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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Animals - Birds - Fish - Insects

(page 3 :  cat → cow )

wait for the cat to jump If you wait for the cat to jump, or to see which way the cat jumps, you delay taking action until you see how events will turn out.
Let's wait for the cat to  jump before we decide.
cat's lick A cat's lick means a very quick wash.
A cat's lick was all he had time for before rushing off to catch the bus.
cat's whiskers
(also: cat's pyjamas)
This expression refers to someone who considers themselves
to be better than others in a particular area : beauty, competence, intelligence, sport, etc.
Ever since she got a promotion, she thinks she's the cat's whiskers!
cat-and-dog life A life in which partners are constantly or frequently quarrelling is called a cat-and-dog life.
They lead a cat-and-dog life.  I don't know why they stay together.
like herding cats This expression refers to the difficulty of coordinating a situation which involves people who all want to act independently.
Organizing an outing for a group of people from different countries is like herding cats!
raining cats and dogs If it's raining cats and dogs, it is raining very heavily.
We'll have to cancel the picnic I'm afraid - it's raining cats and dogs.
play cat and mouse To play cat and mouse with someone means to treat them alternately cruelly and kindly, so that they do not know what to expect.
He's difficult to work for, always playing cat and mouse with the employees.
chicken feed An amount of money considered small or unimportant is called chicken feed.
I got a job during the holidays but the pay was chicken feed.
chicken out of If you chicken out of something, you decide not to do something because you are afraid.
He decided to join a karate class, but chickened out  at the last minute.
like a headless chicken If a person rushes about like a headless chicken, they act in a disorderly way, without thinking or analyzing the situation carefully.
As soon as the store opened, my mother started running around like a headless chicken, eager to find bargains.
no spring chicken To say that someone is no spring chicken means that they are quite old or well past their youth.
How old is the owner? I don't know but she's no spring chicken!
wave a dead chicken When faced with a serious problem, if you take steps that you  know in advance will be futile, to show that you made an effort, you wave a dead chicken.
The TV set was permanently damaged, but the technician decided to wave a dead chicken to satisfy the old lady before announcing the bad news.
chickens come home to roost If you say that chickens have come home to roost, you mean that bad or embarrassing things done in the past by someone are now causing problems for that person.
As tenants the couple were noisy and disorderly.  Now they can't find a place to rent.  The chickens have come home to roost!
a cash cow A product or service which is a regular source of income for a company is called a cash cow.
His latest invention turned out to be a real cash cow.
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