Animal Phrases, Dog and Cat Sayings, Plus More

Here you will find a list of common phrases related to animals, along with their meaning. Click (or tap) a phrase to find additional details.

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Bird Phrases

1. Birds Of a Feather Flock Together
People tend to associate with others who share similar interests or values.

2. Love Birds
A pair of people who love each other—such people are compared to small parrots that are actually called ‘lovebirds.’

3. Sitting Ducks
Someone or something that is in a vulnerable position; being in danger.

4. The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Arriving first or early to something can be advantageous.

5. Ugly Duckling
Someone who seems plain at first in appearance or capability, but later they turn out to be quite spectacular.


Dog and Cat Sayings

6. All Bark And No Bite
Being full of talk, but with little or no action behind it.

7. Barking Up The Wrong Tree
To make a wrong assumption about someone or something.

8. Curiosity Killed The Cat
Typically said to people who are being too nosy, as their prying behavior may lead to harm.

9. Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
“Letting the cat out of the bag” means to make secret information known.

10. Raining Cats And Dogs
This common saying is used to describe heavy rainfall.

11. Scaredy-Cat
Being afraid of something; terrified.

12. You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
It can be challenging to teach a person something new, especially if they are used to doing things a certain way.


Horse Sayings

13. Beating a Dead Horse
Bringing up old issues that have already been resolved or that have already been talked about at length.

14. Don’t Look a Gift Horse In The Mouth
When you receive a gift from someone, you should not be ungrateful.

15. Hold Your Horses
This is a way of telling someone to wait, hold on, or stop. (e.g., I’m not ready to leave yet, hold your horses.)

16. Long In The Tooth
Something that’s old in age. This phrase can be used when referring to people, animals, or objects.

17. 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.


A List of Animal Phrases

18. An Elephant Never Forgets
A person with a good memory.

19. Bull In a China Shop
The phrase “a bull in a china shop” refers to someone who is clumsy.

20. Crocodile Tears
This means someone is expressing sorrow in an insincere way.

21. Cry Wolf
This animal phrase refers to someone who is lying.

22. Elephant In The Room
Ignoring a large, obvious problem or failing to address an issue that stands out in a major way.

23. Fish Out Of Water
A person who’s in a situation that they are unfamiliar with.

24. Give a Man a Fish
It can be more beneficial to teach someone a useful skill than filling a need for them once.

25. Go Down The Rabbit Hole
Starting to do something that might appear simple at first, but later it becomes more complex than previously thought.

26. Happy As a Clam
The state of being happy; feeling delighted.

27. I Smell a Rat
A suspicion that someone is not trustworthy or a feeling that something is not quite right; awry.

28. Like Shooting Fish In a Barrel
Something that is easy to do; an action that’s simple to accomplish.

29. Playing Possum
Pretending to be dead, or to be deceitful about something.

30. 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.)

31. 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.


Choose a category for more common sayings!


Animal Phrases & Sayings All In One Spot!

While we’ve worked on this site over the years, one thing we’ve noticed is that there are a lot of animal expressions out there. Cats, dogs, fish, you name it and there’s probably at least one phrase related to them. Since so many sayings like these exist, we thought it would be a good idea to have them all listed in one convenient place. So here it is!

Note: We don’t have every animal related phrase on this page, but we did include a bunch. The list will continue to grow as more are added.


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