Learn English | A new lesson every week
Book your course now

ten animal idioms

Average: 3.8 (53 votes)

'Are you bull-headed?'  What does that mean?

Here are a few natural English expressions (idioms) using animals. Like most languages, in English animals are used in many idiomatic expressions. Today we take a look at some basic, widely used, expressions:

to pig out

To eat too much:

'I really pigged out at the barbeque. I've never eaten so much.'

to chicken out

To be too scared to do something usually after previously agreeing to do it:

'I was going to do a parachute jump, but I chickened out on the day.'

to be a dark horse

A person who keeps their interests and ideas secret, especially someone who has a surprising ability or skill:

'I didn't know that Sandra could play the drums. She's such a dark horse .'

to be a pussy cat

A person who is very gentle:

'Don't worry. He looks frightening, but really he's a pussy cat.'

to be bull-headed

This adjective is used to describe a person who is stubborn:

'Stop being so bull-headed and come to the cinema with us. Everyone is going except you.'

to be in the dog house

This expression means 'to be in trouble':

'I'm in the dog house with my wife after I forgot out anniversary.'

to smell fishy

When a situation 'smells fishy' we think that it is dishonest or suspicious:

'My son's story smells fishy. He said that he'd been in the library all day, but I think it's closed today.'

to be a rat

This negative noun is used to describe a person who deserts his friends or associates, especially in times of trouble. Someone who is not loyal:

'Michael is such a rat. He left as soon as the trouble started.'

to be like a bull in a china shop

When someone is like a bull in a china shop they act carelessly in the way they move or behave:

'The footballer ran around like a bull in a china shop until he was sent off.'

to talk the hind legs off a donkey

This expression is used to describe a person who talks too much:

'Her speech seemed to go on for ever; she could talk the hind legs off a donkey.'

Tell us about some animal idioms you have in your language. Translate them into English and add them to the 'comments'.

Now choose the correct idiom to complete the sentences:

Sports idioms for business

  • Slow down; you are going to break something. You are ___!

  • I've been ___ out on fast food all day.

  • My star sign is Taurus. We're well known for being stubborn, but I don't think I am ___.

  • I talk to my sister for hours on the phone. We can both ___.

  • Tony is a ___. He didn't tell anyone he was taking the TOEFL test.

  • My boss is a ___. He's so kind and sweet.

  • The police thought that the man's story ___. They didn't believe what he told them.

  • All the workers, apart from one, decided not to work until they got a pay rise. They all thought he was a ___.

  • You promised you would do a bungee jump with us. You can't ___ now!

  • After forgetting to do my homework, I was ___ with my teacher.