160+ Useful Idioms About Animals From A-Z | Animal Idioms

In this post, you’ll find a complete list of over 160 helpful animal-related idioms from A to Z. Idioms are idioms that communicate meanings beyond their literal interpretations, bringing color to ordinary communication. From “as sly as a fox” to “busy as a bee,” these idioms provide a fun and innovative method to communicate thoughts, making your language skills more intriguing and engaging. Whether you’re a language aficionado or just curious about idiomatic idioms, this collection will help you grasp English phrases inspired by the animal kingdom. Dive into the world of language with this A-Z handbook and discover how idioms make conversation more colorful and engaging.

Animal Idioms Start with A

  • A rare bird
  • All Bark And No Bite
  • A cat in gloves catches no mice
  • A lame duck
  • A home bird
  • As Poor as a Church Mouse
  • A cat has nine lives
  • A guinea pig
  • A sitting duck
  • A dog in the manger
  • A Little Bird Told Me
  • A cat nap
  • A cold fish
  • A lone wolf
  • A scaredy-cat
  • Albatross Around One’s Neck
  • Ants In Your Pants
  • All Hat And No Cattle
  • A rare bird
  • All Bark And No Bite

Animal Idioms Start with B

  • Bird’s-Eye View
  • Back the Wrong Horse
  • Bell the Cat
  • Bee in one’s bonnet
  • Bark up the Wrong Tree
  • Blow the Cobwebs Away
  • Bull in a China Shop
  • Buy a Pig in a Poke
  • Black Sheep
  • Big Fish
  • Birds of a Feather
  • Bite the Hand That Feeds You

Animal Idioms Start with C

  • Cool cat
  • Clip Someone’s Wings
  • Cock and Bull Story
  • Chomp (Champ) at the Bit
  • Cat on a hot tin roof
  • Cat Fight
  • Cat’s Paw
  • Chickens Come Home To Roost
  • Curiosity Killed The Cat
  • Cry Wolf
  • Change Horses in Midstream
  • Crickets
  • Cat-and-Mouse (adj.)
  • Cat Got Your Tongue?

Animal Idioms Start with D

  • Dead as the Dodo
  • Dog in the Manger
  • Drain the Lizard
  • Dark Horse
  • Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
  • Dog-Eat-Dog
  • Dog-and-Pony Show
  • Dead Duck
  • Double-Edged Sword
  • Drive Someone Up the Wall
  • Dressed to the Nines
  • Dime a Dozen
  • Drop in the Bucket

Animal Idioms Start with E

  • Early Bird [noun or adjective]
  • Eat Crow
  • Every Dog Has His (Its) Day
  • Eager beaver
  • Elephant in the Room
  • Every Man and His Dog
  • Eagle-Eyed
  • Egg on Your Face
  • Elbow Grease
  • End of the Rope
  • Eye for an Eye
  • Easy as Pie
  • Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Animal Idioms Start with F

  • Flew the Coop
  • Fish Out of Water
  • Feather One’s Nest
  • Fat Cat
  • Flat Out Like a Lizard Drinking
  • Fox in the Henhouse (Chickenhouse)
  • Fish for Compliments
  • Fight like a cat and dog
  • Frog in Your Throat
  • Fool’s Gold
  • For the Birds
  • Fifth Wheel
  • Flogging a Dead Horse
  • Full of Hot Air

Animal Idioms Start with G

  • Go See a Man About a Dog
  • Go to the Dogs
  • Get Someone’s Goat
  • Guinea Pig
  • Get One’s Ducks in a Row
  • Grab (Take) the Bull by the Horns
  • Go Belly Up
  • Grin Like a Cheshire Cat
  • Green-Eyed Monster
  • Gone to the Birds
  • Go Whole Hog
  • Gild the Lily
  • Gravy Train

Animal Idioms Start with H

  • Hive Mind
  • Have a Dog in the Hunt (Fight, Race)
  • Hold Your Horses (generally excl.)
  • Has the cat got your tongue?
  • He Would Put Legs Under A Chicken
  • Horse of a Different Color
  • Hungry as a Bear
  • Hungry as a Wolf
  • Hawk-Eyed
  • Hot Dog
  • Hustle and Bustle

Animal Idioms Start with J

  • Jump on the bandwagon
  • Jump down someone’s throat
  • Jump the gun
  • Jump through hoops
  • Jump in with both feet
  • Jump out of the frying pan into the fire
  • Jump the shark
  • Jungle out there
  • Just like herding cats
  • Just what the doctor ordered

Animal Idioms Start with K

  • Kill Two Birds with One Stone
  • Kill the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg
  • Kangaroo Court
  • Kill a Fly With an Elephant Gun
  • Kettle of Fish
  • Kick the Beehive
  • Keep the Wolf from the Door
  • King of the Jungle
  • Know Which Way the Wind Blows
  • Knock on Wood

Animal Idioms Start with L

  • Let the Cat Out of the Bag
  • Lion’s Share
  • Lick One’s Wounds
  • Like the cat that got the cream
  • Look What the Cat Dragged In
  • Lion’s Den
  • Like a Moth to a Flame
  • Lock Horns
  • Loan Shark
  • Loaded for Bear
  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Animal Idioms Start with M

  • Mad As A Box Of (Soapy) Frogs
  • Make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear
  • My Dogs Are Barking
  • Monkey Business
  • More Than One Way to Skin a Cat
  • Mouse Potato
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do
  • Mare’s Nest
  • Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill
  • Mutton Dressed as Lamb

Animal Idioms Start with N

  • No room to swing a cat
  • Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
  • Not have a cat in hell’s chance
  • Night Owl
  • Nest Egg
  • Nose to the Grindstone
  • Not enough room to swing a cat
  • Not a sausage
  • Nip it in the Bud
  • Not my circus, not my monkeys

Animal Idioms Start with O

  • On a Lark
  • One-Trick Pony
  • Out of the frying pan into the fire
  • Out like a light
  • Open a can of worms
  • Off the hook
  • Old chestnut
  • Out of the woods
  • On cloud nine
  • Out of the lion’s den

Animal Idioms Start with P

  • Put Lipstick on a Pig
  • Put the Cart Before the Horse
  • Puppies and Rainbows
  • Pecking Order
  • Put the cat among the pigeons
  • Play cat and mouse
  • Puppy Dog Eyes
  • Put Out Feelers
  • Pig in a poke
  • Pig-headed

Animal Idioms Start with Q

  • Quiet as a mouse

Animal Idioms Start with R

  • Raise (Someone’s) Hackles
  • Red Herring
  • Rain cats and dogs
  • Raining buckets
  • Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds
  • Rats desert a sinking ship
  • Raining cats and dogs
  • Rule the roost
  • Run around like a headless chicken

Animal Idioms Start with S

  • Smell a Rat
  • Screw The Pooch
  • Strain at a Gnat and Swallow a Camel
  • Stalking Horse
  • Seize (Take) the Bull By the Horns
  • Sitting Duck
  • Swim with Sharks
  • Something to Crow About
  • Sick as a Parrot
  • Swan Song

Animal Idioms Start with T

  • The Cat Is Out of the Bag
  • Turn Turtle
  • To have butterflies in your stomach
  • Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
  • Take a Gander
  • The World Is Your Oyster
  • There’s more than one way to skin a cat
  • Til the Cows Come Home
  • Throw to the wolves
  • Through thick and thin

Animal Idioms Start with U

  • Ugly Duckling
  • Until the Cows Come Home
  • Under the eagle’s eye
  • Up with the lark
  • Up a tree
  • Underdog
  • Upper crust
  • Under the same roof
  • Useless as a screen door on a submarine
  • Under the weather

Animal Idioms Start with W

  • Who’s She, the Cat’s Mother?
  • White Elephant
  • What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander
  • Wild Goose Chase
  • When Pigs Fly
  • Wet behind the ears
  • Wag the dog
  • Weasel out of something
  • Wolf in sheep’s clothing
  • Watch like a hawk

Animal Idioms Start with X

  • X marks the spot

Animal Idioms Start with Y

  • You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs

Animal Idioms Start with Z

  • Zero hour
Idioms About Animals | Picture
160+ Useful Idioms About Animals From A-Z | Animal Idioms
Animal Idioms

Common Animal Idioms with Meanings & Examples

Ants in your pants

  • Meaning: Restless or anxious.
  • Example: “He’s got ants in his pants; he can’t sit still.”

Bee in one’s bonnet

  • Meaning: A fixed idea or obsession.
  • Example: “She’s got a bee in her bonnet about saving the environment.”

Bite the bullet

  • Meaning: To endure a painful experience.
  • Example: “I have to bite the bullet and tell her the truth.”

The cat’s out of the bag

  • Meaning: A secret has been revealed.
  • Example: “Well, the cat’s out of the bag now. Everyone knows about the surprise party.”

Cry over spilled milk

  • Meaning: Don’t waste time on things that have already happened and cannot be changed.
  • Example: “Yes, you made a mistake, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk.”

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

  • Meaning: Don’t make plans based on uncertain events.
  • Example: “I wouldn’t start planning the celebration just yet; don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

Eager beaver

  • Meaning: Someone who is very enthusiastic and hardworking.
  • Example: “She’s always the first one to start a project, a real eager beaver.”

Elephant in the room

  • Meaning: An obvious problem that people are avoiding.
  • Example: “Let’s address the elephant in the room and talk about the budget cuts.”

Fish out of water

  • Meaning: Uncomfortable or out of place.
  • Example: “At the formal dinner, he felt like a fish out of water.”

Hold your horses

  • Meaning: Wait and be patient.
  • Example: “Hold your horses! Let’s think about this before making a decision.”

Kill two birds with one stone

  • Meaning: Accomplish two things at the same time.
  • Example: “By working from home, I can kill two birds with one stone – save time and avoid the commute.”

Let the cat out of the bag

  • Meaning: Reveal a secret.
  • Example: “I can’t believe she let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.”

Like a fish out of water

  • Meaning: Uncomfortable in a particular situation.
  • Example: “In the big city, she felt like a fish out of water coming from a small town.”

Make a mountain out of a molehill

  • Meaning: Exaggerate a small problem.
  • Example: “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill; it’s just a minor setback.”

Monkey business

  • Meaning: Mischievous or deceitful behavior.
  • Example: “I suspect there’s some monkey business going on in the office.”

Pig out

  • Meaning: Eat a lot, often to excess.
  • Example: “After the exam, we decided to pig out on pizza and ice cream.”

Put all your eggs in one basket

  • Meaning: Rely on a single strategy or plan.
  • Example: “Diversify your investments; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Raining cats and dogs

  • Meaning: Heavy rainfall.
  • Example: “We had to cancel the picnic; it’s raining cats and dogs outside.”


  • Meaning: Blaming someone else for one’s own mistakes.
  • Example: “The manager used him as a scapegoat for the project’s failure.”

The lion’s share

  • Meaning: The largest part or share.
  • Example: “She did the lion’s share of the work on the group project.”

The early bird catches the worm

  • Meaning: Success comes to those who act early.
  • Example: “I woke up at 5 AM to prepare for the exam; the early bird catches the worm.”

Throw someone to the wolves

  • Meaning: Abandon someone to face a difficult situation alone.
  • Example: “The manager decided to throw him to the wolves during the meeting.”

Til the cows come home

  • Meaning: For a very long time.
  • Example: “You can wait for him, but he won’t be back until the cows come home.”

When pigs fly

  • Meaning: Something that will never happen.
  • Example: “You think he’ll apologize? Yeah, when pigs fly!”

Wild goose chase

  • Meaning: A pointless pursuit or task.
  • Example: “Searching for the missing keys turned into a wild goose chase.”

Wolf in sheep’s clothing

  • Meaning: Someone who appears friendly but is deceitful.
  • Example: “Be careful; he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing pretending to be your friend.”

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

  • Meaning: It’s difficult to change someone’s established habits.
  • Example: “I’ve been trying to get him to use a smartphone, but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

  • Meaning: It’s better to have something certain than to risk losing it by trying to get more.
  • Example: “I’m not taking that job offer in another city; I have a good job here – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

All bark and no bite

  • Meaning: Someone who talks tough but doesn’t act accordingly.
  • Example: “Don’t worry about him; he’s all bark and no bite.”

Birds of a feather flock together

  • Meaning: Similar People tend to associate with one another.
  • Example: “It’s no surprise they’re close friends; birds of a feather flock together.”

Bull in a china shop

  • Meaning: Someone who is careless or clumsy in delicate situations.
  • Example: “Be careful at the art gallery; you don’t want to be a bull in a china shop.”

Cry wolf

  • Meaning: Raise a false alarm.
  • Example: “He’s always crying wolf about his computer problems; I don’t believe him anymore.”

Dog and pony show

  • Meaning: A flashy presentation or display with little substance.
  • Example: “The product launch was just a dog and pony show; the product itself was mediocre.”

Donkey’s years

  • Meaning: A very long time.
  • Example: “I haven’t seen her in donkey’s years; we used to be classmates.”

Every dog has its day

  • Meaning: Everyone will have a period of success or good fortune.
  • Example: “Don’t worry; your hard work will pay off. Every dog has its day.”

Frog in one’s throat

  • Meaning: Temporary hoarseness or difficulty speaking.
  • Example: “I wanted to speak, but I had a frog in my throat and couldn’t say a word.”

Get the lion’s share

  • Meaning: Receive the largest portion.
  • Example: “Because she worked the hardest, she got the lion’s share of the bonus.”

Go down in flames

  • Meaning: Fail spectacularly.
  • Example: “I thought the presentation would be a success, but it went down in flames.”

Have a whale of a time

  • Meaning: Have a great time.
  • Example: “We had a whale of a time at the beach party last night.”

Hold one’s horses

  • Meaning: Be patient and wait.
  • Example: “Hold your horses; I’ll be there in a minute.”

A horse of a different color

  • Meaning: A completely different matter or issue.
  • Example: “I thought we were talking about the budget, not the marketing plan. That’s a horse of a different color.”

In the doghouse

  • Meaning: In trouble or disfavor.
  • Example: “After forgetting our anniversary, I found myself in the doghouse for a week.”

Let sleeping dogs lie

  • Meaning: Avoid interfering in a situation that could cause trouble.
  • Example: “I know about the mistake, but let’s let sleeping dogs lie and not bring it up.”

Monkey see, monkey do

  • Meaning: Imitate others without thinking.
  • Example: “Kids often learn by example; monkey see, monkey do.”

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

  • Meaning: Go from a bad situation to a worse one.
  • Example: “Leaving my old job seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I’m out of the frying pan and into the fire with this new one.”

Panda hug

  • Meaning: A gentle or diplomatic hug.
  • Example: “After the argument, she gave him a panda hug to make amends.”

Pecking order

  • Meaning: Hierarchy or ranking.
  • Example: “In the corporate world, there’s always a clear pecking order.”

Sick as a dog

  • Meaning: Very sick or unwell.
  • Example: “I caught the flu and felt as sick as a dog for a week.”

Take the bull by the horns

  • Meaning: Confront a difficult situation directly.
  • Example: “Instead of avoiding the issue, it’s time to take the bull by the horns and find a solution.”

The world is your oyster

  • Meaning: You have many opportunities and possibilities.
  • Example: “Now that you’ve graduated, the world is your oyster; go out and explore!”

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