An idiom is a common phrase which is used colloquially but the meaning is not immediately obvious. Native English speakers use many idioms in day-to-day life and many of them are animal related, so we’re going to focus on idioms which are animal-based today.

#1 Fly on the wall

To be a fly on the wall means to be unnoticed while watching or listening to something.

 #2: Bee’s knees

If something is the bee’s knees, that means it is excellent and of the highest quality. You could also say someone is the bee’s knees.

#3: To make a beeline

To make a beeline for something means to move towards it quickly and with purpose.

#4: To kill two birds with one stone

To kill two birds with one stone means to accomplish two tasks or objectives at once.

#5: Sitting duck

A sitting duck is an easy target, something or someone which is vulnerable to attack.

 #6: To chicken out

To chicken out of something means to back out of it because of feeling scared or worried.

#7: A wild goose chase

A wild goose chase is a pointless task, particularly one that involves travel. 

#8: To take the bull by the horns

This means to face a problem directly. Sometimes you might hear someone say to ‘grab’ a bull by its horns, which means the same thing.

#9: To horse around

To horse around means to act in a way that is silly and playful and sometimes noisy. 

#10: Until the cows come home

Until the cows come home means for a long, possibly even never-ending length of time. It’s usually used when talking about something that you ‘could do’ for a long time, because you enjoy it.

 #11: Dark horse

A dark horse is somebody who is surprisingly good at something you might not expect them to be. This could be used to describe someone in a competition who places much higher than expected or someone who surprises you with their skill.

#12: Hold your horses

To hold your horses means to wait. 

 #13: Straight from the horse’s mouth

If you hear something straight from the horse’s mouth, that means you are hearing it straight from the source; from somebody who has direct and personal experience. 

#14: In two shakes of a lamb’s tail

In two shakes of a lamb’s tail means in a very short amount of time.

#15: To go the whole hog

To go the whole hog means to really commit to something and to take it as far as possible.

 #16: The cat’s pyjamas

Similar to the bee’s knees, if something or someone is the cat’s pyjamas, that means they are the best. 

#17: To let the cat out of the bag

To let the cat out of the bag means to reveal a secret. This could be accidentally or it could be on purpose.

#18: Cat got your tongue?

This is a question you might ask somebody who is being unusually quiet. 

#19: Raining cats and dogs

If someone says it is raining cats and dogs, that means it is raining very heavily outside.

#20: To let sleeping dogs lie

To let sleeping dogs lie means to leave a situation alone, to not interfere so you don’t cause trouble.



In the doghouse- To be in the doghouse means to be in trouble or disgrace. Usually because you’ve upset or angered somebody with something you’ve done or not done.

Dog eat dog- ‘Dog eat dog’ is a phrase we use to describe an environment which is very competitive, to an extent where people are prepared to harm one another to win.

Ants in your pants– If you have ants in your pants, that means you are restless and moving around a lot, usually because you are nervous or excited.

To smell a rat- To smell a rat means to be suspicious of a lie. 

Fishy- If something is fishy, that means it is suspicious.

To have bigger fish to fry– If you have bigger fish to fry, that means you have more important or better things to do.

A different kettle of fish- If something is another kettle of fish, or a whole other kettle of fish, that means it is entirely different.

Crocodile tears- Crocodile tears are fake tears, for example if somebody is pretending to cry or has forced themselves to cry to gain something. 

Elephant in the room- An elephant in the room is something obvious and uncomfortable which has not been discussed.

To have the lion’s share- To have or get the lion’s share of something means to have the largest amount of something.