Animal Phrases: Explore Sayings Related To Animals

Animal phrases, sayings, and idioms.

What Are Animal Phrases?

There are a variety of phrases people use every day that come from animals. We will focus specifically on these animal phrases, learning about them and their meaning. If you want to explore one of these sayings further, you can tap on it.

Animal Sayings: Fun Phrases Inspired by Animals

We have compiled a list of animal phrases and sayings just for you. If you haven’t guessed it by now, these sayings relate to animals in some way, and they are also popular, seeing regular use in English. So then, let’s get to it, here is a list of fun animal phrases and sayings that are great to know.

Animal Phrase #1: All bark and no bite

Someone who talks tough but is unlikely to follow through with any action.

This company boasts about innovation, but they are all bark and no bite because they never deliver.

Animal Phrase #2: An elephant never forgets

Someone with a strong memory that does not easily forget.

My grandpa is like an elephant that never forgets, because he still remembers my advice from long ago.

Animal Phrase #3: Barking up the wrong tree

To make an incorrect assumption about someone or something.

His dad thought he forgot to water the plants, but he was barking up the wrong tree.

Animal Phrase #4: Beating a dead horse

Dwelling on a topic that has already been resolved or dealt with.

They tried explaining the concept again, but it was like beating a dead horse.

Animal Phrase #5: Birds of a feather flock together

People with similar interests, personalities, or backgrounds tend to spend time together.

If high school taught me anything, it’s that birds of a feather flock together.

Animal Phrase #6: Bull in a china shop

Someone who is clumsy or reckless with their actions, often causing damage.

He was like a bull in a china shop until he learned the ropes.

Animal Phrase #7: Crocodile tears

An insincere display of emotion, such as sadness.

My coworker was shedding crocodile tears after I caught them eating my lunch.

Animal Phrase #8: Cry wolf

A false alarm that is given about a situation, which can create unnecessary panic.

He’s cried wolf so many times that it’s hard to take him seriously.

Animal Phrase #9: Curiosity Killed the Cat

A warning that emphasizes the danger of needless exploration or investigation.

I told my friend that curiosity killed the cat when he insisted about trying a spicy chili.

Animal Phrase #10: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

It’s important to show appreciation for a gift, as opposed to being ungrateful.

Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I thanked my parents for the sweater.

Animal Phrase #11: Elephant in the room

An obvious issue that everyone is aware of, but no one wants to talk about it.

Nobody wanted to address the elephant in the room when they saw a coworker in his pajamas.

Animal Phrase #12: Fish out of water

Feeling out of place in a situation, generally due to unfamiliarity.

After arriving at a fancy dinner party, she felt like a fish out of water because of her clothes.

Animal Phrase #13: Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day

The full proverb means it’s better to teach someone how to solve a problem than solving it for them once.

She taught her children how to clean their room, remembering the saying ‘give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.'”

Animal Phrase #14: Go down the rabbit hole

Becoming absorbed in situation, idea, or task, that distracts you from the original goal.

What started as a simple search later resulted in going down a rabbit hole of Italian cuisine.

Animal Phrase #15: Happy as a clam

Feeling extremely happy with one’s current situation or circumstances.

I finally received a promotion at work, so I’m as happy as a clam.

Animal Phrase #16: Hold your horses

To wait, be patient, or slow down.

We are almost ready, so hold your horses for just a little longer.

Animal Phrase #17: I smell a rat

Suspecting that something is wrong or that someone is being dishonest.

The salesman was talking up his product, but I smelled a rat and decided not to buy it.

Animal Phrase #18: Let the cat out of the bag

To disclose something that was meant to be kept under wraps.

She accidentally let the cat out of the bag when she told her friend about the surprise party.

Animal Phrase #19: Like shooting fish in a barrel

A task or activity that is extremely easy to accomplish; a walk in the park.

Winning this game was like shooting fish in a barrel because the other team didn’t show up.

Animal Phrase #20: Long in the tooth

Someone or something that is old in age, having been around for a long time.

My microwave has gotten long in the tooth, so I’ll need to replace it.

Animal Phrase #21: Love birds

Two people that have strong affection for each other.

Those two have been married for years and everyone considers them to be love birds.

Animal Phrase #22: Playing possum

Deliberately feigning ignorance in a situation, pretending not to know.

When she found crumbs all over the bed, he played possum and acted surprised.

Animal Phrase #23: Raining cats and dogs

A common way to describe a heavy downpour of rain.

We had to cancel our plans once it started raining cats and dogs outside.

Animal Phrase #24: Scaredy-cat

Someone who is easily scared or frightened by things.

When it comes to spiders, he’s such a scaredy-cat.

Animal Phrase #25: Sitting ducks

Individuals who are easy targets due to being unaware of the danger they’re in.

The tourists were sitting ducks for the roaming pickpockets on the crowded streets.

Animal Phrase #26: The early bird gets the worm

People who act quickly will have an advantage over those who hesitate.

When it comes to getting good seats, the early bird gets the worm.

Animal Phrase #27: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

A sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet, also known as a pangram.

People often use the sentence ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ to showcase fonts.

Animal Phrase #28: The straw that broke the camel’s back

A series of smaller problems that lead to one final issue that results in a person losing their cool.

After months of being overworked, the extra assignment was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Animal Phrase #29: Ugly duckling

Someone who appears unattractive or incapable, but later develops into something extraordinary.

He started as an ugly duckling, but now he has a great voice.

Animal Phrase #30: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink

You can provide someone with an opportunity, but you cannot force them to take it.

Everyone was offered free training courses, but nobody took advantage of it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Animal Phrase #31: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

Getting someone to change their habits can be challenging, especially when they’ve been doing things a certain way for a long time.

Teaching my dad how new technology works is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks.

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