of
Meaning: to cause a person, group, or action to appear foolish or inferior; to subject someone or something to ridicule.

make a pig of oneself
Meaning: said about someone who eats too much or too fast.

naked as a jaybird
Meaning: The phrase naked as a jaybird means completely naked.

neither fish nor fowl
Meaning: said of something not easily categorized or not fitting neatly into any established group.

no spring chicken
Meaning: said of a person who is no longer particularly young.

not enough room to swing a cat
Meaning: A very small space

not have a cat in hell’s chance
Meaning: (also not have a snowball’s chance in hell) not to be able to achieve something.

odd duck
Meaning: An unusual person, especially an individual with an idiosyncratic personality or peculiar behavioral characteristics.

play cat and mouse
Meaning: Trying to trick someone into making a mistake so you can defeat them.

put the cat among the pigeons
Meaning: Say or do something that causes trouble or controversy

rabbit hole
Meaning: A rabbit hole refers to a world that is particularly bazar, troubling and wonderfully surreal. It is a world that is typically difficult to remove oneself from.

rain cats and dogs
Meaning: Rain heavily; Rain very heavily

run with the hare and hunt with the hounds
Meaning: To support both sides of an argument.

sacred cow
Meaning: An indvidual or organization that one cannot criticize

scaredy cat
Meaning: someone who is easily frightened.

see a man about a dog
Meaning: used as an excuse for leaving without giving the real reason

shoot the bull
Meaning: The phrase shoot the bull means to chat and gossip.

sitting duck
Meaning: Something or someone easily attacked or criticized

snake in one’s bosom
Meaning: The phrase a snake in one’s bosom refers to a person whom one has treated well and taken care of but turned out to be traitorous, untrustworthy, or ungrateful.

snake in the grass
Meaning: The phrase snake in the grass refers to a treacherous or deceitful person.

snake oil salesman
Meaning: The phrase snake oil salesman refers to a person who who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is himself a fraud, quack, or charlatan.

spring chicken
Meaning: To be young; to be still a young and naive person.

stir up a hornets’ nest
Meaning: If you stir up a hornets’ nest, you make trouble.

take the bull by the horns
Meaning: to deal with a matter in a direct manner, especially to confront a difficulty rather than avoid it.

take to something like a duck to water
Meaning: to have a natural ability to do something.

the straw that broke the camel’s back
Meaning: A small and seemingly insignificant addition to a burden that renders it too much to bear; the small thing which causes failure, or causes inability or unwillingness to endure any more of something

to sell wolf tickets
Meaning: to make empty threats or promises; to bluff

when pigs fly
Meaning: Never; something will never happen

wild-goose chase
Meaning: The phrase a wild-goose chase refers to a pursuit of something unattainable or non-existent

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