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Animal Idioms

Date: Aug 19 2007

Topic: Idioms and Slang

Author: mnussair




Example Sentence

ants in one's pants

unable to sit still or remain calm out of nervousness or excitement

Lisa had ants in her pants the day before her interview.

(the) birds and the bees

sex education

I learned about the birds and the bees when my baby brother was born.

cat nap

a short sleep

I'm going to have a cat nap while you're cooking dinner.

cat's got one's tongue

said about someone who doesn't speak (usually due to shyness)

It looks like the cat's got your tongue, Lucy. Are you always this quiet?

chicken out

to decide not to do something out of fear (usually just before)

I was going to take a ride on Geoff's motorcyle, but I chickened out when he gave me a helmet to wear.

clam up

become quiet suddenly

Arthur clammed up when I asked him about his family.

copy cat

a person who does the same thing as someone else

My sister is such a copy cat. First she bought the same car as me, and now she's applying to my school.

dog days

very hot days

I sleep in the basement during the dog days of August.

dropping like flies

dying/giving up quickly

My roses are dropping like flies in this early frost.

eager beaver

a person who is excited about doing certain work

Ever since he got his new drill set my husband has been an eager beaver around the house.


odd, suspicious

I knew something fishy was going on when I saw all of my friends' cars in my mom's driveway.

have a cow

get extremely upset (often over something minor)

My teacher had a cow when she realized nobody had done the homework.

hold your horses

wait and be patient

Hold your horses! I'll be done in the washroom in a minute.

holy cow!

Wow, I'm surprised!

Holy cow! I can't believe you ate everything on your plate.

horse around

play roughly

If you're going to horse around, please go outside.

get the lion's share

get the greatest percentage

My aunt got the lion's share of the inheritance.

in the dog house

in trouble with another person

I don't think Marsha is coming out tonight. She's still in the dog house for forgetting Aaron's birthday.

kill two birds with one stone

get two things done at once

If you pick the groceries up when you drop George off for his shift, you will kill two birds with one stone.

kitty corner

diagonal direction

The gas station is kitty corner to the library.

let the cat out of the bag

reveal a secret

Who let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party?

(a) little bird told me

I heard something (usually secretive or unknown) from someone (not named)

A little bird told me that you are thinking of quitting your job.

make a beeline

go straight for something

My grandma made a beeline for the smoking room as soon as she got off the airplane.

monkey see, monkey do

silly/unintelligent people tend to copy each other's actions

Our one-year-old is saying bad words now. I told my husband, "Monkey see, monkey do!"

nest egg

money saved for the future

We have a nest egg that we might have to use if Jim goes on sick leave.

pig out

eat a lot of something

I pigged out on pancakes so I don't have room for lunch.

raining cats and dogs

raining heavily

I forgot my umbrella, and it was raining cats and dogs.

rat race

fierce, competitive struggle for power, position etc

I'm ready to leave this rat race and retire in Mexico.

smell a rat

begin to suspect trickery etc

I asked my brothers not to tell my parents that I went out, but I could smell a rat as soon as I opened the door.

straight from the horse's mouth

directly from the original source

I know Jenny is pregnant, because I heard it straight from the horse's mouth.

take the bull by the horns

face a challenge or danger boldly

If you really think you deserve a promotion, you'll have to take the bull by the horns.

until the cows come home

for a very long time

I could eat pizza and ice-cream until the cows come home.


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I think I also learned some new things,thanks!

08:25 AM Nov 25 2007 |



I think this is very helpful to me

08:24 AM Nov 25 2007 |



Viet Nam

Thanks for the lesson. It's indeed of great use!

04:15 AM Nov 25 2007 |




very useful and interesting. but I could not find some of them in the dictionary. I am  not sure whether they are correct or not.

01:32 AM Nov 25 2007 |

andres o


thank you for this big support.these idioms are so necessary in my daily speech, i will try to keep them in mind.



05:44 PM Nov 24 2007 |




I am really appriciated from your work! Thanks !They are very useful!

02:22 PM Nov 23 2007 |




very nice
please send it in printable form.

08:35 PM Nov 22 2007 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of



06:17 PM Nov 19 2007 |




these idioms are very useful for me… i could practise them for daily use :p

 especially among my freinds

03:23 PM Nov 19 2007 |




I really love it. Thank you for having a gracious person like you. Someday, Heaven will reward you for your generosity. I love you, man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09:13 PM Nov 17 2007 |



I was surprised how much English idioms are similar
 to my native Russian. The only difference is we don't 
use  words "cow" and "horse" so oftnen, because 
we are not cowboys' descendants. :)
thank you.

10:45 AM Oct 25 2007 |




thanks a lot

just not got the meaning of until the cows come home

and beeline


plz help me out ok when get time



and thanks

08:00 AM Oct 16 2007 |




intresting and useful.

Thanks a lot!Smile

12:58 PM Oct 05 2007 |



kool.i like it !

09:19 AM Oct 04 2007 |



hi .its v interesting.post some more if u know

01:08 PM Sep 25 2007 |



it's realy fun and useful

07:06 PM Aug 28 2007 |




very intresting slang , actully i like these thing so much .

and i'll be happy when i use these slang

thank you so very much

fatima sultan, Jordan

09:22 AM Aug 21 2007 |

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