Animal Proverbs & Idiomatic Expressions (Beginning with A)

a - aneDid you ever wonder whether specific proverbs and idiomatic expressions are still used in the English language?  Here I discuss some phrases that begin with the letter "A" and how well-known they are.  These proverbs are specifically about animals.  They can be found on the site The Phrase Finder

The discussion here is specially from the point of view of one New Yorker – me!  Other people may use or hear these proverbs more or less than I do and I welcome comments below. 

So here we go…

MP3 Recording Discussing Animal Proverbs beginning with A

List of "A" Proverbs:


-A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

-A dog is a man’s best friend

-A fish out of water

-A fish rots from the head down

-A fly in the ointment

-A leopard cannot change its spots

-A little bird told me

-A nest of vipers

-A pig in a poke

-A red rag to a bull

-A wolf in sheep’s clothing

-A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle

-Act the giddy goat

-An albatross around one’s neck

-As bald as a coot

-As busy as a bee

-As cute as a bug’s ear

-As fine as frog’s hair

-As fit as a butcher’s dog

-As happy as a clam

-As mad as a hatter

-As mad as a March hare

-As snug as a bug in a rug

-As the crow flies

Feel free to share your feelings about these proverbs in the comments below.  (Please let us know where you’re from.)




Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 6:00 pm and is filed under Animal Proverbs, Australia, Countries & Cultures, England, English, English Proverbs, Idiomatic Expressions, Idioms, Languages, MP3's, Podcast, Podcasts, Proverbs, Recordings, Sayings, USA, Words & Phrases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “Animal Proverbs & Idiomatic Expressions (Beginning with A)”

  1. Tinker Jack Says:

    Thanks Lisa for recording these phrases. I think they are useful and valuable.

    We have many similar and even the same phrases in Hungarian. However, there are some ideas which are communicated with different words, which I always find interesting. For example, we say “Kutyából nem lesz szalonna” literally it means “A dog will not become lard”. This phrase is the equivalent of “The leopard cannot change its spots”.

    We say:
    “Jobb ma egy veréb, mint holnap egy túzok”, meaning “It’s better to have a sparrow today than a great bustard tomorrow”. [A bustard is a type of bird.] For the phrase “A fly in the ointment”, Hungarian has got a funny phrase, a pun that puts a plant in the place of the buzzing animal. “Üröm az örömben”, meaning “(There is) wormwood in the joy”. The wormwood is said to be bitter. And one should not (darázsfészekbe nyúlni) put ones hands into the wasp’s nest, which stands obviously for the “viper’s nest”. I guess, there are many others….

  2. Monique Says:

    What about French? Some are worded differently, the equivalent to “As happy as a clam” is “Heureux comme un poisson dans l’eau” meaning “Happy as a fish in the water”, one of the equivalents to “Act the giddy goat” is “Faire l’âne” meaning “To play the donkey” and “As the crow flies” translates as “À vol d’oiseau” meaning word to word “At bird flight”. Little birds don’t tell us anything, our pinkie does “Mon petit doigt me l’a dit” (My pinky told me so).

  3. Lisa Says:

    I just came across an interesting Italian expression on Matador Network:

    In bocca al lupo (good luck) – literally, “In the mouth of the wolf”. It’s like saying “break a leg” before someone goes on stage…

Leave a Reply