Idioms based on Animals
(it's) raining cats and dogsMeaning: You can say "it's raining cats and dogs" if it's raining very hard.
For example:Origin: The first time this phrase appeared in print was in Jonathan Swift’s "A Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation in 1738", in which he wrote, "I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs". The phrase's source before this time remains a mystery, despite the many theories that have been put forward to explain its origin.
- We can't go now because it's raining cats and dogs.
- Why do people always use "it's raining cats and dogs" as an example of an idiom? No-one actually uses it any more, do they?
(like) water off a duck's backMeaning: You can say an insult or criticism is like water off a duck's back if it doesn't upset you.
For example:Origin: Probably related to the fact that ducks have oily feathers and water can't get through them, so water runs off their backs. In the same way, criticism can either get through to someone and upset them, or not get through to them and not upset them, and be "like water off a duck's back."
- I asked Amy if she got upset when journalists wrote negative things about her, and she said she didn't care what they wrote - it was like water off a duck's back.
- Terry said he was too sensitive about criticism and he wanted to be like one of those people for whom it's like water off a duck's back.
a night owlMeaning: You're a night owl if you like to stay up and do things late at night.
For example:Origin: Metaphorical idiom related to the fact that owls are nocturnal birds that are active at night.
- She's always been a night owl. Even when she was a student she'd study late at night and get up as late as possible the next day.
- I don't know why I'm a night owl. I just seem more alert at night, and even if I go to bed early I can't get to sleep till about 3 in the morning.
a queer fishMeaning: If someone's a queer fish, they are a bit strange and can sometimes behave in an unusual way.
For example:Note: This is a very old-fashioned idiom. You might hear it in old movies, or read it in old novels, or you might even hear elderly people using it, but you probably shouldn't try using it yourself.
- Your great grandfather was a queer fish, Johnny. He used to write funny poems and then he'd read them aloud to everyone on the train on his way to work.
- Some of the characters described as "queer fish" in old novels might be called "weirdos" these days.
a whale of a timeMeaning: If you have a whale of a time, you have a great time and really enjoy yourself.
For example:Quick Quiz:
- I went to a karaoke club with my friends last night and we had a whale of a time. It was great!
- Janet said she had a whale of a time at the party. I wish I'd gone too now.
Ollie said he had a whale of a time at the jazz festival and he
People used to say Uncle Charlie was a queer fish because he
Cassandra is a night owl, so she doesn't usually get up until about
Many people claim that insults or negative comments are like water off a duck's back, but in reality, many of them are
It's raining cats and dogs, so