Idiomatic expressions using our favourite animal!
to fight like cats and dogs
– to argue and fight with someone (usually used for people who know each other)
“My sisters and I never got on very well as children. We used to fight like cats and dogs!”
you can’t teach an old dog new tricks
– it is difficult for older people to learn new things
“Good luck getting grandpa to start going to yoga with you. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
as sick as a dog
– very sick
“I was sick as a dog after last night’s meal.”
bark up the wrong tree
– to choose the wrong course of action, to ask the wrong person (a hunting dog may make a mistake when chasing an animal and bark up the wrong tree)
“She thinks it’ll solve the problem, but I think she’s barking up the wrong tree.”
– ready or willing to fight and hurt others to get what one wants
“It is a dog-eat-dog world in our company.”
one’s bark is worse than one’s bite
– one’s words are worse than one’s actions
“Don’t get upset at anything my father says. His bark is worse than his bite.”
the hair of the dog
– a drink of alcohol that one takes when recovering from a hangover
Steve: I’m really paying for all those gin tonics I took last night.
Tony: Yeah, I’m hurting too. Hair of the dog?
Steve: Why not! We´ve got a few beers left in the fridge.
to hound (someone)
– to pursue or chase someone, to harass someone
“The manager is always hounding the younger members of her staff to make them work hard.”
let sleeping dogs lie
– do not make trouble if you do not have to
“I’m going to keep my mouth shut about what I do know, let sleeping dogs lie.”
rain cats and dogs
– to rain very hard
It has been raining cats and dogs all day.
rub (someone/someone’s fur) the wrong way
– to irritate someone (just as you would irritate a dog or cat if you rub their fur the wrong way)
“I’m sorry I rubbed your fur the wrong way. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
see a man about a dog
– to leave for some unmentioned purpose (often to go to the bathroom)
I left our table in the restaurant to go and see a man about a dog.
one’s tail between one`s legs
– feeling beaten or humiliated (like a frightened or defeated dog as it walks away)
“After bragging about her great musical ability, she lost the competition and went off with her tail between her legs. “
better to be a live dog than a dead lion
– it is better to be a live coward than a dead hero (this is from Ecclesiastes in the Bible)
“I called for help rather than running into the burning building because a live dog is better than a dead lion.”
lead a dog`s life
– to lead a miserable life
“I’ve been working so hard. I’m tired of living a dog’s life.”