20 Animal Idioms and Phrases That You Should Learn

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Have you ever heard someone say “It’s raining cats and dogs” and wondered why they’re talking about pets falling from the sky? Well, it’s because English is full of funny phrases called idioms that don’t mean what they say. Many of these idioms are about animals! Let’s check out 20 animal idioms and what they mean. You’ll sound super smart using them!

20 Animal Idioms and Phrases

Below are 20 animal idioms and phrases that every ESL student should learn.

1:- Raining cats and dogs – Raining very heavily.

Example: We can’t go to the park, it’s raining cats and dogs outside!

2:- Let the cat out of the bag – Reveal a secret.

Example: I accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.

3:- A fish out of water – Feeling uncomfortable in a particular situation.

Example: I felt like a fish out of water at the new school.

4:- Eagle-eyed – Having very sharp eyesight or attention to detail.

Example: She’s so eagle-eyed; she notices everything!

5:- Busy as a bee – Very busy.

Example: Mom is busy as a bee preparing for the holiday dinner.

6:- The elephant in the room – A big issue everyone is ignoring.

Example: We need to talk about the elephant in the room: his constant lateness.

7:- Straight from the horse’s mouth – Information from the most reliable source.

Example: I heard straight from the horse’s mouth that she’s moving.

8:- Cry wolf – To give a false alarm.

Example: If you keep crying wolf, nobody will believe you when you’re actually in trouble.

9:- Like a bull in a china shop – Being very clumsy or tactless.

Example: He’s like a bull in a china shop; everything he touches breaks!

10:- A wolf in sheep’s clothing – Someone who pretends to be friendly but is actually an enemy.

Example: Watch out for him; he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

11:- Birds of a feather flock together – People with similar interests or characteristics tend to stick together.

Example: It’s true that birds of a feather flock together; all my friends love video games.

12:- Hold your horses – Wait a moment; be patient.

Example: Hold your horses! We’ll leave in just a minute.

13:- Let sleeping dogs lie – Avoid bringing up an issue that might cause trouble.

Example: Don’t ask him about the argument; it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.

14:- Ants in your pants – Being restless or unable to sit still.

Example: He’s got ants in his pants, always moving around.

15:- The lion’s share – The largest part or portion of something.

Example: She did most of the work, so she deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

16:- Monkey business – Silly or dishonest activities.

Example: No more monkey business; it’s time to get serious.

17:- Cat got your tongue? – Why are you not speaking?

Example: What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?

18:- A little bird told me – I heard something from a secret source.

Example: A little bird told me it’s your birthday today.

19:- Like a fish takes to water – Doing something very naturally and easily.

Example: She started playing piano like a fish takes to water.

20:- Barking up the wrong tree – Making a wrong assumption or pursuing a mistaken line of thought.

Example: If you think I took your book, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Animal Idioms


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