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9 animal idioms that you need to know

Idioms are used in everyday life, so make sure you familiarise yourself with these 9 animal idioms

9 animal idioms that you need to know


Hold your horses

This means to slow down or to stop. I.e. A friend could say to you “Hold your horses! I can’t keep up, you’re walking too fast.”


Bull in a china shop

If someone says “you are like a bull in a china shop”, they are saying that you are very clumsy. The idiom uses the imagery of a large animal (a bull) in a small shop with china (porcelain plates and dishes) – a scenario that is leading the disaster and destruction.


The elephant in the room

This idiom means that there is an obvious problem that nobody wants to talk about because it might be difficult to discuss or cause conflict among the people in the room. I.e. your boss might say “There’s been rumours about people losing their jobs, but let’s address the elephant in the room, everyone’s jobs are secure.”

Dog (2)

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

If your grandparents are trying to learn how to use a smartphone and they can’t do it, they might say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” which means that they don’t understand how to use the phone because it’s too difficult for them to learn.


Busy bee

Your friend might say to you “Can we meet up next week? I’ve been such a busy bee lately and have appointments all this week.” As busy as bees is an idiom that came from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, it refers to a person who is very busy often in a working sense.


Wild goose chase

This idiom means that something is hard to catch; alternatively it means it is difficult to chase after because it takes you down a lot of different paths. If you imagine chasing after a goose it would be a very difficult task because they are strong and fast.


Get your ducks in a row

To get your ducks in a row means to become more organised, this idiom usually refers to when you are working on a project or work task. If you imagine ducklings that follow their mother, they are usually in a straight line following behind her or you could say that they are in a row.

Little Birdie

A little birdie told me

If someone says “a little birdie told me” it means that they have heard a secret but don’t want to tell you who told them. I.e. “A little birdie told me the good news, congratulations on your new job!”


Butterflies in your stomach

Your friend might say that their crush gives them butterflies in their stomach, this idiom describes the feeling of being nervous. Sometimes when you are nervous you have fluttering sensations in your stomach – similar to the way a butterfly flutters around.

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