Animal House

Fisch oder Vogel – this was a phrase I heard over lunch the other day and it got me thinking. Idioms are a funny thing.

They often seem nonsensical and yet are able to convey situations or feelings much more effectively than straightforward descriptions. What also struck me was the frequency with which animals occur in idioms. So I thought I’d compile a list of idioms and include a few photos to make you go awww in true BuzzFeed style.

Raining cats and dogs

As in: “It’s raining buckets.” Or: “I’m soaked to the skin.” Or: “We’re in England.”


Image via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Eager beaver

As in: “Sucking up to the bosses? What an eager beaver!” Or just: “Eager beavers are lame.”


Image via Pixabay (CC0)

Kill two birds with one stone

As in: “I’m so awesome I can kill two birds with one stone by baking a pizza and cake in the oven at the same time.” Interestingly, this phrase can be translated literally into many languages, including Arabic and Japanese. The Germans, Finns and Danes, however, choose flies as their victims of choice.


Image via Pexels (CC0)

Have a cow

As in: “Don’t have a cow, but I just finished off the tub of Ben & Jerry’s.” This a close relative of “having kittens”, as in: “My mum had kittens when she saw my nose ring.”


Image via Pexels (CC0)

Black sheep

As in: “You’re obviously the black sheep of the family.” Or: “I like being the black sheep; it gives me the freedom to be as weird as I like.”


Image via Pixabay (CC0)

Ants in pants

As in: “I’ve got ants in my pants because this totally hipster blogger is interviewing me tonight.” Or: “I’m so psyched about the Beyoncé concert. I’ve got ants in my pants.”


Image via Flickr: Ants – Pascal Brax (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cat’s out of the bag

As in: “The cat’s out of the bag – putting cute images of cats in any blog post is a cheap way of attracting readers.”


Image via Flickr: Don’t let the cat out of the bag – Ted Major (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cover image via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

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