1. Idioms—phrasal verbs

1. Idioms and expressions using animals


1.      I always thought Laurence was rather shallow and superficial, but yesterday I saw him reading a book of Renaissance poetry. He is a bit of a dark horse, isn’t he? (someone with a secret, especially a secret ability, skill or achievement that surprise you when you discover it)

2.      I am not going out with you looking like that. You look like something that the cat dragged in! Brush your hair and put on some clean clothes! (to have a very dirty or untidy appearance)

3.      I live on the 14th floor of a tower block, so I have a wonderful bird’s view of the town. (a good view of something from a high position)

4.      How did I know that you were going out with Lucy? Aha! A little bird told me! (an expression used for saying that you are not going to say who told you something)

5.      It really gets my goat, the way she keeps interrupting all the time. (to annoy someone)

6.      William did not get the promotion he wanted last year, and he has had a bee in his bonnet about it ever since. (to be very involved in something that you think is important, in a way that other people find annoying)

7.      You really let the cat out of the bag when you asked Louise what time her party started. She did not know anything about it. It was supposed to be a surprise. (to tell someone something that was supposed to be secret.)

8.      Where have you been? You are soaking wet! You look like a drown rat! (looking very wet and cold)

9.      Tony! What a surprise! It is wonderful to see you again. I have not seen you for donkey’s years! (an extreme long time)

10.  The hotel used to be the best in town, but since the new manager took over it is really gone to the dog.

11.  I do not trust Eric when he says he’s working late at the office. To be honest, I smell a rat. (to be suspicious, or to think that someone is trying to trick you)

12.  That is the third burger you have eaten. I wish you could stop making such a pig of yourself. (to eat a lot of food)

13.  “Do you think I will pass my driving test tomorrow, Julie?” “Sorry, Mark, I do not think you have a cat in hell’s chance.” (to have no chance at all of doing something)

14.  I only started my new job last week, and I still feel like a fish out of water. (to be in a situation that you know nothing about or are not used to)

15.  “How did you know that Mr. Roberts is going to resign?” “I got is straight from the horse‘s mouth.” (information that comes from someone who is directly involved-in this case, from Mr. Roberts)

16.  Have you met our manager? He really thinks he is the cat‘s knees! (to think you are very clever and important)

17.  What do you think of our new English teacher? Personally I think she is a bit of a  cold fish.(some who is not very friendly)

18.  Antonia is very timid: she would not say boo to a goose. (an expression used to describe someone who is very quite and shy)

19.  Why do I always have to do the donkey work? (boring work that needs a lot of effort but has to be done as part of a job)

20.  I would love to be a fly on the wall when Debbie tells Mr. Roberts what she thinks of him! (to be able to see what people are doing without them noticing you)

21.  Two weeks before her wedding, Jane went to a night club for her hen night. (a celebration for a woman who is about to get married, in which only her woman friends take part)

22.  I am so hungry, I could eat a horse! (an expression used for saying that you are very hungry)

23.  The bank would not lend me the money, so I had to go to a loan shark. (someone who lends money to people and charges them a very high interest)

24.  My boss is such a rat bag. I do not think I can go on working for her much longer. (somebody who is unpleasant with other people)

25.  I feel really sorry for poor old Steven: he is so henpecked. (criticized and given orders all the time by a wife or female partner)

26.  It was a very simple job, but I made a pig’s ear of it. (do something very badly)

27.  I wanted to go to Spain for my holiday, but just before I left for the airport I lost my passport. As you can imagine, that really cooked my goose. (to cause a lot of problems foe someone, or spoil their plans)

28.  I can not help you at the moment, I am afraid. I have got bigger fish to fry. (to have more important things to do or think about)

29.  The party was wonderful. We had a whale of a time. (to have a lot of fun)

30.  You can tell john that he is a stupid boring idiot if you like, but I am afraid it will just be water off a duck‘s back. (an expression used for saying that advice, warnings or insults do not affect someone)

31.  I have got so many things to do today. I am running around like a headless chicken! (trying to do a lot of things quickly without being sensible or calm about it)

32.  He thinks he is better than us. I wish he would get off his high horse. (stop behaving as if he knows more or is better than anyone else)

33.  Corporate fat cats have once again been accused of putting profits before people. (people who receive to much money for their job they do)

34.  I do not like him, I do not respect him, and I do not give a monkey’s what he thinks. (to not care about something at all)

35.  While we are in town doing our shopping, let us go and see my mother. That way, we can kill two birds with one stone. (to achieve two aims with one action)

36.  I have never seen Arnie looking so happy. He is like a dog with two tails. (to be very happy because something good has happened)

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