A bunch of common phrases related to animals, along with their meanings and possible origin!
Birds Of a Feather Flock Together
People tend to associate with others who share similar interests or values.
A pair of people who love each other; they are like small parrots that are called ‘lovebirds.’
Someone or something that is in a vulnerable position; being in danger.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Arriving first or early can be advantageous and increase one’s chances of success.
Someone who seems plain at first in appearance or capability, but later turn out to be quite spectacular.
Dog, Cat Sayings
All Bark And No Bite
Being full of talk, but with little or no action behind it.
Barking Up The Wrong Tree
To make a wrong assumption about someone.
Curiosity Killed The Cat
Typically said to people who are being too nosy, as their prying behavior may lead to harm.
Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
To “let the cat out of the bag” is to make secret information known.
Raining Cats And Dogs
A saying that’s used to describe heavy rainfall.
Being afraid of doing something; terrified.
You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
It can be challenging to teach a person something new, especially if they are set in doing things a certain way.
Beating a Dead Horse
To bring up an issue that has already been resolved or that has already been talked about at length.
Don’t Look a Gift Horse In The Mouth
When you receive a gift from someone, do not be ungrateful.
Hold Your Horses
To tell someone to wait, or to stop. (e.g., I’m not ready to leave yet, hold your horses.)
Long In The Tooth
Old in age. Mainly used when referring to people or animals, but it can also be used when referring to objects.
You Can Lead a Horse To Water, But You Can’t Make It Drink
You can provide someone with a great opportunity, but you can’t force them to take it.
An Elephant Never Forgets
A person who has a good memory.
Bull In a China Shop
The phrase “a bull in a china shop” refers to someone who is clumsy.
This means someone is expressing sorrow in an insincere way.
This refers to someone who is lying.
Elephant In The Room
Ignoring a large, obvious problem or failing to address an issue that stands out in a major way.
Fish Out Of Water
A person who’s in a situation that they are unfamiliar with.
Give a Man a Fish
It can be more beneficial to teach someone a useful skill (like fishing) than filling a need for them once.
Go Down The Rabbit Hole
Setting out to do something that might appear simple at first, but later it becomes much more complex or stranger than what was previously thought.
Happy As a Clam
The state of being happy; feeling delighted.
I Smell a Rat
A suspicious feeling that something is not quite right; awry.
Like Shooting Fish In a Barrel
Something that is easy to do; an action that’s simple to accomplish.
Pretending to be dead, or to be deceitful about something.
The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog
A popular pangram in the English language. (A pangram is a sentence that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet.)
The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back
A series of annoying occurrences that eventually lead to one final thing that causes a person to lose their patience.
Animal Phrases Phrases All In One Spot!
While I’ve been writing about phrases over the years, one of the things I’ve noticed is that there are lots of expressions relating to animals. Yes, tons of expressions are connected to cats, dogs, fish, and elephants, just to name a few.
Because there are so many sayings like this, I thought it would be a good idea to have them all listed on a single page. Doing this makes it convenient for me since I’m able to keep track of them better, but it also makes it easier for others to find a specific animal phrase, if that’s what they are searching for.
Note: There are more animal phrases that exist than what you see here; I do not have them all listed. However, I will be adding more to this page and the list will continue to grow, so consider checking back another time to see what’s new.