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1 Choose an animal to learn an idiom about it. Animal Idioms Press ESC to quit program

2 Go to the Dogs Definition: To deteriorate, to decrease in quality or value. Sample Sentence: “If too many people move away, the town will go to the dogs.” Animal Idioms Dog Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

3 Don’t Count Your Chickens Before they Hatch Animal Idioms Definition: Don’t count on profits until you have them in hand. Sample Sentence: “John put a down payment on a car, but he didn’t get the salary increase he was expecting, and can’t afford the payments. He shouldn’t have counted his chickens before they hatched.” Chicken Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

4 The Early Bird Catches the Worm Animal Idioms Definition: A person who starts a project early has the best chance of reaping rewards. Sample Sentence: “He spent the night outside the store so he could buy the newest video game when it went on sale in the morning. The early bird gets the worm.” Bird Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

5 Pull a Rabbit out of a Hat Animal Idioms Definition: Solve a problem in an unexpected way. Sample Sentence: “I missed my bus, but my mom forgot something and came back home for it, so I got a ride to school. It was like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.” Rabbit Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

6 Kill the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg Animal Idioms Definition: To spoil something good out of stupidity or impatience. Sample Sentence: “Don’t pick on the nerdy kid that helps you with your homework. You’ll kill the goose that lays the golden egg.” Goose Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

7 Busy as a Beaver Animal Idioms Definition: working very hard, extremely industrious Sample Sentence: “The students were as busy as beavers on Saturday morning, washing cars to raise money for their club. Beaver Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

8 Hold Your Horses Animal Idioms Definition: Slow down, wait Sample Sentence: “Hold your horses! I’ll be there in a minute.” Horse Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

9 Buy a Pig in a Poke Animal Idioms Definition: To buy something without examining it. Sample Sentence: “Don’t buy goods on Ebay that don’t display a photo of the actual item. Don’t buy a pig in a poke.” Pig Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

10 Don’t Have a Cow Animal Idioms Definition: Don’t get anxious or upset. Sample Sentence: “Don’t have a cow. Everything will turn out fine.” Cow Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

11 Let the Cat Out of the Bag Animal Idioms Definition: To give away a secret. Sample Sentence: “He let the cat out of the bag by telling Joe about the surprise party.” Cat Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

12 Rat Race Animal Idioms Definition: Fierce, unending, stressful competition in business or society. Sample Sentence: “They couldn’t wait for vacation to get away from the rat race.” Rat Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

13 Kill Two Birds with One Stone Animal Idioms Definition: To get two results with just one effort. Sample Sentence: “By walking to the library, he can get exercise and the books he wants to read at the same time. He’s killing two birds with one stone.” Birds Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

14 Monkey Business Animal Idioms Definition: Disorderly or dishonest activities. Sample Sentence: “The teacher will not tolerate monkey business in her class.” Monkey Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

15 Get Your Goat Animal Idioms Definition: To annoy or make angry. Sample Sentence: “It got his goat when he stayed after school for the club meeting and it only lasted ten minutes.” Goat Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

16 Fish out of Water Animal Idioms Definition: A person who is out of his or her usual place. Sample Sentence: “He felt like a fish out of water on his first day of high school.” Fish Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

17 Clean as a Hound’s Tooth Animal Idioms Definition: Free from dirt, perfectly neat. Sample Sentence: “Mary kept her room as clean as a hound’s tooth.” Dog Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

18 Fat Cat Animal Idioms Definition: A wealthy person. Sample Sentence: “Maybe a fat cat will donate money for new computers at the Youth Center.” Cat Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom Next Idiom

19 Cold Turkey Animal Idioms Definition: A sudden stopping of any habit. Sample Sentence: “I quit biting my fingernails cold turkey. I put some over-the-counter product on them that tastes very bitter.” Turkey Return to Index Click to learn the origin of this idiom

20 Origin: Go to the Dogs Animal Idioms Dog Return to IndexReturn to Previous As far back as the 1500s, food that was not thought suitable for human consumption was thrown to the dogs. The expression caught on and expanded to include any person or thing that came to a bad end, was ruined, or looked terrible.

21 Origin: Don’t Count Your Chickens Before they Hatch Animal Idioms Chicken Return to IndexReturn to Previous Aesop once wrote about a woman carrying a basket of eggs. In her mind she figured how much she would get for the chickens when the eggs hatched, and exactly how she would spend the money. She got so excited she dropped her egg basket. Every egg smashed. Today we use this fable to warn people not to be confident of a result before it happens.

22 Origin: The Early Bird Catches the Worm Animal Idioms Bird Return to IndexReturn to Previous Birds like to eat worms. If a bird arrives late where the worms are, it will probably go hungry. But the bird who gets there early is sure to get some food.

23 Origin: Pull a Rabbit out of a Hat Animal Idioms Rabbit Return to IndexReturn to Previous The magician’s trick of pulling a live rabbit out of an empty top hat is very old, but this expression is relatively new – from about the 1930s. The meaning has been transferred from the specific (a magic trick) to the general (a surprise answer to a difficulty). The magician’s trick of pulling a live rabbit out of an empty top hat is very old, but this expression is relatively new – from about the 1930s. The meaning has been transferred from the specific (a magic trick) to the general (a surprise answer to a difficulty).

24 Origin: Kill the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg Animal Idioms Goose Return to IndexReturn to Previous There’s a fable by Aesop about a farmer who owns a goose that lays one golden egg at a time. The greedy farmer becomes impatient and kills the goose so he can get all the eggs at once. Of course, that didn’t work, so there were no more golden eggs.

25 Origin: Busy as a Beaver Animal Idioms Beaver Return to IndexReturn to Previous This saying comes from the 17 th century. For hundreds of years the beaver has been a symbol of diligent work. It is a very industrious animal.

26 Origin: Hold Your Horses Animal Idioms Horse Return to IndexReturn to Previous This 19 th century Americanism originated as an instruction to a carriage driver who was letting his team of horses go too fast. By pulling back on the reins, the driver could slow the horses to a stop. This was called “holding your horses.”

27 Origin: Buy a Pig in a Poke Animal Idioms Pig Return to IndexReturn to Previous A long time ago in England a small bag or sack was called a poke. Farmers carried their pigs in pokes to sell at markets and county fairs. Sometimes customers were cheated by dishonest farmers who had actually put a runt or even a cat in the sack, and made excuses for why the sack couldn’t be opened.

28 Origin: Don’t Have a Cow Animal Idioms Cow Return to IndexReturn to Previous Quoted often on the TV program, “The Simpsons.” The origin of this phrase is unknown.

29 Origin: Let the Cat Out of the Bag Animal Idioms Cat Return to IndexReturn to Previous Centuries ago in England you might have bought a costly pig at a farmer’s market. But if the merchant was dishonest, and put a worthless cat into the bag instead of a piglet, you might not find out until you got home and “let the cat out of the bag.”

30 Origin: Rat Race Animal Idioms Rat Return to IndexReturn to Previous The term is nautical in origin and refers to a fierce tidal current, which in French sounds much like rat and/or race. It suggests a confusing, crowded scramble for survival.

31 Origin: Kill Two Birds with One Stone Animal Idioms Birds Return to IndexReturn to Previous There was a similar expression in Latin about 2000 years, and the saying became popular in English centuries later. It comes from hunting birds by throwing stones. If you killed two birds with one stone, you would be carrying out two tasks with a single effort.

32 Origin: Monkey Business Animal Idioms Monkey Return to IndexReturn to Previous This expression has two meanings. One concerns comical behavior like that of a playful monkey. The other refers to sneaky, unlawful actions. From 20 th century America.

33 Origin: Get Your Goat Animal Idioms Goat Return to IndexReturn to Previous This American expression dates from about It was a common practice to put a goat in the stall of a nervous racehorse to be its friend and keep it calm. If people wanted the horse to lose a race, they would sneak the goat out of the stall so the horse would be upset.

34 Origin: Fish out of Water Animal Idioms Fish Return to IndexReturn to Previous For thousands of years people have known that a fish belongs in water. That is its natural habitat. So, a person who feels uncomfortable in an unfamiliar situation will feel like the fish would if it were out of the water.

35 Origin: Clean as a Hound’s Tooth Animal Idioms Dog Return to IndexReturn to Previous The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but it refers to anything that is clean and shiny.

36 Origin: Fat Cat Animal Idioms Cat Return to IndexReturn to Previous This term, which goes back to the 1920s in America, used to refer to rich people who gave big contributions to political candidates. “Fat” meant both the size of their waistlines (they could afford to eat well) and the size of their wallets. “Cat” was probably used because it rhymes with “fat.”

37 Origin: Cold Turkey Animal Idioms Turkey Return to IndexReturn to Previous This is 20 th century slang. The context of its origin is uncertain. It means to stop an unhealthy habit of any kind all at once, such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, fatty foods, sugar, etc. This is 20 th century slang. The context of its origin is uncertain. It means to stop an unhealthy habit of any kind all at once, such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, fatty foods, sugar, etc.


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