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"Animal-themed Idiomatic Phrases"

Post on: November 26, 2020

Idioms are great fun to toy with. They are a type of phrases which uses figurative language whereby the words may not mean anything concerning the phrase. It’s a bizarre way to communicate — illogical and yet so effective! As students, it was common to add an idiomatic phrase into our composition to embellish it and to gain an additional mark or two.

Knowing the myth or origin behind the idiom helps us to decipher the rationale behind it. We say “break the ice” which means to make those who have not met before feel more relaxed with each other. The origin behind this idiom is interesting:

This took place during the days when ships were the mode of transportation while embarking on international trade. During winter, sometimes the ships got stuck due to ice formation. The receiving country would send smaller ships to “break the ice”. Hence, making it passable for the bigger ship to resume its journey. This gesture showed understanding and good relations between the two sides. Hence, ‘break the ice’ was aptly used in this context.

The Jolly Good Times has compiled some animal-themed idioms which are commonly used in our everyday life

     1. A bull in a China shop – We use the phrase “a bull in a China shop” to describe a person who is careless in the way he behaves and moves about.

     2. Open a can of worms – This phrase is a warning to someone that what they are planning to do or say is more difficult or unpleasant than what it appears to be. Hence, it is better left alone.

     3. Get one’s ducks in a row – It means to be well prepared and organised before we embark on something.

     4. One trick pony – It means a person who is only good for one particular purpose or good at only doing one particular thing.

     5. Red herring – We use the phrase, “red herring” to mislead or divert attention from a topic or line of inquiry.

     6. A fish out of water – We use the phrase “a fish out of water” to describe someone uncomfortable in a specific situation.

     7. Hold your horses – The phrase is used to tell someone to stop and consider their decision carefully about a matter.

     8. The world is your oyster – The phrase “the world is your oyster” means that you can achieve anything you wish in life or go anywhere because you have the opportunity to do so.

     9. Weasel out of something – The phrase means to avoid doing something that you have agreed to do. This is especially done in a dishonest manner, e.g. by persuading someone cleverly.

     10. The elephant in the room – We say there is an “elephant in the room” to mean there is an obvious problem or a difficult situation; however, people do not want to talk about it.

How could one not notice an elephant if it’s in a room? It’s such a gigantic animal and would stand out like a sore thumb! Hence the idiom is applicable in a situation where a person is aware of a problem but intentionally chooses to ignore it.

Was the refresher of idioms a walk in the park? Jolly Good Times hopes these phrases come in handy in your everyday usage. If it’s worth knowing, it has to be shared — invite your kakis (buddies) to Like us on our Facebook and Website.

By Shaji Thomas Varughese

#AnimalThemedIdiomaticPhrases #JollyGoodTimes #ShajiThomasVarughese


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