Idiom Category: Animals, Page 7

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Small dog, tall weeds
This idiom is used to describe someone the speaker does not believe has the ability or resources to handle a task or job.
Small fry
If someone is small fry, they are unimportant. The term is often used when the police arrest the less important criminals, but are unable to catch the leaders and masterminds.
Smell a rat
If you smell a rat, you know instinctively that something is wrong or that someone is lying to you.
Snake in the grass
Someone who is a snake in the grass betrays you even though you have trusted them.
Snake oil
Advice or medicine which is of no use.
Snake oil salesperson
A person who promotes something that doesn't work, is selling snake oil.
Snipe hunt
A snipe hunt is a situation in which someone is tricked into chasing after something that does not exist. The origin comes from a hazing ritual in which someone would be led into the field to catch snipe (an imaginary animal) in a sack while the other hunters pushed the snipe in that direction. The other hunters would in reality leave the hunter there and go on their way.
Snug as a bug in a rug
If you're as snug as a bug in a rug, you are feeling very comfortable indeed.
Social butterfly
Someone who can move easily within many different social groups is a social butterfly.
Sprat to catch a mackerel
If you use a sprat to catch a mackerel, you make a small expenditure or take a small risk in the hope of a much greater gain.
Spring chicken
Someone who's a spring chicken is very young, often inexperienced.
Stalking horse
A stalking horse is a strategy or something used to conceal your intentions.  It is often used where someone put themselves forwards as a candidate to divide opponents or to hide the real candidate.
Strain at the leash
If someone is straining at the leash, they really want to do something that they are prevented from doing at the moment.
Straw that broke the camel's back
The straw that broke the camel's back is the problem that made you lose your temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something.
Strong as an ox
Someone who's exceedingly strong physically is said to be as strong as an ox.
Strong like bull, dumb like stump
Someone that does the job the hard way and not the smart way is strong like bull, dumb like stump.
Stubborn as a mule
Someone who will not listen to other people's advice and won't change their way of doing things is as stubborn as a mule.
Swansong
A person's swansong is their final achievement or public appearance.
Sweat like a pig
If someone is sweating like a pig, they are perspiring (sweating) a lot.
Swim with the fishes
If someone is swimming with the fishes, they are dead, especially if they have been murdered. 'Sleep with the fishes' is an alternative form.
Take the bull by its horns
Taking a bull by its horns would be the most direct but also the most dangerous way to try to compete with such an animal. When we use the phrase in everyday talk, we mean that the person we are talking about tackles their problems directly and is not worried about any risks involved.
Take up the reins
(UK) If you take up the reins, you assume control of something- an organisation, company, country, etc.('Take over the reins' is also used.)
Talk the hind legs off a donkey
A person who is excessively or extremely talkative can talk the hind legs off a donkey.
Talk turkey
When people talk turkey, they discuss something frankly.
Tell them where the dog died
(USA) If you tell them where the dog died, you strongly and sharply correct someone.
The cat's meow
If something is the cat's meow, it's excellent.
Their bark is worse than their bite
If someone's bark is worse than their bite, they get angry and shout and make threats, but don't actually do anything.
There are many ways to skin a cat
This is an expression meaning there are many different ways of doing the same thing.
There's a dead cat on the line
This used as a way of telling people that something suspicious is happening.
Thousand pound gorilla in the room
A thousand pound gorilla in the room is an idiom which can be used to say something is the biggest problem in the relationship between two or more persons or countries.
Throw a monkey wrench into the works
(USA) If you throw a monkey wrench into the works, you ensure that something fails.
Throw pearls to the pigs
Someone that throws pearls to pigs is giving someone else something they don't deserve or appreciate. ('Throw pearls before pigs' and 'Cast pearls before swine' are also used.)
Throw someone to the wolves
If someone is thrown to the wolves, they are abandoned and have to face trouble without any support.
Till the cows come home
This idioms means 'for a very long time'. ('Until the cows come home' is also used.)
To be dog cheap
If something's dog cheap, it is very cheap indeed.
Top dog
The most important or influential person is the top dog.
Tough as woodpecker lips
(AU) Something that is as tough as woodpecker lips is very strong, resilient, etc.
Turn turtle
If something turns turtle, it turns upside down.
Two heads are better than one
When two people work together more things get accomplished.
Ugly duckling
An ugly duckling is a child who shows little promise, but who develops later into a real talent or beauty.
Until the last dog is shot
(USA) It means until the very last possible moment or until every possibility is exausted: You boys always stay until the last dog is shotI will stay until the last dog is shot to complete this project by deadline (Expression my mom who was born in 1917 in Wisconson always used.)  
Up with the lark
If you get up very early, you're up with the lark.
Vultures are circling
If the vultures are circling, then something is in danger and its enemies are getting ready for the kill.
Wag the dog
To 'wag the dog' means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue.The expression comes from the saying that 'a dog is smarter than its tail', but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would 'wag the dog'. The expression 'wag the dog' was elaborately used as theme of the movie. 'Wag the Dog', a 1997 film starring Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman, produced and directed by Barry Levinson.
Water off a duck's back
If criticism or something similar is like water off a duck's back to somebody, they aren't affected by it in the slightest.
Whale of a time
If you have a whale of a time, you really enjoy yourself.
What can you expect from a hog but a grunt?
(USA) This means that you can't expect people to behave in a way that is not in their character- a 'hog' is a 'pig', so an unrefined person can't be expected to behave in a refined way.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander
This idiom means that the sexes should be treated the same way and not be subjected to different standards.
When pigs fly
Meaning you will not get something when you want it or someone doesn't want something for you. say you are selling an item and some one doesn't want it. they might say 'I'll buy it when pigs fly'. it just means you will never get someone to say yes to you when you ask for something.
When the chickens come home to roost
When a person pays dearly for something bad he or she did in the past, the chickens come home to roost.

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