Tag: animal idioms

tiger

11 tiger terms and phrases

Native to the forests of Asia, this feline has snuck its way into several common – and a few less common – terms and phrases over the years. Besides referring to the cat, the word tiger is also used to describe someone ‘fierce, determined, or ambitious’. Thanks to the cat’s distinctive markings, the word is […]

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pig large

Dingoes, lizards, prawns, and galahs: taking Australian idioms literally

The latest Oxford Dictionaries update doesn’t just include individual words: as always, phrases are also included. This update sees many Australian English idioms added to OxfordDictionaries.com, and we’ve selected some that we’d like to hear more of across the English-speaking world. Some are used in other countries too; some might be unfamiliar even to many […]

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koala

Salties, shafters, and roos: Australian animal words

Australia is well known for its unique, and often dangerous, contributions to the animal kingdom. In March’s update, we’ve been working to bring some more Australian and New Zealand vocabulary into our dictionary, and inevitably this includes words and phrases that involve or describe some of the critters found in the bush. Pet names Most […]

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australia

Australian English: words and phrases added to OxfordDictionaries.com

In this latest update to OxfordDictionaries.com, Australian English features prominently. From lamington drives, sausage sizzles, and magic puddings to sheep cockies and wheat cockies – these latest additions to OxfordDictionaries.com reveal something of the colour and diversity of Australian English both past and present. Abbreviations The Australian English vocabulary abounds with abbreviated words marking a […]

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cows-in-the-oed

The peculiar history of cows in the OED

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has hundreds of words that relate to cows. For most English speakers, the idea that anyone would need so many words for one specific animal probably seems absurd. Especially cows. Perhaps it’s their mysterious ubiquity throughout children’s books and TV shows or just the dull empty look in their eyes, […]

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dog idioms

Writing doggedly: dog idioms from around Europe

In film and literature dogs are often shown as the protagonist’s companion through thick and thin. Dog owners will tell you that their pets are loyal and loving – yet the portrayal of dogs in many languages shows that man’s best friend is often regarded as lowly in status. You can read this earlier post about […]

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Cat idioms and phrases exist in abundance in English and other languages

Cat idioms and expressions

Horses and pigs were only stepping stones on the way to my very favourite animal, and one which languages across the globe have turned to for idiomatic favour: the humble (or not so humble) cat. Let’s have a look at some of these idioms, pleasant and unpleasant: Curiosity killed the cat As the conclusion on a […]

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There are many horse idioms and phrases in English.

Horse idioms and proverbs

Horses have been in the news recently and, as with anything topical and a little bit scandalous, would-be comedians have been riffing on horse-related puns and quips to their hearts’ content. The English language is not new to this sort of play with the word ‘horse’. Horseplay, if you will – which is a case […]

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